Serious rain


I moved here from California, at a time when we had had drought for nearly five years. I had a xeriscape garden and a spring out back. Still, the water bill was 300 a month for two of us, our low-flow appliances and a relatively small suburban garden. It rarely rained and never froze. When I moved I knew I wanted a place with water and I was willing to put up with a certain amount of inclement weather to do that. I got both.

I hadn’t realized what that does to a house. When I bought this place I thought stone house, newish slate roof, no problem. I had no clue what persistent rain and wind would do to the wooden shutters, windows and doors. I thought the rotting wood must be half a century old.

I’m not so sure any more. I have new wood all over the place and I am wondering whether it can handle more than a decade of 80 km/hour winds — believe it ir not the winds are worse up north in Brittany and, I believe, down just to the south — and drenching rain that just stays put because for months it never truly warms up, never dries out. I am foreseeing a future where I am the crazy lady in the ramshackle house because I just don’t want to deal with contractors any more. In the photo you can see a patio table that blew over and had its glass top smashed. Ramshackle furniture! Augh, it’s starting!

Once and done is more my speed. I may be stuck with the shutters and windows — sunk cost and all — but I am looking forward to having those old, leaky doors replaced by steel ones.

The rain itself is a great novelty. I’m enjoying it and enjoying the excuse it gives to web surf. I may be the last Francophile on earth to have seen this but at last I did. Don’t I wish it were reality!

12 thoughts on “Serious rain

  1. Any idea what wood they used? As it’s modern I suppose it will have been kiln dried which is never good news.

    Our doors and shutters were those from the 1860s, of oak. The front door had rotted thanks to a never repaired leak in the guttering above but the rest were brought back to life after being dried out properly.
    The problem was the continual need for painting. I swear that the French invented non stick paint….and the job of taking down sixteen pairs of eight foot high shutters in solid oak was no joke…beaten only by the experience of hanging out of a third storey window balancing on a ladder with paintbrush in hand to try to avoid taking down said shutters.

    Just wait for when the artisan francais suggests some nice plastic windows with roller shutters…which is what the vandals who now have my house have installed…

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    1. I don’t know what they used but half the windows already leak. The windows are all new, so they are staying. I’ll find weatherproofing and hope it works. Supposedly the missing shutters show up tomorrow, so that should help.

      You are right about the paint. I can’t believe how it has degraded, just in the short time that I have owned the house. The back of the house gets this nasty north wind. I should replace the shutters. What would you think about doing them in steel? They would have anodized paint and have the same design as the existing wooden ones. I haven’t seen any but I think I could have it done. An alternative design would be some sort of grillwork but I like the look of the original.

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  2. I don’t know about where you are, but here, in winter, it’s wet, wet, wet. And in summer it’s dry, dry, dry. So you have to xeriscape, for the summer. But you also have to have prepared for water runoff in winter.

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    1. It’s too flat here for runoff. Fortunately the soil is on the sandy side, so the water just soaks in. In summer it rains a bit, as a rule, just enough to keep things from going horribly brown. In California it was all sage and rosemary. Here I can have roses and a grass lawn, without sprinklers. It’s nice.

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  3. I don’t mind the rain if I’m cosy and the roof’s not leaking. It tends to come straight down here rather than attacking you sideways.
    Obama for leader of the free world isn’t a bad idea

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    1. I think he is the leader of the free world. Trouble is, there’s not much of it left.

      I watched Jacques run around today when the rain let up. The wind was still so strong, even when he was in sheltered areas, that it would pick him up. He’d freak out, look around as if some unseen hand had pushed him. Tomorrow is supposed to be even windier. We shall see.

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  4. The winds were even howling in Grenoble on Saturday morning – market was fun! We had planned to walk up Chamechaude with it’s peak at something over 2,000 metres and a declaration that the 360 degree views are superb but be careful because the cliffs on the east side are vertical. We decided a walk in the woods was more sensible!! I’m certainly not going to teach my grandmother to suck eggs and give you advice on what to do vis a vis weatherproofing and what will survive and what won’t …. I’m in a very different area to you – different stone, different slate, different wood. So instead I will wish you bon courage and tell Jacques that The Bean is fully disgusted with this kicking wind and sympathises with him greatly!

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  5. Jacques is hilarious. He runs out and barks at the wind. It ignores him. Eventually he gives me that “Can we go in?” look, so we do. Right now I’m having to close half of the few shutters that I opened. They bang around so much that the fasteners bounce loose. The doors are rattling, the fancy new ones being not yet installed. If it weren’t daylight it would be kind of scary. Jacques has given up. He has his game face “Pas même peur” thing going but he’s curled up at my feet, pretending that enjoying the heated floor was his plan all along.

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    1. He barks at the wind. He stands at the door and barks, then runs out and barks some more. I think he’s getting used to it. He has begun chasing after whatever flies up into the air. He doesn’t spend much time outside, though. Inside, when the shutters rattle and all, he sticks pretty close. Not scared, just being careful.

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