Monday, March 29, 2010

Wide Duchess or Narrow Lady?

I am in Ireland at the moment, finishing up a revision of my own screenplay adaptation of The Music Lesson. It's a great task for a writer, writing through a finished novel in order to transpose it into another medium, and the job has given me some new insights into novel structure. I am also involved in a renovation of the cottage we have owned in West Cork since 1986.

In The Music Lesson, Patricia is alone in a cottage at the edge of the sea in West Cork, minding a priceless Vermeer portrait that has been stolen from the Queen for political purposes. In all her observing of Irish life, it didn't occur to me to have her ponder the traditional names for different sizes of roof slates, which are quite superb:

(All sizes are in inches - length x width)
26 x 16
Princess or Wide Duchess
24 x 14
24 x 12
Small Duchess
22 x 12
22 x 11
Broad/Wide Countess
20 x 12
20 x 10
Small Countess
18 x 10
18 x 9
Wide Lady
16 x 10
Broad Lady
16 x 9
16 x 8
Wide Header
14 x 12
14 x 10
Small Lady
14 x 8
Narrow Lady
14 x 7
Small Header
13 x 10
12 x 6
10 x 5


  1. Why do I love this info so much? I do! I will have my house done with Small Duchess, please.

  2. They're either Lady or Broad Lady, not sure!

  3. That is hiLArious. Who'd have thought roof slates were feminine, let alone covered such a hierarchy?