October 1, 2013

Bramasole under Wraps!

The long-delayed decision to begin another chapter of restoration at Bramasole happened one afternoon this summer when I was writing in my third-floor study. A sudden storm came up the valley with big gusts of rain, and soon a trickle of water streamed upon my head.  That was enough. We’d patched leaks before but with an almost three-hundred-year old roof, surely the guarantee expired a couple of centuries ago. We dreaded the time, expense, and supervision details, and of course we knew that other problems would appear.  How right we were. But, we are in it full steam. Ed is there now, calling every day for two hours of consultation on where to move what electrical box, and whether to rebuild a defunct chimney, and how to vent the heating. On and on!

The crane is big enough to build a skyscraper. Another larger crane had to hoist it onto the Rose Walk terrace, which then had to have cement platforms reinforced with rods going down to bedrock. You can see what it has done to my garden. You can’t see the favorite blue hydrangea bush and hazelnut tree that had to be sacrificed. Or the broken irrigation…. 

I guess the cloth keeps the men from looking down!  The old tiles will be somewhat cleaned and will go right back on the roof. In the end, the house will look like it always looked but I will be able to stay dry in my study, and with insulation, our house will be warmer in winter. Still, it’s kind of like getting a new washing machine vs. getting a new painting or sofa.

Inside, we decided to replace a badly modernized bathroom ceiling that we’d happily ignored for twenty three years. When the pile of rubble is removed, I hope not to see cracked tile.




Meanwhile, I take heart from this photo Ed just sent. The Bramasole rose, my treasured one, peers out from the scaffolding, sending me a message that it will survive.





Next week I will be there, right in the fray.

Meanwhile the land is happy. The fig trees are laden and Ed reports that the olive yield this year will exceed the last five years. We love this fall season in Italy. The harvest connects to the very oldest agricultural rituals in the Mediterranean. Nothing compares with that first taste of the freshest oil! And it’s the season of mushroom hunting, big soups, and long tramps on Roman roads. The skies are moody gray or brilliant blue. I’m anticipating pulling on my boots and spreading the nets under the trees, big panini at mid-day, and the satisfaction of counting those crates at the end of the day. More from there!