Jill Thorp: Yorkshire's most famous farm needs a paint job

Stott Hall Farm in the middle of the M62 motorway in West Yorkshire. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Stott Hall Farm in the middle of the M62 motorway in West Yorkshire. Picture by Tony Johnson.

As the house is undergoing major work to the roof, I decided to make use of the scaffolding that’s up and set to work giving the house a fresh coat of paint. In places the old lime wash has peeled away giving glimpses of the beautiful stone that lays beneath.

Rich hues of gold, streaked with darker seams, all hidden away, for reasons unbeknownst to me. Sadly, the only way to remove the fading white paint would be to sandblast the stone which in turn would strip it of all its wonderful colour and character.

Jill Thorp writes for The Yorkshire Post every weekend. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Jill Thorp writes for The Yorkshire Post every weekend. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

So I somewhat begrudgingly started the long, laborious task of painting the front and back walls of the house and barn. The garden has also undergone a makeover although not one that Monty Don would be proud of.

The garden had become almost inaccessible and a huge laurel and conifer were suffocating more delicate plants below and blocking light from the house.

What life is really like on Jill Thorp’s farm in the middle of the M62

As scaffolding would need to be in place for work on the roof to continue, I gave Roger, our builder the go-ahead to do a spot of pruning. Before I’d even got the kettle on, the Loadall had ripped the larger conifer out and chains were being slung around the base of the laurel.

“Let me know if any of the walls start to shift,” Roger yelled with a glint in his eye. Paul and I stood staring slightly ominously at the house and then the laurel and back to the house as the boom of the Loadall fought to pull the roots free from the ground.

I did briefly wonder how unpopular we would be if we were responsible for the demise of Yorkshire’s most famous farmhouse, so was somewhat relieved when the chainsaw made an appearance.

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The roots of the laurel were firmly embedded and at the risk of having to make a slightly embarrassing phone call to our landlord, we cut it down. With the house now resplendent in its dazzling fresh coat of paint, votes are being taken for the colour of all the woodwork.

Paul of course opts for black – won’t show the muck – pillar box red has been used in the past and John-William is keen for a mixture as it will keep everyone happy! So if you see a red window, blue window, orange front door and pink barn door, you’ll know who got his own way!

The first load of straw arrived home last week, barley and wheat. Luckily, the vast majority of rain we’ve had has fallen on us in the Pennines before reaching the straw fields in Doncaster.

Our new shed is full to the rafters with our winter bedding and with a good forecast in the coming days, more will be heading back to Stott Hall Farm.

The dreaded back to school words have been spoken in our house as September fast approaches.

On the promise of a new toy, we trudged wearily around the shops in search of new school trousers and PE kit.

Despite coming home with a Lego dinosaur, the tears and pleading has already begun, leaving me dreading the end of the holidays.

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