After a many years of decline, our little corner of paradise no longer has any uninhabited ruins. I met one of our neighbours yesterday who was saying how lovely it was now to walk from her house round to where they keep their two veal calfs and to the chickens. For years, she said, it was too sad to walk past the house that is now being renovated, and past our potager that is now under cultivation for the first time in 10 years. Both were in a tragic state of decay and neglect. She used to take a different route just to avoid the sight. For her it was no longer sad, but a great pleasure to walk past.
We met because I was recovering the fallen stones from the dry stone wall that runs along the front of our potager. Quite a few had fallen onto the side of the road over the previous years, some through collisions with tractors, and some being gradually pushed by two shrubs that have taken root in the centre of the wall. It looks better already, but I'm quite keen to rebuild the wall as it was. Most revuilding of walls here involves replacing the dry stone with large flat cap stones technique with mortar and rounded tops. The effect is very different, and being an old traditionalist in such matters, I intend to stick with the dry technique. It's a long time since I did any, and even longer since I learned how to do it, but it's got to be worth a go.
My mind then started wandering to the other remaining walls in the village, and how they are slowly decaying. Wouldn't it be great to get some kind of little project together to recover and rebuild the walls? Work otu a plan with the neighbours, so that practicalities like getting around with farm machinery can be accommodated, and then run holidays for people wanting to learn how to do it from a real craftsman (not me!), make a real difference to a beautiful place, and have a superb holiday at the same time! Any takers?