renovation restoration,creation- late September 2009
We are battling with the French bench we bought at M.Bricolage which basically comes as a kit with two cast iron leg/supports for each end, some kind of metal strap bracing for the middle and what feels like about forty slim planks which all need to be sanded, treated with lasure and assembled with a big bag of bolts.
As we wrestle with this on the terrace, in bright September sunshine, we hear a cheery “bonjour!”. Bearing in mind that this is a ROOF terrace, we look around, bemused.
Jean-Marc, our builder , suddenly appears, casually striding over the ridge of next door’s new roof .
He is wearing a big, thick jumper, although the temperature is a balmy mid 20’s.
“ Il fait froid n’est-ce pas?” he enquires ( we have noted that the natives seem to don their winter woollies the moment it dips below 30 degrees) He admires our bench, says our roof is looking good then says goodbye and skips back over the ridge,disappearing from sight.
I turn to Trevor “did that actually happen?” we laugh, only in France!
I had been very concerned about the roof when we finally completed the purchase as the place had been empty for years and there was what seemed to be a serious problem in the terrace bedroom (see “Le camping” post!) but the timbers have proved to be sound and although the local Roman style tiles , which are simply loose laid and overlapping, can slip in strong winds and heavy rain, it is a relatively easy job to flick them back into place with the heel of one’s cowboy boot , if one is Jean- Marc! Everything has dried out now ( amazingly fast) and we have removed the cupboards on the front walls that were harbouring the damp patches – so we can safety progress with the work on the internal walls.
We go over to visit our friend Fran in the nearby market town of Quillan and Trevor helps her put up the nice new pergola.
Fran’s lovely new house has been designed to accommodate bed and breakfast guests in comfort and style and has an enviable position on the banks of the river Aude, framed by the green peaks behind Quillan. She is carving out a gorgeous garden there and the house “Betula” is well worth a visit in any season.