5th of January

Second last day of holidays, here we are again, finally ready to start for real!

Shopping is done, we are equipped with everything we need, we have even retrieved some fruit crates (moreover they’re pink!!!) to recycle them as containers of various items (and sooner or later they’ll become part of some wonderful kind of furniture I’m thinking of…).

First entries of our list: checking the plumbing and the chimney. Maybe this will allow us to have at least one bathroom available and to warm some rooms up, or we hope so!

Our neighbour gave us some mysterious hints on where the water meter should be placed, so Daniele entered the wild woods, going down till the end of the hill to find it, while I was standing where the water inlet is. He tried to open the water valve and checked that pressure gauge was stable, so we could verify there was no water leackage, at least in the external section of the plumbing. Very good! Daniele will only have to fix a little damage in the small bathroom placed in the basement, that’s the second part of the water pipe.

And from the basement we move to the attic to check the chimneys, one coinciding with the fireplace, the other with the kitchen stove. Daniele has to climb a considerably steep ladder, slip into a small trapdoor, recognize where the chimneys are, and while I light up a fire with some paper, first in the fireplace, then in the stove, he has to check there’s no smoke emission under the roof. He’s the one who goes into dangerous missions… And everything seems alright! The fireplace seems to be making its duty quite enough, even if it will need a deep cleaning for some smoke remains in the room.

The fireplace

The fireplace

Even if it was deserted for about ten years, this house seems to be in very good conditions! Even the structure is ok, and this was a crucial point to settle the purchase. Both walls and the roof are well preserved and don’t need any particular restoration work to guarantee safety. Obviously there are many interventions required, but they will be focused mainly on wiring and plumbing and in general on improving the energy efficiency.

Maybe I should say something more to give a general description of the property, only I don’t want to reveal all at once! For the moment I can say it’s a red bricks house (with some inserts of a local yellow stone called “tufo”), very typical of this area of Monferrato. It is L shaped, 10 rooms including shed and barn, even if in origin it was a sole building with the neighbour’s house, so it was double its size! Moreover there’s a spacious  garage annexed, which at the moment houses a vintage farming cart, plus a huge basement where people used to produce wine.

Ok, so our second intervention dealt with the external front façade, I gave my small contribution… but the biggest contribution was Daniele’s… Well, there was this gracious band in grey cement, 80 cm at the feet of the wall along the whole façade, ugly, seriously, and being in cement it could not allow perspiration of walls, so we demolished it, using chisel and small mallet, oh and a pickaxe helped, too. Big parts were already detaching, making things easier (those stucco parts that are about to get off the wall are irresistible, can’t help pulling them off by hand…).

Mallet and chisel

Mallet and chisel

While Dani was intent to giving the biggest contribution, I activated the fantastic loan from my father, an industrial vacuum cleaner that will save me. With it I launched the disinfestation of many rooms, my famous fight against spiders & co. To reach high corners (ceilings are more than three meters high) I fastened the vacuum hose to an extendable stick. Soooooo tiring! But seeing rooms a bit cleaner  gave me a certain satisfaction, really!

Industrial vacuum cleaner….. oh yeah!

And in the end, just a bit of poetry, I hadn’t included it yet… well the picture might be a bit out of focus, but the starry sky that every evening awaits outside of here, before going back home, in the silence of the hills, is something I could not describe…

Starry sky

Starry sky

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