Well who would have guessed that just few days after my last newsletter that the world would change so much and we’d all be in lockdown?
All the excitement of finally getting somewhere with my house and looking forward to a date for the roof, my bedroom being finished and all the other planned projects, it all came to a grinding halt as obviously Builder Dave and Builder Dave Junior could no longer work in my house. Along with that I could no longer go to work with them. And after finally getting my yoga classes up and running not 4 weeks later I had to cancel them and close the door and still have no idea when I will be able to open up again.
The first few weeks were definitely the hardest of not seeing anyone. Not being allowed out without my signed, timed and dated piece of paper every time I went out. Only being allowed out for an hour a day and no more than 1KM from my house. But after a week of feeling very sorry for myself I picked myself up and gave myself a good talking to and decided that drinking every night wasn’t the answer (!) and that I would leave this lockdown fitter rather than fatter! Thankfully I had Luna to spur me on and we started going out walking everyday. And imagine my surprise when after a couple of weeks I dusted off my running trainers and squeezed into my running gear – thank goodness for lycra – and started running again. Slowly at first, mainly because Luna had to learn not to keep jumping up on me or running under my feet. And so our days quickly slipped into a routine of running followed by me practicing yoga or yoga followed by a long walk. And yes some days I did stay on my mat for 2/3 hours and while I realise this isn’t possible back in the real world it helped me a lot as I got used to our new world. And yes I continued to have ups and downs throughout the entire period and a particularly bad down was when it was announced after 4 weeks we would be locked down for a further 4 weeks. But, the contact of friends over various forms of social media and the endless funnies being sent around really did help.
I started to set myself a task each day, as it was just too easy to get up late and just drift aimlessly through the day.
And who could resist walking/ running when these are your views? Plus, along with help from my very knowledgeable friend in the UK, I set myself a challenge of trying to learn some of the wild flowers I saw each day.
So the first job I tackled was to clear an area at the back of the garden that was piled high with roof tiles, sinks, stones, chunks of concrete, old doors, weeds and nettles. This transformation took place over the 8 weeks and yes I did have help laying the slabs but I loaded every one of those 600 slabs into the trailer and unloaded them the other end.
I also got going with my fireplace in what will be my kitchen. I knew that underneath all the horrible layers of black, red, and cream paint that there was a beautiful stone fireplace fighting to come out. A man quoted me €600 for one day to clean it up for me. Yes you read that right €600!!! Hmm says I and off I went. First up was to heat gun all the layers of paint off to reveal the lovely black sticky tar of the lead paint that had been used. Next up was the angle grinder; and oh my, the noise, the dust, the aching arms. I could only manage a couple of hours a day; mainly because the dust got so bad I couldn’t actually see. About half way through the process I did begin to wonder what I had started (see photo 2) and maybe the painted fireplace wasn’t so bad!! The patterned areas had to be done with very smelly solvents and lots of scrubbing with wire brushes and clean up with soapy water. Here are a few photos that show the progress. It’s not yet finished as the cement between the stones needs to be knocked out and it’s all to be repointed.
In between doing this I started up cycling some bits of furniture that I had picked up from brocantes last summer and so here are a few before and after’s.
First up, the befores.
And here are the afters.
What else have I been up to? It may seem like I’ve done loads but please bear in mind it’s been a long time here on my own!
One particular sunny day I set about stripping out the gite. As it is separate building and we could maintain our 2-metre distance I did have a bit of help doing this. But it was so very odd to be like this with people I’ve worked with closely for all this time. I confess that seeing people during this period has sometimes made this while isolation thing a whole lot harder.
Anyway I digress. The gite. Well, what I didn’t expect to find was a rotten roof….. The previous owners had put a non breathable membrane under the tiles and over the years this has caused the building to sweat and rot the timbers so much so you can put your finger through the boards. Guess I’ll just add that to the ever-growing list of things to do.
The allotment was starting to get on top of me and I just couldn’t keep up with the weeds – not having a strimmer or a lawnmower makes this doubly difficult. So Builder Dave Junior kindly strimmed and mowed it all for me and since then I’ve been all over the weed suppression including building a new raised bed. It’s slow going moving the slabs as being a weak female I can only move 4 at a time!
So what about the cleaning and the de-cluttering I hear you ask. Erm well no it actually turns out that lack of time is not the reason for not deep cleaning after all. I’d far rather be out in my garden or painting. So yes I found some time to paint and I fully intend to keep this up on a much more regular basis and yes this is the time for shameless showing off. So I’ll leave you with these and say thank you for reading and the hope that this too shall pass.
Keep safe and see you all on the other side.