Sunday, 29 March 2020

Behind locked doors

Despite, or perhaps because of, our current restrictions work has continued apace at The Old Notaires' House. If I'm honest life has been quite enjoyable. The weather over the past week or so has been glorious with warm spring sunshine and postcard-blue skies. I've started painting the new doors and it's been really nice to be able to do that outdoors. We've had our sandwiches on the barn's terrace and even Mortimer has been contentedly dozing in the grass.

On the morning of our first day of 'lockdown', nearly a fortnight ago, we did a trip to LeClerc and a fairly large shop but since then we haven't been out in the car. I've walked twice to our local Petit Casino and of course our bread from the boulangerie but this is part of Mortimer's morning walk anyway. In fact it is the daily dog walks that have been the only real change in our routine. Usually we walk Mortimer together twice a day, but the initial restrictions dictated that you could only exercise alone, and that included dog walking. I took on the morning and Andrew the evening. Earlier this week when the French government extended our homestay from two weeks to four they made a small adjustment to the exercise section. We can now exercise with one other person from the same household however only for one hour a day and no more than one kilometre from home. As Mr M has at least two forty-five minute walks a day then we are no better off. It would be easy to work around these restrictions but that's not really in the spirit of it.

Beautiful view ten minutes from home

It's a long hill!
This blog, and to a degree our Facebook posts, have always been and will remain a light-hearted account of our house restoration and life in Corrèze. This does not mean that we are ignorant of the effect that the pandemic is having on millions of people and that it will continue to do so for months, possibly years ahead. It's not just those who catch the disease who are suffering, those who remain virus free may well have life-changing experiences too. Andrew and I know that we are extremely fortunate and don't forget that.

New doorways
So what have we been up to? At the moment we still have building supplies to keep us going. Andrew continues to concentrate on destroying walls and creating rubble which is a tad unfortunate as the déchetterie is closed. The upstairs of the Notaires' House is being rearranged, in some places quite dramatically. The sitting room is staying put although it has a recess which will be turned into an office. Two small bedrooms are being made into one space to include a bathroom. The old kitchen, loo and a corridor become another bedroom with its ensuite being constructed from half the old bathroom. The third bedroom has a new doorway and grabs the other half of the bathroom for its own. So in total that's three new doorways created, three to be blocked and three walls removed. And just because he was in the mood he took a ceiling down as well! In the process of all this we've discovered one difference in floor level and several ceiling height differences.

Old ceiling on the left. Andrew also discovered decades of wheat chaff left behind but some unknown creature

And a new windowsill
As mentioned earlier I have been painting doors. While I was back in the UK our new external doors were fitted, the double ones for the room that will be the kitchen, new doors for both the main entrance and the dining room. It's quite a lot of work but I enjoy it. Andrew finished the new steps as well and has done a beautiful job. They may look simple but they took a huge amount of planning to get right. Because they are the entrance to the kitchen I plan on having large pots of herbs either side of them so have started potting up, such a nice way to spend a sunny afternoon.

So impressed with the new steps
The kitchen itself is proving very bothersome and if I'm honest has reduced me to tears, particularly galling as I used to be a kitchen designer. The overall space is quite large, about eleven metres by five and although each wall has a door it is quite symmetrical. The issue I/we're trying to overcome is that Andrew and I are approaching the design from from two different angles. Andrew sees a calm, uncluttered space where, along with cooking, we can relax and escape from guests. I on the other hand see more of a warm, welcoming kitchen where we can cook as well as have a natter with friends over a cup of coffee or a light lunch. We will get there, we always do, but at the moment...

The other achievement was a big clear up of the sitting room. Along with the packing cases that remain unpacked since the move from England we also have repacked the items and furniture that we used whilst living in the house (plus possibly the odd Emmaüs purchase or two!). There is no handy annexe to put all this in so everything has just been piled up in random corners. Plus all the demolition work has left them covered with a thick layer of dust. So we set to, cleaned and organised everything in to the garden bedroom and cleared the sitting room, it's made such a difference.


The beautiful spring weather has added to our enjoyment, it's been warm enough to work in a t-shirt (although that is changing for a few days this week). Spring blossoms are out and it feels good to sit on our new steps with a cup of coffee and warm sun on skin. Yes we are very lucky at the moment.

View from one side of the garden

And from the other
If you would like to follow our French progress then please feel free to follow/friend us here on Facebook Meanwhile I have a small confession. Remember how you couldn't get toilet rolls for love nor money...

1 comment:

  1. We can't believe how much you've achieved. Fantastic stuff! Well done indeed.


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