Since this morning, the main eastern façade of the old house is covered in steel scaffolding, and two tradesmen have started to remove the dusty mortar between the stones, using an electric percussion tool and a steel pick. They've protected all the windows and doors by covering them with heavy plastic. So, Sophia and I are cooped up inside as if were were in an air-raid shelter. And the constant din of the tools prevents me from thinking. The façade has certainly been patched up on many occasions over the last two centuries, but this is no doubt its first overall facelift.
Years ago, after purchasing the property, I watched my son and his friends removing rotten timber by tossing it out through the windows. The architects in charge of the restoration had planned that about half the inside timber would need to be replaced. As things turned out, we had to discard the totality of the old wood... except for the roof beams, which had been restored a little earlier on.
Today, we've encountered a similar situation. The fellow in charge of the facelift had imagined that about two-thirds of the old mortar would have to be removed. He has just revised his estimate. All of it will have to be replaced!