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

 

 

A Bientot, Mes Oiseaux

La Maison des Oiseaux is calling me back

In an email exchange a month or so back, Gill (Blog-sur-Aude) referred to our house in passing as ‘La Maison des Oiseaux’. I found this fascinating, as I think of it also as a house of birds

Perhaps it was the loft full of pigeons, some living and laying, others fossilised, one of whom – living – ambushed me in the main hallway and made me jump out of my skin while the builders were replacing the roof, and leaving a mountain of detritus for me to clear up (the pigeons, not the builders)

Is it because I am ‘Poshbird’? No, I don’t think so

Anyway, I love birds. So, for whatever reason, I think the name fits our house. I might even find a suitably stylised bird to sit on the staircase in place of the missing bannister finial

And when this unusual winged wardrobe came up for sale I thought it was simply beautiful and I bought it with birthday money

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It sits on the deep bottom drawer, just visible in the mirror (as is my elbow)

It’s been packed up, so all I have are a few photos to drool over for now

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Bird motifs, gorgeous oak grain

‘A bientot, mes oiseaux!’

 

 

L’Air de Pigeons

Smelly ‘pigeon angels’ swirl in the sunlight

When I stuffed both phones down the leg of my leggings I hadn’t expected them to drop straight through and escape via my right ankle, but this is exactly what is happening as I come down from the attic, a bin bag in each hand. It’s also the moment when Baz calls for an update on the house, and I have to waddle quickly down in order not to fall arse over iphone

Ah, the newly created attic space has surpassed expectations, thanks to the big Velux windows. Well, it is beautiful and calming, and light enough that I can now wander around without fear of debris, or unseen rotten floorboards. These windows reveal the church tower, the tops of the hills beyond. And of course, those taller than me will get proper views

The downside? The filth is indescribable. I mop a small area and find the original terracotta floor tiles, which are in pretty good shape. But the grime is thick and I have already moved several bucket loads before realising that the rough stone walls first need a stiff brushing down first. As I sweep I can see, smell and taste nothing but pigeon detritus. The debris swirls thickly around forming ‘pigeon angels’ in the sunlight and my head jerks back involuntarily from time to time, unsure whether I’ll sneeze or spew. Luckily, it’s the formerIMG_9082

As the church strikes six, I’ve done five solid hours of this and no-one would know I’ve been in here. I am sure that once the dust re-settles I will have made almost no progress

Of course, this is not the update Baz wants, so I tell him of the views he’ll get from the windows, and of the newly-discovered flooring

The only person who’ll tell you that pigeons don’t cause damage inside your house is an estate agent who can’t be arsed to go and close the shutters once you have committed to buy, and who leaves your house open to the elements for months until you finally get the key and can take control of what is left. I had frequent nightmares thanks to that stupid man. So in the worst possible way I feel vindicated when I see the resulting rot in their regular roost spots (oh yes, and I need to scrub all those bits as well!)pigeon loft.JPG

I open the shutter of a glass-less l’oeil de beouf window to let out some dust and heat, but a homesick pigeon is calling a friend, and I close the shutter, stressed

Chicken wire, that’s what we need

And the spiders evicted from the attic? They’ve all joined Quinn by the garage tap, and I realise that I don’t even mind them very much anymore – as long as they keep off the floorIMG_9119.JPG

 

 

Things in the Roof

Slept in today and woke at 8.40 – probably due to having a proper pillow at last and the excitement of watching last night’s fantastic rugby game

I hung out for a bit in the attic, ankle-deep in pigeon droppings as usual and picked up a few bits of crap among the way

There was a broken moulded tile of some sort, complete with incy wincy. I took photos – recording everything – and a piece of rusted hardware that probably needs to go back on one of the shutters at some point. We seem to be treating this place like an archaeological dig as much as a renovation. I tried to remove anything we wanted before the roof guys just sweep it all out. I also found what must be the original frame for the lantern over the stairway. I only realised what it was when I saw broken glass caught in the torchlight

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Looks like he’s got a spider on his moustache?

There was newspaper dated Tuesday 26th April 1955, stuck between rotten floorboards. I couldn’t decide the reason for the paper being stuffed down there and I don’t advocate using it as a DIY material, but it had survived over sixty years before I dragged it out. Will the house now collapse?

The church clock struck twelve and I retreated downstairs for lunch with my carrier bag of tragic treasures, like some compulsive shopper covered in cobwebs. On the way out I also recorded the final resting place of the last pigeon. It’s sad, it’s gruesome, but she probably had a good long life. I didn’t put her in my shopping bag. Charlotte will probably complain

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Sorry, have I gone too far here?

I love how France stops at lunchtime. I love that on a Sunday there is nothing to do. Nothing but potter

On the way downstairs I grabbed the few items of textiles that I had squirrelled away for washing at My Home from Home from Home this evening. I don’t know if any of the pieces are to my taste, but if I can’t find a place for them, someone else will