19 May 2011

I can see clearly now...

Well, not really. They are glass blocks, after all.

I got up early yesterday morning. By 8:00 a.m., I had made coffee, watched the news and weather, and finished my blog post. So I set about cleaning the glass block windows. It went much faster than I had thought it would. It was all done before 9:00.

All cleaned up and shiny

That left a good part of the morning for me to spend on yard work. Cutting blackberry brambles out of the bay laurel hedge, for example. Pulling ivy off tree trunks. Pruning a big bush and gathering up the clippings. All those are Sisyphean tasks. Then it was time to cook lunch: Chinese stir-fried beef with asparagus, ginger, garlic, and noodles. Afterward, Walt cooked up some spéculoos cookies and sliced some fresh strawberries for dessert.

I guess it's time to put the curtains back up.

It was somehow a typical day. Now I'm feeling a little let down. The painting job is very close to absolute completion. Now what will I do with all the hours in the day? More cooking, I guess. Longer walks with the dog. Waiting for the garden to start producing, and then processing the produce for canning or freezing.

Looking down the stairs

It's summer here in Saint-Aignan and it has come so early that I'm disoriented. I could use a rainy day. I miss weather that changes with regularity. Besides, the collard patch needs the moisture, as will the rest of the garden as soon as it's planted.

And besides, I had a miserable allergy attack yesterday afternoon and evening. Watery eyes, sneezing, needles in the nose. The temperature in the loft was near 80ºF. No wind. Is that what is in store for us all summer long?


  1. You did a grand job of the glass block windows... they look almost new. They look rather like jewels and as a previous commenter noted, your older ones (from the 60's I guess)this jewelled effect looks nicer than the new ones which are a bit flatter in pattern. We put hem in our bathroom windows in Palm Springs a few years ago replacing old single glazing and found the new ones to be very thermally efficient, immediately making the rooms much cooler in summer.

  2. Oh, my! 80° in the loft?!? We're actually having real spring time weather for the moment.

    I love the glass block, Ken. It looks great, and the photos are so artsy!


  3. be glad ur not in western NC....it's been in the low 40's here at nite & very overcast & cool during the day for the past several days!! I was forced to light the little propane space heaters in my house here (which was built as a summer house so doesnt have any "real" heat)brrrrr....once heaters were lit....the cats basked in the warmth like it was winter

  4. Ken, I'll trade you - I spent two and a half hours commuting to work and back today, suffered stress in not achieving all the work I needed to finish today. You make me soooo jealous.
    Love your life. They say the grass seems greener on the other side. Well with your drought and our rain, that might actually be true.

  5. The glass block windows look great. Maybe you don't need to put up curtains? Or maybe there would just be too much sunshine if they were left uncovered?

  6. It sounds like you could use a good book to read about now. Lewis and I have been reading Amy Plum's "Die for Me" which is excellent. Follet's new book about WWI is also a good read.

  7. I like the pattern on the blocks - it's different than the lines they usually have on them in the States.

  8. I really like all the light coming into the house and the glass block window looks spiffy clean.

  9. You've been very busy Ken once the growing season starts you'll be even busier. You made a good job of the glass blocks,I think it would be a shame to put curtains up

  10. I've never lived with glass blocks, but I have had windows that were ??? in a bathroom so no one could see in. I hated it. I am not an exhibitionist, it's just that when I wash my hands or check myself in the mirror, I would like to look out.

    Anyway, you must be proud of your job. The blocks look fantastic.

    Evelyn and I had the same idea for your mornings - reading! I, too, have read Ken Follett's FALL OF GIANTS, first of 3 books that will follow families in 5 countries throughout the world. I recommend his books frequently.

    The stairwell really shines, now!

  11. I liked very much the last picture of the windows. Of what material are the steps made? They look like marble.

  12. Starman, the steps are made of travertine, a sedimentary limestone.

  13. Have you thought about putting in a ceiling fan in the loft? Do they have such things in France? That might be your solution to windless nights.

  14. Ken, keep it minimalist - lose the curtains!

  15. Hi Susan, we have a couple of nice electric fans and are using the one in this post up in the loft. We put it in a north-facing window to bring in cool air, especially at night. Funny you should mention ceiling fans, because I saw one advertised for sale in a Bricomarché flyer just yesterday.

    John-san, we shall see about the curtains.

    Thanks, everybody, for the comments and ideas, including reading recommendations.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?