We are experimenting with having no car – while we were doing alot of building work a Landrover was great for collecting materials and also not bad at ferrying four children and assorted friends around the place too. Thanks to an idiot on the A14 who left us spinning upside down in the wreckage of the Landrover, living without a car became quite a popular idea as several of us would rather never get in one again. Trains for long journeys are proving less stressful, and not too expensive if booked well in advance. Some of us are happy to cycle for miles, others like the Metrolink more. But to get kids to places that public transport doesn’t reach, of which there are many even in the city, we’ve joined City Car Club – we can book online and take a car from 5 minutes up the road and it’s almost like owning your own car except without paying the insurance, MOT, fuel or repairs. Bookings are by the quarter hour and can be extended from inside the car if you are running late (unless someone else has booked straight after you). So far there has always been a car available, even at short notice, and the Car Club staff are very helpful if you have idiotically booked for the wrong date or have other technical issues.
Everywhere that needed it has been replastered – some areas with standard plaster, such as the plasterboard ceilings we had put up before we thought about lime plaster. Where we were patching up the old lime plaster or could plaster onto brick we have used lime plaster, because it will buffer the moisture in the house – if the air gets damp the plaster will take up some of the moisture and let it back out when the air is drier. Lime plaster also allows the moisture through the structure, so that moisture doesn’t get trapped inside which is bad for air quality and aggravates things like mould growth and dust mites.
So when we came to choosing paints, we wanted to keep the moisture permeability. This meant choosing clay paints – most of which come solely in disgusting shades of brown and green. We were saved by Earthborn, who do 126 colours of clay paint which goes on very nicely – the finish looks slightly chalky (although it doesn’t come off) and the colours change with the light in an interesting way. One area of standard plaster got ECOS paint to get a particular colour, but the ECOS paint was not happy on the lime plaster – it looks quite patchy even after 3 coats. The Dulux paint now marketed as “eco paint” has low VOC (fumes) but is an acrylic paint so not vapour permeable and there are environmental issues with the manufacture. We bought the Earthborn paints from Ty Mawr.