Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Yesterday and today

These two images are separated by some three quarters of a century:


Hippolyte Gerin has been dead for over half a century, but the overall look of his house hasn't evolved a lot. Worse, it has gone backwards, in that the pair of wooden shutters have disappeared from the kitchen window.. which remains just as vertically out-of-line today as it was in Hippolyte's time.

On a wet morning such as today, I can understand why Hippolyte would have appreciated being able to stroll around on a stony surface in front of his house. Besides, at that time, there weren't only humans in the old stone building. Those doors behind Hippolyte were the entrance to a large shed (my present living-room) that housed a herd of goats. In 1994, when my son François and I started to clean up the place I had just bought, we set out to remove a vast sloping pile of animal dung that filled that entire corner of the building. When our picks broke through the hard dry crust of the dung, a gush of escaping methane forced us to flee outside. Finally, to carry out the task, I called upon René Uzel with a small earth-moving machine.

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