“How is the house coming along?” I’m asked. I have been hearing that a lot lately, which is very kind of people to inquire. However, despite working very hard (tiling, painting, plastering and other maintenance), nothing appears to be getting done. ‘How is this possible?’ you think. Well, instead of working on the King Street house, I am working on the Church Street house – Padstow, Cornwall, England.
I am very fortunate that my parents bought a ‘summer house’ in England 40 years ago. My brother and I have now taken over the helm of maintaining it. We had the benefit of summers and vacations there for all these years with nary a thought of what it took to keep it looking so good – we just vacationed. Amazing really, now that I think about it.
Both my brother and I worked on our own houses back in the states, and considered ourselves pretty handy, but somehow we never thought of what it took to maintain Church Street. Mum never said or asked anything. She just got on with it. So English. So Marci, my brother and I recently spent 3 weeks there, continuing to undertake and coordinate much-needed maintenance and updating. And unlike my Mum, I am talking about it. Blogging about it. So American.
Working on Church Street is special. A childhood home, an ancient home by American standards (even compared to King Street), and the work is so different and challenging. Metric! Need I say more? But of course I will – I’m blogging about it for goodness sakes. The building techniques are different, the materials are different (17 mm. plywood sub floor?!?), and the regulations
are amazingly different. Who is this EU they keeping speaking of? Slate, stone, masonry, lead flashing, wood preservatives, 220 volts, and no power tools except what we borrow. And did I mention it’s all in Metric? It’s an adventure, and, when we finally manage to satisfactorily complete a project, very rewarding.
The added bonus, in addition to working on projects with my brother (who stateside lives 250 miles away and has his own busy life), is that our breaks from work entail glorious walks along desolate beaches, atop 100 foot cliffs, and through fields of cows, sheep and various crops. As I type this I think yet again how fortunate I am. What a great trip. Back to reality, though, and back to King Street – as soon as I catch up with work, bills, life. Now if only I can remember how to get back there ….