Repairing old steps

This is a small thing. This is a big thing.

If you were going to picture your demise then this would be mine. Staggering down the outside steps of our guest house and plummeting head first into the water lilies.

Death by drowning and misadventure.

IMG_7371For years now we had wanted to try and do something about the sorry steps.  They were built with great care in the 70s by the Van Oorts who found this farm as a ruin (trees growing out of the fallen down roof).  And the work they did to rebuild both houses always humbles me.

So I forgive them for not quite managing the outside steps.

pots on steps

I did that cheap trick of trying to disguise the steps with pots of hardy and drought tolerant succulents. It sort of worked.

It pays to photograph ideas or things you see on your travels and have them somewhere to hand.

103I saw this at the lovely medieval village of Guerin something near Villeforrt in the Cevennes four years ago. (Pause while I rummage).  La Garde Guerin. In the Lozère actually. But that border between the Ardèche, the Lozère and the Cevennes is mighty fluid.

It’s so simple yet dramatic.

But I decided that the succulents in the pots now look better along the shade garden path.


And any prettying of the steps didn’t really disguise the fact that actually using them was a death trap.

And then when Bebère and Etienne had one week free this month, we leapt at the chance to get them to rebuild. They have been at the farm since February, so it wasn’t a stretch to have more builder’s mess for a week more.


The stone comes from a fallen down wall at the far east of the property.

And once they were in situ, and Etienne had worked his usual magic with the clean up (there was stone dust over everything). I snuck up on the pelargoniums on the courtyard table and placed them on the edge.


And twinkling up and down them is fun again.