Thursday, 20 July 2017

Building.



Given my time again, I would have done more building. It's a very satisfying amateur occupation.

You don't need a diploma to throw up walls in either stone, brick or concrete blocks; it's not difficult. It requires a radio (to relieve brain-numbing boredom), a string with a weight tied to one end, and a £2 level.

The fun bit is trying to make whatever one is building, blend in with what's around it. My Pump House certainly wouldn't have been the same without its cut stone window, hand thrown pinnacles, and greenery.

Much of the appeal of the area in which I live, are its ancient buildings. Many of our towns date from the late 13th century; the era of The Hundred Years War. Beautiful old arched shaded walkways, wood or stone pillared central market places, and decorative carved stonework openings, are commonplace. 

It must be said that traditionally the most conscientious restorers of our local buildings have always been the Brits or the Dutch. They tend to have a natural respect for the integrity of an ancient building; far more than the natives. Not always the case, but in general this is so.

Inappropriate industrial roofing tiles are now very common. Bizarrely shaped window openings and plastic doors are incorporated into otherwise beautiful old stone-built cottages. No horror is too far-fetched.  There seem to be few restrictions when it comes to modernising ancient farmhouses or cottages.

Nowadays 'buildings' come in various unusual forms. One of our neighbours (and friend) is building a Holiday Village. He already has a 7 person 'Gite', and has been given permission to install several ready-to-go Shipping Containers which will be semi-buried beneath the ground in his field. I hear that the containers come complete with kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc, and apparently all they need is to be positioned, made as invisible as possible, then have the pipes and wires connected. That's it.

Both Lady Magnon and myself have surprised ourselves by our joint lack of concern about the project; there's no holding back progress!  Anyway, it would have been hypocritical of us to think otherwise, in light of the conversion of our Séchoir. 

The entrance to his new 'Village' will be opposite an empty semi-ruined house on the 'main' road, so none of us will be directly affected.

Another friend who previously lived in a fabulous Yurt wanted to install several more as holiday accommodation, but was refused permission, which we've never really understood. I can't see why they would say 'yes' to Shipping Containers, yet 'no' to Yurts; there doesn't seem to be a great deal of logic in the authority's choice of holiday housing.

C'est la vie. Hey ho!



25 comments:

  1. I can't knock a nail in without hitting my thumb.

    You can fix the hole in my kitchen floor if like ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do it yourself; I'll send the glue!

      Delete
  2. Yurts are very popular around here. Sleep with your all your friends in one tent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would have thought they'd be perfect for a get-away holiday.

      Delete
    2. I think they are - providing you all get along well!

      Delete
  3. Authorities make up the law as they go along it seems. Wonderful thoughts. There is something about building that is satisfying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm very much an amateur, but I love the whole process.

      Delete
  4. Why would you come to the Dordogne and want to stay in a shipping container? I hope he's done his market research.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Are they no laws in France like our " listed building" restrictions ? Your pump house is lovely .....well the bit I can see of it is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are, but it seems that they are 'flexible'.

      Delete
  6. Is there ever any logic about any local authority's housing policy?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One just has to hope that they know what they're talking about. Not always the case!

      Delete
  7. When I first went to New Zealand in 2005 double glazing and 'plastic' windows were virtually unknown and condensation in the winter was the norm even in million dollar houses. A friend built a million plus dollar house with single glazing. My cottage was the first to be built by the company with double glazing. Now, in such a short time, it's part of the building code. Living in buildings which fit in with the agricultural and historical construction is great when it's appropriate but for living in I think we have to be realistic. Mind you I'm not suggesting that containers are necessarily appropriate.

    On Lewis my house is sort of 'traditional' in that the original house was a croft house built with poured concrete in the 1920 and a blot on the landscape after the traditional after the traditional black houses. My son has just built a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom house were the former croft house stood on his croft. Would I want to live in the former corrugated iron croft house (they were obviously a relatively poor family)? Definitely not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please remind me to read and edit my comments before I post them.

      Delete
    2. I think it's quite different here, where all old houses are built of stone, and are an essential part of the area's appeal. There are plenty of modern homes too, which are probably much more comfortable to live in.

      Delete
  8. Around here peopel can be too tied to the past, it prevents there being a style of building that can be tied to the last 20 years or so, instead we have "anywhere" houses, built all round the country with no style or age to them (except the rooms are too small.
    Personally I'd like to see more self build sites like they've had in Wales, where you get lots of different styles and tastes being built side by side. Also I think there should eb a minimum garden size as well, but that will never happen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you Kev. It would be good for each region (county) to set aside an area, preferably wooded, for people to experiment. There is one such very small area not far away from us with about 6 interesting self-build homes.

      Delete
  9. Shipping container houses are the new fashion all over the world it seems . It is the search for cheap housing that drives it but I think they look pretty awful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These will be buried, with just the entrance end showing, so shouldn't be an eyesore. The field will probably end-up looking like undulating grass. I wonder how he'll mow it?

      Delete
  10. So no more building work for you then Cro? and as for the mowing then maybe a goat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, my building days are over. Just the occasional bit of DIY these days; and I keep that to a minimum.

      Delete
  11. So many of your photographs of your buildings would make beautiful paintings or watercolors! Ever tempted?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not really Jan; I tend to work by sitting in front of my subject (mostly landscapes these days). But you're very kind.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...