Friday, 10 July 2015

pics from June 2015



 New stone added


lazy afternoon


1960s Chair from Portabello


Temporary (ha ha) kitchen


New hallway bricks


My birthday marble table -£38 at Mercantino




Agapanthus from Cornwall -will it survive the summer


Saturday, 4 July 2015

Part 2: Proper Application of Limewash

Coloured Limewash Step-by-Step

Limewashing Woes

We like limewash because its cheap, natural and doesn't cause dangerous fumes.We make it on site from well matured lime putty adding water to putty in a 1.5 to 2 part ratio.

Colouring limewash is very tricky.I use a mix of powdered pigment with some dye compatible with lime.Natural pigments are more attractive to me but in order to mix a stronger colour the cost is much higher.


This is someone limewashing a wall on a SPAB work day in an old church -thank goodness my walls are not that high!


There are many methods of painting a room.Some people like to put on 3 coats of white lime then colour a final coat which is thinner.For darker shades it is better to start with a neutral wash as I have here using a mix of ochre,brown and black.


Limewash changes according to the light 


The next coat is a pinker shade which is a little too dark so in the last 2 coats I will add more lime putty and water and some more yellow ochre.


limewash always looks darker when first applied! To the right of the ladder is a dried coat of the same mix as that on the left of the ladder!



Stone Step

I've written before about the relative low cost of having steps,stairs,worktops etc made in Abruzzo.We needed a new step for our front door and another sill for an upstairs window as well as some odd pieces of stone around the place.

Our local stonemasons 'Aceto Marmi' in Scafa were brilliant and as promised after 10 days our stones were ready.The total came to 230 euros so of course I asked for a 'sconto' which every Italian does and it was reduced to 200 euros - about £150.


We collected it but it was far too heavy for me to lift with my partner so our builder friend lent us some muscle and thinking of how we would get it into its final resting place we came up with the idea of placing it in line with the door on 2 lengths of wood then by using greased plastic sacks we were able to slide it in! Simples!

Here is the area before the step was put in. 


The new step made from our local limestone quarried just a few miles from us









On the way to italy

This year we decided to take our time on our route and stop over in a few new places.We took the ferry from Dovver to Dunkerque and drove straight out into Belgium where I'd booked us into an Air bnb place.

Before I continue I must say a few words about Airbnb which is relatively new but is a great way to meet new people from across the world.Not always,but mostly you will be staying in someone's home -a bit like a bnb in the UK but more intimate as you will often be expected to share bathroom and kitchen facilities and also be prepared to live with the owner's children and pets.

The first one in Belgium wasn't great.The owner, a single mother who was a really lovely woman was using the room rent to help ends meet and was pretty disorganised.her two children had just been swimming and we had to use the bathroom after them which wasn't ideal.The room was fine just a bit uncomfortable and filled with the owner's possesions.Basically if you book a 'cheaper' room (under £25) you'll need to prepare yourself to rough it slightly!

The next day we drove into Ghent and had a wander around the city, stooping for a hot chocolate of course!



The drive down into France was very tedious with long queues around Brussels and in Luxembourg but arriving at our next Airbnb was a joy as the sleeply little French village near Metz was a perfect place for a stopover and we both slept soundly only hearing a single nightingale singing during the late evening. The couple running the bnb were great and had been doing this for a few years so things were much more organised and more pleasant for us. 

In the village there was a beautiful French Chateau which unfortunately was closed to the public but the following day we took the back roads into Luneville (the town we were stranded in for 3 days 3 years ago when our car broke down) . Arriving in the town we looked for signs to the famous Chateau which had been so hard to find the last time we were here. Driving over the old bridge into town all of a sudden the chateau appeared on our left ! It is actually right in the center of town which was unexpected but also a nice surprise for us.

Sadly very little of the Château des Lumières de Lunéville  interior has been preserved and to worsen matters there was a fire more recently which brought down one of the roofs.That room has been very well restored and now acts as a concert hall.If you do visit the Chateau look out for the fossils that can be seen easily in the limestone used to make the steps and floors.

My favourite part of the visit was the garden, which although needing slighly more care and attention than funds allowed was impressive in the grand style of Versaille.

We left Luneville and followed the familiar route up over the Vosegs Mountains and on to Colmar were unlike on previous occasions we had time to explore the old town center.





Monday, 27 April 2015

great article

There is a great article in The Guardian -short but promoting the highlights of Abruzzo and publicising a new glamping set up!

The glamping is http://firefliesandfigs.co.uk/accommodation/

The article about Abruzzo can be read here;

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/apr/26/abruzzo-home-:f-the-best-food-in-italy