Things are really moving smoothly forwards here at Dorpsstraat 136.
Guido and his crew have vacated the premises for a while, leaving us with a spanking new roof, snugly insulated, and two storeys with non-undulating, sturdy floors that run all the way up to the walls. The wooden scaffolding is in place for the inner walls in the attic, the wherewithal for the electrics, TV and internet run all the way to the top of the house. It smells like a building site and it’s ready for us to move in and start the finishing work.
Michel has finished the windows, but hasn’t yet started on the stairs: we still have to go over to his place to choose what wood we want. So for now, it’s still the scary ladder up to the attic…
Today we had a site meeting with Herwig and Ann, Martin and Toon, to talk through the details of finishing the attic – what materials for the ceiling, the brick outer walls (which must be insulated), the inner walls and the floor.
Sitting around the table out back, my head was spinning with all the technical details but I could sense that the collective entity that we are has everything down. Together we know what to do.
Today we heard from the man in the planning office at the local town hall – we will get the plans back, with planning permission, by the end of next week. Herwig scratched his head at how quickly and smoothly this whole process has gone. He has other clients who started before us, and who are nowhere nearly as far along. Ria smiled knowingly: “It’s the way we work that makes the difference.”
So… What ‘way’ is that? We work with the magic of place and timing. All the way along, we have known it: if it isn’t happening easily, then something’s not ready, ripe or right. So we wait, patiently, and let life take us to where the readiness is. And so it has been, since the start. So systematically synchronistic that we trust the process fully. Despite the delays, we have been neither stressed nor irritated. Just happy to be in co-creation together with this place.
Martin is now back from his trip to Australia, and Toon has been helping us to take down the rest of the outhouse, and to shift the contents of the workshop (soon to be demolished in preparation for the re-build with strawbale and glass) into the cow byre and the aviary, and the contents of the summer kitchen into the indoor kitchen.
On June 11, Guido and his lovely lads will be back to demolish the outhouse and the summer kitchen. By then, Toon and Martin will have taken the tiles off the roof and removed the old wood from the site. I am so grateful to these men for their knowledge and experience, their muscles and their generous hearts!
I sometimes feel a bit strange about being here so seldom – one day a week seems so little, when I see how much work gets done in my absence! While Ria was away, the sun shone warmly on the garden and the horsetails shot up and engulfed the veggies. Within two days of her return, the garden is spick and span again, with nets over the strawberries and the broadbeans and peas in impeccable array.
Thanks to Chris, the house is clean and the tool shed in pristine order, despite the upheaval and ambient filth of having a building site upstairs. I understand that my work is elsewhere – in the shiny offices of the EU and the corridors of bureaucracy, where I earn the bread needed to keep the show on the road. And I just feel so blessed to be part of this adventure, with these people – all of them – at this time.