Monday, 6 May 2019

Paint and Pavement

New Paint Recipe

We’re  really struggling with paint for our old house.The downstairs gets quite damp over the winter when we are away so limewash tends to dry quite patchy especially in the kitchen.

After an attempt by me last autumn to apply a yellow ochre limewash finish which didn’t work we decided to try something different.

We a big fans of Bio Calce products which are on sale at Orsini in Scafa but a lot of other places now sell it. We use the very fine 00 plaster to put on a smooth but thin finish over the rough plaster.

We tried a mix of 1 part home made Lime Putty to 3 parts dry plaster. Mix with water to make it like cream.

The next part is much more difficult! To achieve our colour I used mostly yellow ochre in powder form with Red and Brown also powder. These can be bought at most Builders Merchants for about 8 euros.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Climbers Spring 2018


Bloody Hunting

One beautiful morning in Abruzzo I was sitting quietly in my garden reading when a man carrying a gun parked in my garden and stood looking at me. I told him to move his car as he was in my garden!

For more than 2 hours I had to stay inside my house as more men arrived and stood in my garden with guns.I could not carry on working in my garden.

Being British I am not used to men I do not know standing in my garden with guns
I was very frightened.

Why in Italy are hunters allowed to frighten citizens without anyone doing anything?

This situation is a disgrace.

Frustrating Day

Having one of those Italian Weekends that leave you totally fed up and fuming!

On Saturday my neighbor dropped me off in a nearby town where the fabulous cheese shop is.The woman who owns it makes all the cheeses herself from sheep and goats milk.

My pecorino store was totally delpleted and I just couldn’t resist buying a half of semi seasoned cheese that would have set me back £30 in Waitrose but here was just 14 euros. Each cheese that she makes is totally different in shape! She seems not to have a cheese mold but who cares when it tastes so delicious.

After that I just went to the ferramenta to buy some hooks and finally to the bar to download some podcasts and check my Facebook page.

By now it was midday so I thought I would have a Campari soda as I’d not had any breakfast and this comes with a bowl of peanuts or crisps. Not this time. Sussing my non local status.although I have been in the bar many times) the girl plonked down my Campari minus peanuts, she obviously saw no reason to waste good peanuts on someone who wasn’t familiar with the set up.If it wasn’t for the WiFi I’d probably not bother with the place again!

To get home which is a journey of 2 miles I planned to catch a bus which due to a road being closed had to make a detour towards this town. I arrived at the stop with 20 mins to spare and I was just getting up to cross to the right side of the road when I spotted the bus! I ran out waving frantically for him to stop but he just drove past me. Fuming I ended up walking all 2 miles back to my house.

I’d only just had the time to drink a large cup of tea when a car drew up the dogs went mad. I went out to see what was happening and a couple of well dressed men got out. Generally speaking seeing the dogs most visitors sound their horns until I come out but Jehovah witnesses are made of sterner stuff.

Just what I wanted. I screamed at them like a banshe toleave me alone and the site of me was enough to deter them.They drove off to pester someone else thank goodness.

Another thing that’s annoying me is that on 2 occasions, Saturday and Thursday the recycling van just drove past without picking up my carefully sorted recycling.

My friends were going to phone the numero verde and complain but I caught the man today and did it myself. Needless to say he blamed his colleague.Lets see what happens this Thursday when he should pick up the plastic bottles.

My final (hopefully) moan is the young Enel worker who turned up today to put in a new box. His boss had already done it 2 weeks ago but no one seems to have told him!

Lime Wash

I was lulled into a false sense of security by just how easy my first limewash experience was.I applied 4 coats of coloured limewash made by myself to the wall of our recently lime plastered bedroom. It was May but not too hot and each coat dried smoothly and evenly in 24 hours.

The walls looked great 7 years on.

Our kitchen however was totally different. A didn’t like the plaster finish so he put a very thin coat of bio Calle 00 zero over to smooth it out.This plaster is a fine one with lots of marble dust and he likes to work over it once it’s set. This makes for a tricky surface and to add to the problems the room has always had high humidity levels meaning things take ages to dry.

The main issue with limewash drying is that you want colour limewash to dry pretty evenly or there can be some differences in colour as the quickest parts to dry are lighter in shade.The best way to deal with this is to do the job in warm breezy dry weather with all windows and doors open for as long as possible. If you choose a wet day there will be more issues.

Generally it takes 3 or more coats to get to the final result with the last coat being a 50/50 mix of lime putty and water. This is quite a thick coat and previous coats must be weaker or the paint could crack and flake off.

Getting the wall wet but not so wet there are runs is another difficulty and dry rooms will need more wetting with a sprayer or clean brush.Some people mist spray lime wash after painting but this is usually only outside with sun on the walls.

Or if the walls are very dry and suck in water quickly.

I’m now waiting for my walls to dry off some more before mixing up the 50/50 coat and applying. I want to do it when I can be in to leave all the windows open. Fingers crossed.

On the other walls I have applied just one weak colour wash and it seems to be working well.the plaster was a pinky grey and if you want this as a base then a single wash will work as long as you are not looking for a totally finish.

It’s now possible to buy a white eco plaster from our builders merchants so I will try that and see if that will cut down coats. Then you have more choices for colour as a yellow wash will go over white very easily.

Applying limewash in 3 to 5 coats is very time consuming so ideally you want to do 2 rooms together. Unless it’s very dry and warm doing more rooms can make the house temporarily quite damp and you will need to keep windows and doors open for a week as 24 hours minimum is needed between coats.

After reading this you must be asking yourself are there any advantages to using limewash?

  1. Although it’s time consuming it’s very cheap and costs just a few £1 for 5 litres
  2. It’s not damaging to health or the environment
  3. The possibility to mix a huge range of subtle and bright colours to suit your taste
  4. It’s easy to apply although very messy people should steer clear as it is not a good idea to cover everything in drops of limewash.Limewash is dangerous if it gets in your eyes!
  5. Lasts at least 5 years then you can repaint one coat on top of old one.

Disadvantages are just to do with the time it takes to do it! If you can rope in some help this won’t be a problem!