Originally posted at 1:00 am, March 8th 2011.
There have been some beautifully sunny days here in the Pas De Calais during the last few weeks, but today at last the air felt comfortably warm. The trouible with this is that it’s the signal to start outdoor work that I’ve been able to leave undone all winter on the grounds that it was too cold outside. That excuse won’t wash any more. Now, what line can I spin to get me out of the gardening?
Not that gardening’s the only outside job to do around here. First the cables from the satellite dish have to be renewed. I’ve never seen or heard of this problem before, but the cable’s outer cover has gone all brittle and it’s cracked in dozens of places. This, we reckon, must be the cause of the poor TV reception we’ve been experiencing for months. I think it might be that the cable is simply laid across our flat roof, so it is sometimes lying in puddles, sometimes frozen, and often baking in bright sunlight. The exceptionally bitter cold of the last two winters has probably been chiefly to blame, and possibly the cable was not the best quality to begin with. Anyway, new top quality cable has been bought, and I’m going to route it through a black plastic tube which I’ll seal at both ends to keep out the weather. Hopefully this will protect the new stuff and keep it from cracking up like the last lot.
The house will need painting, too. On an ordinary house that could be a daunting job, but on The White House it’s a truly terrifying prospect. It’s a huge place and every inch of its surface is painted brilliant white. Most of the house is rendered with a sort of roughcast stucco which, I suspect, will be hard work to paint. Oh, well, at least it shouldn’t need to be done again for 5 to 10 years – that’s what it says on the tin, anyway!
We haven’t been totally inactive all winter, of course. a new modern art gallery has been created in a downstairs corridor, with lots of magnolia emulsion, eggshell white on the woodwork, designer lighting and bare wood flooring. On top of that, it was the Garden Studio apartment’s turn for a facelift this year, with a new bathtub and a completely redecorated bedroom.
No work tomorrow, though – it’s my birthday!