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the week I had been dreading arrived, but it turned out a lot better than I expected. Alan and Peter are so efficient that day one saw the sheds emptied, contents stored under a tarp, burnt, or put on one side for skip or dump, and the roofs off. day two was yesterday, and the demolition is complete. I have a huge stack of old wood to cut up for fuel. on the down side the horrible bonfire is still smouldering. Alan is one of those bonfire addicts; he merrily stuck everything on it – roofing felt, carpet, plastic roofing, mouldy and moth-eaten yarn, and many other unspeakable objects which had been hidden away in the darkest recesses. two trees may be a bit the worse for wear – the rowan and the olive tree, which has only just been planted out in the wild garden after a sheltered life in a pot, have scorched leaves nearest the fire. and there is another of those terrible craters which I so often end up with, difficult to get anything to seed in it.

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today one skip goes and another replaces it, bringing a load of ballast for the post holes and to add to the concrete floors, to produce a damp-proof level base for the rough plank floor. but until the two sycamores which were impinging on the old shed are cut down, not a lot of reconstruction can begin, and the guy who is doing that can only manage Monday.

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meanwhile I am having a new duct made in stainless steel to take the heat from the kiln chimney out sideways through the gable end of the shed, which will be wrapped in ceramic fibre to insulate the roof. no more climbing on the shed roof to open up the top and drop in the chimney. my shed bedroom is a lot less cosy now it’s no longer screened by the montana and the ceanothus which had grown so enormous and now are stumps, cut away so that the sheds can be worked on.

Sal had a disaster almost two weeks ago; we were walking at Morston, near the freshes, when a dog initiated a fight with him and then got hold of his neck and wouldn’t let go. Sal screamed in fear and pain, and the dog’s jaws were unclamped by one of the lads in charge of the dog. which looked to me like a cross between a staffordshire bull terrier and a whippet or greyhound. when I got home I discovered that more damage had been done than I had realised at the time, one big deep hole next to his shoulder, and a smaller one under his ear. so far the vet’s bill is 400 and Sal has a huge stitched wound after they cut out dead tissue on Tuesday. in terms of pain and stress and worry (not forgetting he is nearly twelve), this is bad enough, but the bill adds insult to injury. this August there have been a lot of dog biting dog incidents, and a spaniel died at the vet’s on tuesday morning after being savaged by a greyhound on the beach the day before. I won’t be walking on the coast again with Sal until the holiday makers have gone home. a very nasty picture follows – sorry about this, but it brings it home. Sal’s shoulder looks like the Sunday joint before its cooked.

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