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Building to last

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Preston Mill, East Lothian / Image Howard Maunders of Beautiful Britain

I see this everywhere I travel in the country - the ancestors built so that buildings would last.

Perhaps they were thinking about their descendants. Maybe they were loathe to see the roof fall down on their heads.

Isak Dinesen once wrote that comfort was not at the top of the ancestors' list of priorities. I think this is true.

However, two acquaintances living near Shawford have made an old stone farmhouse into a comfortable home, and family friends in Compton live happily, if sometimes coldly, in a 1734 Queen Anne house with a walled garden.

By sticking closely to the building materials of nature and nature's proportions, the ancestors' buildings survive, and to many eyes, many modern American eyes among them, are beautiful, beautifully suited to their purpose and beautifully adaptable because they were built to last.

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