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la Colle scetch 


 
 

Discovering La Colle en Provence - Euro Style

 
   

 

 

 
 

 

 To see our holiday and long term lets. 

My second reconstruction 1995 - 2011

 I hear a car near my south side, someone comes in through the main kitchen door. How ashamed I am at not being able to welcome this person, I know I'm damp and cold, un-inviting,  yet I believe that this person is here to stay. Well I hope so anyway.

Yes a fire is being lit in my hath, I feel for the first time in a long moment a little tinge of warmth as its winding fingers whisk up my chimney. The soft touch of the warmth starts to melt the sadness from my sole. Let's hope I'm right.

The man stays, he even sleeps on the little concrete banquette next to the chimney area. He tends to the fire regularly and it becomes a roaring hath soon this area is the centre piece of all the activity. Other people come over, conversations go on long into the day and sometimes night.

Machines start banging into my structure, day after day holes start appearing all over my walls. Other bigger machines arrive and start digging into my surrounds, even bashing and removing whole sections of me. I fear that they have actually come to destroy me.......

But then I started to feel new things being fitted to me, pipes and wires being placed all over me, new doors, new windows ...oh heaven they do love me and they will make me shine again.

 

 

This small film of 3 mins 40 secs compacts nearly 16 years of work on La Colle into it's brief presentation.

   

From Movies

Year after year work has been been done on me, I now brim and shine and I have but a distant memory of those sad times when I was left to slowly rot back to dust.

Some even think I have always been like this, but had it not been for the considerable effort of my owner I would never have been saved.

 

     Morning mists in October can bring lovely shafts of light.

The Plateax 

 

   Rod     

       There are no hard and fast rules that say that you have to complete it by a certain date and nothing says that you have to remain within a specific budget. Those decisions are yours to make when you want to make them according to your own restraints.

 

Yes it's very true. The only place I could get to be at all comfortable was near the fire place and as it was early May and the house had been left empty all winter it was very cold and damp.

I therefore made my centre of operations next to the fireplace and had it burning 24 hours a day. All meetings, meal and rest times were next to it, until the house warmed up sufficiently from the Spring weather.

The property was a complete ruin really I had to realise that I had in fact bought some walls that where semi covered by what looked liked roofs. We had no electricity and worked the power tools off a portable generator, everything had to be brought in as there was also no water and no other form of heating.

I was however able to determine that the basic structure was solid. But it was going to take a great deal of time and effort and off course money.

My initial task was to restore basic services: electricity and water and even though I had thought that this was just a simple job of re firing up the old system it turned out to be an extremely long and expensive process as everything had to be replaced. Also I had to get everything into a reasonable order so that EDF the French electricity supply company would re install the main connection.

At the same time as doing this I worked on a simple plan that involved completing 4 basic rooms for us to live in being a working kitchen, bathroom, kids bedroom and lounge bedroom. From this point I was able to work out from and tailor the continuation of the works according to my energy levels and budget constraints.

I also chose a system where we employed intensive periods of work to finish a fixed project and then followed it by a rest period so that we where not constantly in a building site. By using this method I was able to over the years completely restore La Colle to what it is today. (There is still much more that could be done to it, but it is comfortable).

I remember being criticised one day by one of my helpers who de-ridded me about my methods. He basically said that if I was to change the windows then I should change all of them first and then go onto the next item. I remember thinking at the time that if I followed his advise then I would probably go broke, there was about 25 window openings and to replace them all with hardwood double glazed windows would have eaten deeply into that years budget (actually probably more than the entire years budget), this would have resulted in a lot of windows that we would not use for a long time and nothing totally completed which we could use.

Therefore I decided that his sort of help wasn't needed anymore. I understand that to this day he has never bought or built his own house.

I have seen many programs about people buying up wrecks and then re-building them. Usually followed by a TV crew charting their development and the results usually are disastrous.

In my opinion the key mistake is that they take on too many things at once and do not finish any of them. Also no matter how much time and effort you have made to budget for finance and project time tables you are highly likely to be wrong. Buying up old properties are like buying into an unknown adventure nothing is just simple. Therefore you have to allow for the project to develop over time and leave the budgets open enough so that you can finish each section properly and use a certain amount of practical restraint. (You can always come back and uplift the decoration but you can not re materialise money once it is spent).

There are no hard and fast rules that say that you have to complete it by a certain date and nothing says that you have to remain within a specific budget. Those decisions are yours to make when you want to make them according to your own restraints.

 

If we all were not so much in a hurry maybe we would think a bit more about what we are doing and why.

Provence is a very laid back place and it has taught me that one should take ones time and not stress out because of time.

Everybody still has there own problems here thats still, for certain.

 

Rod Cook

Nov 2016

   

 

 

Discovering La Colle en Provence - What's next?

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Copyright: Rod Cook 2016