Saturday, 6 April 2013

Joy and Stamina

One of the earliest "Grand Designs Abroad" (and one of our favourites) was the story of Doug and Deni who lovingly restored a HUGE five-storey French maison de ville, open to the sky.

We saw the program again the other evening and yet again we were in awe of the task they took on and also admiring of their evident joy, enthusiasm  and stamina - working 12-14 hour days over months and months, often just the two of them.

And here we are grumping about our six-week / six hour day DIY task.  Ah, but ours feels like a duty and a burden.  Just goes to show how miracles can be wrought if there is joy in the task.

I spent yesterday cleaning the filthy living room vinyl tile floor - hands and knees, scrubbing each tile with a nail brush soaked in a grease remover, then rinsing off the swirly filth, then drying.  Took me an hour to do the first row of tiles.

Mind you, I did speed up when I stopped trying to clean off the pattern. It's a kind of streaky smudge (meant to be a type of marbled look I think) and I thought it was dried in paint. Only another ten hours of lounge flooring to go.

A mere nothing! Doug and Deni persevered for a month lifting eighty flooring beams in place.

Doug and Deni's B&B
Grand Designs Abroad

Monday, 1 April 2013

March Mementos

March departed yesterday "like a lamb" and for the first time this year, in the early evening sun, we had supper on the cottage terrace.

The days have passed in the seemingly endless drudgery of cleaning walls, ceilings, floors, bathroom tiles, light fittings, repairing, filling holes (dozens of holes!) and painting, painting, painting.  Too tired in the evening to do anything except eat, watch bad TV and then go to bed.

It was good last night just to stop for a few hours and breathe in the green spring air.

My few memories of March:

Vita, Tod, Bertie sitting on the sofa, intently watching Crufts.

Bertie charging across our neighbour's field tail wagging frantically, nose buried in the thick luscious sward of spring wheat - saying: "no way am I coming in, you haven't been here and now I'm having fun!"

The steady stream of people through the door of the boulangerie (including Easter Sunday and Monday) where I stop on my way in, to buy pain aux raisins for the workers. Each time the door swings a murmured "Bonjour messieurs-dames".

Bertie and Vita sitting waiting at the entrance to our drive - waiting for one of us to come home.

The sound of the Saturday market in full swing below the open window as I paint the wall of the back bedroom.

The front garden of the little old lady who used to own sheep, a riot of colour as I drive past each morning into town:  blues and pinks and whites of the dozens of fat hyacinths and brilliant reds and oranges from the hundreds of tulips, all planted through a river of mauve aubretia.

I return in the evening to find one tulip blooming in our cottage garden, the rest still tightly furled green buds just poking above the earth.

We're late this morning - Easter Monday and the clocks have gone forward - time to get back to the painting.  Not for much longer, we're nearly there and the result will be worth it.

[And a PS - an early April memento - this morning's bored mischievousness in our absence: a whole pack of rye flour spread over the kitchen floor and Vita's muzzle, mixed with plenty of water from their drinking bowl.  It's sticky and hard to get off (dog and floor). We're about to find out whether Vita's diet should or should not include raw flour!]