Living In A Mud House


This is my Barbour (waxed) jacket. Or should I say ‘was’?

A lot of old cottages in the West Country were constructed using cob. It’s such a common thing around here that I’d not really given it a second thought. Until last night. I’ve made the mistake of storing the jacket in a built in cupboard and one side of it has been touching the wall.

English cob was traditionally made by mixing clay soil with sand, water and straw and using oxon to trample it all down. The oxon, presumably, adding a little more binding agent of their own. The resultant mix was then built up, layer by layer, on a deep stone foundation to form the walls of a house.

Our walls are about 24 inches thick and solid. That makes for lovely deep windowsills which Mike would leave clear and I have groaning with numerous houseplants. Some day soon, a compromise will need to be found. Cob will always have some moisture in it, the percentage varying according to the seasons. But, as we know, this year’s summer has been exceptionally wet.

I’ll leave my jacket to dry out for a while, to see if the mould will brush off.