Monday, 10 August 2009

An Old Photo and The Little Cupboard

Through my email came this photo, posted over to me by Claudine, our neighbour across the road who lives at the Chambre d'hote. And it is of our house when the roof was still up. If you enlarge the photo you should be able to see the damaged roof tiles on the left hand side which would eventually lead to the collapse of that side of the roof. The side barn on the far left is totally obliviated by ivy, and to the far right you can just make out the tall barn, which juts out from the side wall of the house.

It has been a constant source of amazement to us that this house was left to deteriorate for so long. So many people have said that it was once a very pretty house, and several have made the comment that they thought about buying it themselves. But they didn't. Then we came along at the last moment, and hopefully have saved her. The hurricane in January would have brought the remaining roof down, and probably the walls as well, or damaged them beyond repair. She was in her last moments of life. Sometimes I think she still is! But that is only when I am tired, and the bills are high, and the task seems too enormous.

Today the builders turned up. It has been a day of making holes. We now have a hole for the kitchen sink waste pipe, and a hole in the pantry space for the electric and water pipes. Otherwise, all the plastic has been laid on the floors, and all the steel mesh put on top of it.

Labartere is on the up! Lester says that it is our responsibility to get her tidied up, for her history, and for the area. She is highly visible, and it will do justice to this pretty part of the world if she can be made to look attractive again. We will do our best.

Meanwhile, one of our first Big Discussions has been about the cupboard.

The Little Cupboard has become a project over which me and Hubs have tussled. The Little Cupboard is in fact not a cupboard as such, but a small smoking hole, used for smoking hams and things. The blackening of the wall is from the old chimney which fell down when the roof collapsed. Since it is gone, we are not going to replace it. The Little Cupboard has not gone. OK, so it might be a leaning over sideways, and is a bit ragged around the edges, but since it is still with us, I think it should stay put. Intactus. Hubs says it looks a mess. I say that with a bit of a rub down, and bit of oiling, the Little Cupboard will look lovely. Upon this we differ. He says he will have a brand new one made. I say NNNNNOOOOOO!

I haven't told him that I want the wall saved as well. Nearly all the downstairs walls are plastered, some of them with dried mud. We know this is so, because the dried mud reverts back to its original state of muddy mud when it gets wet. The walls have got wet. Well, without a roof, they would, wouldn't they! So that is how we know that some of the walls have been plastered with mud. Not to worry though. All will soon dry once the roof goes back on.

But all the walls which are plastered will stay plastered. The smoke blackened wall has no plaster of any type. It has some huge stones in it, and I think it looks great. With a bit of a hose down, and some good old fashioned scrubbing, I reckon that the wall will come up a treat. And so what if the blackened wall can't be made to look pristine. So what if the wall keeps some of its smoke stains from those hundreds of fires which used to drift their smoke over it. Doing a typical English-stye renovation would be the same as having bo-tox or a face-lift. Smooths out all those hard-earned wrinkles, taking away the character, the history, making the face look plastic, making the house look like a modern new-build. Yuk! So I keep doing face exercises to stop the face muscles from going too far south, and I try and keep the house from looking too done up!

Meanwhile, the sun is shining again, everything is putting on a spurt of growth because of the recent drop of rain, and we are eating tomatoes by the dozen, courgettes by the several, and not getting tired of either. Other bits and pieces of veg are coming through, but we got in a bit of tangle over succession planting, mostly due to the hot, dry summer we have had. So we have a gap in the salady stuff. Not to worry, though. Next year we will be more experienced.

So must close now, as I want to get another hour or so in on my web site before bed time. It has turned into a humungous task, but has been worthwhile.

Things I have learnt today: That doing something to the very best of one's ability gives one a great sense of personal achievement. That sometimes one can be put in the position of having to learn something new, which at first may seem un-doable. But that with patience and perseverance, that new thing can be learnt and be put to good use, which again expands one's sense of personal achievement. That one must keep stretching one's mind because an awake mind is a happy mind, providing it is given something to do. An awake mind with nothing to do will become a naughty mind, and start getting up to all sorts of nonsense thinking.
That the puddles on the plastic covered floor of the house from the recent rain soon dry when the sun shines.
That taking time to walk one's dog is good for the soul. That to sit by a river and spend a few moments watching the life of the river, is good for the soul.
That cleaning one's oven out helps make the gas jets flow better.
That helping oneself to one's very own sun-warmed tomatoes straight from the vines is quite, quite satisfying.
That its surprising how excited one can become when one hears a builders van approaching the back gates of the house. Because it signals another small step in the long journey of our house project.


DUTA said...

Hi Vera,
I learn a lot from your "Things I have learnt today". Pity I don't live near a river 'cause I like what you say" to sit by a river and spend a few moments watching the life of the river, is good for the soul".

And by the way, I agree with you about The Little Cupboard.

Vera said...

Thanks for your agreement about The Little Cupboard, Duta. I think I will have quite a few heated discussions with Hubs over that subject.
It's nice to know that you enjoy 'Things I have learnt...' - it gives me encouragement to keep on writing those comments.