Generally I am not a romantic about tradesmen. Or country people. But occasionally one sees a face which should have been by one of the great painters. I have now engaged two new tradesmen to work on the barn roofs. The first comes highly recommended. He puts on tin roofs. He lives in the community, and has a face by Dürer, I think. He appears highly rational, experienced, and well aware of the balance of cost and possibility. He is amused but not outraged by my insistence on hatches to allow entry and exit for birds. I have at various times a kestrel roosting, swallows nesting, and barn owls prospecting.
The second comes from the larger parish. He also seems competent and he talks unpretentiously and knowledgeable about slate roofs, and the desirability of preserving slates. The superiority of the older slates. I’m not quite sure who his face is by. One of the artists who used thickly layered, broken surfaces of oil. Perhaps Rembrandt himself.
Desperate, yes, I am. Let us hope that between them they can preserve my slates, and re roof my barn. Let us hope romanticism is not in any way carrying me away. They are wonderful faces, though.