Wow, what a change in the weather! Although we’ve had 30 degree temperatures during the daytime, enough to have a blast of hot air as you step outside – a bit like the hairdryer downdraft effect when you cross the threshhold of a big store in the depths of winter. Last night was very windy and the cabin had a few shudders as it twists around in the stronger gusts. The cabin is long and one gable end faces the prevailing wind from the mountains, the other end faces the Med and we have relatively few winds from that direction (Africa). Until we put the extension on the Med end, the cabin rocked and rolled like a good ‘un which could be quite unnerving for someone not used to it. Hell – quite scary for me as well for the first few years!
As usual, in the morning there often isn’t much out of place and the wind vanished as quickly as it had come. Amazingly, even the sack full of pine cones is exactly where I left it, in quite a flat exposed area on the drive next to the house! There are so many pine cones everywhere we drive, so we always take the odd bag with us to fill – great fire-starters for our log burner.
The rest of the day was bright and clear; perhaps the wind blew away some cobwebs? So clear that I was tempted to take another photo of the cabin, and from a less usual angle. I was returning from the nearby village – a disproportionately long journey in view of the hills and bends and other assorted obstacles.
When I got back I could see Joe was keen to get on with some maintenance work on the roof and needed my help to hold the step-ladder to get up onto it. A step-ladder to get onto the roof? The reason is, well, after having been stowed safely away from prying eyes in the dark recesses underneath the cabin for many years, we sadly discovered when we got back in April our roof-ladder had been nicked. Not wishing to outlay upwards of 150 euros, the step-ladder was part of our new ‘make do and mend’ philosophy. The job today was to put some very thick paint over the ridge tiles as we had noticed some ingress of water on the pine ceilings upstairs.
Once he got up there he could see that the cement around the ridge tiles was hairline cracked in places, and he found one tile cracked right the way through, the glutinous paint was definitely fit for purpose although it was so damned hot up there I did wonder how long it would take to dry. He managed to get up there without mishap but I was seriously worried when I moved the step-ladders to the other side of the house, onto the extension roof.
Even putting the step-ladder at right angles to the gable end, it wobbled uncertainly and was within 2″ of the edges of the four solar panels. I tied some rope and fixed the step-ladder to the side of the cabin. Joe did get down ok, but it was touch and go at one point when we both found ourselves and the step-ladder veering towards the big window. Disaster averted, we were rather pleased with ourselves as we had been putting it off because of a pretty poor risk assessment (as they say)!
As it drew near dusk, the sun was still shining brightly over the hills to the right of Maroma, and I took this photo from the lounge. The wind gathered pace again and a sudden noise from the upstairs verandah turns out to be a loose piece of wood below the tiles. “I’ll fix it”, said Joe. Luckily this time, Mr Immediate didn’t actually mean tonight as, even for him, the wind, growing darkness and step-ladder would certainly render this task well nigh impossible, and very dangerous. The clocks went back yesterday, so we lose a precious hour of daylight in the evenings.
The wind has now become storm force, it is ferociously noisy with squeaks, bangs, crashes and buffeting. Joe’s just been out to get more wood and reported it was one of the strongest he’s ever known here; hard to stand upright because of the sheer force of the gusts. With all this mayhem going on around us, it is difficult to believe that our little wooden house can stand up to such a battering, maybe this time it will shed its stainless steel anchor stays and fly away down the valley to the Mediterranean.
Time to chill in front of the log burner as best we can on such a night. We’ve luckily amassed a plentiful supply of oak and pine logs that should last through the winter. The kettle is full of spring water and sits warmly on top of the stove. Time for dinner. What a long day it’s been.