Posted by: kathandroger | November 5, 2017

A House from a Hovel.

When we bought the barn over the road, it was part of a larger plot sold to a young local man. Francois has since been converting what was once a complete wreck into what will be a lovely house. Before we came to the agreement that we would not bid against him in the auction for the buildings, we had planned to buy the property ourselves, if only to protect us from some undesirable development. In fact as the buildings were in such bad condition, I had planned to pull most of them down and sell on what materials could be salvaged. The plot remaining could then be used for building a new house at some time in the future. But Francois had other ideas, and the youth, enthusiasm and drive to put his ideas into action. Over the past few months we have seen what was a hovel slowly show its potential to become a pretty family home with lots of imaginative features. IMG_3866He has been helped by a weekend team of his mates and a couple of Portuguese bricklayers who do not know how to stop working. Except that is for lunch! The old barbecue that I donated has been used diligently to cook various meats during the only break from work in the day, and the wafting smells have been a joy to me in the garden. Much laughing and drinking but then back to several more hours of hard graft. All the family seem to have been involved, with Dad delivering sand during the week, and Granddad passing his experienced eye over developments. The huge tree in front of the main house was cut down by Francois with his ageing Granddad sitting on a chair behind the direction of fall of the main trunk, instructing his Grandson in which direction to hammer in the wedges which controlled the fall of the huge lump of timber. It was lovely to watch and landed exactly as planned. Having been through all the developments of a renovation project with our own barns, we can appreciate how much effort is needed, and how initially everything seems to be just rubble and holes everywhere. That stage is certainly what he has at present, but the new openings for windows and doors have revealed the potential of the finished project. The pretty round opening in the top of one barn wall was cut from a concrete reservoir which was found in the garden!IMG_3863 It accentuates the height of the inside and will show off the old beams well. It is a pleasure to see the rebirth of a property and especially one done by a Frenchman. So often it is only the Brits who seem to feel the financial demands are worth the effort in renovating an old French property. Bon Courage Francois!

Back in our house the animals, as usual, are ruling the roost. Dennis the cat has decided that he can only drink running water now, and demands to have a drip feed from the tap turned on for him to satisfy his thirst!IMG_3861 (2) We don’t really mind that, but hope that he will soon desist from peeing in the bath upstairs when he can’t be bothered to go outside!


  1. Roger…. at least it is the bath that he pees in, and not anywhere else!
    We live with surprise projectile vomiting…. I have an old pair of slippers beside the bed fo my four-thirty call of nature….

    I think that there is still hope when young people are willing to make such an effort, all strength to Francois…. and, it seems, his folks are willing to help or encourage!! Nice….

    • We may have to make an offer on the house when it is finished!

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