Saturday, 28 February 2009

Working At Divis

I had intended to prepare a round of smoked salmon sandwiches, either last night or this morning, for our NT volunteer day at Divis today. Frankly I didn't feel like it; then I got a text message from Patricia, who must have read my mind. She most kindly suggested that she could bring two rounds of fresh, hand-made chicken tikka sandwiches from the shop she passes in Ballynahinch, County Down. Patricia, my saviour. "Yes, please!" said I.

We all met at the Divis car-park, at about nine-thirty this morning. There were about ten of us today. We had hot drinks in the warden's office before driving to the Long Barn, which has been restored and will soon become the new warden's office and visitor centre. The official opening is on Friday, the 27th March, 2009.

It's a fine building, with two foot thick walls, heating, new floors and plasterwork, electricity - all "mod-cons" in fact. There's even a special disabled toilet adjacent to the barn. Divis Lodge itself shall be restored as soon as funds become available. I believe that the temporary roof will be removed in 2010 and a new, vernacular slate roof erected. It is intended that the Lodge will be used as a tea-room and function room eventually. It is understood that an area behind the lodge shall be levelled in order to enable the erection of a marquee.

Our task today was to assist the warden in removing temporary barbed-wire fencing beside the stone wall. We lunched inside the Long Barn. By Jove, it was cold today; Divis is exposed to the elements so, although it may have been 7c, it felt a lot colder!

After lunch we all finished off and departed. I'm off to La Traviata in the opera house tonight.

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