So, the stair carpenter set to work, and he and his mate got the stairs done in an astonishingly short time. Then the painters came and wrapped it all up in their very clever protective sheeting, which is soft and drapey, non-slip and very hard-wearing.
Just as well, as they made a lot of dust. Nevertheless, they were discreet and pleasant and as easy to have around as they could be, and worked very hard and long days.
Below, my blue room, blue no more, but seeming much larger, and altogether a different shape:
They painted and papered the hall, two rooms and the landing upstairs (which I might photograph and post here later when it's properly finished) and laid new floors in the no-longer-blue room and the hall, varnished the new staircase, and finally it was all cleaned up and unveiled, and we could venture into it again:
explore all corners,
and inspect the works:
It's a beautiful thing, we think, overall and down to the smallest detail of the grain and figuring in the oak, and the elegant flush dowels that hold it together:
Oh no, a paw mark, we thought, on the first day, how did that happen?
It turned out, though, it was just figuring in the wood.
On the old stairs, which we never got around to varnishing, there was a dark shadow worn into it from all the years of Molly's passage up and down; this apparition of a paw print is just on the same point of the turning tread.