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Coup de Cœur – Part Four: Whistle While You Work

An occasional series chronicling the tale of the renovation of a former medieval watch-tower in southern France …..  Part One is here, Part Two is here and Part Three is here   The events in this episode took place a little under three years ago.  How time flies when you’re having fun, n’est-ce pas?

As often happens once you have overcome the initial excitement of something or other and reality cloaks you in its slightly constricting mantle like a heavy woollen duffle coat a couple of sizes too small, or a pair of pinchy stiff leather shoes, you need to knock on the door of fortitude and ask for her help.

This was the moment to be gracious to Lady Tenacity.  We were SO thrilled with the news that the house was empty and once back in France hightailed it pell-mell down the road to Marcolès from our present home further north.  In fact our rented flat is in the far north-western corner of le Cantal and Marcolès is in the far south-western corner.  It’s a two hour drive each way but it’s a really lovely two hours passing glorious views of the Monts du Cantal and diving into deep tree lined gorges and delving through glacial hills. It never fails to delight us.  In the back of the car, making life less than comfortable for The Disgruntled Bean were the various accoutrements of operation clean-up.  We picked up more en-route and The Bean became ever more peeved.

Thus began the most relentless and mostly thankless of enterprises.   HB² took up a floor-board in the attic which is planted in our collective imagination as being a wonderful tranquil master bedroom and serene relaxing place when the house is eventually finished.  He discovered that our predecessor had used sawdust for insulation.  It doesn’t work.  That was abundantly clear.  The house was, is bitterly cold.  Of course the fact that the same  happy fellow had ripped several of the radiators off the wall in his spiteful retribution against those that dared to buy the house that he wanted to sell doesn’t help the refridgeration factor but the ingenious insulation wasn’t productive either.  And in places it had provided a gleeful nesting place for some or other rodent.  One that had made it’s hideaway complete with a variety of different flavours of nut.  Mercifully it was not in residence as we set about getting rid of the wood filings.  We took out something near to 30 bags from the attic. The black full sized dustbin lining bags not, for clarity, little carrier bags for shopping.  It was back-breaking and necessitated wearing a mask and goggles and the white hooded clean suits that a friend had donated to the cause.  I felt like a Ghost Buster but without the joy of a Marshmallow Man to distract me.  About half way through the exercise, husband returned to the US leaving me to continue the clean-up, now with a looming deadline brought on by a discovery to be shared in a later post.  It was winter, it was still a four hour round trip and my romantic little project began to pall noisily.

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As a bit of light relief from the attic, the husband had braved the cellar.  Despite the valiant efforts of the town ouvriers there was still ample room for improvement.  Another 20 or so bags of rubble and wood and general stuff from centuries of life came out.  But what was revealed was magical.  So magical that it is worthy of a post all of it’s own … and for that you will have to wait.

Meanwhile, Madame Balai (Mrs Mop) as I was rapidly re-branding myself was cleaning the whole place through.  The dirt of ages dissolved under my unrelenting mop and bucket and  whirling micro-cloths which I brandished with all the skill of a champion cheerleader.  The rather horrible floor on the ground floor looked marginally less horrible and the stairs and wood floors on the first floor began to look quite majestic.  I cleaned the curious loo which sits at the top of it’s own staircase complete with red carpet which I’m afraid we consigned to a black bag all of it’s own for percieved and probably, let’s face it given the abhorrent provinence of the previous occupants, solidly sensible reasons. Bizarrely it has a window to the rest of the house which begs many questions which I have not yet had the pluck to ponder.  I bravely tackled and proudly conquered the bathroom.  The loo in there is not fixed to the floor which gives an added frisson of excitement to those brave enough to use it and the bath is the very same bath that was given it’s own fanfare by the previous owner as being big enough for three, something I care not to dwell on having met him.  And I cleaned the shower on the first floor.  This was genuinely a labour of love.  The shower is a particularly odd feature of the house being on a podium in what has been the master bedroom.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for the facilities-in-a-bedroom approach favoured by many chic boutique hotels and will indeed have a tub and a pretty sink in the master bedroom of the finished house but this is simply incongruous standing with all its plumbing displayed to the world like a brazen flasher and has no virtue except for a dollop of comedy value.  However, whilst we go through the process of renovating and restoring and generally swishing and swooshing the house back to the triumph it deserves to be, a working shower is helpful.  I donned protective gloves, mask and goggles for the job because when I lifted the slats and revealed the tray it had clearly and absolutely NEVER been cleaned.  I removed the sludge and hairy deposits of the antecedent thoroughly and zealously dredged the drainhole and can categorically state that I have seldom, if ever, been so fully disgusted.  And I have lived a little.  Indeed, I may still need some sort of therapy to truly achieve catharsis.

Now you will gather, I hope, that my husband loves me.  And to show his love that very day, he announced that a refreshing shower, after all my hard, and victorious toil in conquering the swamp pit, was just the thing he needed.

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I left him to it and took The Bean for a stroll round the village.  As I was walking back to the house I had a thought.  I ran it past The Brains on the way home a little later.  As casually as I could.  I just wondered.  Foolishly I was certain.  But I did wonder.  If he had remembered to close the shutters on the window whilst he was showering.  Since the shower is right in front of the window.  The relatively large and low window.  Of course he must have.  Mustn’t he?  No?  Well that was an eye-full for the town then and in particular the very elderly lady opposite  …. remember the house has absolutely no land to buffer it.  I’m frankly amazed that M. le Maire hasn’t had complaints.    Or maybe he is just too polite to mention it.  I cringe at the thought that maybe the town ladies might be anticipating regular matinee and evening performances.

I didn’t count the number of times I went down, with the increasingly testy Bean, to clean.  It was many severals.  And it was groundhoggishly tiresome in that everytime I got it looking spruce, I had to drag more bags of rubbish and rubble through the spick and spanness and my fragile effect was royally spoiled.  But all clouds are silver lined in world of me – you just have to keep those peepers peeled and embrace the good when it falls in your path as it invariably does.  One of the shiney pieces of silver in this story is the man at the déchetterie or waste disposal point if you will.  He has the most amazing view of the mountains from his little wooden hut and he takes his job very seriously.

Actually in my experience most of the people that work at such places, with or without breathtaking views are thoroughly nice – or at least they are in England and France.  I have always been treated kindly by them.  And this fella with his bella vista backdrop is no exception.  He helped us with bags and bags of wood dust and yet more of rubble and some of indescribable and unspeakable impurity and always (having asked where we were from on our first foray) said emphatically ‘vous êtes de Marcolès, non?‘ he being in St Mamet-la Salvatat, the next commune over.  It rather feels as though being from Marcolès in some way explains our undoubted lunacy.  I like him.  The Brains was less enthralled though when swinging a large and heavy bag of wood-dust into the vast metal skip, it split above his head and spewed shavings over him in a comedy moment of epic proportions.  Or at least my laughter was epic.  He remained stone-faced.   In fairness, I did not escape unscathed … as you can see from this fetching picture of me complete with dirty lines effecting comedy whiskers.

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When the walls were washed down, inevitably, given the age of the paint, much of it flaked off.  The Bean should be less cantankerous about the place if she takes the time to notice that one of the slivers that snowed down onto my lovingly tended (a thousand times so far) staircase is an exact silhouette of Her Beanship.

PS:  Of course the title is Snow White who righteously contended that if you whistle while you work the task will be easier, speedier and far more pleasant.  It may be relevant that I can’t actually whistle ….

109 Comments Post a comment
  1. OMG you are so funny….
    and I recognise and empathise with so much of this valiant enterprise toward what will be a wonderful end product.
    Please read my blog from the gitgo- we are with you every step of the obstacle strewn way!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2015
    • Thank you for the encouragement! Empathy is hugely appreciated! Your blog is on my list for a readathon …. I want to do it justice and life keeps getting in the way 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      December 8, 2015
  2. Oh boy! you are hilarious but what a huge task! Wow! Hmmm I want to know what is magical in the cellar or the attic? I am waiting for this post! you must be exhausted from this work!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2015
    • Laughing is better than crying so we laugh! I’m drip feeding these posts to do each bit some justice 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      December 8, 2015
      • hahaha you paint such pictures for me! I wish i could go there and help you and see everything!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2015
      • My door will always be open to you. That I can promise. It is wonderful meeting so many people through blogging and you are truly one of the loveliest 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2015
      • Oh thank you dear Osyth! you are dear to me!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2015
  3. What a great place to have put a shower!! You are going to have so much fun

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2015
    • The old lady seems to be unperturbed and has developed a spring in her step so perhaps we should leave it there 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      December 8, 2015
  4. PS: your hovel looks to be in significantly better nick than our hovel!
    I know, it’s all relative

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2015
    • It’s photogenic! But in fairness the structure is very sound. My worst moments come when I gleefully take friends to see it and get a tumble weed response … As you know you do need imagination with an old place (actually any place) and it is remarkable how scarce imagination is 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      December 8, 2015
      • Oh I know all about the tumbleweed scenario. People just don’t get it mostly.
        I think my niece’s comment sort of sums it up “Good God Gill, it”s minging! Tell me you are going to paint it!?”

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2015
      • At least she was honest enough to say it I suppose! One friend berated my husband and demanded he promise I would not ‘be made to live there’. In fro t of me as though I can’t speak or think for myself!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2015
      • Other folk’s clear bemusement at our prize used to bug me, but I have truly risen above all that now . Worse is people who pretend to be enthusiastic then dine out on what they see as delusional enthusiasm!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2015
      • You are so right to levitate! I shall endeavor to follow your example (when I’m not feeling engulfed in a cloud of bitchiness!)

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2015
      • I am thinking of setting up a French village house appreciation society..

        Liked by 2 people

        December 8, 2015
      • I’m in with bells on 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

        December 8, 2015
  5. That is quite a project – more power to your mop! What a stunning home it will be.

    The shower-in-bedroom reminds me of what is probably the weirdest of all the weird French estate agents’ details we have ever seen. It featured a shower – similar to that in your photo – but implanted IN THE DINING ROOM.

    Truly. The table, chairs, dresser all in the normal position; and then, in one corner, the shower cubicle, facing into the diners. With a comfy armchair positioned for spectators to enjoy watching the ablutions.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2015
    • Now THAT has me chuckling out loud!

      Like

      December 8, 2015
  6. Jenny Adams #

    You are truly a miracle worker! Having visited La Maison Carré in its very raw state, I can already see the transformation. Encore de courage, mon brave! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2015
    • Thank you, Jenny! It will be lovely – there is still a very long way to go but be sure you will have an invitation when it is ready 🙂

      Like

      December 8, 2015
  7. Wonderful as ever Fiona. I laughed like a drain at the thought of the outside world bearing witness to HB2 showering!!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 8, 2015
  8. Weird Guy With The Dog #

    “I removed the sludge and hairy deposits of the antecedent thoroughly and zealously, dredging the drainhole and can categorically state that I have seldom, if ever, been so fully disgusted.” i THOUGHT i WOULD SPLIT MY SI

    Liked by 1 person

    December 9, 2015
  9. Weird Guy With The Dog #

    OOPPS! Vinny stepped on keyboard before I could finish! As I was saying, I thought I would split my side laughing over that one!!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 9, 2015
    • Well done Vinny – I like an interactive dog! And glad to make you smile and laugh. It’s the greatest gift we have 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      December 9, 2015
  10. ‘Hey Ho’, You should have called this post ‘A Room with a View’ in honour of the loo, being able to spy on the rest of the house while you take a precarious pee………
    I will never complain about my loo nestling like a throne in the middle of what I would describe as a short narrow corridor again – I incidentally covered the walls with those metal plaques depicting turn of the century advertising posters to try to distract from the ‘non Brittishness’ of it – Then Monsieur le Frog ruined the whole thing by wiring up a radio on a shelf tucked away amongst the bags of ‘Catsan’ and bottles of ‘eau de Javel’ so that it comes on with the light.
    So you sit there listening to Beethoven’s 5th – which brings me back to ‘Whistle while you work’ …………..can’t wait for the next episode when you reveal the ‘wonder’ that you have discovered….
    P.S. the wood floors look great – and I know how hard it is to achieve that shine – super slide show also xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    December 9, 2015
    • Men and their wires! I can’t tell you how much javel has gone into that tiny room just to get me agreeing to use it rather than buying coffee at the Auberge and using there’s which in turn made me want to pee again an hour later …. Thank heavens I was diligent about my post natal pelvic floor exercises all those years ago!

      Like

      December 9, 2015
  11. @”Now you will gather, I hope, that my husband loves me.” – oh yes, no possible doubt about that… your photo does prove it! 🙂
    * * *
    frankly and seriously speakin’: if you lived closer, I’d surely come to give you un coup de main(s)… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    December 9, 2015
    • P.S. @”whistle while you work…” I did recall this: 🙂

      * * *
      Lauren Bacall’s mama was Romanian… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      December 9, 2015
      • Just put your lips together and …. blow! Such a sizzling scene. I had no idea LB was half Romanian. Great heritage 😉

        Like

        December 9, 2015
    • Well spotted (as I was!) …. And your words and pictures help me all by themselves lovely lady!

      Like

      December 9, 2015
  12. Your husband is probably featuring on next year’s tourist literature…
    You have my sympathy…as does The Bean. I have done so much renovation/cleaning in the company of disgruntled dogs.who make their views all too plain…

    Liked by 1 person

    December 10, 2015
    • I read her face and in it my own real feelings reflected is the truth of it! She is not amused and why on earth should she be – in her opinion there is nothing whatsoever wrong with our little rented flat and in reality, she is absolutely right!

      Like

      December 10, 2015
  13. Well, this truly was fun (of course I just had to read about it and not suffer through it). But, I see in the photos, a marvelous place to spend your days, once all is completed. (Will it ever be completed is the question.) Bean looks quite content in his little bed and you, my dear, are quite dashing with that moustache! I will save my comments about Brains and the public shower stall for a later time. But thank you for bringing smiles into my morning. Clare

    Liked by 1 person

    December 11, 2015
    • Oh we have fun along the way …. When you can’t laugh at it, life is over I think! It will be wonderful and we WILL finish if only to prove to The Bean that she can disappear her gruntle! I may keep the moustache – I like dashes! Above all, I’m glad to bring smiles to your day x

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2015
  14. Charming, funny and sweet, right down to the Bean-shaped paint chip. Still not clear on exactly what a tip is.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 29, 2015
    • Divided by a common language! A tip is the dump or rubbish yard …. I don’t know if it’s the same everywhere – I’m England there are usually a few across a county and they are County Council funded on France there are more usually serving half a dozen communities. They are free and generally have several different giant bins taking for example wood, metal, plastics and then general landfill. However builders will generally have to pay a fee if they are dumping Lorry loads of waste.

      Liked by 1 person

      December 30, 2015
      • How tidy-sounding. A tip. Going to the tip. Love it.

        Like

        January 2, 2016
  15. Pan #

    See ? Another example of blunt american jargon versus the polite speech of the english.. I’m going to the dump or I’m off to the tip.. lol
    No matter what renovations you have in store, I hope you frame the first you’ve done.. Your writing is a work of art, 😒 and evidently so is your scrubbing.. please frame The Bean’s silhouette !
    The loo, precarious pee while spying, that commenter had me in stitches !
    I hope HB sings in the shower, if he’s going to be a daily attraction, he might as well go all in while hanging all out 😂

    😬 Where the heck is part 5 ! I need part 5 to read !!! What’s behind those confounded walls ? !!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    January 15, 2016
    • I’m so pleased you are enjoying this and I love your commentary on it … HB2 singing in the shower all in while hanging all out has me chuckling loud. Part 5 was published yesterday …. enjoy 😉

      Like

      January 15, 2016
  16. Ok, I think I would have definitely preferred to carry out the furniture and stuff instead of the rubble and wood-dust and cleaning the bathroom! You are definitely a hero for having done that all by yourself! Love that little “Bean” on the wall 🙂
    And I forgot to mention in your earlier post how much I adore the ceiling of your attic! It looks beautiful! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    March 13, 2017
    • That ‘charpente’ … the ceiling structure in the attic is one of my most favourite things about the house … it reminds me of a huge spider! Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      March 13, 2017
      • Arrgh! Please don´t say that! 😉 I really, really don´t like spiders at at all!! 😀 Although as an amateur gardener I know they´re quite useful and I keep them there as long as they don´t venture in 😉 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 16, 2017
      • Phobias are fascinating…. believe it not I am petrified of birds and yet I absolutely love to watch them xxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 16, 2017
      • Well, I do believe it because I like watching documentaries about sharks but don’t want to ever meet one in person. 😉 There are more phobias than people on this planet I sometimes think… Do you know a tv series called “Monk”? It’s exactly about this kind of things and I absolutely loved watching it a couple of years ago. It’s hilarious! Have a super lovely weekend! xxxxx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 16, 2017
      • I shall look it up when I’m back from Maison Carree … defi I felt happy to take your recommendation xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        March 17, 2017
  17. Reblogged this on Half Baked In Paradise and commented:

    And so we boldly continued, confident that a little bit of work was all it would take to spruce the goose and be ready to have the Mayor cut the ribbon on our shining, reborn triumph ….

    Like

    December 15, 2017
  18. Great post. LOVE that silhouette. I recognise entirely the feeling you describe here and it certainly can be constricting, but I admit that I still regret RIEN! You are indeed fortunate that H2B loves you so. I appreciate my Baz in much the same way as he has avoided – wherever possible – the ‘I told you so’ which could so easily be trollied out each time we discover the next major works that need doing and the next transfer of (borrowed) funds to our euro black hole account x

    Liked by 1 person

    December 15, 2017
    • Thank you … coming from you that is high praise. Wasn’t the silhouette amazing? She didn’t notice, of course – higher things like tormenting cats on her mind, presumably! Here’s to lovely ladies who are loved by wonderful men and are striving to give tired buildings their beauty back 🥂

      Liked by 1 person

      December 15, 2017
      • I can’t believe that such a little beauty can torment cats(!!) But yes, we should form some kind of union and perhaps declare an annual day of holiday in recognition of ‘insane female devotion to neglected French architecture’ (or something similar)! Anyway, I am loving these posts x

        Liked by 1 person

        December 15, 2017
      • What an excellent idea …. the French are always up for a holiday 😉 x

        Liked by 1 person

        December 15, 2017
  19. 😀 So funny! What a wonderful project, I must catch up on the previous episodes. Really interested in what it must look like now. Love the cleaning shower ‘disgusted’ scenario 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    December 15, 2017
    • Thank you – I’m glad you enjoyed it. In addition to parts 1-3 and then 5 and 6 which I am reposting tomorrow and Sunday there is also a sort of intro that I posted on Monday. Next Monday I will start writing a post a week to bring us up to date but suffice to say that for a variety of reasons the house will not be finished for at least 18 months maybe a little more. If we’d known when we took it on what it was concealing we probably wouldn’t have taken it on because we have so little time and money to devote to it (for now) but the fates conspired and I will never regret it. For some reason I/we have always felt we were drawn to it for a reason and we will return it to its former glory. Eventually 😉 The shower scene is probably my favourite moment thus far!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 15, 2017
  20. Soooo enjoying your story telling. A book indeed!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 15, 2017
    • The book I am writing is a fictionalised account of the purchase but with enthusiasm like yours I might do a sequel on the restoration too. Thank you Jodi – you always make me feel so GOOD!

      Like

      December 15, 2017
  21. I think the task of making this habitable takes more than whistling, it require full lung operatic (a la Joan Sutherland) singing.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 15, 2017
  22. The saga continues and judging from the comments, there are many who are interested and spellbound.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 15, 2017
    • I hope so. It’s just intended as light relief rather than a trudge through the drudge. Thank you so much for taking time to read and comment and I hope it isn’t too tortuous for you!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 15, 2017
  23. You cleared it yourself? I so totally feel for you. I have a hard time dealing with housework, much less clearing out some other person’s years of crud. I could get after you for not hiring out what has to be the most dispiriting part of the job. Instead I’ll congratulate tou on your fortitude. Well done — and the clean wood is beautiful. One day the place will be fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 15, 2017
    • Well the town had cleared out all the big stuff so all we had left was dirt, dirt, dirt and true detritus. But yes, I did the cleaning. And I cleaned, and cleaned and cleaned and then we made a discovery … but you have to wait until tomorrow for that one 😱 It will be fabulous. It is unique and the history will form more than one of the posts that follow this retrospective from next Monday. Thanks so much for the vote of confidence – it is more highly treasured than you know!!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 15, 2017
  24. We also have had our encounters with termites. Hungry beasts, aren’t they!
    One thing I don’t understand with the bath/shower in the bedroom (including in hotels) is how to deal with the steam. I would not like all the bedding to get damp, even though I usually hang it outside to air. I’m glad to have the bathroom behind a door that shuts.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 15, 2017
    • We didn’t sleep at the house for nearly two years after this post was first written. We do have a bed now but in honesty lack of heating is a far greater problem than steam. When we get to making our haven on the top floor which will include a tub (no shower) it will have a vintage screen to protect the room at some level. I don’t perceive it will be a problem. I have stayed in many Mr and Mrs Jones boutique hotels with ‘facilities’ in the room and never found myself getting into a damp bed. In fact, in my present appartement we have a bathroom door but I never shut it and the shower is semi open, no door – the windows steam up but that is all. Interesting thoughts you have. But in honesty, I found the US attitude to all things bathroom quite alien when researching the Reno of our house there. Of which more in another series …..

      Liked by 1 person

      December 15, 2017
      • There is one problem you really should take note of with the damp of showers and baths. If you have wooden window frames, the damp (or also, in bedrooms, for example, gets into the wood, you get mold, you could get diseases and you will eventually lose the frames. It’s unhealthy and unhygienic. Of course, it’s not killing you but it’s something that has been brought to our attention on several occasions.That’s why we even in winter have our windows a tiny bit open, our bodies ‘breathe’, so you let the used air filled with humidity circulate with the fresher and cleaner air outside. In several winter holiday places we stayed (with very small rooms and single-glassed-windows) we had ice-flowers on the inside of the windows every morning. Part of the ‘contract’ for renting was that we would dry the window panes every morning so that the wood wouldn’t rot.

        Liked by 1 person

        December 18, 2017
      • I was brought up in a house with no central heating. We always had ice lacing the insides of the windows in Winter. As a result, I cannot sleep without fresh air. Thank you for your concern, which is much appreciated but I honestly should let you understand that my husband (who I affectionately call Two Brains or HB2) is genuinely a scientist recognised globally in his field. I promise he would not let us do anything potentially lethal. Nor even vaguely damaging to our health 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        December 18, 2017
      • Ok, j’ai compris Madame – et j’en suis ravie 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        December 19, 2017
    • I’m glad someone else had that thought about a shower in the bedroom, I feel the same! I don’t like en suites at all!!

      Liked by 1 person

      January 10, 2018
  25. Thanks for the laugh 🙂

    It’s quite a project you took on and while the end result will it all make worth the while, I know it can be frustrating in the meantime. Yes, whistling might help, this way you wound happy when you curse inside. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    December 15, 2017
    • I think singing, whistling and laughing are the only way through … no point in sweating and fretting … it doesn’t achieve a thing. We didn’t realise what we were taking on, in truth, but I’m glad I did. I feel quite the warrior savior or something like that. In any event I keep smiling and as you rightly say, in the end it will be worth it and we will, I hope be proud of the achievement, and, as importantly, the community will be happy 😃

      Liked by 1 person

      December 15, 2017
  26. So much anticipation for the posts to come! Also, I loved your description of the plumbing as a brazen flasher – so evocative (and not necessary in a good way!).

    Liked by 1 person

    December 15, 2017
    • Thank you – I’m delighted you are enjoying the posts … and thank you for picking that description – I was quite pleased with it myself. After who in their right minds really wants to expose their pipes to all and sundry 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      December 15, 2017
      • Certainly not me (except when one starts leaking and we are madly trying to stop it – then I curse the walls hiding them!).

        Liked by 1 person

        December 15, 2017
  27. It is astonishing in what squalour some people are happy to live. The previous owner was clearly très spécial. However, there’s a lot of satisfaction to be gained from doing a really thorough cleaning job, as long as you can have a hot bath afterwards. And keeping a sense of humour is essential. I wonder what horrors remain to be uncovered.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 15, 2017
    • Très très in fact! Cleaning is rewarding, certainly …. fortunately I tend to be able to see the comic in most situations (often peppered with moments of being singularly unable to see the comedy, I should add). I would have preferred to be uncovering artifacts left by the Priest in the 13th Century than the rotting remains of this frightful man’s tenure!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 16, 2017
  28. A loo with a view…er, a shower! Too funny! Did the Brains look out the window or was it just the neighbours looking in? You look good in whiskers. hehe

    Liked by 1 person

    December 15, 2017
    • The Brains will have been entirely oblivious ….. just drinking in the delights of the newly cleansed shower. I have this image of the ladies outside being rather like those lining up for the stoning in Monty Python’s Life of Brian but without rocks and possibly with binoculars!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 16, 2017
  29. Sawdust for insulation? Well, I suppose it’s cheap, but why on earth… actually, I think earth would do a better job.
    Your lovely shower reminds me an article I read in the local paper. One of Phoenix’s ritzy downtown lofts, literally a million $$ view of the city, and it has a bathroom in the living area enclosed in glass. No curtains. So should you be a guest at a party there and nature calls…
    Personally, I think it’s a sneaky way of making sure guests never return. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    December 15, 2017
    • Earth? Now there’s a thought 😆. The architect of that loft in Phoenix is clearly an introvert, do we think 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      December 16, 2017
  30. Wonderful! Like your style…!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 16, 2017
    • Thank you so much … what a lovely comment!

      Like

      December 16, 2017
  31. Your wit is amazing, and so is your stamina in the face of such daunting tasks! I’m guessing humor is a constant partner…and I suspect your laughter is ALWAYS epic!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 16, 2017
    • There’s a lovely French expression ‘un éclat de rire’ which means ‘a burst of laughter’ almost the same as our own but somehow I like the image better since it conjures the notion in my mind of being filled with bubbles of joy that burst inside to create spontaneous laughter. Thank you for being kind about my words … it means a lot. Stamina may have something to do with being stubborn to the core. Good humour can make most things better – I’d hate to not be able to see the funny side of things. 😊

      Like

      December 16, 2017
  32. You have brilliantly turned a nightmare into a romp. Perhaps you could recoup some of the costs by charging the town ladies for viewing.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 16, 2017
    • Good plan, that man! And thank you …. a rather like the fact that it’s a romp!

      Liked by 2 people

      December 16, 2017
  33. Pan #

    You know this is the one I was waiting for 😂
    I’m just a few days behind..

    Liked by 1 person

    December 16, 2017
    • You’ve been très occupé I know … glad you have a little time now to rest up and enjoy the fun! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

      December 16, 2017
      • Pan #

        You just have the best timing, good reads when I need them 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        December 19, 2017
      • That makes me happy. Take good care, my friend and go gently 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

        December 19, 2017
  34. I must be the latest late-comer…. but I wanted to take my time to fully taste and enjoy every morsel of your brilliant writing! you have overcome the initial excitement of something or other and reality cloaks you in its slightly constricting mantle like a heavy woollen duffle coat a couple of sizes too small, or a pair of pinchy stiff leather shoes, you need to knock on the door of fortitude and ask for her help
    May I just say: Somebody who can write like this, MUST BE LOVED…. I therefore declare; Osyth I love you!!!!

    But what concerns house disasters, I must rest my case; you are definitely more courageous than me. That toilet…. I nearly threw up my wonderful meal I just ate with great gusto and I screamed at Hero Husband that this was really, really tops of the pops! And then that shower cabin. It would be too small for our fully developed (read fat) bodies and yet, we can feel the ‘soulagement’ of taking the rags off after a long day of cleaning and just get clean again, even if you can’t turn around! And then the VIEWS from the outside and the views from the shower cabin to the street…. Ha ha, that’s a killer! No wonder your neighbourly lady had this delicious smile on her face!

    Oh, all that cleaning…. A never ending task (well it was in 2015…)! That is ONE problem with a house, and especially an old house (yeah, the ones we love so much!): You are always, always cleaning, and 5’ later, it’s dusty, dirty, lived-in again, and again, and….. Our biggest luxury (not the most expensive but the one we love most) was when we ripped out the horrible bath on the first floor and installed an Italian shower (that’s what the French call it). HH is 6ft4 and it’s about the first time in his life he had enough room and space to stretch and turn and let the water just flow over him. Mind you he still manages to send waterfalls all over the place although the max height must be more than 2.30… He also ‘splashes’ great and far….

    Never mind the not being able to whistle…. I’m sure you can sing! I do it very often, and if not, I’m humming – it DOES help with the chores. A lovely video bit that was too, I didn’t know the film – but of course the story. Loved the little birds twittering!

    What a post! I haven’t read the comments, because I hasten to go to part 5 now…. While I’m on a roll!

    Liked by 2 people

    December 18, 2017
    • Pan #

      Better late than never !

      Liked by 1 person

      December 19, 2017
    • The fm of Snow White was released the year my mother was born …. 1932 – so it might have been a bit before your time!! Thank you so much for your delightful enthusiasm about my writing …. you give me confidence that I’m somewhat Io the right track 🙂 in the rest of your amazing and copious comment the stand out is your own bathroom saga. I am 6′ talk from a family of talk people and I well understand the need for a good sized tub and les douches itallienne are a must. So glad your HH has got one! x

      Like

      December 19, 2017
  35. Oh my gosh! This has set off my OCD just thinking about the toilet, shaking and filthy. The shower is placed as though it were a work of art – although perhaps in rural France an inside water closet is much desired. We bought an apartment in Scotland many years ago and didn’t lift the loo lid up. The lady of the house had NEVER cleaned the toilet. I scoured it into whiteness with acids, bleach and anything else I could find. I bet you can’t stand sawdust anymore!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 29, 2017
    • That toilet still gives me nightmares although it was given the heave-ho over a year ago. The previous occupant was clearly proud of his ablutions (something I care not to dwell on having met the man) but not even the locals can understand why he put that shower right there! Your loo story has me pale with horror …. and sawdust? Not a fan, it must be said!!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 30, 2017
      • Ah ha, a flasher! What is the word in Francais?

        Liked by 1 person

        December 30, 2017
      • They use the same word (and generally find it hilarious!)

        Liked by 1 person

        December 30, 2017
      • It sounds much more appetizing with a French rolling R accent!

        Like

        December 30, 2017
  36. Your staircase is lovely 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    January 10, 2018
    • It was one of the things we instantly fell for though even that is not quite as it seems ….

      Liked by 1 person

      January 11, 2018
      • Curiouser and curiouser …

        Liked by 1 person

        January 11, 2018
      • Oh it gets SO much worse but I am certain it will eventually get soooooo much better. I told my second daughter that my headstone needs to read ‘she always said “it will be beautiful” ….’ because I do always say that about houses I am doing up 😂

        Like

        January 11, 2018

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Coup de Coeur – Part Five: Perhaps he’d like to come inside | Half Baked In Paradise
  2. Coup de Coeur – Part Six: Do you see what I see? | Half Baked In Paradise

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