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Cock and hen

I had an unexpected visit today from 2 Albanian brothers who have worked for us (separately) in the past. They wanted to see how we were getting on and – probably – check whether anyone else has worked for us recently.

The older of the brothers helped us with the construction of a retaining wall next to the house, for which Clive directed the coping and I had the task of explaining that it was called ‘cock and hen’.

Part of the wall with its cock and hen coping

The idea of this traditional technique was, originally, that any over-large or awkwardly-shaped stones that couldn’t be fitted into the lines of the body of the wall would find a home on top. A stone that stood up and a stone that lay down were alternated, hence the name.

The wall was made 4 years ago but the name had stuck in its builder’s memory – ‘gallo e gallina’ in Italian!

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