Armageddon at les Sarziers

Peaceful les Sarziers
Peaceful les Sarziers

We were expecting a hectic October and my goodness we have not been disappointed!

The month kicked off with a great Walksweek.  We hosted a lovely couple from Canada who were lucky with wonderful autumn weather and  enjoyed glorious walking, a trip on the vélorail, picnicking by the Doux and a special peep into the wine making in progress in the Morlanche cellars.

They could hardly have imagined what was about to unfold as soon as they had left!

The peaceful courtyard
The peaceful courtyard

We had carefully scheduled three successive professional renovation jobs, on the kitchen and the stable, but first we needed to take care of all the preparation.

We started by getting stuck in to clearing centuries of junk, beams, stones, straw and unmentionables out of the stable prior to the laying of a concrete floor.

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By which time the courtyard looked like this:

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Next we attacked the kitchen.

The kitchen as you may know it
The kitchen as you may know it

We have decided that we are tired of living in a museum: the soot of ages has to go from the ceiling and the fireplace needs to be plastered.  Inspired by the results in Patricia’s amazing renovation project at her chateau of Hautségur, we decided to go for Aérogommage, a less aggressive technique than sand blasting.  It uses much finer particles and much more air, at lower pressure, so the result is spectacular, as you can see from Patricia’s blog.  But of course there is also a fantastic amount of fine dust, so everything had to be cleared out or protected.

kitchen-preparation
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Then everything started to happen at once.  It began to rain – just what the construction team had been waiting for – and they went into action in the stable …..

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whilst Emmanuelle and Philippe got to work on the beams.

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By the end of the day the courtyard looked like this,

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but the ceiling was starting to look good!

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The next day . . . wow!

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Interlude ….

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The builders disappeared, as builders do (the sun had come out again) and it was time for Daniel to plaster the fireplace.  Unfortunately we have no pictures of him at work, but once again he did a fabulous job.  We chose this family firm from Lamastre to plaster the inside of the house 25 years ago because, given their Italian family name, Avandetto, we were sure they would do a good job!  The business was begun by Daniel’s grandfather, who came to the Ardèche in the 1920’s, to get away from the ascendency of Mussolini’s fascists in his native Turin, where the family had been bronze workers, specialised in creating equestrian statues of the Savoy monarchs to adorn the city’s squares.

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What a difference!

Then the heavens opened and the heavies were back!

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After days of rock breaking and jack hammering, finally everything was ready for La Toupie ….

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which arrived at 7 sharp this morning.

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la-toupie

It took until around 10.30 to get the floor laid and the guys are coming back intermittently throughout the day to “passer l’helicoptère” or surfacing machine.

helicoptering-in-progress

We still have a way to go, but we’re getting there!  And meanwhile the trees are into full autumn swing and the countryside is beautiful.

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