Thursday, May 8, 2014

Rack and ruin, part two



While this is not an "almost" it is a house that I have thought of since having seen it during one of our trips to the safari tent. How she is begging to be loved and how rightfully she deserves such attentions.


I love the proportions, so similar to those lopsided crayon drawings of what a house could be from our youth.


And yet there are elegant touches, such as this wrought iron railing...


...and a trellis hanging abundant with vines despite relying solely on self-care for who knows how long.


At the base of the house, a fountain of cool spring water pours continuously...


...an echo of the brook that hiccups unabashedly...


...while bringing a jewel-toned garden to life.


And while there are many homes in this tiny village that stand waiting...


...and I am reassured by the treatment of a Front National poster...


...that perhaps a foreigner like myself would be welcome...


...to find my way amidst these winding back roads to something like home...


...for now I will simply sit and dream. 

In my mind, I will strip the walls of the scarred stucco and replace it with a slick of lime-wash instead. I can sand the wood, condition it and paint it something simple, pure white perhaps, for this would be a happy house. And finally I would open up the windows, sweep the floors and let in the mountain air to kiss it clean.

Do you see what I see?

PS. I am finally (!) switching to Mail Chimp for delivery of email subscriptions starting with this post. I hope that you will bear with me while I iron out any technical glitches. Once this is taken care of, I can focus on more important things...like writing and photography! Thanks for your understanding...

49 comments:

  1. Dear Heather, I love this house. The windows are so well placed. The proportions so promising. Will it be possible to see the inside soon? ox, Gina

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    1. Alas no, Gina! It is just a passing dream but one that called us so much that we had to stop the car and spend some time there just to appreciate this sleeping beauty...

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  2. Hi Heather,
    Dreaming and imagination help when looking for something and even when not looking for anything.Old houses seem to possess integrity.
    Wish you and Remi a wonderful weekend.
    Edgar

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    1. Edgar, when I went to the Yale School of Drama, one of the lessons on the first day was to spend one minute of your day purely using your imagination. It is an excercise that is great for the brain and the spirit. Wishing you a great weekend as well!

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  3. Heather, yes I do see what you see. I would always dream of some abandoned home while travelling...thinking I could make it a jewel box, so don't change. It is people like you and me who change the world, albeit it one little step at a time.

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    1. What a lovely thing to say chere Marsha...let's hope so!

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  4. Heather, I see what you see as well. But what really struck me about this post were the two lines about being a 'foreigner" and being accepted, and feeling at home. Paul and I are also searching for a new place to call home. We want and need a change, but are not completely sure where we will find "home." Though we have found it in each other, it is also a place where we can feel stimulated and nourished.

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    1. We are going through such similar things Judith...but that often seems to be the case, non?

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  5. There is, perhaps still, an old, deserted big house in Palmyra, Syria that I, with a poet/dancer lover from Guatemala, dreamed of restoring, maybe as an artists retreat, supported by a few upmarket guest rooms and on. So, yes, I do see.

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    1. Joan...this response just left me breathless. You are one amazing lady.

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  6. Hello Heather,

    Oh dear, not only do we see what you see, we can place our furniture, colour scheme the doors, window frames and walls, imagine the garden and create a home in an instant in our imaginations. In reality it may take a little longer! But what a little gem of a house. The faded and crumbling elegance of it all but one feels that it has a generous heart which it will give to a loving owner. You?

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    1. No my friends but wouldn't it be lovely to think so? And oh, how I can see your beautiful art collection and rugs and tables set for tea in that house with its big open rooms...not to mention how the garden would bloom in your care!

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  7. While living in Nimes, we often went into the Cevennes, to a small remote village where we loved to walk, and we had "our" little house, so similar to this one, full of beauty in its very rustic simplicity, abandoned and waiting to be loved. We dreamt endlessly of how we'd do it up, organise the rooms, clear the land and make a wonderful garden... It didn't happen, of course, just a lovely dream, but we still think sometimes, "we could have", and your post today have woken it all up again!

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    1. Coucou Jacqueline. Ah, I see I am not the only one... ;) For us, it is the ruin that I have written about a few times outside of Uzes. It is in the middle of a vineyard and so...entirely unrealistic...but that doesn't stop us from dreaming every time we return. The house above was in the Averyon - so remote! - but with a similar feel to the Cevennes save with even MORE trees...

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  8. I see this little charmer as filled with potential.....and can follow your eye of decor it needs.
    The photo of the steps and railing caught my breathe and stated my dreaming......

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    1. It is amazing what little details can start us on our daydreams...sigh...how much better made everything used to be!

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  9. I am right there with you. . .I can almost see the planters spilling over with color highlighting the wrought iron, the paint that would brighten the doors. It is funny you've written about this as we are back home in the Northwest and just sipped some afternoon coffee while taking a photo tour of homes we visited in Greece while chasing our daydreams there. It is fun to use the imagination and turn each of them into 'our' place. I understand your ponderings. . .

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    1. Jackie...I am terribly behind on all of your posts! It is not for lack of interest, simply for lack of time. You know how much you make me dream just as I know that we share our love of imagining our future homes...Glad you are home safe and sound. Although knowing you two, you are most likely planning for your next adventure!

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  10. You mention that in this small village, many homes stand waiting. Have you found many abandoned or long-empty homes while you have been looking for your next home? Has there been a sizeable post-war exodus, in France or that area, from small villages to cities? Do you have any idea why or when this home was abandoned? I can't help but wonder...it looks so solid and, with the healthy vine, the railing, and the brook and garden (nearby?), inviting. Last question for now, I promise: do you know what the jewel-toned berries are called in French? Curiously, Leslie in Portland, Oregon

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    1. If those are the edible berries they look like currants (les groseilles) which also come in different colors. Part of the fruits rouges ou fruits de bois group. But maybe they are just for the birds. But that is a stunning photograph.

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    2. Merci Dr. Mike for the compliment and for answering Leslie's question. If I could have reached those groseilles, I would have eaten them - just like edible bijoux!

      Leslie, to tackle :) your questions in order: yes, definitely. I know that many in Arles are being "kept" but not lived in as they are part of an inheritance - or sometimes people are fighting over a property as part of an inheritance. There are many empty buildings here.
      Yes, there is has been a drastic shift to the cities in the past 30 years. Actually before that. Many villages lost their men in WWI, many. Then more in WWII. So there are entire tiny villages, called hameaus that were left - plus as more people work in industry over agriculture, it is not surprising.
      No, I know nothing about this house. The garden is next door, divided by the brook.
      And Mike took care of the last question for me!

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  11. I totally see this house the way you do. Exactly like the drawings of a child. It needs to be loved. I wonder about the past or present occupants of houses like this...what they did, how they lived and where they went.

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    1. Exactly. Especially where did they go? I can picture the rest but not that. Have a lovely weekend Jennifer.

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  12. Oh I am so with you over this house!……..Dream on
    Warm regards

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    1. Bah, of course you would be! Bon Weekend...

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  13. Life in a much smaller town than the Grand Village of Arles! So much to see in your photos: "1828" and the village perched high surrounded by forest, spring fountain meaning fresh air....and the "a vendre" sign that is how many generations old? Maybe the notary's records go all the way back? Heather this is diamond in the rough and would need a thorough gutting and renovating by the looks of it, but what a beauty she will be with contemporary treatment . Inquire! Likely a steal with the expense being the renovation and furnishing but with your roots in part really planted there with Remy it's a possibility?
    I'll be back in July. following along the blog until then with warm smile

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    1. Hello! Everyone Dr. Mike is back! And for those of you that read the comments too, let me tell you that I have met him and he is as absolutely charming as his words convey.
      Michael, no, this house is far too far away (in the Averyon!) for us but I do love the style of it.
      I will look forward to taking a drink with you on the place in July!!
      Sending my very Best until then,
      H.

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  14. I love the dense greenery every where. And I got the Mail Chimp email notification.

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    1. Thank you so much for letting me know! I took a deep breath and deleted my Feedburner feed after hearing from you. Ohhh, scary times. Please oh please let this work!!!

      And yes, that area is one of the most lush in green that I have seen in France. :)

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  15. Gorgeous, Heather (and your lovely words make it even more so). How wistful this home seems - I hope it finds someone to love it, someone with a vision similar to yours. It could be see a beauty. What a lovely dream you've conjured for us here.

    Good luck with the Mail Chimp migration - Mr. H. says to just read everything you can Google on the topic, easy for him to say. I figured out why my BIO post was delayed, I didn't reduce the file size of my illustrations. So my error, not something with the program.

    Have a wonderful weekend - hope you get to have a nice long chat with your mom! XOXO

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    1. Originally, the idea was for me to visit this weekend but it was too expensive! So I will be there for her birthday - even better!!! But a long chat will happen.
      Thank you again for your beautiful post!

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  16. beautiful - in my daydreams I am always restoring and renovating. XXXX

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    1. I wasn't allowed to watch much in the way of cartoons when I was little (save for Looney Tunes of course) but the Jetsons modernism always impressed me - especially how they could change the decor of a room at the push of a button!

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  17. HAVE not been receiving your POSTS!!!!
    Something has happened.......am not getting a lot of my subscriptions!
    Sorry, I haven't been there to comment!!
    Are you getting my Posts?
    XOXO
    PS. You and JEANNE MUST meet one day!!!

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    1. Oh my. Did you get an email from Mail Chimp today? Look in your spam folder. I have switched from Feedburner to deliver email notifications as it is not working anymore. Lots of bloggers are having the same problem and so are switching too. And no, I haven't had one of your emails about a post in quite some time either.
      And yes, I would love to meet Jeanne. I think it will happen...

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    2. YES, got MAIL CHIMP notice!Hopefully, we are connected again!
      I have sent you a few e-mails over the past month with no word from you......I figured you weren't receiving!
      XXX

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  18. I love that you want to reclaim these neglected beauties and breathe life into them again. If only, n'est-ce pas?

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    1. Like stray dogs, I would take them all in if only I could...
      xo

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  19. What a beautiful vision you have for this neglected jewel. I'd love to see it come about.

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    1. As would I Mr. GSL but alas this is just the stuff that dreams are made on...she would be a welcoming home though. Of that I am sure...*a tip of the fedora*

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  20. Oh I like how the vine, possibly planted in happier times, still springs forth to shade the entry.

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    1. Isn't that something? Perhaps I am wrong Janey and someone else is taking care of the house but trust me there is NO other sign of life...it is a mystery!

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  21. LOVELY AND WELL WRITTEN AS ALWAYS !
    STILL AM `NOT ` RECEIVING ANY POST FROM YOU ?
    JUST RAN INTO THE POST BY CHANCE
    HOPE IS WELL ?
    SISSY

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    1. Hello Sissy! You should be receiving email notifications from me via Mail Chimp - I double checked to make sure that your email is on the list. Take a look in your spam folder. Hopefully they are in there.

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  22. Oooh! J'adore! I see pretty white shutter too.

    Clare x

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  23. Oooh! J'adore! I see white shutters too.

    Clare x

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  24. Questa casa è bella anche così abbandonata, pensa a cosa diventerebbe...!
    Just a wonderful dream! Sending a big hug from Rome Italy

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    1. I agree Eleonora! But it is just a dream. :) Thank you for the visit and have a great weekend!!
      Bisous,
      H

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  25. What a dear house. I'd buy it for the spring and currants alone. Would love to see the interior!

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