As you know my life has never been what you might consider.. simple. I have been living in Bel Italia for eighteen years and never bought a house, why? Because I was supposed to be moving to Sicily. A month ago the decision was made to buy a house. Let the fun start.
Fräulein and I met Signore Roberto in the local bar and over a couple of glasses of prosecco we agreed a price for his house. Originally Fräulein and I wanted to rent the house, but Roberto persuaded us to buy it. He had had some tenants from hell who had wrecked the house, just like the Muckers who trashed my UK house and he didn’t want to rent it again.
His tenants had destroyed the boiler so Fräulein and I decided our first purchase should be a wood burning stove to heat downstairs whilst we made repairs, the boiler could wait. We hot footed it off to an old man who had advertised a beautiful little stove on Facebook, in fact he had eight or more stoves. Every time we tried to haggle with him over the price he would remind us of how beautiful the stove was. There was an old rusting iron wheel the rest of the barrow was missing but he said “it is a wonderful wheel, absolutely beautiful”. We were
conned into buying this lovely beautiful antique old stufa (his words not mine) and promptly installed it in the living room, It did look quite wonderful surrounded by our drills, hammers and assorted tools. Eager to try it, I threw some toilet paper in and lit it.
It worked so a couple of pieces of wood were added. Within 10 minutes we noticed a few stray wisps of smoke near the ceiling. We checked the stufa and then the tubing, no leaks, it was very strange, smoke was definitely leaking from somewhere. We opened the windows and even more smoke entered the living room. Fräulein spotted tendrils of smoke leaking out of the air conditioner unit. Fantastic whoever had installed the air conditioner had cut big holes into the chimney for the wires and pipes. Job number two would be removing the air conditioner and repairing the chimney. Fräulein was coughing a little bit so I suggested she went outside, she decided to go upstairs and low and behold, we had plumes of smoke in two of the rooms…… Maybe I had now found job number 3 and 4…
Fortunately the source of the smoke was traced to a chimney cap in the bathroom that had rusted through.
I asked my builder friend to come and have a look at our new house, “bring a screwdriver and a hammer, I want you to remove an air conditioner unit” Riccardo the builder, turned up, he walked around the house and sucked his teeth a couple of times and raised the odd eyebrow. I took him upstairs to look at a wall where the plaster was cracked and in my humble opinion was about to fall off. Riccardo confirmed my opinion by poking it with a screwdriver and I watched as it did fall off.
So now we have a large heart at the top of the stairs, I was wondering if we could turn it into a feature. I think there are four more chunks of plaster about to fall to the ground. Does anyone know a cheap plasterer? Yesterday I bought twenty-five kilo of plaster, seven kilos stuck to the wall and ten kilos fell to the floor. In my defence it was my first attempt at plastering a wall. Fräulein was very calm about it. I splashed the wall with water and with quick confident and decisive strokes I spread the plaster on the wall and then watched as it fell onto my feet. I might have swore a couple of times. I tried again, amazingly there was more plaster on the floor than on the wall. I was tempted to phone a friend or look on You Tube. Memories of the great poo adventure came flooding back. If my grandad was still alive he would have plastered it in five minute and thinking about him I realised the plaster was too dry, so I added more water and mixed it again.
On Monday I will go to the house to see if the plaster has stayed in place, if it has I will tackle one of the other ‘problem’ areas. If I can remove the loose plaster and repair it, I can then pay a real plasterer to skim the surface of the walls. I think the house has more holes than Swiss cheese.