Round and Round and Back

Big is not always better

The house has benefitted hugely from its first dry year in possibly decades. Today the sun was out and proud, and – though I couldn’t feel my  fingers or toes – the house basked. Even the water in the cellar is drying out, thanks to the new roof

This house never complains. It doesn’t threaten or stamp its feet. There’s no drama, it is just chilled and calm and forgiving. I love this house

We had talked of moving the kitchen into part of the cave/garage to allow more space, but now we have decided to keep it where it is. We can keep the floor tiles, the floor to ceiling two-metre wide larder, the chimney breast with its bottle shelf and the cute sink/drainer in the corner. What we will have to lose is the quaint old coke-fuelled range, the horrid Formica cupboards and the frill (Sorry, I just cannot live with that frill)

A simple kitchen, but enough for us. And enough for the house

When I told our builder yesterday that I had changed my mind again, he said it was good that we’d taken time to decide how the house will work best for us. And that’s true, because the mind can run riot in a house like this – all the possibilities – but the ‘feel good’ factor is important too

And this feels right. For us and for the house



A Bit Damaged

Briefly all the builders stood still, drawing in breath and watching me to see if I would cry – I didn’t, quite. Totally my fault, I hadn’t paid attention and turned my foot over on the rubble, yelping involuntarily. Luckily it isn’t broken, or I would have descended in the cherry picker

Today my left ankle and foot are still hugely swollen and sore. A trip to the chemist felt like an expedition, but I came home with ibuprofen gel, arnica and predictable advice

Some of our junk belongings were supposed to arrive this afternoon, but we’re heading toward evening now. What I am most looking forward to is finding and retrieving my pillow: I loathe the square ones with hardly any filling favoured by Europeans. When it arrives I may just take to my bed with my kindle and wallow in self-pity for an hour before dinner

But yesterday was very productive. Having seen the attic roof opened up, we’re adding Velux windows to the new roof and are reinstating the broken chimney to allow us to have a fire in the salon. These things would have been missed if I had stayed away and left the guys to plough on. The price of the improvements so far is my swollen extremity


The Very Busy Cherry Picker has gone home for the night, trundling backward the wrong way down our one-way street. The guys have just left and the drizzle has moved in, right on cue

Still no pillow…

Room with a Temporary View

The sky may be grey rather than blue, but it’s still the sky

In the builders’ lunch area, two large paint pots and a board had been used to create a third seat at the Formica-topped table, and there were thermos flasks, bread, a frying pan and a camping gas stove. They may be the first people to sit down and eat a hot meal here in over forty years

That’s a wonderful thing, a landmark. Life is creeping back into the house


The removal of the roof began. It’s been windy and very cold but the guys really cracked on with removing the tiles. Almost all the original 17th Century beams are past saving and need to be replaced, which is disappointing, but an essential compromise toward stopping the decay in the rest of the house


Seeing the sky come into view (albeit a flat grey that even F and B would struggle to glamourise) through the open roof was a beautiful thing and it reassured me that anything is possible, that we will overcome whatever obstacles we face and rescue this house

But we need to earn some more money first 🙂