Last Sunday evening, not long back from our walk, the ‘phone rang. ‘It’s me, Francis. We’re coming round tomorrow, l’équipe, to knock down your shed’
Here in our back yard, or whatever you want to call it, was a large outbuilding, brick built, with a tiled roof. It housed gardening tools, all our winter wood, and all kinds of gubbins. It had to go. We could house the stuff elsewhere, and we really needed the space to make a rather ugly back yard into a garden. Our friends up the road, Francis and family, had offered themselves as demolition squad: we thought we’d take them up on it one day soon, after we’d finished the destroy-the-central-heating project.
But they had different ideas. About 12 hours after the phone call, at 8.30 prompt on Monday morning, most of the Fourtalin family trooped through the front door. Francis, Martine, Antoine (19), Eléa (20) and Indhie (15). By 8.35 the tiles were coming off the roof. By lunchtime, the shed was down, the yard was full of broken bricks and tiles, and we’d rescued a tiny bat sleeping between the roof tiles.
After 5 trips to the tip, an 11 mile round trip, Henri came round.’ You can’t go all that way! I’ll ring Benoît. I think he needs hard core.’ And he did. So on Tuesday we simply drove to Benoît’s farm, a mile away, and enjoyed being among the cows, hens, ducks and farm dogs as we ditched our trailer-loads of rubble. 8 trips that day.
We had the easy bit though. After Francis and Martine left on Moday, the three teenagers worked and worked, sorting and barrowing load after load of broken bricks and cement into the trailer. Great team.
Today, it was soon over. 3 trips with the trailer. And then…..well, there’s still a long way to go. But we became Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock of Ground Force fame, arranged a few pots of plants and shrubs, popped out the garden furniture….and could see the future of our ugly old yard as a rather restful, even cheerful, garden. Watch this space.