Tuesday, 19 February 2013

La Salle de Bain - Whilst We Wait

Although progress on the bathroom at La Petite Maison has been static, there has of course been no time for idleness - and so while we waited for William, I along with No 1 of my Much-Appreciated-Men-Folk, who shall be aptly referred to as Mr Long-Suffering, turned our attention outside and have been engaged in the very rewarding task of demolishing the dilapidated out-building and existing extremely ugly garage.

Rotted old door of soon to be demolished out-building

Despite relentlessly persistent rain - not mizzle, but heavy fat wet dollops of raindrops that soaked through our clothing and ran down our faces so that at times it was nearly impossible to see, we swung sledges (yes me included) and blattered and battered until the walls came down. Broken concrete and blocks now strewn all around us, we moved on to the back breaking task of wheelbarrowing the rubble down the driveway to the skip, wading through muddy rivulets of water and getting more and more drenched.

With the skip loaded we paused to view the remains of our demolition work which resembled a sight more often seen during the Blitz, but I remained confident that it could only improve from there.

Remains of the now demolished out-house

Later when the rain ceased we gathered up all the rubbish left over and lit a bonfire. The night-sky was inky black against the flames; stars shone brightly overhead and it felt unseasonably warm for February, (or maybe that was just the heat from the fire!)

I felt as though it could have been midsummer and we should be performing some form of ritual around the bonfire - if only Francoise had been there I am sure we would have been! Alas she is now so far away. 

Demolition work finished; the garage and outbuilding gone forever; the garden clearer, even if not cultivated, - feeling rather sore and bruised, I resolved that for a short-while I would deviate from the practicalities of renovating and indulge myself in some frivolous creativity; the priority of which is so low on the To Do List that it virtually isn't there at all.

During one of my beach-coming forays in those distant days when the sun shone (was I dreaming?) and woolly jumpers and warm clothing had been relegated to the back of the wardrobe; amongst the treasures I had collected were some lovely unusual bluey grey and pearly white shells that had been tumbled and sculpted by the sea. So I decided that in keeping with the Cornwall element of the bathroom decor, I would use a few to make a tieback for the curtain.

Shell tie-back

Shell tie-back seen with bathroom lights on.

Rather pleased with the result, and feeling quite drill happy, I moved on to make wind-chimes, to go with my blue and off-white colour scheme.

The wind-chimes turned out okay, and pleasantly jangled lightly when I placed them beside the window. I'm not entirely convinced that they go, so the jury is out as to whether they are incorporated into the final scheme.

As I have been writing this I can report that the bathroom is now moving along again, hooray! To my great joy the wonderful William has worked his magic once more; so stage one of the woodworking is complete.

This means that.............

at last.............

for the first time in over a year............

there is now............

not just a toilet that works.............

but there is also..............

the luxury.................



Yes at last, a Door To The Bathroom - one that actually opens and most importantly - closes! (It still needs to be top-coated, but that is a minor issue). No more the requirement to vacate the premises when one of the Much-Appreciated-Men-Folk has to urgently and loudly attend to the call of nature! No more the requirement to sing to announce to unexpected arrivals the occupancy of the smallest room in the house. There is AT LAST A DOOR! A fully functioning proper door! Oh the marvelousness of privacy!

Who would believe that something as simple as a door could provoke such happiness!

So now there is just the small matter of bath panel and skirtings to be fitted (very soon so I am told!) before the room is ready for tiling, with those lovely patchwork tiles from Welbeck which have just arrived.

Could the bathroom actually be nearing completion at long last????


Friday, 8 February 2013

When Is A Rose Not A Rose?

Throughout the dark days of winter, the garden has lain dormant and with it my horticultural verve. However - unobserved, beneath brown earth, dead leaves and detritus, new green shoots have been speedily unfurling, transforming themselves into the parasol-shaped blooming stems of the Hellebore, or Lenten Rose.

Enticed outside by an unusually beautiful crisp sunny morning, I stepped into the garden and was greeted by the sight of these pretty flowering hellebores beneath the Laburnum tree.

Unpretentious and unassuming, the humble Hellebores bow their heads modestly. Flowering whilst all else in the garden sleeps, they don't try to compete with the flamboyant blooms of Old English Roses or Peonies.


Most bashful of all is the pink flowered Hellebore; blushing as it shyly hangs its head, so that its delicate beauty can only be partially seen.

Seemingly untouched by the frost or snow and impervious to heavy rain, the Hellebores sway with the wind, bobbing their bonnet-like blooms.

In another part of the garden is a statuesque Corsican Hellebore;

thick leathery evergreen leaves edged with tiny spines and heads of cupped pale apple-green flowers.


One of the thick stems has fallen sideways causing the Corsican Hellebore leaves to flop over the granite cobbles.

With their glossy green leaves

and white-green flowers sprinkled inside with a smattering of pink freckles, the Hellebores are a welcome winter addition to the garden, reminding me that the garden is very much alive despite its deceptively lifeless shroud.