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Renovating in France | Roof tiles rain down from the sky

renovating in france

We (that is me and the Other Half) decided that we would get the structural work done on this old French house before we did any of the internal works and that included some of the out buildings.

We started by renovating the barns which came with the house – one of which is in the courtyard to the front of the house – mostly because we were worried that it would fall down – into the road on the other side. We think it was once a pig shed.

The building had walls to three sides, a tiled roof and was held up with various bits of wood. It was filled with coal, ashes from decades of wood fires that had just been chucked on the floor – a dirt floor on different levels. There was also a huge amount of general rubbish that previous owners couldn’t be bothered to put out for the dustbin collection (all of 5 metres away).The building itself was about 3 metres wide and 10 metres long – a very unaccommodating shape for most uses but we knew exactly what we wanted to do with it!

We had our work cut out for us, first we had to strip the building back to basics which meant taking the roof off completely.

The roof tiles are really old – they’re much bigger than modern tiles and we didn’t want to change the appearance of the house too much so we decided to take them down really carefully for me to clean and then we would reuse them.

This meant the OH standing up on the roof and dropping the tiles down to me to catch and stack.

renovating in france

This went well for a while, we got a rhythm going – I’d put my arms up, the OH would drop a hefty tile down, I’d clutch at it and put it on the steadily growing pile.

Until, I looked up to catch a tile and saw an enormous spider swinging from it.

I don’t like spiders – at all. I inherited a phobia from my Dad. He was once taking part in a very serious Bridge competition with international Masters. They were put up in a hotel. He saw a spider in his room and ran naked (he was in bed) into the hall calling for security. So, my spider fear I hope you agree is understandable if ridiculous.

My immediate reaction was to cover my eyes – not sure why really – so I couldn’t see the spider I suppose.

The OH wasn’t looking – on account of us having a rhythm.

I stood there and the tile dropped right onto the centre of my uncovered head.

I dropped to the floor like a stone I am told.

When I came to the OH had a very concerned look on his face but when we established that I just had a big bruise, a bit of a cut and was fine he found the whole thing hilarious – he doesn’t put up with my phobias and told me to man up.

What do you call a woman with a tile on her head: Roof (Ruth for my non English speaking friends who may not get the joke!)

I was ordered to get back to work and tile dropping began again – this time with me wearing my hard hat.

Next – a phoenix emerges from the rubble…

A bientôt,


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