Monday, November 30, 2009

Spiders, bats and candlelight

On reading Jean's post about Christmas at A Very Grand Pressigny, I was filled with nostalgia and anticipation about our place in Brittany.

We haven't spent a Christmas there yet, but that could all change in 2010.  Everything has now been done to prevent heat from sealing windows, fitting internal doors, floors laid, boarding and insulation installed throughout.  The wood-burning fire is just waiting to show off and we are just waiting to see if it's man enough for the job. To back-up the wood burner we have heaters in every room (new and ever-changing regulations).

Not so long ago we had bats flying around our  electricity-less, mouse infested, draughty, cold and uncomfortable spider paradise.  We were able to see daylight from any room and I know there were more creatures iside than was ever intended. Nature had already took a stranglehold of the exterior and was rapidly reclaiming the interior.

How well we remember our pre-electricity candle-lit evenings of a thousand shadows amidst a total building site of an interior.

I think this is par for the course for all who buy French properties for renovation.

It has been a labour of which we eagerly wait and hope for love to evolve. Okay, so we fell in love with it first and its been hard labour ever since. We were smitten, but had we known then what we have since experienced we would perhaps have thought twice about getting involved in such a venture. It was all to do with the heart rather than the mind, so perhaps we would have been prepared to go through anything anyway.

We're glad we didn't give up. Too many give up at the first and subsequent hurdles.  Too many throw in the towel instead of resolving to work hard through all the storms and disappointments to the point where the sun shines and burns brightly (this is beginning to sound like a marriage!)

Anyway, such ventures really do share some of the characteristics of a successful marriage...commitment, dedication, sacrifice and love.

Well thanks very much Jean! Because of you setting me off,  I have no room or time to write about  today's experiences. I'm only kidding, of course!  It has been good to ramble on a little about the place.  It brought back some fond memories.


  1. Fortunately, Ken, our little maison didn't require too much "doing up", only some serious titivation and undoing of the French bodging. We didn't have the stamina or courage to buy anything too challenging on the DIY front.
    However, I think the previous owner could have been Heath Robinson's twin brother !!

  2. The previous owner of ours was English and he must have employed Heath Robinson's baby sister to do some of the work!!