building work in progress…

We’ve been very lucky: The roof has been replaced without a single drop of rain falling! And the chimney does NOT have to be torn down – although it looked all crumbly, actually it was still solid as a rock.

Today we are reclaiming the upstairs bed room. We didn’t think things through before the roofers came, didn’t realise just how much debris and glass wool would drop down on everything. We left all clothes rails uncovered and now we have to pay the price… I’m on the 4th wash, and it will take us a day of hoovering until we can safely enter the room without a mask on.

Meanwhile we’ve had a flurry of Airbnb bookings. Tonight we have a guest from Argentina. The kitchen and the bathroom have already been redecorated, so Santiago will get the benefit of a pristine environment.

Check out our Blue Salon, in case you need accommodation in Cardiff:

There is never a dull moment here :-)

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Working on the Cardiff house

I suppose it’s inevitable. Once you start taking apart an old house, you will find some surprises.

The roofers are hard at work. All day the tiles come clattering down the chute and crashing into the skip outside the door. At lunch, they call us to climb up the ladder and onto the roof.

Three storeys up, you get a beautiful view over Cardiff, if a bit scary too. I didn’t use to have vertigo, but I’m obviously out of practice. However, Tony didn’t ask us up there to admire the view but to see the damaged chimney which, according to him, has to come off. Too many cracks, it’s beyond repair, he says.

We ‘found’ two helpful young lads on our doorstep the day before we started to decorate. So they are here, helping with the P&D. They are learning on the job, under Frank’s tutelage. There are boxes everywhere and the dust is building up, and it’s only day 3 of many more to come.

My job is to keep everything else running. So today I finished off the tax return, did some Tango admin and made some stew for lunch. I’m also looking out for Frank, so he doesn’t get too overwhelmed by it all.

I think the main trick is to keep connected to each other. Then nothing else matters. To find a time in the morning and in the evening where we do something with each other, for each other. Even if it’s just cuddling up in front of a film.

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The packing has started: Today I reduce possessions in my flat down to one bedroom and a family is moving into the other rooms. We will move to Cardiff for 6 weeks to renovate Frank’s house.

Packing a box of books for our travels: mainly dictionaries, phrase books, verb drills etc – Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Croatian, Polish, Georgian…. I love languages, so these books have been with me for years, they are good friends.

It’s a powerful moment, a heady mix of closing a chapter in my flat and at the same time opening a big window to the journey ahead of us. We will travel through all these countries, with enough time to immerse ourselves in the language, in the culture, enough leisure to meet people, to stop where we want to.

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