Two days snow, two days freezing cold, one day deluged by rain, today: had a sunbathe! Gorgeous!
OK, so my 'sunbed' was in fact the garden bench which I festooned myself over, then got stuck in the sprawl position and had to be rescued by Hubs. After a glorious sunbathe though. But before you imagine me in unclad mode, with skin and all being bared for to become bronzed over, let me hasten to add that although I had removed several layers, I still had on four up top: 1 thermal vest, two t-shirts, 1 fleece. And four on the bottom: socks, two pairs of trousers, 1 pair of underthings.
Nevertheless, today I had a sunbathe! And the warmth which oozed into my bod will be well remembered as we ride another cold snap, which is apparently on its way to us. The sky was blue, the birds were twittering, and I laid myself down in the sun. Bools had a quick lick round my ear to give it a clean-up, me now being at a get-at-able height for him, whilst Guss looked on ready to take over if Bools ran out of effort. Hubs was off somewhere else, actually over at our neighbour's place looking after her chickens and sundry other animals including two donkeys. Two weeks ago she said she was going away for a few days, two week later and she has still not put in an appearance. I think she has gone AWOL. Ah well, we have a free supply of eggs for the moment, although have less than we ought to have only Hubs was messing about getting friendly with the one sheep in situ, and was so overwhelmed by the sheep taking some food from his hand that he leant over to give it a pat. Shame. He had forgotten that he had already raided the chickens hut. Eggs make a lovely mess when they break in one's pocket.
A rummage in our post box fetched up two letters, one of which was the much awaited divi (quote) for the grainge, or tall barn.
This was just after we arrived, and it still had its original hat on. And it became a wish within my heart that we would be able to save the barn, keeping it as it was so that Labartere could retain some of its oldness.
But no, it was not to be.
After the tiles were off and the protecting tarps put on, there was three months of respite. And then the hurricane hit, ripping all the tarps to shreds. Nearly a year later, and the barn is done. All the wood has to come out, every single last scrap. It was rotten anyway. Must have been for years.
And so: we can't ever hope to duplicate the barn, but we can start over and give her a new character. The front is to be filled in, with three patio windows down below, four windows up top. It will look grim for a while, until we can get the bricks covered over with plaster. But the actual walls would have been saved. The roof will go on exactly the same as the original
The divi's: They came in bang on target. In my head I had a possible figure, and it was matched exactly by Danny. So onto the third roof we go. Before we came here I had the distinct thought come into my head that we need to get the roofs done. This we are continuing on with.
However, it is possible that we might have to spend a third winter in the caravans as we focus what money we have on getting Labartere water-tight. It is worth it. We will have an animal shelter then, and storage space. Even, perhaps, accomodation space eventually.
Yesterday I did my first trip out as a professional-type person. I won't go into what I do, just that someone asked me to come out to their house and give them a consultation. Just another small step in becoming networked here. And despite the fact that she has no English and my French is decidedly tatty, I managed to impart some help. I think I have saved the relationship. I did some good. I was of service. It's surprising what one can do when one rises to a challenge.
Today I laid out in the sun and had a toasting from the warmth of the sun. Hooray! The tall barn is now going to be sorted out. Hooray! And yesterday I helped someone out of an emotional pickle. Hooray! And today I did the same for a friend. Hooray! And yippy-i-o! My first book is Amazonned! Crikey!
Lessons I have learnt: that it is good to put something back, that it is nice to bask in the sun in the middle of winter, and that the relief of not watching the tall barn continue its rotting away process is a weight off our shoulders.That the warm feeling of having done an endeavour, of seeing a project through to a conclusion, is very warming for the soul.
Also: not to worry about from whence the money will come. Just to be confident that sufficient will find its way to us. We are not making Labartere into a posh residence for ourselves, but that it is to become a retreat for people who need to get off their lives for a while, and also to perhaps act as a centre for encouraging people into being self sufficient. The Universe has given us this task, and we will do our best to get it done. Phew!