What Remains

Elle ne rit plus

After a day of noise aplenty, this evening is extremely quiet. Even the pigeons have packed up and left

Downstairs is now a full-on building site, and barely feels like our house at all

That’s OK. I know there has to be a time like this, when there is less house than there was – literally, as we are three walls down from my last visit. Numerous pickups loaded with rubble from the false walls and the huge stash of charbonne have been a sobering reminder that there are some things best entrusted to the ‘better equipped’ than we are. We could not have done this part of the work

Newspapers show that the last time anyone lit a fire here was January 1973. Makes sense

The house is temporarily without radiators, and the hallways are suddenly broad and impressive. Every single pipe of any sort in the house has been cut with an angle grinder. Plus, the sink, the bidet and the disgusting laughing toilet are all gone

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‘Elle ne rit plus’**

** That’s the last of the toilet humour, I promise

The defunct monster boiler and fuel tank have been removed, as well as three monolithic cookers of various weights and ages, two of which were up on the second floor and required huge effort to move. There is a double bed wedged into the top staircase at the moment, yet somehow that doesn’t seem important. The air is thick with dust and I have retreated to let it settle overnight

But I feel that it has been well worth coming down for this. There is now a definite commitment on both sides and stuff is happening

There will be a bathroom of sorts this summer. And a (relatively) clean area to make toast and coffee until we get a kitchen built

Feels good. Feels really good

The Fall of the House of Birds

Sanity is Optional

Builders blustering into the house has created a great deal of stress and creative energy. Here are some of today’s tableaux depicting progress. There were more but you’ve been spared because nerdpress got stroppy when I tried to upload them:

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‘La Toilette Qui Rit’
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‘Face With Cigar and Telescope’
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‘Jazz Collage’ (detail)
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‘Still Life With Resting Wheelbarrow’
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‘La Toilette Qui Dort’
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‘Stardust’

 

 

Together. Alone

Despite the fact that it’s February, Baz and I have spent the last two days together in France basking in the warmth of clear blue skies. We explored, we took photos and we made the most of all things outdoorsimg_4328

Then, he left me

That is to say that today, after a flying trip, he boarded the bus to the airport, joking about how he had just enough euro ‘pocket money’ for the bus. As I walked back across the car park I realised that it was much harder sending him off home and staying here without himimg_4327

I know it’s only for a few days. I have plenty to keep me occupied and I just need to remain focussed

 

 

And I’m Back in the Room

A whiff of spring and goats cheese

‘You’re so disruptive. We didn’t have any of that noise while you were away’ said Baz

And indeed the washing machine – whose spin cycle was disturbing his enjoyment of a television programme – had been completely untroubled by anyone in the five days I was in France, jumping to life only because I needed to thoroughly de-pigeon everything, all my clothes, as soon as I walked in

Back home I am now adjusting, albeit temporarily, to a world where a mild and harmless addiction to goats cheese somehow incites abuse and criticism from my nearest and dearest

At least Ebay was glad to see me

Having been thinking hard about the impending creation of our first bathroom (whoop whoop!!), there was a brief spike on my Ebay activity at the weekend. It’s over now – or so I tell Baz

And suddenly the seasons feel as though they are changing. There has been sunshine and a real feeling of spring. The brambles were already dipping their toes, hoping to set down new roots, and bulbs are poking their heads up everywhere. I removed so much debris from the border in front of the house that I had to borrow a second green bin from a neighbour, and I even discovered that there is another foot of wall to paint at the bottom of part of the house! Ha ha! Who knew?!

My Mum told me recently that her partner bought some lovely plants from a Pound Shop, and sure enough, I found boxed roses and shrubs on a shelf for a quid. The bare root season is almost over and they will no doubt be chucked away if unsold, so I grabbed a couple of pink roses, a red climbing rose and a pink honeysuckle. There’s something so appealing about the resilience of ‘rescue’ plants and they all show signs of life (the red climber, perhaps only just). I’ve stuck them in small pots to start them off and I hope they will soon be relaxing into their newfound homes. It felt good just to be planting something after the winter

My next project at home is the front garden, where I need to dig over enough ground to create a small vegetable plot. I may no longer have an allotment, but there’s no reason why we can’t grow some beans, tomatoes and mange tout alongside the strawberries. And it gives me an excuse to spy on the girls (once they are finally released from their long DEFRA-enforced house arrest – hopefully at the end of February, though it could be longer still)

So, I know what I am doing this weekend, and it involves painting, clearing the greenhouse in preparation for planting seeds and generally being outside, topping up my Vitamin D

Oh, and popping over to collect my latest Ebay purchase …