After the terrible start to the Spring, with daily downpours, strong winds and un-Galician temperatures the day finally came for us to plant our potatoes. The lunar vegetable calendar, which is probably as accurate as the Daily Mail horoscopes, said it was a bad day for planting root vegetables but this was the only day that the barely decipherable ‘Pepin’ could attend with his ancient tractor and potato plough. It was a day of ‘beggars can’t be choosers’.
It was the first time I’d met Pepin, and I don’t know whether that should be Mr Pepin or whether Pepin is his first name. He’s a man with the highest voice in Galicia, and hence the reason why he is impossible to understand. It’s one vowel from ironic really, as Pepin drives an ancient ‘Pascuali‘ tractor, a joke which I suspect would be lost on the Spanish.
Just as I put in the last potato of our 25kg batch for this year, hopefully blight resistant so as not to repeat last years heartbreak, Facundo arrived in his lorry which was precariously stacked with scaffolding, wheel barrows, pallets of wood and shovels.
Amanda stayed with Joe….sorry Pepin…. while I went to oversee the unloading.
The great re-roofing day had finally arrived.
I’d been responsible for postponing the work in October when I landed a three month job in Northern Ireland, and again in January when that same contract was extended for another three months. But almost six years after we bought our place in the sun, the big house was about to get re-roofed and begin its transformation.
Just after we bought one of the neighbours told me that the main part of the big house was built in 1715, so one year after its three hundredth anniversary it was about to get a shiny new roof. Two days spent demolishing internal false ceilings and partitions and the erection of internal and external scaffolding set the scene.
We’re so pleased that things are finally moving that Amanda even begrudgingly agreed to move her beloved little garden to make way for the crane, and we smiled our way through a few hours without water after one of the builders ruptured a pipe and had to turn it off at the mains while they went for lunch and called at the plumbers merchants.
It was not without some sadness that we watched the builders start work today removing tons and tons of old, crumbly, blackened with soot slate. Our once ‘hobbit-like’ house was being opened to the daylight for the first time in many generations as it started its’ long journey from ruin into something habitable.
Now we’ve finally got activity I’ll be blogging much more over the coming days and weeks on problems and progress on Phase I of ‘fix the big house’.