Three days before my flying five day trip to the house, I received an email from my neighbours telling me of a serious storm affecting our region of France. Further investigation finds shocking images and video clips of high winds, huge hale and much damage to houses and cars.
So it is with trepidation that I approach my house in my hired Clio. I arrive to find my Mulberries battered and the majority of their leaves on the ground but the house and part finished barn roof look ok. I open the house expecting to find leaks and water damage but again all is ok. Looks like we have been lucky.
We have indeed been lucky, as the following days I see fifty or more houses with tarpaulins over their roof and in Riberac itself Les Pompiers are still installing others over damaged roofs. Fields of sunflower are tripped to the stems and cars are driving around looking like they have been hit hundreds of times with a hammer.
One third of the barns roof remains incomplete and on this visit we hope to finish it. This impromptu visit has been arranged around the cheapest flights with completing the roof before the summer holidays the main aim. If I can clean the pool and get the house ready for our visit in late July it will be a bonus.
The first three days are fine and dry with the last day forecast to rain all day, so there is the motivation to complete it quickly.
The first day, is a garden tidy as Sam is not available until tomorrow and the garden is a mess after the storm.
The next day we start to tile. This last section is the most difficult as neither eaves or verges are parallel or perpendicular and also we are ‘painting ourselves in a corner’ and there is nowhere to store materials. We battle on and and at the end of day one there is about two square metres left to tile. After an early morning visit to the builders merchants to buy a sheet of zinc, we started on the last push.
This was a difficult day as we had to protect the end of the roof with zinc and ensure where it joins my neighbours roof was water tight, it was also extremely hot!
After 8 hours in the sun, the roof was complete. Nearly three years of on and off work it seemed a bit of an anticlimax. A quick tidy and into the pool to cool down.
The final day, as forecast it rained heavily. This gave me the opportunity to paint the remaining blue windows and doors back to Cooking Apple Green, tidy the house and stock up on provisions from the supermarket.
This has been a successful trip and now the roof is complete I can now start to plan the interiors of both barns.
This is a renovation that will never be complete, but I like it like that!