Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Lest you think Tom has been idle while I rake away at the Sisyphean piles of foliate matter, I must assure you he too has been busy, rather more so in fact than I have. For he has been building.

One end of our house has always been rather uglified by a corrugated iron lean-to known as the garage. This has always been a rather inaccurate descriptor, since it has never been possible to keep a car in there, because the doorway is too small, the lie of the land into it is so uneven that any car would probably be irreparably grounded on entry, and it's too full of tools and logs and other stuff anyway. One day it may fulfil its destiny as a place for a vehicle, but more and more, as the rest of the house has become less of a building site and more of a habitation, it's needed more and more for storage.  For this reason, weatherproofing, and, I'm afraid, bird-proofing, have become imperative. We love birds, we love bird excrement rather less, and putting one's hand on some necessary item and finding it coated with guano was getting a bit desperate. 

Anyway, the back end of it was beginning to crumble; I don't have a photo of what it looked like before, indeed a mere few weeks ago, but it was in essence a pile of rusting corrugated and rotting wood, as may be seen here, in its dismantled state:

That was pulled down just before we went to Paris, and a tarp nailed over the hole. When we got back, there was a delivery of material and the work began in earnest:

A low wall was built from recouped stone, on which I did the pointing, my only real contribution to the project, apart from tea making and hauling an obsessed bricoleur indoors to eat and sleep occasionally. Then a new wooden framework was erected, replacing or incorporating some of the old, and slates leftover from when we replaced the roof seventeen years ago were hung on it. We bought a sheet of UV-proof clear perspex-type stuff to make a window.

This all happened really very quickly, it seemed to me. Oh yes, and it's got a proper door, which despite being autoclave treated etc is already warping wildly in the wet Brittany weather, much to the obsessive bricoleur's annoyance, but it will still do the job* I'm sure. 

And yesterday it was done, in time for us to make a hop over the water to Jersey for a couple of nights, ostensibly to go to the opticians (appointments with ophthalmologists here, who are specialist doctors and not attached to commercial opticians, are harder to procure than... oh I don't know, something very hard to procure, suggestions?) but largely to have one more trip away before winter closes in, with the possibility of Indian restaurants, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer's, an anglophone milieu and other Brit-treats. Also Portuguese food as something new to us, there is a substantial Madeiran Portuguese community there, not sure why, I'll find out. 

Plus it means the bricoleur is obliged to be dragged away from his bricolage for a day or two. Having finished this section of it, he was to be seen up a ladder tinkering around with the next one, plugging holes I think. 

Anyway, on account of being away a couple of days I shall take a break from daily posting. We're resolved to be off-line and not lugging any hardware around with us, so I've been printing out maps and scribbling notes. It's surprising how quickly having the internet to advise has become normal, and how reliant on the access to information one becomes. I can remember when you just turned up in a new place, perhaps with a map or guidebook, maybe just located the tourist office, picked up a few leaflets, and took it as you found it. On the other hand there was a lot of frustration and bad timing in those days too, and I think we also missed a lot through ignorance, though some might say we gained more through serendipity, I don't know; one can certainly get more from a short visit somewhere with a bit of research and handle on the salient facts.

So back in a couple of days.  

* That of opening and closing, I suppose.


Zhoen said...

Sashimi in the Sahara?

Couldn't have done without u-tyube for home ownership issues, repairs, etc.

Lovely, really, very nice indeed.

Anonymous said...

Ooh it looks very smart :) Enjoy your time away :)

Stella said...

One of my requests during our recent cottage renovation was to properly seal up all points of entry and No More Mice! I'm not squeamish about them, but would rather not share space. Nary a second thought until last week when my husband found sunflower shells in the pot drawer.....outsmarted! ..and now....baited mousetraps in the kitchen, which do make me squeamish. How very elegant to have a slate-sided shed and how devine to have a Handy Husband.

Catalyst said...

A fine job. Congratulations to Tom and to you for finding and keeping him!

Roderick Robinson said...

Recouped stone? There's something new, or possibly old.

Tom seems to the manor born. I didn't realise he was into this sort of work. Lots of opportunities for his James Bond lock of hair to slide forward beguilingly, thereby upholding the principles of that new phenomenon le bricolage chic.

I should feel guilty but I don't - not in the slightest. The delegation of domestic labour means I have more time to read Box Elder and match its felicities. Our previous gardener is my age and despite his theoretical enthusiasm for potting out, et al, various physical defects have prevented him from tackling the heavier stuff. Yesterday a hired couple of professionals (Married. Digging being their metaphorical cement.) worked for 3½ hours and took the garden back to the equivalent of a primed canvas. Now only planting (in the Spring) remains.

RR: Who will do the planting?

VR: Oh, that's the enjoyable part of gardening.

RR (thinks): You'll have to be more persuasive than that, my dear.

Next week: The Christmas market in Suttgart which I will tolerate. Also the Porsche Museum which VR and OS will tolerate.

Pam said...

I hope you had a lovely time.

christopher said...

I have always been fond of you, dear Lucy, and your bricoleur Tom. I enjoyed fantasy about a visit and a stay in your blue room and now you have a modernized shed. As we say on this side of the pond, "How cool is that?" PS, I still miss Mol.

the polish chick said...

what christopher said.