Sunday, February 13, 2005

and the edible irish house.

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this is of course a fairy story, and owes more than a little to the gingerbread house of an earlier fairytale . . . but please accept that the world would be a better place if all houses were edible.

so how do you eat a house ? - how does a mouse eat an elephant ? a little at a time. we are allowed to put aside stone, because a builder never throws away a good stone. there is always a place for one, and there are many irish buildings to testify to the fact that a good stone is never wasted.

the rest is timber, thatch, wattle, clay, lime, plaster. much of this rots in the irish climate, and often while you are still living in the house. there is no reason to consign the remains of a house to skips and landfill. most of this - if dumped in or close to your own garden - will rot down slowly into the soil and blend with other compostible materials. the time scale for this is one generation. not a generation of people, but the time required to regenerate the timber and other biodegradable materials that will go towards the building of your house's successor, or the refurbishment of the present structure. within the lifetime of your present house it should be possible to biodegrade its predecessor - less anything that has been recycled. the materials rot into a compost and are incorporated into the soil. if you are a true freeborn irish person - and not just a weekly paying tenant of the tesco estate - then you will bit by bit consume the produce of this soil until you have eaten your house.

any upset to the digestion will immediately lead you to suspect that alien materials were used in the construction. so always take your materials, and your cue, from the natural forest - where everything that dies, degrades into the soil, because nothing that was not digestible to the soil was taken up from the soil by the growing tree in the first place.

so beware of the indigestible house, and when you are choosing an architect, always go for one with taste.

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