After a nice coffee and an apricot croissant we went to The House to meet the architect to run through the work needed. Ripping up floors, pulling down walls, rewiring, replumbing, scrapping doors… What the heck, why not replace the staircase too!
Have now spent nearly 6 hours choosing tiles. There is definitely such a thing as too much choice. They have ceramic tiles here that look like wood, like granite, like terracotta, like marble, quite apart from those that just look like tiles.
In the end we have gone for traditional hand-made local terracotta tiles on all floors. The house would have had these originally and they look so warm and homely. We went to see where they are made: individually, using a wooden frame and lumps of clay. They get laid out on the heated floor to dry for about 2 days before being prepared for firing. This is done in gas ovens for the plain ones but in wood-fired ovens for the “invecchiato (aged) cotto”. Slowly, wood is added to bring the ovens up to 1500 degrees and after being fired, the tiles have to stay in the oven to cool for another 5 days. Good place to work in winter as the ovens are used alternately every week; in summer, not so sure. Incredible to watch as you get a sense that since Roman times no-one has come up with a better way to create these beautiful floors.
Lunch today at “New Castle”. Oven baked polenta with a ragu of “cinta”. This is a meat sauce made from a pig that has been crossed with a wild boar. Jamie had that and I had baked eggs with black truffle and toast. Simple stuff but scrumptious.
This afternoon it was bathroom fittings and tiles, which needed to be a bit more modern as the bathrooms are tiny. Finally made a decision, having reached the point where a tile is a tile is a tile … No idea yet how much the bathrooms are going to cost. But perhaps we can save some money after all this by not having any furniture, just state-of-the-art floors and walls.
The decorations in town are all up and lit so it’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas. Gas supplier arrives tomorrow to remove seals so we can switch on the heating, have hot water at the house and start camping there.