|...note wonky brickwork and drain pipe...|
|...brother and sister a few years back...|
Then last summer, finally, after much discussion and waiting, we said goodbye to the tenants and knocked through to the other side. It became one house. Turns out there is no real known process to follow when you make two houses into one. None of the authorities seemed to know who we should tell. But as you can imagine, we had two of everything. Two staircases, two hot water tanks, two front doors. But the extra space and the privacy was wonderful and we got to planning, with an architect, how we would make it work as one house rather than two.
The building work started in April, it was all rather utility - pipes and wiring. The house is low-lying so we had to have all sorts of engineered stuff put in; clever drains and flood protection. Two days into the build (as we shooped down a ski slope in Meribel thinking how fantastic that we are finally getting something done) the builders called and said that they had found oil in the ground. We had a major oil leak. This, in building terms, is a big deal. Specialists were called, all building stopped. We waited. After massive excavation of a sizable oil plume and chemical treatment that I don't even want to think about (they assured us it was environmentally friendly) we were given the go-ahead, over two months later, to start again. Yey. Things moved on. It was exciting for about two or three weeks, then the enormity of the project started to hit home. The house is so old and so in need of updating that there were many unforeseen costs. Time went on. And on. Not so yey. Even the willow tree drooped.
I fell out of love with the house.
My husband was not best pleased with my reaction (see previous post on his positivity and my negativity in life).
|...my son, aged about 4 or 5...|
But I ask myself now: do I love the house? Can I love the house again? Does making ones home 'perfect' actually address all the ills in life? Of course not. I can glimpse the end of this phase now and see that I might gain just a few rooms that are properly wired, plumbed, painted and lovely. I can also, in the words of our architect 'flush the loo with confidence' which has got to be good, hasn't it?! Our drainage system is a marvel. It also cost a fortune. I am hoping this will reduce the uneasy feeling I walk around with, knowing that we have ploughed so much into this place and wondering if will it ever repay?
But then, I look back on ten years of photos of the children here and I figure, yes, the walls are not straight and everything seems more complicated than it should be and there are walls that are literally crumbling...but...it's all worth it, isn't it?!