Saturday, 21 January 2012

"But there was nothing chiselled about it. In fact, it consisted of stones stacked one atop the other. Time had since taken care of binding and cementing them, camouflaging them with dust, earth, seeping water and saltpetre, finally transforming the rough surface into an almost natural wall." ("The Terracotta Dog" Andrea Camilleri transl. by Stephen Sartarelli)

Mid January and we are at the "house in progress".  Peter wants to climb the scaffolding to check the depth of the insulation in the roof, like some inspector from the grants department of a London borough.  He steps onto the scaffolding and even before his full weight is on it, the metal structure creaks and wobbles.  Whatever he finds up there, I'll take his word for it.
Heedless of this, on another part of the roof, Alessandro (our Michelangelo) is acting out a scene for a comedy film with intermittent fast forward (or so it seems to me at ground level).  First we see him pacing leisurely along a barren slope of the roof.  Suddenly he calls down below for some bricks.  The bricks appear on the roof beside him. 
Fast forward, Alessandro is placing the bricks wildly into a pile. 

Change of pace, he calls down to anyone within earshot: Does that look ok?  Someone calls back: No, take that yellow brick there, yeh, that one, and swop it for that bigger one in the other corner.  

Fast forward, Alessandro is juggling bricks again.  Then he stops, no more questions.  He just stands back and right there on top of the roof he leans against his brick structure (with more confidence than seems wise), hand rolls a cigarette, lights it, then blows thin strands of smoke into the the gentle breeze.  We ask a fellow worker what's going on:  Oh, Sandro has just built a chimney!  Of course, stupid question, as would be:  is it in the right place; is it the right size/ shape; will it work; will it stand the test of time?  I raise a hand up to Alessandro:  Nice chimney Alex!  He smiles, flings his cigarette butt down onto the earth below and wanders off casually to another part of the roof.  In the plans, the house has two chimneys.

The roof is near completion, and if the fine weather holds, work will soon start on the foundations of the kitchen.  This lies to the north west side of the house, it is part of the original building , but had to be demolished at the outset of restructuring as it was completely unstable.  The exterior walls of the new kitchen will not have the stone "faccia vista" of the rest of the house and will be stucco'd (as opposed to rendered and painted).  Our next big hurdle will be to decide which colour "stucco" and ...will our choice meet Paolo's (our geometra) approval?

No comments:

Post a Comment