Who better to draw on today for a suitable metaphor than Noel Coward and his ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’.  For so it was today.  Better prepared for hot beating sun –  30°c in the shade – armed with strimmer, visor, wide brimmed peasant style fedora, factor 50 cream, bottles of iced water I set to like a mad thing cutting down knee high weeds, wild flowers and silvery velveteen cabbage type plants.  It was tough work and it would have been good to have done more but the sheer density of the grown and the occasional rasping grate of blade on stones prohibited more speed.   Able assistance was given by Goretti and her sister Judith raking up and removing the thick mat of material.  By about 2 O´clock and under  an unremitting sun it was time to ‘draw stumps’ and head for some shelter and shade for a well deserved lunch.

The roof has been removed this week, from what will be the dining room.   The tops of the exposed walls have been filled with a layer of  concrete.  This exercise will in due course be repeated right around the top perimeter of the external walls further strengthening them and thus the entire structure.  Many of the beams in this part of the house will have to be replaced as the exposed ends were rotten in the most part.  These will be replaced with new ones of Catalan ‘Roure’ (oak) instead of ‘Pi’ (pine) – less robust and tends to lose its shape etc.

For us the point of focus for the week has been what we call the service area – a small room in the basement which will be the ‘nerve centre’ for the majority of the services of the house – heating, electricity, water etc.  In short,  we are almost but not quite trying to get 2 or 3 quarts in the proverbial pint pot.  Yes, it all fits but my passion, namely ‘swing cats’ will not be performed here.  As this space provides direct access to the garden, it was hoped that it might afford the luxury of offering some room for garden related paraphernalia.  Now the answer is no, only welly boots and jackets.   The issue of the garden shed is beginning to crystallize.  By that I mean it is becoming more immediate.  The crystallization of the idea has never been that much of a problem for me and so far we have only been offered somewhat overdesigned solutions.    We need space for a lawn mower of some description, wheelbarrow, garden tools and other bits and bobs you wouldn’t expect to litter your house.  To one side of this is needed a simple lean-to for guests to secure their bikes.   Adjacent to this we envisage a small ‘hort’ (fruit and vegetable patch).  Here I would like to try and grow some of the stuff that is either difficult, expensive or downright impossible to get here – raspberries difficult (only seen occasionally at local markets and stupidly expensive; rhubarb impossible to get here although I have seen tinned stuff in Perpignan.  Blackcurrants are also on my radar.  We have been nurturing a horseradish plant in our garden here in  Cardedeu.  By rights, is should have landed up on some German’s plate as we bought it three years ago at a market in Aschaffenburg.  We flew it down here in ‘vegetable class’ – like most Ryan Air passengers and having encouraged it to produce roots by immersing it in water, duly planted it.  Now we have four or five horseradish roots which in time will find their way from our garden to your plate!

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