Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I am still at the tower, mixing mortar and hauling it up to the roof. Got to go up yesterday, excellent opportunity to see where all the mortar was going, along with piles of planks of wood that have also made their way up via the pulley.
It was precarious to say the least. None of the boards left on the lower floor can be trusted as weight bearing, so safe passage meant striding from one beam to the next then up another long ladder balanced on a stone windowsill, the only solid base for it to go. Remains of the old plaster clung to the walls inside the tower, decorated with faint outlines of the once decorative paintings of the day. The eventual plan is to patch the plaster and restore the artwork. Through a small hatch onto the makeshift work platform right under the roof. Thankfully I was secured with a rope and harness, just in case anything gave way.
There was plenty of space to work amongst the beams and great views of the village and surrounding countryside. Had the tower remained at its ultimate hight there would have been a view of Rodez cathedral in the distance, but it was reduced in height a couple of centuries ago.
Nicholas was busy securing boards onto the timber frame in readiness for a waterproof membrane. This will keep the structure dry through the winter and next year the piles of stone tiles will be reshaped and put back in the traditional way. I could see my mortar between the beams, securing the top of the stone wall against further decay, it will soon be inaccessible as more boards go on. More needed to be treated, and that was my job for the day, so with the sun shining and a cool breeze blowing I set to work with a paint brush and old saucepan of solution, painting both sides of each board and restacking them in another corner under the rafters.
I am back on the ground today, busy bottling beans and freezing garden produce to keep the household going during the winter. Another sunny day, working at a table under the walnut trees with the chickens begging for scraps around my feet. I can’t think of a better way to be spending my time at the moment, waiting for that news.