Saturday, April 25, 2009

Yesterday : Part Two : The Ruined Chateau . . .

As I mentioned below in "Yesterday : Part One", yesterday, or day before yesterday, was a near perfect day. It started with a trip to the Carantec market, documented earlier, moved on to a lunch of roasted chicked with potatoes grilled in chicken drippings, and fresh strawberries for dessert; then in the afternoon, being the Mr Toad that I am, it was time to get in the motorcar and go visit the countryside. And that is exactly what we did.
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If you have been reading these pages for any length of time, you know that for years now I've been looking for my dream house. Well, yesterday afternoon I thought I'd found it, the real thing, the be all and end all of those long years of searching the wide world over. When I spotted a sign by a turn off into the woods that said "Chateau de So and So", I had dream visions of wonderland in my mind. And I followed the winding road for three kilometers through the woods until I spied this view through the tree branches. . .
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I was thinking, at long last, this is the place I've been dreaming of. . . we are moving here as soon as it can possibly be arranged. But then we got out of the car, and walked a little closer. And looked around the outside. Then looked around the inside after entering through a broken down basement door. . . oh shock ! oh horror ! oh sadness ! Bonjour Tristesse ! My dreams fled like wisps of pipe smoke in a Spring breeze . . . a whole crew of workers had been hired to refurbish this place, but it looked like they had been slacking off !
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Both the window and curtain people were obviously lacking in the skills which their advertisements purported they had, and the interior plaster fellow who was supposed to spruce up the family arms (redorer le blason) apparently got drunk and couldn't finish the job. . .
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The bathroom facilities were in a shocking state, I really am not happy at all with either the interior decorator or the plumber. . . I just can't understand how they thought they could deliver the property in this condition to anybody other than a family of wild boars.
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The interior decorator's choice of furnishings was, well, to say the least, somewhat doubtful . . . and likewise her choice of company, I honestly don't know what she and the gardener were getting up to in the afternoon, and I'm sure I don't want to know !
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Although this first piece in red with flowing spraycanmanship has a certain flair, overall I am seriously disappointed and have major misgivings about the poor taste and frankly limited if not totally stunted cultural, intellectual, and esthetic taste of the interior decorator.
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It was painfully obvious that the gardener, the interior decorator, the plumber, the window guy, and the electrician have all been farting off drinking beer all day long instead of doing the work they've been getting paid for. . . but this is France, it is hard to sack people who don't feel like working. . .
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It looked like the vegetation was literally trying to gain the upper hand and just pull the whole thing back down into the Earth. It appears clear that a new gardener is needed, as the current one has been too busy emptying beer bottles and playing around with the interior decorator to get any serious work accomplished ! I really don't know if there is any hope for this place. . .
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14 comments:

Laurie said...

Who would have thought someone would abandon a property of this stature. Is this sort of thing common, Owen?
Laurie

Gigi said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I am amazed by your photos of this place. Like Laurie, I'm wondering how common it is to find such a beautiful property in this state of neglect and abuse. Looking forward to visiting your blog often.
-Gigi

Anonymous said...

Well. . . it looks really good from a distance. Wouldn't you love to know what happened? The stuff of which stories are created.

ladydi said...

Look at that gorgeous blue sky! With about $10 million you could probably get this place habitable. I didn't mean to be anonymous above, Blogger is being strange to me today.

English Rider said...

You sooo don't get it! Everyone wants "distressed finishes" now. Did you think it might be Installation Art? All it takes is the right marketing approach. Mmm..Chateau Green, Maison Minimaliste, Les Tourettes de Tristesse, Rehab Hall. I'd think a reality TV producer could do something with this.

Walter said...

I know there are Civil War era plantation homes near Natchez, Mississippi that are suffering the ministrations of the same miserable staff and have been for the last 150 years.

Poetry in the Global Box said...

Think of the potential...although...in this global economy...you'd think the "craftsmen" and "tradesmen" commissioned to spruce the place up would at least have mopped up their bottles.. : ) Your blog is a treat.

The Sagittarian said...

Hm, it is entirely possible a band of marauding Kiwis set up camp there judging by the bottles left behind and the general lack of attention to tidying up!
What a wonderful place tho', its the sort of place we imagined as children!

Not Waving but Drowning said...

What a tragedy.

Abandoned properties are usually connected to the French inheritance laws where it is impossible to disinherit one's heirs.

Inevitably there's squabbling over what to do with the family home and nothing can be done until some agreement is made.

To complicate things even further, to avoid paying the expensive French property taxes, it isn't unusual for a hole to be knocked into the roof to claim that the property is "uninhabitable", hastening dereliction and decay.

This beautiful property would take a fortune to restore back to its former glory, but doesn't it deserve it?

GG

SP said...

Thanks for dropping by and for the Rudi Stern tip too - just checked him out and going to try and pick up a book on Amazon now...

jeff34 said...

Tu vois je reviende car avec la flotte qui tombe dehors je me suis dit "va faire un tour chez Owen !"

P....n ! Tu as retrouvé l'endroit où j'ai fait la "fiesta" il y a une semaine...! ! ! 'peut plus être tranquille !
T'as encore des oufs pour faire ce genre de travail...! 'faut qui s'achètent un cerveau ces "braves gens" !... C'est nul de chez nul !

Je reviendrai j'ai un truc à te dire... Owen, 'faut qu'on cause !
Bye, à plus ! ( en plus c'est six fois rien ! )

Cafe Observer said...

A fixer-upper, as we would say across the pond.
At least it still looks wunderful from long range!

Nathalie said...

Your top and final photos are just fantastic Owen, but it looks like the Sleeping Beauty was waken up by someone else before you, they'd had a hard party for their wedding and left the place on their honeymoon without bothering to do any cleaning up before leaving.

I'm afraid they will be very disappointed upon their return when they find out the bad job the decorator and cleaning staff have done in their absence.

Ah mon pov' monsieur, de nos jours, on ne peut plus compter sur le petit personnel!

Lilie said...

your blog is really nice. these pictures are very interesting.