Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Only a f***ing rental ......

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. The area we're (well, I'm - John's role is to bring me things and take them away again, a bit like an operating theatre assistant, while I crawl around the floor pushing and shoving and teasing and measuring and wiggling and jigsawing and guillotining. And swearing.) laying is only 35 square metres altogether, but it has no less than 11 different bits of wall, all at different angles to each other. Let's just say it's not the easiest thing I've ever done, which (like tiling the showers) is partly by my own design .... ideas above my station, my mother would have said. 

She was probably right. After all, it's only a f***ing rental, non?


Sandee said...

Mais non! It is more that that. It is your home too and a reflection upon what you and John believe in. You are amazing. Your blood, sweat, tears and cuss words will all add to your memories from your favorite sitting/swinging place some day. I have a feeling you will both be wearing smiles.

Kalba Meadows said...

Right on the ball as ever, Sandee! That is s o o o how we see it, which is why I was so shocked that someone who knows the work here so well could say what was said.But don't worry, in spite of everything we do smile, most of the time at least.

But what I want to know is - how did you know that one of the things I'd love to have is a swing seat???!

Sandee said...

(This is not really a post, rather an aside note.) We all say things in frustration that we should not have said and didn't truly mean. At least, I certainly have. I'd love to be able to take back some things that have come out of my mouth! I figure folks just have to consider the source...sometimes I'm a bit crazy and other times, I'm so mellow you'd think I had been bitten by something!
Enjoy the ride, my dear blogging friend!
By the way, if you still are not ready in 2012, I'm coming by for a "howdy" just the same!
My e-mail is

Kalba Meadows said...

Oh la vache .... I daren't even THINK about not being ready in 2012!

the devolutionary said...

Haven't been to your blog for a while. Blimey. Sounds like you're doing a fantastic job, exactly the way it should be done (because there isn't any other way).

Reminds me of what my dad said the first time he saw our place. He said: "You've bought a worthless piece of scrubland." That stung for a while (and still rankles). He was right in a way he didn't know at the time - we'd lost the planning permission that came with the land when we bought it, so it was 'worth less'. Much less. But it would have been nice if he'd been more supportive. Maybe it was his way of saying 'you've thrown your career and education away for nothing that makes sense to me'. But he couldn't put it into words. In fact, I doubt he even remembers saying it. Funny old universe.

All the best to you and yours.

Kalba Meadows said...

Hi Alex
Good to hear from you. It's funny how things like that sting and stick, isn't it? I guess we all want to be understood, somehow, and when people make comments which show that they actually haven't a clue what makes you tick - especially when they're people who you think 'should' get you - it rankles.

But it sounds like it's really coming together for you at last. Brilliant. Hope you get a whole bunch of great guests this summer.

Something strange is happening outside my window as I write this. It's raining.

the devolutionary said...

I, too, hear the pitter patter of tiny raindrops. At last,

Blog at Bardies said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Kalba. We get back what we give in life, and that goes for 'locateurs' as well. Why do people assume the worst?