Experiencing new holidays

Oh dear! All our guests and visiting friends have now left and we have time to get the house or houses into something resembling order.
I started with the tool shed. After our donkey died I installed shelves in her little house (after a respectable amount of time, of course) and renamed it the tool shed. I transferred all the tools into the shed and laid them out very tidily so that I might go there and immediately lay my hands on exactly what I needed to do a job. The only problem was that when I returned the tools, they somehow never quite got back to where they had previously lived. What is more, I suspect that someone snuck in there some nights and jumbled up all the tools. The result is that I have to clear out the shed at least once a year, clean up the shelves and floor and put the tools back into their proper position. After doing so, I of course resolved that I would keep it that way. (As I always resolve to put music CDs back in their cases and back on the shelf and in the right category.)
So, last week I tackled the tool shed. I started by taking everything off the shelves and stacking it all on a table outside. During that process I discovered the instruction booklets for a few dozen power tools. As I currently only own three such tools I decided to discard the surplus. My eyesight these days is such that I have to remove my specs to read, I did so and started the job. Within five minutes or so I was called to the phone by Die Frau. The call resulted in me firing up the computer to search for an email and that led me to looking for my one terabyte external drive. That was easy, but I have a jumble of about 20 computer leads for cameras past and present, external drives and goodness knows what else, all hanging on a nail in the wall. I needed to sort them outandhellip!
I canand’t remember what that diversion led to but the morning went by, diversion after diversion, with no further progress on tidying the tool shed. Come lunchtime I was physically quite tired, having walked or run through every room of the house, so decided to eat my lunch in my comfortable armchair whilst watching the news. Now then, where did I put my specs?
While looking for my glasses I several times found myself standing in a room staring at the shelves or tables and asking myself what I had come into the room for. The same thing had happened throughout the morning as I went from one digression to another. I wasnand’t looking for the glasses on those occasions I was usually looking for a tool I had been using on a previous diversion. I later learned that I had also lost two cups of coffee and a tumbler of wine somewhere. We definitely need some kind of estate manager here.
Two days later, I have just returned from a journey up and over the roof. The pitch of the roof is about 35 degrees, which is just about the steepest pitch a human can operate on without roof ladders — and by and”humanand” I mean a young fit human male. I remember a time when I was able to run up the roof from the high ground at the back of the house, and having reached the ridge I could fairly confidently walk along the ridge. These days I flounder around up there either on my bottom with both hands and both feet flat on the tiles or I crawl about on my belly. Today I spent an hour or so rigging a rope to secure anchor points on both sides of the roof, then I crawled up one side, sort of half swarming up the rope, then managing to get over the ridge and, on my bottom with one hand firmly grasping the rope, to descend until I reached the point of the roof that needed attention. Iand’ll not bother you with the blow-by-blow account of what I did but I returned to earth a mere 10 minutes later: exhausted. I needed to go up again the next day to finish the job.
h2 A new roofh2 We designed and built the new roof on this house ourselves, with some local direct labor, but when we first came to Turkey we employed a building contractor to restore the first little cottage we owned. He was a very established, and by the way a very nice young man. I am fairly sure that he was honest, too. What he had little idea about though was what, to Europeans, are traditional building practices. That problem actually arose with the architect who we were told we had to employ. After he had been working on the drawings for our tiny little cottage for about a week, Frau and I went to his office to enquire as to progress. He proudly showed us the roof drawing, which was still on the drawing board. After a few minutes Frau noticed a problem. The plan of the roof clearly showed a hip-ended roof whilst the front elevation showed a gable-ended roof. Frau pointed this out in her less-than-perfect Turkish. Cue and”groanand” and exaggerated rolling of eyes! The architect, speaking very slowly to make himself understood by the stupid (female) yabanci, explained that the plan was looking and”DOWNand” on the house whilst the front elevation was looking at the house from the and”FRONTand”. (More eye-rolling.) Patiently Die Frau said she was well aware of that but that the two views should, ideally, agree. I would like to say that the architect was embarrassed, but the truth is that his pride forbade that emotion in the circumstances. (Female and yabanci.)
I cannot deny that the cottage was constructed well enough from the ground up, but they had obviously only built flat concrete roofs before. I insisted that they include black waterproof roofing felt before the battens and tiles, but when we timed a site visit to perfection we learned that they had no idea that they should start at the eaves and lap each horizontal strip of felt over the previous by about 200 millimetres as the strips progressed up the roof. With some difficulty we persuaded them to take off the tiles and reveal their crime. What we saw reminded me of a stretch of road under a fig tree at a certain time of year. The background color (light wood of the roof) was patterned with occasional flat black patches. I guess the foreman had bought one roll of roofing felt and instructed his men to spread it out over the roof to please the daft yabancis.
We asked for a planked floor but got a parquet floor. That too was eventually replaced.
By and large most of the specialist tradesmen did an OK job on that house. Our most difficult job was trying to have the plasterer, a very good plasterer, do a job that wasnand’t very good! We wanted plaster on the less-than-perfectly-flat stone walls, which would at least have resembled the original. Eventually he understood, and”Ah! Touristic! Tamam.and”
Perhaps the worst job is yet to come. In our own house we fully occupy the attic space with our bedroom and the office. The eaves however are used as stowage for hardly used stuff together with stuff that weand’ll probably never use but canand’t bear to throw out. Much like your own attic or cellar, I bet. We have suitcases in there almost year-round and fans and heaters there alternatively for periods of about six months each, thereand’s a laundry basket full of computer leads and dozens of DC mains to 6-, 9- or 12-volt AC adapters. There is my collection of top-of-the-range shortwave radio receivers, which are virtually redundant these days. There are also, of course, a couple of bivouac tents and our sleeping bags waiting for our Arctic or Himalayan trip.
I have mentioned before that small animals have easy access to the eaves, so regular (every few years)leaning is essential. Iand’ll just go find my specs and get on with that job.


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