Here you go, a more-than-slightly over-edited shot of the back garden on this rainy day. Jacques shines, as always.
Well. I was in Paris, then I came back here and got sick. So, long time, no blog. I’m well now, no worries.
Paris was newly open, which was a blessing, but no one had restocked, so it was a bit sad. Toward the end of the visit deliveries had been made and people were out. Things had picked up a bit.
I have to think about the direction I want this blog to take. I have a couple of projects to do this summer, but that’s it. My blog’s original reason for being — documenting the renovations — will be no more.
The thing is, I like you guys, so I want to keep writing something. But do you really want to read about my daily life? I sew, I knit, I garden, I brush the dog. Classic old lady stuff. Local politics, no, too boring. My current rabbit hole, my piano lessons, no, crazy boring to anyone but me. Or the other rabbit hole, chess: no, please no. So, must find a way to refocus. Right now it’s all a mystery.
Looks pretty bleak, doesn’t it, like maybe the only guest is that crazy aunt you’ve heard rumors about. Fortunately this is a before shot.
Here is the same or a similar window from the inside. Note mildew, lambris ceiling and walls that never did look very nice. When they could afford a maid, she lived here.
I have to apologize for the haphazard nature of this post. I’m upgrading and changing computers and frankly, it is a nightmare. The new operating system has taken over. All my tidy files are trashed in favor of date shot date uploaded or who knows what, but it’s like Catalina decided to play 52 Card Pickup with my pictures. If I find better shots than these I will update the post. For now, I’ll have a full house at Christmas, so I’d better show you the guest rooms while they are more or less tidy.
There are two of these rooms, almost mirror images of one another. Some time after the main house was built, wings were added. The room in the top photo was a maid’s room and was given paneling at the windows. The room just above was never used and never detailed. A you can see, once we removed the ceiling covering we decided to stay with the exposed beams. Frankly I think the workers would have refused to cover them up.
The photo above shows the outside wall. The one below shows the wall facing back into the house. I don’t have a photo of the nasty peeling linoleum that the guys removed. Those floor boards are original to the house; I don’t know why they were ever covered.
So from the landing — seen here but I’ll also upload a floor plan, if I can find one — you would enter either a bedroom or, as you see below, a bathroom. Then beyond, for no apparent reason, there would be a door to a little tacked-on room. I could have retained the bigger bedroom and used the wings as bathrooms. However I didn’t like the idea of chewing up one wall with circulation, plus putting the bedroom at the end gave it more privacy. Plus I thought it made sense of the space, removed the tacked-on vibe. Maybe I would choose differently now but, too late.
Here is a progress shot of the other new bathroom. Toilets: before there was one, in the utility room. Even that was a step up from the outhouse with its wooden seats — yeah, family style — and huge stinky collection pit. To the left will be/now is a shower. The sink is on the opposite wall.
Now, Jacques comes when he figures there is something in it for him. The rest of the time, forget it. Maybe he heard the scratching too. He was there in a flash, pouncing on the little moving bump. Yes!, though I think the bump got away. Since then Jacques has been on permanent mouse patrol. He actually goes through the plants, nudging leaves aside so he can sniff and peer through the foliage.
I think he wore himself out. He’s been pretty sedentary for the last 12 hours or so. But I’ll head back out there this afternoon, it being tomato time. I’m sure he’ll be right there with me.
He does. Who can blame him? He is sitting on a picnic-blanket-sized towel made by an old friend, who is reviving the handwoven towel craft in rural Turkey. I took this on the terrace the other day — our first sunny day in quite a while. And if you find Jennifer’s Hamam (jenifershamam — If your Instagram feed is a full as mine, you’ll want to find it, look at all her photos, and like mine. Vote early and vote often!) on Instagram and vote for this picture, I just might win a few towels to help us all enjoy our summers a little more. No pressure. He’s so cute, I might win anyway.
Bonus points if you figured out right away that that’s not Jacques. It’s his fault the little guy is there, though.
It being nearly April, everything around here is popping. Jacques had me up at 4:30 this morning — he fooled me into thinking he had a tummy ache — which is how I discovered the meaning of the expression “up with the birds.” It was at that point when you can just tell that the sun will soon appear. The birds are going nuts. You never hear that much from them in daylight.
I determined that Jacques was faking me out — he took off running the second the door was opened — and went in to make coffee. Then I had to go out again. Jacques had cornered the fluffy white psychopath from across the street. Unlike the little sport killer, Jacques thinks the thing to do with prey is bark at them. So he barked and barked until the psychokiller found an escape route. It made Jacques’ morning, but I wanted to go back to bed. I left the front door open. Jacques likes to hang out at the entrance, keeping watch over his domain.
Thus the bird. He found his way clear up to the top of the house and into my bathroom, the most remote corner at the top of the house. There he perched and probably pooped until he flew out the skylight that I opened for him. At least Jacques didn’t bark.
So here he is today. I think he has doubled in size since I brought him home, what, a couple of weeks ago? Notice how he’s not holding still? That’s typical. I believe I got this shot just as he was about to jump up and check out the iPhone. I am making chicken soup for dinner; he may have thought a bit of that lovely poulet noir was attached.
The word for this dog is “mignon.” Fashionably dressed young women leave their shops to run out onto the sidewalk to tell me how cute he is. “Il est si mignon!” It’s one of my new standard phrases, along with “Quel age a-t-il?” Okay, I knew that one, but I didn’t have “how old is he” on the tip of my tongue. Jacques is teaching me French.
If you move to France you have to give up on the idea that your life will function in an efficient manner. You could run into a strike or a demonstration. It could be Sunday or some part of your local merchant’s day or lunchtime off. Or, well, you could have a French puppy. Jacques thinks every moment is another opportunity to play. Today at the flower shop I stood in line and tried to hold my purchases as Jacques tried to consume the nearby tulips. I tried to sweep the floor as Jacques tried to eat the broom; when Moses arrives in June we’ll see about posting video of that. If I were holding Jacques in my lap right now, he’d be walking on the keyboard. He is great fun. He is teaching me to be more French.