Monday, 4 January 2010

The Sechoir

We have the remnants of a sechoir - a barn for drying tobacco -  on the bank above the cottage.

This part of France used to be one of the largest production areas in Europe for tobacco, which is still grown here in considerable quantities.  Nearly every farm has at least one high wooden-slatted barn, the vents at the sides designed to let air pass over the hanging fronds of tobacco leaves.

These days most sechoirs contain farm equipment rather than tobacco and we envy our neighbours' useful storage space. Ours is no more than a weed and bramble covered concrete footprint at the side of the track between the house and the cottage.  The previous owners took the wooden structure down because they thought it spoiled the view.

We've now realised that the floor of our sechoir can still be useful.

The large sandstone and flint boulders that we are digging out of the soon-to-be-a-lawn are in the way.  At the moment they are where eventually we will have parking for the cottage and it seems wherever we put them we then decide the space is useful. Moving great boulders more than once is not much fun.

So with renewed enthusiasm for tidying up, we decide the base of the sechoir, cleared of weeds, can become - for the time being - our builder's yard. I trundle the largest boulders, one at a time, on a sack barrow up the track from the cottage.  The slope is too steep to push the barrow, so I tug it up, walking backwards, Vita snapping encouragingly at the wheels.

No doubt once we've moved everything, we will then decide we need the sechoir floor for something else!

1 comment:

  1. My sister has converted part of her sechoir into a gite (the other part still awaits work).