Invitation to watch paint dry...

FOR anyone whose anorak is in dire need of an outing, the National Trust is offering a unique opportunity to watch paint dry. Houghton s historic 18th century corn mill, pictured above, the only remaining working mill on the River Great Ouse, is often pai

FOR anyone whose anorak is in dire need of an outing, the National Trust is offering a unique opportunity to watch paint dry.

Houghton's historic 18th century corn mill, the only remaining working mill on the River Great Ouse, is often painted from the outside - as part of an amateur artist's portfolio.

Every five years, it is also painted on the outside to preserve its ancient timbers. This is part of the work of the National Trust to look after one of its very few properties in Huntingdonshire.

For this event, the public and media are invited to be there with their cameras. The invitation has gone out to: "Film the scaffolding being carefully erected up and over the River Ouse, witness the painstaking re-paint to this historically fascinating property and film the scaffolding being taken down."


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Says the trust's regional communications officer Jane Travis: "People who come along will get first-hand images of Houghton Mill with its new coat of paint."

Unfortunately, the start of the exciting 10-week contract, which was due on Monday this week, has been delayed.

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The trickiest part from a health and safety point of view is erecting scaffolding in the river and removing it at the end. But recent heavy rains have led the Environment Agency to open flood gates downstream, so the water at Houghton is running too quickly for safety.

The irony is that Houghton Mill is not actually being painted at all. The material to be used is a traditional tar. Said a National Trust spokesman: "It will look a bit glossy for a few months, but don't be alarmed. It will matt down.

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