Contadina's Blog

Living the contadini life among the olive groves

Here be dragons (and flowers) September 5, 2010

Filed under: diy — contadina @ 11:57 am

We’ve just had the first deluge of rain since April and put the summer duvet on the bed for the first time since May. It’s such a relief to see rain again and hear the cistern re-filling and I’m really looking forward to lighting the pizza oven and stove without melting.

This brings me rather neatly onto some murals we’ve just had painted by the lovely Chiahui, one of our HelpXchange visitors, who is a theatre set designer in her native Taiwan. Thanks to Chiahui we can now produce dragon-fired pizzas and have something warm and whimsical to break up the white walls in the living room.

A little warmth on the walls

A little warmth on the walls

We had been planning to do the murals for a while now but would have needed to use a projector to trace images onto the walls, and I’m pretty sure our efforts would not have been nearly as good.

Our very own fire-breathing dragon

Our very own fire-breathing dragon

Chiahui spent the first few days getting our wood-store ready for the winter before we discovered her talent and we feel very privileged that we now have some bespoke murals. It also helped us realise that we should find out where our HelpXchanger’s talents lie before setting them tasks when they come and stay.

It’s been a long-hot summer and having hosted a number of HelpXchangers water preservation has been a top priority. Most have been really good but we did have one chap who constantly let taps run, despite being told how precious water is here. To get round this problem we’ll build an outside shower, using a 20-litre solar shower bag, to help limit  water waste next year.

In preparation for winter, we just had new doors fitted in the kitchen and it’s so nice to see the back of the rusty metal garage doors, which were there before. We’ll reuse the metal doors on a workshop sometime in the future but we’re currently basking in the flood of light the double-glazing lets into the kitchen as well as the ambient temperatures they help maintain.  Unfortunately wood is really expensive in Italy so we’ll only be able to change a door or a couple of windows at a time. Luckily, our carpenter friend, Pablo can make them to our specifications whenever we save up enough cash to pay for materials and his labour.

Jeremy had to build a couple of new walls to fit the size of the new doors, as they were garage-sized before, and we’d hoped to have a gap of just a few days without a door, but being Italy, of course this turned into three weeks. Not being able to lock the house meant we couldn’t leave the house together for most of August and zero trips to the beach meant cabin fever set in.

The doors were definitely worth the wait, however, and despite temperatures soaring, the kitchen has been the coolest room since they were installed. I’m quite excited about temperatures dropping so we can see how warm they’ll keep us now too, especially as our friend Herman just made us a forked-tongue handle out of copper for the pizza oven door. With our pizza dragon breathing fire and the new doors we are going to be well toasty this winter.

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3 Responses to “Here be dragons (and flowers)”

  1. Maggie Says:

    Love those murals – makes me begin to think about doing some in our new (to us) house when the building work is finished.

    Any chance of some pics of the new doors?

    Best wishes from rather grey Liverpool, where I gather we may get a LOT of rain later today or tomorrow… (and I forgot to bring my raincoat back from the caravan) At least it will stop the tomatoes in pots blowing over! 😉

    Maggie from growveg.infe.

    • Maggie Says:

      Sorry, that should have been growveg.info

      My only excuse for such a stupid typo is the hellish journey we had coming home last night – the A55 Coast Road has roadworks and it slowed us up by about an hour so too late to visit the new house as we’d intended. Grrr! 😉

  2. contadina Says:

    You are going to have such fun in your new house Maggie, when you eventually move in and I’d definitely recommend getting some colour on the walls. Nice and vibrant for the summer and warming in the winter 🙂 We run out of the tiles which run up to the doors and I’ve been forbidden from taking pictures until the job’s finished, so you’ll just have to be patient.


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