Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Naked house

Since I cut away the wisteria and rose bushes in front of the house [in preparation for the replacement of the mortar between the stones], the façade looks naked.

Above the wide glass door on the left, at the upper floor level, there's an entire section of reddish brick, which seems to have replaced a former window. Beneath it, you can see that a former owner has inserted a U-shaped steel girder. I would imagine that, originally, there was a massive wooden beam in this position. It probably rotted away and broke, allowing the stones beneath the original window to fall. The owner, probably a poor and unskilled farmer [nothing to do with the wealthy monks who made wine here up until they were dispersed by the French Revolution], no doubt decided, after the girder was in place, that there was no point in trying to reconstruct a window. So he simply blocked up the hole with red bricks. Maybe, when the façade has been restored, I'll install an old-fashioned sundial at that place. [In the Royans, there are sundials everywhere.]

I also intend to find a solution to conceal the steel girder... and another smaller one down to the right, above the spot where Sophia's basket is located. It should be fairly simple to hide the steel behind slabs of oak. It would be vain, though, to try to make the house look like a refined old residence. It will always remain a rough and ready farmer's dwelling.

Talking about the appearance of houses, I'm often dismayed by the way in which young French couples, having moved into a new pastel-hued house in a rural setting, immediately purchase a pile of parrot-colored plastic junk for their kids.

Is it a fact that children would feel unhappy if they were asked to play with toys made out of discreet dark-green, grey or brown plastic? Do the little brats really refuse to accept anything that's not bright green, red or yellow? Or is it rather the manufacturers of this junk who imagine that kids adore parrot colors? Or would it be the parents who use these aggressive colors as a way of announcing publicly that they're raising a family, and that they're sufficiently well-off to be able to buy plastic junk for their lovable offspring?

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