Showing posts with label Gamone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gamone. Show all posts

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Eternal France

The sun is shining upon Gamone. Yesterday, on the slopes of Choranche, I donned my beekeeper’s clothes and attended the second hands-on session of the local association. I have no images, for the simple reason that our white astronaut uniforms and leather gloves make it difficult to take photos. But it was a thrill to ease apart the wooden frames and to discover that the bees of Choranche had been making hay (honey, rather) while our sun was shining. What fabulous little well-organized stealthy beasts! I’m immensely dismayed by the fear of crushing a single one of them (an inevitable accident) when replacing a frame.

This sunny Sunday afternoon, on TV, I’m watching the Paris-Roubaix cycling race. All’s quiet on the Western Front.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring sunset

I took this lovely photo (untouched) from my bathroom window about an hour ago.

In my title, the term "sunset" is misleading, since we're actually looking towards the east, and the sun is setting behind us. But the last rays of the setting sun have hit the clouds above the Cournouze, producing the pastel hues seen in the photo.

Earlier on, towards the end of the afternoon, we had a short hailstorm at Gamone. It was interesting to see the seven donkeys racing down the hill to their shed, to seek shelter from the shower of tiny hailstones.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My son’s 3-day working holiday at Gamone

François Skyvington leads an extremely busy existence. Over the last few years, my son has been working almost non-stop on his 30-minute moped travel movies for TV. (The latest series will be aired on the Arte channel later on this year.) For the moment, he’s starting major building extensions to his house on the top of Brittany cliffs looking out over the English Channel. And he has also decided to create a high-quality diner-style restaurant alongside the main road between St-Brieuc and Paimpol. I therefore find it perfectly normal that François doesn’t necessarily have free time enabling him to drop down here to see me at Gamone. So, I was thrilled when he phoned me last week to say that he had decided to take the train from Guingamp to Valence for a 3-day stay. To get an idea of how long it was since the last time we had met up, you only need to know that, last Monday afternoon, François met my dog Fitzroy for the very first time.

In such circumstances, it goes without saying that I did not expect my son to spend any part of his precious holiday time in carrying out work around our house at Gamone. But I had not reckoned on the spontaneous desire of François to tackle all sorts of practical problems whose urgency he sensed immediately, as soon as he reached Gamone. First, it was a matter of reducing drastically the volume of the "bun" of branches (my son is preoccupied by BurgerTalk) on top of the pergola.

Finally, the 6 rose bushes composing the pergola looked like young Australian boys of my generation who had just emerged from a customary short-back-and-sides operation at the barber’s shop.

François then set about tidying up the Buxus sempervirens (European Boxwood) hedge that I planted long ago on the outer edge of my future rose garden.

François then set about pruning the various bushes of my rose garden.

He then tackled the huge task that consisted of removing all the wild vegetation (including lots of small trees) on the perimeter of my rose garden. You can detect the presence of this vegetation in the background of the above photos. To remove it, François used both my electric hedge-trimmer and my chainsaw. Thanks to my son's strenuous efforts, I can once again get a glimpse of the road that runs alongside Gamone Creek.

Finally, as if all that work were not enough, François drove the Renault Kangoo and trailer to a nearby quarry where we were able to gather up (manually) a stock of high-quality limestone slabs that will be an essential part of my future wood-fueled bread oven. Here you see François sitting on this nice little pile of stones, alongside the place where the oven will be built (this summer).

I was delighted to see that the relationship between my son and my dog was better than anything I might have hoped for. François was often amazed by Fitzroy’s serenity. Indeed, I like to imagine that my dog and I, through sharing constantly our experiences, are becoming similarly zen in parallel.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Love this lizard

Can you see him?

Click to enlarge

He’s dark green, like the foliage. With a long tail. He's not particularly apprehensive. He emerged at midday to bathe in the Gamone sunshine, plentiful at present. He's so delightfully antediluvian. I would love to call him Bill and invite him in for a cup of tea, with my dog Fitzroy.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Finches return to Gamone

Last year, I was delighted by the month-long presence of several beautiful finches at Gamone, from the middle of February to the middle of March. I wrote about them in three blog posts: first, second and third. I’m happy to see that the finches have returned this year. This morning, I spied a couple of finches beneath the seed box for tits.

Here’s the male:

And here’s the female:

For the moment, they haven’t flown up to peck at sunflower seeds in the clay pot posed on a ledge outside my bedroom window.

NOTE: Upon comparing today's images with those of the hawfinches of last year, I realize that they are not at all the same birds.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Primroses popping up at Gamone

Every year, in February, I look forward to the first primroses, harbingers of spring. Well, they started to appear here a few days ago.

It has certainly been an amazingly mild winter at Choranche, with little snow and no freezing weather whatsoever. On the other hand, there has been a lot of rain and several days of strong winds. I certainly appreciated the luxurious presence of my new wood-burning stove, combined with the convenience of my recently-constructed woodshed. Not surprisingly, since the stove burns almost constantly, my woodshed is already half-empty (or half-full for optimists like myself). Fortunately, in a place such as Gamone, acquiring firewood is not a problem.

I certainly can’t complain about recent meteorological conditions here on the edge of the Vercors. Elsewhere in France, particularly in Brittany, there have been tempests and flooding. Christine and François had the impression, for a week or so, that they were being struck by a new tempest every day.

Talking about things popping up like primroses, what are those two brand-new wooden boxes that have suddenly appeared alongside the doorstep of my house?

There must be some kind of an explanation…

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gamone has been Google-mapped

I’ve just discovered, by chance, that Google Maps apparently carried out a street-view operation at Gamone in May 2013. Here’s the road leading up to my house:

Click to enlarge

Here’s a panoramic view of my house:

The Google vehicle carried on up the road to my neighbors’ house. There’s a nice view of the Cournouze seen from a point just below Jackie’s house:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Gamone panorama

My English cousin Roger Latton (on my paternal Pickering line) came to visit me last summer, with his wife Sue. An excellent photographer, he has just sent me this splendid panoramic image of the Bourne Valley at the level of Gamone, taken from the Croix de Toutes Aures (a spot just above my property):

Click to enlarge
On the left, there’s a corner of the cliffs of Presles. In the middle, the Cournouze promontory is crowned by clouds. On the right, the Bourne Valley is closed by the twin mountains of the Barret and the Trois-Châteaux. This is surely the most spectacular photo of my corner of the world that I've ever seen. Bravo, cousin Roger!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Authenticity versus decoration

Following up on my previous blog post [display], I wish to tackle here the interesting questions of basic distinctions—both structural and purely visual—between an authentic old-fashioned wood-burning oven, on the one hand, and a trivially-decorated concrete shit-house, on the other. In a nutshell, it’s the same kind of distinction that exists between two vastly different kinds of bread that we encounter these days. Once upon a time, in France, loaves of bread were generally round or oblong.

Industrial sliced bread (of the kind I recently purchased for my Australian visitors at Xmas) then arrived on the scene… without making any kind of gigantic impact in France.

Notice the striking geometrical contrast between the lovely curves of old-fashioned bread and the harsh rectangularity of the plastic-enclosed industrial product. That’s exactly the distinction that concerns me between a nice old-style stone oven and the nasty flat rectangular shit-house shape that arises inevitably when you’re tempted to install your bread oven inside an external structure made out of so-called CMUs (concrete masonry units) of the kind used to erect modern housing.

Now, I’m not saying that everything of a flat rectangular kind is necessarily ugly in the bread oven domain. That would be a stupid evaluation of the historical situation, because countless ancient bread ovens were incorporated into farmhouses of a basically rectangular architecture. All I’m trying to say is that we should strive to steer clear, as far as possible, of the ugly shit-house shape derived from the use of CMUs.

In the catalogue of examples from the oven manufacturer, let’s start with the worst. Here’s what I would call a Mickey Mouse oven:

I have the impression that a pizza emerging from such a flimsy oven (if ever such an emergence were indeed possible) would have a curious flavor of lollipops. Such an oven might maybe produce cup cakes (?), but nothing more substantial.

This second example embarrasses me a lot, because I must admit that my Photoshop vision of a “dressed up” wood oven in my Gamone cellar was largely inspired by the following esthetic atrocity, which stinks of pretentious nouveaux riches design:

Fortunately, not everything is mildly nauseating in the manufacturer’s photo album. Here’s an oven that I would qualify as “heavy-handed, but not at all bad”:

And here’s a second example that I would qualify as “bad at the bottom, but quite good at the top”:

From a design viewpoint, the creator of a structure housing a wood-fuelled oven should do his utmost to move away from the flat verticality of the amorphous shit-house model, and he should make the structure attractive without any need for abominable decoration. In the context of this noble ambition, a fundamental factor is the nature and quality of the building materials. You can’t build the Parthenon using nothing more than CMUs and a painted plaster coating.

Great news!  Yesterday afternoon, I was thrilled to learn, by chance, that there’s a supply of superb construction stones just a few kilometres away from Gamone, in the village of Auberives-en-Royans. The stone costs next to nothing, but there’s a hitch. The purchaser has to sort through the huge pile of stone in order to to extract the actual fragments that he wishes to purchase. So, next spring, I foresee long hours spent in the Auberives quarry, with my Kangoo and my trailer in the background. Meanwhile, here’s a specimen of this wonderful limestone that I brought back from Auberives yesterday afternoon:

Insofar as one might fall in love with stone, I fell in love immediately, yesterday afternoon, with this magnificent limestone product. Admire its cream-hued density. The firm at Auberives, Fromant (my enemy, a few years ago, in the battle—which we won—to prevent quarrying next to Gamone), designates this stone as Rencurel (the next village up from Choranche). I learned with stupefaction that the small quarry in question belonged to my former friend Roger Zanella [deceased a few years ago and buried in the cemetery of Choranche], who was one of my primary contacts during my installation at Gamone. (I could talk for ages about my friendly contacts with Roger.) If indeed Roger’s limestone were soon to house my bread oven at Gamone, that would be (in my mind) a minor but magnificent miracle. In the case of Roger Zanella (a native of the Vercors, of the Bourne, and a celebrated hunter), all was authenticity. There was no place for decoration.

For my future wood-fuelled oven, I'll have to select and bring back to Gamone an adequate stock of this splendid Rencurel limestone. Then, starting next Spring, I'll erect patiently my Gamone bread oven—day by day, stone by stone—which will emerge slowly with all the sensuous pastel-hued roundness of a nicely-baked female from Auguste Renoir.

Pizza oven obstacles

Towards the end of my recent article entitled Damaged wood shed [display], I made the following announcement:
I would like to install my future pizza oven beneath a wooden canopy—roughly half as wide as the wood shed, and of a similar style, probably not quite as high—located approximatively at the current place of Fitzroy’s kennel… which would be moved to the spot where the compost box is currently placed.
Not surprisingly, whenever I come out with news of that kind, I realize that I’m likely to receive feedback. To a large extent, that’s why I’ve got into the habit of making such announcements on my blog. And it’s most likely that this feedback will impinge upon the announcement itself, causing it to be modified or even abandoned… to be replaced by a later announcement of a different kind.

Here’s a photo of the entire area to the left of the point where the road meets up with my house at Gamone:

Click to enlarge

On the left, there’s my mailbox, alongside a gigantic poplar tree that I really should remove one of these days, because its branches could possibly be blown onto the house during a blizzard (such as the one that struck us at Xmas). For the moment, the area between the mailbox and the old linden tree is a work zone, where I stock sand and gravel, and park my trailer. After the linden tree, there’s my recently-built wood shed, followed by Fitzroy’s kennel, a wooden compost container, and then my sunken rose garden (directly in front of the house).

Yesterday, when I explained to Serge and Tineke that I was thinking of erecting my future pizza oven at the spot where the kennel now stands, they reacted quite negatively, telling me that it would be a pity to set up a big mass of concrete (1.5m square and 2m tall) at this central point of visual contact with both the ancient stone house (on the right) and the magnificent Bourne Valley and the Cournouze (to the left).

Concerning my future pizza oven, I must make it clear that there is indeed an underlying Big Problem—in fact, a Big Ugliness Problem—which I shall now attempt to describe. You see, the future oven is composed of a small set of heavy pink stone elements that have to be assembled on a metre-high platform and glued together by a special mortar. In the following photo, two men are installing one of the final elements of the oven:

The man on the left is standing on the ground, whereas the fellow on the right has climbed up onto the square platform, whose minimal area is about 1.5m by 1.5m. Here’s a view of the fully-assembled oven, with a metal smoke pipe emerging from an opening above the entry into the dome of the oven:

You can detect the presence of three concrete walls surrounding the oven, and extending upwards to a height of about 40cm above the highest element of the assembled oven. The general idea is that the builders will now use concrete bricks to close this façade of the structure, in such a way that only the element with the semi-circular opening (including its flat threshold) remains visible. Finally, the interior of the cubic box enclosing the oven will be filled with rockwool and sand (up to the top of the above photo) in order to isolate the oven thermally from the outside world. It goes without saying that this total isolation is absolutely necessary if the burning wood inside the oven is to generate an inside temperature capable of cooking a pizza or baking bread.

Now, what this means is that the starting point of the building operations generally consists of using ugly concrete bricks to erect the platform upon which the oven is to be assembled.

Once the platform (capable of supporting a weight of about half a ton) is in place, you carry on upwards for another metre or so, with more concrete bricks, in order to erect the three above-mentioned walls forming a box around the future oven. And you finally close the top of this concrete structure with some kind of a roof supporting an external chimney. Here is the precise French-language schema for this structure, as supplied by the oven manufacturer, named Ephrem:

At this point, I would imagine that my readers are starting to understand what I meant, a moment ago, when I spoke of a Big Ugliness Problem. We started out imagining that we were going to erect some kind of old-fashioned wood oven, and we seem to be ending up with a nasty box-shaped concrete structure that looks more like an outdoor shit-house with a chimney coming out of the roof! Clearly, something has gone wrong… and something must be done to retrieve a minimum of esthetic harmony and old-fashioned charm. But what?

If you read the brochures produced by the firms that manufacture such ovens, or if you talk with bricklayers or the employees of hardware stores, you’ll soon encounter the French verb habiller, which might be translated as “to clothe”. In other words, you’re encouraged to “dress up” the harsh concrete surfaces of the shit-house with some kind of decorative material such as glued-on tiles, slabs of stone or even (horror of horrors) plaques of fake stone. Here’s a Photoshop presentation of how I imagined naively that I might be able to “clothe” the concrete shit-house if it were to be erected inside the ancient cellar of my house at Gamone (an idea that I've since abandoned):

However, anybody with an ounce of construction experience and imagination knows that, no matter how hard you try to “dress up” a vertical wall of concrete bricks, the end result will always look like… an unhappy attempt to “decorate” a vertical wall of concrete bricks. So, it’s better to refrain from even trying to cheat in this way.

Another “solution” consists of simply plastering the eyesore shit-house in a minimalist fashion and then making an effort to hide it as best you can, either by erecting it in an out-of-sight corner, or by covering the ugly structure in a more-or-less attractive wooden shed, or by a combination of these two remedies. To tell the truth, those were the approaches that I was contemplating sadly over the last day or so, since the visit of Tineke and Serge.

Happily, there is in fact a pleasant and authentic solution to this challenge, which would consist simply of using noble materials (local stone) to build a genuine and attractive small stone “cabin” in which to assemble the oven... maybe in the zone between my mailbox and the linden tree. As of this afternoon, I have ascertained that this honest down-to-earth approach is perfectly feasible, and that I could carry out the construction operations on my own, single-handed… but I’ll leave my detailed explanations for a future blog post.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Portrait of a sporting dog

You’ve seen photos of great sportsmen and sportswomen posed alongside the tools of their trade. For example, alongside a rugbyman, there’s an oval ball; alongside a tennis star, a bag of newly-strung rackets, etc. In this portrait of Fitzroy, basking in this morning’s winter sun, his faithful blue hose-running equipment lies just below him.

Click to enlarge

On an average, this metre of hose is only used for about a minute or so a day, whenever Fitzroy decides to perform a series of three or four dynamic sprints in front of the house, with the blue hose clenched between his teeth. It’s a little like the high-tech bicycle of a track cyclist specializing in 200-metre sprints. The equipment is only actually used by the champion for a brief lapse of time, when he or she is operating in an exceptionally high-powered state. Then the equipment is simply set aside until the next sprinting session, maybe on the following day.

Nevertheless, even when sporting champions are not actually using their precious equipment, it’s never far away from them, and generally in sight.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Damaged wood shed

Let me explain my title. I’m talking of a recently-constructed shed at Gamone, made out of timber and designed to house firewood. The tiled roof of this shed was damaged severely (as you might be able to see in the following photo) during the wind blizzard that struck Gamone during the Xmas period.

Click to enlarge

Most of the tiles in the three or four lower rows of the roof were uplifted by the wind. Few, however, were actually broken. As things stand, only the background pile of firewood (planned to age for another year) might be dampened through gaps in the tiled roof. So, the immediate consequences of this mishap—throughout the approaching winter—are minimal. Meanwhile, I know exactly how I must set about repairing this damage, in a series of several well-defined operations:

• First, I shall have to remove the totality of tiles (few of which were broken by the blizzard), and pile them up neatly on the ground. Then I shall remove all of the narrow horizontal battens upon which the tiles were laid.

• I shall then board up the entire roof surface with thin timber referred to in French as volige. (I haven't found the English translation of this technical term.) I realize today (a little too late, you might say) that I should have laid this volige in the beginning, before putting the tiles in place, but I didn't imagine, naively, that it might serve any useful purpose.

• Be that as it may (there's no sense in fretting about old errors), I shall then nail new battens in place, and lay out the tiles once again.

• The lower row of tiles will be fixed to the woodwork by means of brass screws through carefully-drilled holes, and successive rows will be held in place by dabs of Sikaflex mastic.

• Finally, to prevent gusts of wind from hitting directly the inside surface of the roof (which then behaves like the sail of a boat), I intend to board up the upper front third of the façade of the wood shed.

• If, after all those carefully-planned adjustments, my wood shed still suffers damage through seasonal winds, then all I can say is that it’s surely the will of God or the Devil (I don’t care which)… and I will no longer give a damn.

Meanwhile, let me take this opportunity of sneaking in an advanced item of information concerning Future Plans for Gamone. In a nutshell, I would like to install my future pizza oven beneath a wooden canopy—roughly half as wide as the wood shed, and of a similar style, probably not quite as high—located approximatively at the current place of Fitzroy’s kennel… which would be moved to the spot where the compost box is currently placed.

Not so long ago, I had a sudden revelation that a pizza/bread oven at Gamone would function perfectly well outside the main house… just a few metres from my front door. In other words, there’s no sense in my bending over backwards in an attempt to place this future much-desired pizza/bread oven inside the ancient cellar, where the problem of the evacuation of smoke would be critical and hard to solve (with safety). Besides, it’s so much more fun designing a pizza/bread oven from scratch, outside in the open, without the constraints of space.

The basic pizza/bread oven will be enclosed by a rectangular cement block, 1.5m by 1.5m, about 2.0m high. It will be protected by a shed (four massive posts and a tiled roof) of about 2.5m (wide) by 2.0m (deep), with a small protruding chimney. It goes without saying that I would appreciate any architectural design suggestions.

Certain designers prefer to house their pizza/bread oven within a curved plaster tortoise shell that encompasses the oven within a minimal volume of isolation, culminating in a neat little chimney. Apart from the fact that I wouldn’t know how to actually build such a curved structure, I’m not sure that the volume of the thermal isolation surrounding the oven should be reduced to this minimal extent (for operational reasons).

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sister Jill

Yesterday was the 60th birthday of my sister Jill Skyvington, who has just spent Xmas here at Gamone with her husband Kim Taylor, their lovely daughter Indiya and Indiya's friend Kyle. During their stay, I wasn’t particularly active at a photographic level. I was otherwise busy, while sensing that my family friends were taking care of images through constant Facebook activities. A single photo emerged from my old Nikon, but it happens to be superb.

Click to enlarge

On the slopes of Gamone, Jill grins with glee, surrounded by donkeys and the dog Fitzroy (held by Kyle). In the background, a giant walnut tree had been toppled on the previous night by an unexpectedly violent Xmas tempest. My old donkey Moshé is the rightmost beast, observing calmly the scene. For Jill, Kim, Indiya and Kyle, this was indeed an authentic vision (amongst others) of my home at Gamone.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

There will be smoke

Yesterday morning, my new chimney at Gamone became fully operational for the first time. And the dense column of smoke arising from the rooftop chimney was a friendly sign.

I lit up the stove and fuelled it with two or three sturdy chunks of extra-dry firewood. Then full steam ahead! During the first hour or so, I was anxious… like the captain of the Titanic looking out for icebergs. My imaginary “icebergs” would have been spots (literally hotspots) in the vicinity of the stove where the temperature might have appeared to be excessive and dangerous. In fact, there were effusions of all kinds, both from my recent paintwork and from the iron stove itself… but nothing of an alarming nature. The stove even emitted a wonderful “song” brought about by mysterious metallic vibrations. After an hour or so, everything seemed to settle down into a kind of harmonious cruising state. And Fitzroy took advantage of the delightful warmth that was permeating our ground floor.

Driving down towards Pont-en-Royans, Tineke and Serge noticed the smoke, and they drove up here immediately with a bottle of fine wine to celebrate the new warmth of Gamone. In fact, they came upon me in a state of turmoil, trying to unblock the kitchen sink. Serge helped me rapidly in the search for a solution to this problem, brought about primarily by the disastrous plumbing carried out by an unpleasant local "plumber" (hired in 1994 by the Grenoble architects in charge of the restoration of Gamone)… who hasn’t spoken to me for years, ever since I told him frankly that he was a lousy tradesman. The basic problem is due to the fact that the waste-water evacuation tubing—integrated into the reinforced concrete slab beneath my house—isn’t sufficiently sloped, and the slightest muck blocks it. Happily, I can live with this plumbing problem, provided that I respect a certain number of constraints.

PS It's Wednesday morning, and I've just had an opportunity of confirming an interesting aspect of this particular stove (the Bradford model from the French Invicta company). If I place three or four chunks of wood in the stove before going to bed, they burn slowly all night, keeping the house warm. Then, this morning, I found that the wood was all burnt, leaving a layer of hot coals in the stove. All I had to do, this morning, was to put more wood into the stove, and it blazed up within a few minutes. Incidentally, I've just ordered (through the Internet) some obligatory instruments.

The device on the left is a smoke detector, and they are now obligatory in all French homes. The slightly more complex device on the right is a carbon monoxide detector, and the presence of such a detector is highly recommended in any dwelling that burns fuel (inside the dwelling) for heating. When the ordered goods have arrived (within a day or so), if the Good Lord has saved me between now and then from being consumed by fire or gassed, I intend to install such a pair of devices at two strategic spots in my house: on the ground floor (where the stove is located) and on the upper floor (with the bedrooms).

Friday, December 6, 2013

Habemus invictam

Trying to capture an image (for posterity) of the very first wisp of white smoke emerging from my new chimney at Gamone is like taking photos of a polar bear in the Arctic snow. At this time of the year, almost everything in the sky of Choranche looks like wisps of white smoke.

Click to enlarge

To obtain this proof that smoke does indeed go up the chimney that I designed and erected (with constant help from my friend and neighbor Serge Bellier), I burned no more than a bit of paper and a few wood chips, because I’ll only be taking the stove up to its operational temperature over a period of a week or so, to give the metal time to gradually expand and creak itself into shape.

My only blog reader who’s likely to understand the title of this post is my son François, who also installed a French-manufactured wood stove of the Invicta brand. I was almost going to write Habemus poelam, but Christine would have lost no time in correcting me. The modern French word poêle can indeed designate either a frying-pan or a wood stove, but the ancient Romans only used poela in the first sense. They did not use metal stoves for heating. Their domestic heating installations were based upon steam generated in the cellar by a hypocaust system associated with a furnace (in the style of a pizza oven).

This is the same kind of system that was used to heat up water in a pool—called a caldarium—in the splendid Somerset city of Bath.

At Gamone, my living room is already well heated by my fireplace… provided that I keep the glass cover down, instead of raising it so that I can warm my toes while watching TV: a great pleasure, which I often share with Fitzroy, lying in my lap. Incidentally, talking about Fitzroy, I bought him an elegant cushion yesterday, which I promptly lined with an old pair of ski pants that I’ve outgrown.

For the first time in ages, Fitzroy spent the entire night on the kitchen floor in his new bed, which he guards jealously as if it were a bone that an evil passer-by might try to steal.

PS Don't be too alarmed by the grubby state of my kitchen floor. Apart from the fact that I'm only slowly emerging from the lengthy period of construction of my wood shed [display], not to mention final operations concerning the installation of the wood stove (during which time my tools were often left lying upon the kitchen floor), the current dirty state of the floor is due above all to the fact that the evacuation system for used sink water is clogged up once again. I'll fix that tomorrow, and clean up the mess in the kitchen. One thing at a time...