October in Abruzzo was just like an English August! And although the locals wrapped up in puffa jackets we were happy with jeans and t-shirts! I didn't need my hat and scarf once I'm happy to report.
We approached the house with trepidation as we'd asked a new builder to carry out quite a few tasks over September so that we could feel we were making some kind of progress. We found that Sandro's work was very professional and can recommend him to other house owners
We were more than happy with our newly uncovered vaulted brick ceilings and also relieved that the builders had mainly cleared away all traces of the old lime plaster.There will be some repointing needed but generally the bricks were in good condition and not any that had broken.What a relief!
The window sills in the house have been tiled with some very nice clay tles we bought from Damedil our local builder's yard.They are really intended for outdoor use but fit in perfectly with the aged soft hued floor tiles.
As they are not glazed they will stain a bit from oil or wine spills but this consideration didn't seem important compared to the importance of their appearance.
In between the tiles we've used lime mortar coloured with yellow ochre earth pigment which happily we find we can buy locally for a fraction of what it costs in the UK.
Unfortunately knowing my Italian was not too wonderful she decided to speed up the tale until I became totally confused by it all.
Was it her car that had been stolen or her ladder? Or was it a car with a ladder that we were to look out for? Who knows. When another neighbour called to tell us about the theft of his grapes we decided it really was time to pack in and head back for a shower and large glass of Montepulciano!
On the subject of bricks the floor upstairs has been created from old bricks set into a sand /clay / lime base.Where we'd taken out the old loo and bath we'd found underneath the original bricks but a line where the waste pipe had been needed filling with 'new ' bricks.
Luckily we found lots of whole bricks scattered around the place so we didn't need to buy any and we now have the entire room re-floored. It's going to to look wonderful once they've all been cleaned up. That will have to wait until the plastering has been done next year.
Most of the time whenever problems occurred builders had thrown in a mix of broken bricks and mud.Don't let anyone tell you the old ways are the best!
I suppose you just had to utilise whatever you could find for free? In our case it's mud with perhaps a few leaves thrown in for luck!
Sadly we had to say goodbye to our Abruzzo home and get back to England but we left with so much to feel positive about.
There are worries; about the local crime wave, about the effects of weather and 'animali' and what will happen if our neighbour's roof falls in again this winter. But this year at last it feels as if we have made real progress and that next year will be full of new opportunities for Santa Lucia!