Tuesday, August 03, 2010

building renovations

Sorry to post such a disappointing post about Sex in the Garden.  Unfortunately I have nothing more exciting to report on that front.   There is a weekend party at Nicholas in a couple of weeks time, with two french gay rugby teams and a whole load of English guys.  I have planned my itinerary so that a return visit is en route to my next hosts.

I strangely find myself 'home alone' in the Pyrenees.  My hosts have gone away for a few days and I have the house to myself and a car at my disposal, so life is good.  Will head for the hills as soon as the weather clears for some mountain air and a good bit of hiking.  No doubt the sun will reappear and the temperatures will rise to the mid thirties again which will be a welcome change after nearly a week of cloud and storms and cold weather.

Have been busy here with all sorts of full of projects.  On the evening of my arrival I found myself on the roof helping Martin complete some roof tiling, the first side of two roofs are is now complete after several days work.  Assisting with cutting, shaping and fitting window surrounds made out of green oak and secured into their openings in an ancient stone building that they are renovating here.

We have pulled tree trunks out of the woods and down an old track to be cut for firewood.  Using the traditional method of nailing an iron pin with metal loop into the end of the trunk and securing a length of rope, then running like a madman down a steep track, guiding the wood and keeping the momentum going until you get to the bottom.  The wood is then cut and loaded onto the truck and taken back to the house and left for two years to dry so that it burns well.  Strange to be cutting wood for burning in the winter of 1012. 

Stacking, transporting and unloading of roof slates, the slates needed on the second side of the roof were hoisted up on pallets by an old and temperamental  crane, unloaded by hand and stacked on walking boards on the roof timbers.  A certain calmness and concentration was needed to take the piles of slate from the pallet dangling above the building and place them correctly so that they were well supported and safe on the roof until they are needed.  The crane is leaving site soon, so plenty of lifting jobs are being completed before its departure.

Repointing of the old stone walls is an ongoing task and takes an age.  The finish is striking and quite different to the work I have been involved with in the past.  The lime based mix is applied to a moistened wall by means of a giant syringe, it ensures that the deep cracks are well filled and all the joints are covered.  The mix is then smoothed onto all sides of the stones by gloved hand to ensure good adhesion and then left to dry for about 12 hours.  Once the mix has ‘gone off’ a bit, any excess or untidy mix can be cleaned away with a wire brush to give the desired finish.  


Anonymous said...

..if your brother does get his renovation project....he will have the perfect 'worker' in you! Glad to see you are keeping busy still...
x M & P

joy said...

you could probably build your own house by now with all the skills you're picking up. maybe there'll be more sex in the garden of the less disappointing sort when you return for party time at Nicholas's place??? take care moni ami xx joy