house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Back to July

I'm back and asking: how can a part-time teaching job take so much time and energy? Holidays started three weeks ago and I'm still getting up in the morning like someone recently returned from a war on the moon (yes I did say 'a war on the moon' because I couldn't decide which – a war? The moon? - would sound more crippling... and yes I know I'm just finding excuses.

Finally yes, more than any of the (half a dozen) people reading this blog, I know how much there is to write, how much I'd like to do it, and also perhaps how lucky they are that I don't...) Each of the notebooks I drag around daily contains a list of blogs 'in progress', or 'just ideas', or 'unmissable facts' and 'must write'-s. In the meantime, a lot of important stuff is happening: with the house build, our plans, schools and summer.

In short: the house build is going through a drastic stage of 'house-unbuild'. The roof was blasted, the an assortment of walls knocked down, the stairs picked by João's claw like rotten teeth from a hag's mouth.

Slowly thereafter, João and his unlikely team (teenage son and elderly nice guy) started putting it all back together, stone by stone, with 'amor e carinho' as he so likes to say. Moona takes a picture per week from the same spot. With patience, picture by picture – and I wonder, how many weeks? - one will be able to see the house grow. This week's picture shows something that looks uncannily like an excavated Roman citadel. Spectacular stone set in straight lines, in a sea of green.

Then there's the alambique. When we arrived: two walls set against a rock, around an old distilling vat. Correction: at that time, all there was inside, around, on top and between stones was a city of brambles so thick, so high and so deep I started to see the Sleeping Beauty story in a totally new light. The brambles are long gone, so are the rubble, the still and the granite enclosure in the corner that looked suspiciously like a pigsty. The floor was dug (no treasures found) and a roof is almost in place. Yesterday I drove by and there, above the battered walls, saw a sweet sloping expanse of red tiles: I cried. The alambique is a chameleon: winter shelter, general granny flat, friend holiday pad, kids' playroom, cinema, meeting room, school, my studio, Moona's studio and everything everyone else sees in it.

The garden does its own thing, despite our intervention. Some thing grow, some things don't. The carrots (I checked one yesterday) are the size of tooth fillings, but countless courgettes threaten to make the leap to marrow-dom. The small trees never cease to amaze. Two young apple trees, nothing more than sticks with a few leaves, are blushing with the crimson of their apples.

There's a lot more to say. I'll be back, with bite-size stuff, this July...


At 17 August 2010 at 15:41 , Anonymous Rupert Wolfe Murray said...

Brilliant comment. I think stress and hurry make you write even better. It makes your writing sharper. You also make a convincing case for Twitter ("I'll be back, with bite-size stuff"). Lotsaluv from RO


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