You’ll be forgiven for thinking, from the above photograph of the cleanest pair of rigger boots ever, that we’ve yet to start work on the house … but you’d be wrong. I actually ordered this fashionable footwear after getting carried away with a mattock and a shovel on our last visit when I decided to do a bit of driveway re-levelling. I was knocking soil and grass out of my boot laces for days so I’ve invested in an old favourite – when we renovated and built houses back in the UK, I lived in my steel toe-capped boots so, with a bit of breaking in they’ll soon be like slippers again.
Whilst the house is far from habitable (we have electricity but no bathroom or water), our plan is to take our caravan up ‘on site’ at the beginning of the Spring so we can start the work in earnest, but we’ve still to make the garden accessible for our 7 metre long home. And this involved removing a couple of low branches from our ‘noce’ (walnut tree), shifting some pretty heavy stones to create a large flat area and, my job, to take the edge off the near vertical incline we currently have as a driveway!
We managed this all under the watchful eye of Malvina, one of the dogs from our nearest neighbour, around 200 metres away, who came bounding up our driveway to greet us and then happily sat in the grass, enjoying her supervisory role. Although we only worked there a couple of hours, we were happy that we’d finally made a start, but not happy that the next day we both woke with aching limbs … it’s been over 3 years since we last did any physical work like this and boy, we were reminded of the fact!
But our enthusiasm for the house is constantly increasing – as is our list of things to research, people to meet for advice and permissions and the tools we need to beg for, borrow or steal! Luckily we have a handful of fabulous old tools that were left for us by the ‘venditrice’ (house seller) which will satisfy my gardening and clearing needs for now and we are finally making arrangements to collect all of our belongings that we left in storage in the UK. We have a shipping container, half of which is tools from our ‘Property Ladder’ days – from scaffolding to table saws, nail guns and even a chimney sweep brush, its a builder’s dream in there, and now that we’ve got work to do, we’re itching to get all our ‘little helpers’ over here.
So, good weather permitting, I’ll be christening my new boots this week as the driveway needs a lot more work, and the activity won’t do me any harm after the Italian festivities and all the rich foods that brought with it! And if we have rain, we’re killing two birds with one stone and watching American property renovation programmes dubbed into Italian where we can pick up more ideas for the house and learn the language at the same time. We’re hearing a lot of ‘Santo cielo’, ‘accidenti’ and ‘mannaggia’ which will stand us in good stead when we come across problems as they are all differing stages of ‘My goodness!’