When Sally and I first visited Kirkstone in January it was so cold that Sally’s toes turned to ice and took hours to recover. What a contrast with today- the sun is so fierce that I have to wear a hat to protect my head from sunburn. I’m at Kirkstone with Philippa and Mark for what will probably be our last visit before the show. We have come to discuss the steps and we need to decide how best to lay the slate which will cover them. Nick goes through the options and recommends that we lay the slate in a “pineapple chunk” pattern, which will form a good contrast with the slate on the floor of the Aviary. We try to put ourselves in the shoes of the craftsmen who would have tackled the problem in Victorian times. “Pineapple chunks” is probably not the technical term they would have used. But we get the gist and pineapple chunks it is. Nick has a full size template and lays out the slate as he would like it to be, marking the pattern with chalk. His attention to detail is impressive and after 90 minutes of discussion we leave in good spirits, warmed by the sun.