Preparing a room for decorating today, I was filling holes in the lime plaster in a first floor room when I heard a loud knocking on the other side of the wall. I knocked back hard with a trowel handle on the wall but it didn’t stop so I dashed outside to shout at the woodpecker – yet again, they’ve found a way into the clay and they are digging holes for insects, this time too high for anything but scaffolding for repairs.
It had gone before I got outside so I am not sure which variety it was – we’ve been attacked by green, greater spotted and lesser spotted (illustrated: one day I’ll be fast enough to get my own photo of a housepecker in the act!)
The decorating is my first attempt to use distemper rather than limewash. Preparation has finished and the next job is painting it on. The distemper was made up by Ingilbys of Glemsford to my colour spec and cost £45 for 5 litres. They say it should be possible to cover in 2 coats rather than the 3 for their limewash and so the overall cost should be roughly the same.
One warning – it doesn’t keep more than a month or two because it is made with casein from milk and eventually the can will start smelling like old spilled milk. But I’m assured that doesn’t happen to the walls if you get it on and dried when fresh.
I’ll report back on what distemper is like to use. One source on Suffolk buildings says that distemper rather than limewash was always used indoors.