Thursday, May 2, 2013

The forest house

About four years ago I discovered a new dogwalk up in the high forest across the valley. The winter winds blow fiercely up there so the tall trees have to be strong to survive. And strong they are. Big too, especially the tall pines. It's a great place to walk when the evening sun sends shafts of light between the moss-covered tree trunks. And it's very peaceful, but not when it's raining or snowing, or when the winds are howling.

On my first trek up there I was quite surprised to discover a dilapidated old house and barn by a disused track in the middle of the woods. Intrigued about its history and whether it might be possible to buy the original front door which was still in quite good condition, I asked neighbour Christian if he knew the owner. He responded by saying that the local council were now the owners and that they had plans for renovating the wreck as a hostel for visiting walkers. I later discovered that the Creuse region had recently been granted government funding to boost tourism and attract nature lovers to explore its unspoilt countryside - the Creuse region is one of France's least densely populated regions with little industry apart from farming - hence the renovation plan.

Work began the following spring. The overgrown garden area was cleared and the barn re-roofed. However, nothing was being done to the house, which I thought a bit odd. That summer, as is customary in France, a big board was put up on the barn wall listing all the different companies that were involved in the renovations, such as electricians, plumbers, masons, etc. Then winter came and work stopped. Started again the following spring. However, still nothing was being done about the house. The following spring, I suppose last year, the barn had been almost finished and was presumably ready for its first visitors. Then, for some reason, I stopped going up there. I think it may have been because there was now more likelihood of meeting other dogs up there so Sprocket would have to be kept on his lead. Far less risk when walking up the Sprocket Hill area.

Anyways, now Sprock's gone, I thought it safe to venture up to the forest house for the first time in ages. Went up there yesterday evening with Jock. Big surprise..., the barn was finished but the dilapidated house had been demolished. All that remained was just a small pile of rubble. I wonder what happened to that front door...