Thursday, 25 June 2015

Major work

 Our house in France is at least 350 years old. The granite lintel above the fireplace (taken from a priest's house in a nearby village) bears an inscription dated 1653, and we know that parts of the building are older. The roofspace is particularly fine with its ancient oak beams. I'd love to convert this space into another room, perhaps for me to write in! But it would be hugely expensive and so far we haven't done anything except put in two roof windows, from which the views are delightful.

Originally there would have been a thatched roof, but now battens rest on top of beams, and slates on top of battens - no felt, no insulation, and with daylight now visible through many holes, no real weather-proofing either. So we have taken a deep breath and decided to re-roof the main house. We've chosen a material that includes insulation and has a white interior, so avoiding the necessity for plasterboard and painting, and keeping visible all the internal wooden structure, with its A-frame and wooden pegs.

For the last few months there's been scaffolding up back and front, while the builders wait for the opportune moment to start work - mainly waiting for good weather. The scaffolding makes opening shutters almost impossible, so we have been in the dark and rather cold! On our last visit roofers appeared and started to strip off slates and battens. The roof is very steeply-pitched, so it was dangerous work, especially as the wind was particularly brisk.

Once the roof was open, they covered it with a temporary green felt and rough battens. It looked vulnerable and exposed. Now in our absence more work is being done, and when we next go down to France in a few days' time we hope to see progress - perhaps, even, no scaffolding!

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