The hard work did continue! We got loads done with Conor and Elif who were volunteering with us for a week. We could hardly get them to stop working. Even when I had a horrible cold and took a day off one particularly miserable day, the rest of them carried on spritely as ever. One of the jobs me and Elif did was to put up a balcony railing around the neighbour’s balcony as a welcome home present for when they came back with their second baby. I think it turned out well and they seem happy with it too.
Tarje and Signe got back and we got to meet baby Liv who is very cute and has kept fairly quiet so far. Roar is going to be three years old in a few months and seems to be growing up by the day. It was lovely to welcome them back on a sunny day and all be together again.
The house has been slowly progressing. More pointing has been done, we insulated the tops of the stone walls and Dave finished the outside cladding and oiling of the pine. Dave and Omar have been continuing to sand all the old beams, which are looking lovely. We did have a slight set-back that involved oiling one of the beams, then Dave not liking how it looked and spending days sanding the oily bit back off. Those kind of things really frustrate me but I know that it’s his meticulousness that’s going to make our house extra special (if it can ever get finished).
The last two weeks have been pretty much endless rain and mist, I think everyone around here is sick of it. It’s June now, we expect a bit of sunshine! Yesterday we did have one glorious sunny day and set about continuing to do some landscaping below the house. The plan is to have a hang-out area for cooking and eating as well as a small tree nursery. I’ve ordered seeds so that I can start growing some permaculture plants and when our house is liveable and our land is ready to plant, the trees and bushes will be ready to go in! That’s the idea anyway, we’ll see how it works out. I can’t decide whether it’s more likely that they won’t germinate and I won’t have any plants, or that I’ll have loads of plants but the land won’t be ready for us to put them in. Bets anyone?
Dave and I managed to have a few days off here and there in between our hard work. One Sunday we went hiking up a gorge a little up the valley from us, which was a delightful way to spend a rare sunny day. And another Sunday we went to the spa with Jules and spent a few hours soaking our sore muscles and warming up in the sauna.
The garden has been growing like mad in this wet weather. The tomato seedlings aren’t very happy in the open-sided greenhouse because they’re damp in there, but generally most things are looking good. The wildlife watching has been great too – there are slow worms under every rock you pick up, bumblebees nesting in the ground below the long grass, butterflies flitting around, blue tits nesting in our front wall and blackbirds at home above a beam in the side of the house. We even saw the resident Iberian emerald lizard basking on an old rock wall one sunny day.
Some before and after pictures in the garden (only 2 or 3 weeks apart):
Some pictures from the garden:
Unfortunately we discovered a leak in the new roof last weekend. We were up at the house looking at the roof, discussing how we were going to clad the tops of the inside walls and we saw some water seeping through into the pine cladding. Very demoralising. Now we have to wait for the rain to stop and the tiles to be dry before walking up there, taking some roof off and seeing what the problem is. Hopefully we will be doing that with the builder if he ever has time.
Today we’re back in the mist and mud but Sunday has come around again and we’re having a day off. I’ve had a tummy bug for the last few days and I think Dave is pretty knackered from hauling giant wet roof beams around to make raised beds in the garden.
Next week the landscaping will be done and we can get back to the house. The next phase should be good – we’re going to make one little window bigger, put cladding over the insulation and start preparing to lower the floor.