The Goose Hoose came together like a dream. The build was expected to take around ten weeks, but we had it wrapped up in five. It was a quick turnaround time by anyone’s standards, not least by a set of apprentices, some of which had no prior experience in stone masonry. Under a different set of circumstances, the build might have taken us longer, but the combination of certain things made it feel as if we were working within a slipstream. First and foremost, the guidance from Daryl, our building tutor and my BFF, was outstanding. He's been a force for good as the captain of Team Stone and is a real credit to Dumfries House. His knowledge and efficiency sometimes made my head spin. Secondly, there was a really nice set of dynamics within the team, which created a cohesive, positive atmosphere right from the off. Everybody mucked in, everybody did their bit, and at the end of it, we all sat on the roof with a glass of Prosecco and toasted to a job well done.
We toasted to what had passed. An enormous amount of stone had been measured, cut, squared and shaped in extraordinary plumes of sandstone dust within the banker shop. And when that stone had been worked - be it quoin, jamb, voussoir, string course, coping or crow step - it was taken on the short journey to site where it waited patiently for the softness of a lime mortar bed in The Goose Hoose. A small sea of mortar had been mixed and poured into wheelbarrows and buckets ready to be scooped out by hungry trowels. Stones were bedded and sometimes re-bedded, lines were run, levels were leveled, hammers swung, stones teased, tapped and tempted into plumb, square and level. Noses were crinkled, heads were scratched, hmms were hummed. We laughed, we sang, I told stupid jokes. Then Prince Charles came along and gave a nod of approval.