Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Inching forward

Now that we're making forward progess on the house instead of backward, I'll be keeping better record of the goings-on there. (Though don't look for any posts in August since all of France, including us, will be on vacation.)

We went to examine our little maison abandonee last weekend and it's looking much less abandoned these days. Scaffolding has sprouted like vines all over its exterior, and if you know where to look, you'll see that repairs have been made. For example, a large stone in the wall on the north side of the house was protruding several inches from the rest of the house, due to an attic beam that had been slowly pushing it out of place for several decades. That beam was repaired in January and now the wall has magically been repaired as well. A bright new white stone shines down on us from in between the scaffolding.

We also noticed that the horrible, non-breathable concrete that someone slathered into the exposed stone on the south side of the house in the hopes of delaying decay has been chiseled away.

The interior is also changing. Slowly. The majority of the work has been done in the attic, where all the old rotten beams have been removed and replaced with lovely new pine beams. The new beams have been covered with large, flat wooden boards (can't remember what you call them), but now we can walk around up there without fear of falling into the the downstairs guest bathroom. Or rather, "guest bathroom."

We also were pleased to see that our work chipping away the plaster from the beams around the perimeter of the house was not in vain. We discovered several decaying beams on that freezing day and now most of those beams have been removed. New oak beams lie on the floor in the library, waiting to do their duty for the house.

While these works were going on, Reliable Red, our fabulous English neigbor, did a bang-up job cleaning out the cave (cellar) in our barn. Like the house and the yard before it, the cave was filled with decades of junk and dirt -- but unlike the house and the yard, it is pitch-black down in that cellar and thus not so easy to clean.

So there it is. And now we're off for vacation.

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