My excitement knew no bounds when into our email box dropped a couple of photos from our friend in France showing the progress on our eagerly awaited roof terrace.
Eagerly may be an understatement, I was incandescent with glee and wanted to drop everything to go and look, sit, lie & roll around naked on it (joking).
Unable to express to any of my friends or work colleagues how excited I was I settled for poring over various sources of chic outdoor furniture and tasteful parasols.
Our next trip was booked immediately and we were stunned to find that our lovely builder had tiled and painted the terrace for us –which wasn’t even in the quote.
It has continued to amaze us that although this turned into a seven year project, French artisans will honour their original quoted prices on a handshake. Two years for planning permission seems fairly normal.
Obviously we never planned to take this long but things kept happening to distract us and it’s so hard doing it from another country and at least we are now so familiar with the house that we are beginning to know where everything needs to be and how the flow feels as we live in it.
All this means we have revised and updated our plans as we feel our way forward and the finished house will work much better for it. If we had steamed in with a huge budget and done it in one I know we would have ended up undoing much of it later at greater expense.
Everything has a flip side though, and the new access to the shower room which we had left to the experts due to the massively thick spine wall which needed a door sized hole making in it and the demolition and consequent propping up of another structural wall meant that the house was depressingly dusty again and the floors & rugs ingrained with builder’s rubble- why didn’t I cover them up??????????????????????????
I also tried blocking off doorways to unaffected rooms with sheets but the bloody dust STILL got into everything- unfortunately French houses have design flaws such as uninsulated wooden floors that allow both noise & rubble through!
Trevor hates dust masks anyway, and to complement the graveyard cough we both developed, he managed to fall down the last three stone steps from the second floor on the way from our bedroom to the only toilet in the house-which is on the ground floor.
Hurt his back, massive bruising & swelling and could barely work at all, thank goodness nothing broken, but yet another week where we could not do any jobs that required two people.
We realised that our original plan to renovate the house first, then the cave as a separate project later down the line was a BAD idea.
I decided that I did not want to get everything in the house finished, clean & lovely and then have all the issues attendant with building work start all over again for a second time while we worked on the cave.
We needed to bite the bullet and do ALL the structural, plumbing & wiring work as one big project . A change of plan that convoluted matters further, on top of that we appeared to have “mislaid” our electrician!