Living and Building a home in the heart of France
9th January 2007
Wall, Street, Crash!
It's attached on one side to a small house used for storage belonging to the farmers. The other side is close to the road and David's house opposite, just 5 metres away. He and Win were alarmed to hear an almighty crashing noise around 8pm and ran out thinking their house had been hit by a meteorite. Luckily, since they complete on the sale of their house on Thursday, it wasn't their building but ours, a large chunk of which was now lying in a heap halfway across the road.
We rushed up the road with shovel, torch, wheelbarrow and waterproofs, since rain fell steadily all evening. We all started moving by hand the rocks and mud out of the road and into a big pile onto the only small piece of land that's ours, between the cow-sized door and the tractor-sized door of the barn. Tony then called on the farmer and his wife who without hesitation came out to help. Their tractor shifted the rocks in no time, so at least any passing traffic wouldn't crash into them.
The outer half-thickness of the wall had parted company with the inner half. The white blobs are not meteorites, they're raindrops. The ends of the roof timbers are exposed but fortunately so far the inner half of the wall is still holding up the roof. How scary is that?
Dinner had just arrived at the table last night when the phone rang. We nearly didn't answer it. But it was David just up the road with shocking news. Our barn wall had just fallen down.
We bought the barn shortly before we moved here to store our furniture while the new house was built, and we have to keep it because it's just too useful a space and still holds some furniture, garden machinery and assorted stuff.
The electricity cable had been connected from a pole across the road to the barn via a spike embedded in the stone wall. The spike was now hanging mid-air by the cables as that part of the wall was now gone, and the cable hung low over the road. The kind farmer's wife went and called EDF to come and make it safe. Tony also rang the Maire and although he was out for the evening, another chap from the commune came and placed warning signs on the road, then stood in the rain with the farmers, talking for another 2 hours!
The men from EDF, up a ladder in the rain on a dark, dark night. Respect is due.