So after my last post I haven't, in fact, been exiled to the far corner of Can't-Get-It-Together-Land; rather, I had probably more supportive emails than I deserve - including one from somebody whose booking I had to decline - and a (very welcome and much enjoyed) dinner invitation from a friend in the next village. This was a Very Good Thing, as a few weeks earlier I had endured a long, angry and bitter angry tirade about how wrongly we were doing everything, how over-perfectionist we were being, how ridiculous it was to make our own paints/spend days and weeks restoring bits of furniture/strip and re-finish floors/put in an oak kitchen, and .... well, you get the drift. We should, apparently, just be spending as little as possible, slapping white paint on all the walls, and furnishing the place in a day by taking a truck to IKEA, because (and I quote) after all it's only a f***ing rental, the punters won't be able to tell the difference and in any case they'll f***it all up within months. I'm not going to tell you where this came from, but suffice it to say that I was particularly shocked, and offended, precisely because it came from where it did.
I'm not, and never have been, interested in quick fixes to make money - and let's face it, anyone who goes into either property restoration or offering hospitality to make a fast buck is very quickly going to be disillusioned. There's a wonderful French phrase, mettre en valeur, which has no direct equivalent in the English language: to do what it takes to show something to its best advantage, to enhance, to bring out and develop the best in something. Well, that's what we're doing here: for ourselves, for sure, but also for those who were here before us, for those who'll come to share our home with us from time to time, and for those who'll eventually take over as Grillou's guardians some time in the (hopefully distant) future.
And that's why I'm happy to have spent the last three weeks on my hands and knees; first hand sanding, staining and waxing the wooden half of the floor in L'Atelier's grenier-turned-bathroom, and then laying a new floating floor in the living area downstairs.