Sprint finish?

Photo: Massimo at work

19 weeks: Tops and tails

As promised three more workers turned up on Monday to help Elio speed the build along. We soon realised that quantity doesn’t necessarily mean speed. We almost started working as labourers as we would have been four times as fast as one of them in particular. Snail’s pace was an insult to snails.

Nevertheless by the end of the week the rooves had been finished (well nearly), the floors of the garage and cantina done and, hurray, the scaffolding on the terrace and been taken down. We had our first uninterrupted view of the valley for weeks. We could really see how the portico would work. It will be fantastic. We’re very happy with it.

20 weeks: Shed loads of work (us, not them)

“Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest” That was Gabriel’s forecast for clearing the site and landscaping the land this week. It didn’t happen. To be fair to him it rained over the weekend so the land was too wet on Monday. Not dry enough on Tuesday and no one turned up on Wednesday.

We however worked like crazy on Wednesday to convert the shed from this:

To these:

One for vegetables, one for flowers for the house and the square one for compost. The entire contents of the shed ended up under the portico. We were ready for the landscaping even if the weather wasn’t.

Our ‘reward’ for our efforts came on Friday. The garage passenger door, the door and window of the cantina were fitted. We also heard a familiar phrase from Gabriele “Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest” for the landscaping.

The following day the IKEA shelving that had been under our beds since 2016 were finally put together in the cantina and filled with a shed load of stuff.

Sunday morning was glorious. To celebrate it being usable for the first time we thought we’d have dinner outside with the fire pit to keep us warm. Pizza under the Portico.

By the afternoon we were holed up indoors as a storm raged, lashing rain into the portico. No chance of eating outside.

21 weeks: A Lot on the Landscape

No chance of any work on Monday.

On Tuesday however the landscaping began and with a vengance. Massimo the scavatorre is excellent. He is so skilful with the digger. Reshaping the land. Offering us advice and working long hours to get the job done. Highly recommended.

By the end of the week the place had been transformed:

To help her celebrate her second consecutive birthday in lockdown the guys finished off the portico so we could use it on Sunday.

22 weeks: The final fling?

We hope so. We’ve had enough of the alarm going off at at 07:30 every week day morning so we can let the builders in.

I’m going to record each day this week in the hope that there are a maximum of five entries:


On what we hope is Massimo’s penultimate day he cut a channel through the road for our hosepipe and levelled the ground for our wooden flower and vegetable patches and composter.

He left mid afternoon, which was not like him. We learnt that he had taken his digger to one of Gabriele’s fields to get some more soil to finish off the slope he’d been crafting since last week.

Our painter, Stefano, arrived to paint the inside of the cantina and garage. The textured paint of the house, now inside the garage, needed smoothing over, so he scraped away the paint he’d put there in 2012 and re-plastered.

Our day was spent starting Phase 2 of our transformation. It’s only a little project but took some effort today to take apart all the wardrobes from our bedroom to leave a clean space for the new wardrobes to be fitted:

Just as well we did it today to allow for any problems that we might find. All was good until we measured the space and checked the plan. The space behind the old wardrobes wasn’t level (nothing is in this house). The designer arrived with his tecnico. He had indeed assumed the depth was the same at both ends of the space. Much measurement and discussion followed. A solution was found. Fitting to go ahead on Wednesday as planned.


It was indeed Massimo’s last day. He finished off the landscaping and crafted the road to the gates.

Elio pottered around finishing off and moving lots of stuff ready to be picked up. Would we have our home and garden back tomorrow?


The wardrobe fitters arrived even earlier than the builders usually do. Later in the morning we were relieved to see the builders stuff being loaded onto a lorry. Then they left for lunch. Was that it? There were still lots of kit strewn over the garden. Later in the afternoon another lorry turned up, this one with a big crane on it, to collect everything else.

At last, we were no longer a building site. At least that’s what we hoped for. As they are concreting the small driveway outside the gates next week, they left us a little reminder of their presence.


To celebrate the fact that no one rang to door bell at stupid o’clock this morning I went for a bike ride. We’ve been so busy with the building works that I hadn’t realised I’d not been on the bike for three weeks. No wonder my legs hurt.


No builders but wardrobe fitters to finish the job. “Abbiamo fatto”. We were invited to inspect the finished work. All looked good until we couldn’t open a draw when our bedroom door was closed as it caught on the key cover. Much hurrumphing preceded our proposed solution. The offending part was taken to the factory to be milled down and re-fitted all before lunch. Then Marie Kondo took over.

We could go for lunch to celebrate. Except they’re closed under Red Zone restrictions. We settled for gin & tonics under the portico.

We’re not finished yet. The garage door, driveway outside the gates, electrics and plumbing in the garage and cantina still to do. That will will be done some time after Easter. We need a break.

Part 1 8½ weeks

Part 2 Two more months

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