Episode 76- Panic in the Pissoir!

sept13 093renovation, restoration, vegetation-September 2013

The trees are coming in!!!

Let me explain- the big house behind Maison Priest was owned by an English lady who  has decided to sell and had been unable to visit as often as she would like recently.

Her property backs right up to our little courtyard, which is bordered on one side by what used to be her barn but has now had the roof removed to make a courtyard (keep up) which involved someone sawing through the barn’s supporting cross beam (no comment). sept13 073

Over the last three years we have watched, from our terrace, the progress of this courtyard from needing a bit of weeding, to numerous little saplings taking root and finally establishing themsleves as serious trees-Right-May 2013

This is the South of France, we get lots of sun and lots of rain (mainly at night- very civilised) and everything grows at least three times faster than in UK; so now these rogue  trees have gone from peeping attractively but slightly worryingly over her wall- above right- to hanging over our courtyard wall and  looming alarmingly and spreading their branches almost as far over as our terrace. Bearing in mind that this is a roof terrace on a three storey house you can do the maths as to how high the trees actually got from zilch to majestic in just 36 months!-below left-September 2013 (spot the difference)

sept13 089We knew that if they  continued at this rate they would block the light from our morning sun trap corner, and worse, bits of our mutual  wall were dropping off  into our picturesque pissoir (regular readers will know that our other neighbours told us that when the house behind was the village cinema , our courtyard was used as the pissoir because it had the ancient gulley to the river running through it- hahaha!!!) sept13 096






So we reluctantly had to email our neighbour and ask her  if she knew how bad things were. She didn’t, of course, as she had not visited her house for some time and had to arrange for the trees to be exterminated ASAP. Please note, I would not normally advocate tree extermination, but if they had been allowed to expand further, the roots would have succeeded in achieving what several centuries of intermittent benign neglect has not- i.e. bringing down our house.

So- another Handy Hint for all you prospective and actual French house owners- Green Stuff grows super fast over here and unless you can be here full time or frequently the Triffids will take over!


About coteetcampagne

Artist, period home maker, renovator, restorer, Francophile. My mission is to save the old stuff, one beautiful piece at a time
This entry was posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Episode 76- Panic in the Pissoir!

  1. bizzyella says:

    I am in the Vendee. At present I have told the workers that they can help themselves but I’m not sensing any interest. By all means, contact me. We can meet at the house and you can see what appeals to you.


  2. Seriously speaking, when we get over there full time I intend to revive my reclaimed/vintage buying & selling operation, so if you can wait a few months…….
    Please tell me you are somewhere southerly and not in the far corner of Alsace-Lorraine or Pays de Calais?!


  3. bizzyella says:

    The luxuriant plant growth here is pretty amazing. I moved from California, which is in a more or less perpetual state of drought. I had no clue how quickly things could get out of hand. I thought I’d let the back garden go for a few months, just during renovation. In only three months, I am battling shoulder-high weeds and who knows what underneath. It explains why I see so many ads for gardeners. Around here they are really needed.


    • I know
      Good luck with finding a reliable gardener, I could recommend one if you were in the Aude valleys.
      Maybe you will find some great treasure under all that! Two century old farming implement? Brits like to put those out in their front gardens for a bit of rustic charm
      I could broker deal and we could split the loot and put it toward modern plumbing?


      • bizzyella says:

        Hey, come on over! I have fireplace surrounds, all kinds of old stuff with resale value — and no interest in bothering with that. We could absolutely work a deal.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s