So time for the long delayed post on the renovations of the outside of Rivendell, my home. You may remember that the winter before last was particularly cold and we discovered quite a few crannies where the cold managed to get into the house despite the fact that the walls are up to a meter thick. The decider was when we were sitting in the library with a nice fire going and both doors closed and there was a distinct draught coming from the, apparently solid, garden-side wall. I found there were cracks in the old stone that seemed to go all the way through. The problem was partially solved with expanding foam but it was was definitely time to finally redo the outside. I had left those walls deliberately as they were since I bought the house because I rather liked them in their rugged appearance. The house blended into the surroundings much better than the renovated ones did. But 20 years on, there was definitely too little of the lime mortar left between the stones. Remember the blue tits managed to nest in there!
So now I proposed to rejoint the facades on all three sides using lime mortar as it was before. But that was without counting on the 'Architects de France' in charge of historical buildings and sights. My house is 400 years old but it isn't protected. However, it is within 100 meters of the 1200 years old church, which definitely is. Now, just to be clear, I have neighbors just across the road who have done their walls precisely they way I proposed just a couple of years ago. However, the historic buildings architect in charge of our area had changed and the new one thought what the old one did was all wrong. Isn't that always the case! So, instead of getting the green-light as expected I got a letter telling me I had to mortar over all the stones on all sides except for the corner stones and the stairs that lead to the entrance galery on the first floor. I was furious! Changed plans cost more and I really don't like the fully plastered look as well. Still, you can't get around the Architect de France so I decided to half comply. With the connivance of my experienced mason we decided to do the streetsides as required and to interpret that phrase about the stairs widely to include the whole gardenside. So I got the jointed wall I wanted that shows nicely the different developments over the centuries and the Architect de France got what he wants streetside. And here's the results in autumn and winter. I rather like it. Now we just need the creepers to grow up the walls again.