Sabrina and I got up admitting to feeling slightly rough after last nights champagne fest, our other halves claimed to have been unaffected, but did in fact look suspiciously rough. While David and I did jobs around the house our guests took themselves off to Cordes market with the promise of returning in time for lunch on the terrace.
First thing on my agenda was to unpack the new rug for our bedroom, move the existing one (which had got burned when a log fell from the wood-burner during a recent holiday letting) and get the new rug ensconced in the bedroom. The new rug had been chosen to match the size and colour of the existing rug as closely as possible and so far we hadn’t had a chance to see it. I had ordered the rug from a company in America using dimensions given to me by a friend, who had been staying at La Martinié a week or so earlier. The dimensions our friend had given me were, in the absence of a tape measure, estimated to be the size of the existing (burned) rug, and based upon these measurements the new rug had been ordered, and delivered into our shed a few days earlier.
The existing rug was pretty much large enough to fill the entire bedroom, and everything in the room sat on top of it. This meant, that in order to remove the burned rug, we first of all needed to strip the bed, drag the (heavy) mattress down the hall into another bedroom, dismantle the bed and move the bed frame out of the room, take a chair and two bedside cupboards out of the room, pick up a very heavy antique armoire, the end of which also stood on the rug, and only then would we be able to pick up the old rug prior to carrying its replacement upstairs and then start the tedious process of putting everything back together again with the new rug in situ. After much sweating and swearing we hurled the burned rug out of the bedroom window and then went fetch the new rug in.
The new rug was in the shed where the delivery guy had left it. It had been rolled up and packaged in black plastic for transportation and on its side it stood higher than my waist. After giving it a tentative prod it was clear that it was VERY heavy… and the only way we were going to be able to get it up the stairs would be to roll it along the lawn, unpack it on the terrace and make a long sausage out of it, rather than try to maneuver it upstairs in its current rolled up shape.
We managed to get it onto the terrace, unrolled it and laid it out flat. The first thing that became apparent was that it didn’t contain the same shades of blue that the old rug had done, and which we had designed the bedroom around. The door to the cupboard, window frame and the inside of the fire-place had been painted in that special Farrow & Ball blue that I love (Borrowed Light)… the blues in the pictures and the cushions and throws on the bed had all been chosen to compliment the colours in the old rug. The hues in the new rug were more lilac than blue – I mentally recalled the phone number of Farrow & Ball’s International Delivery Department fearing that a new delivery and some repainting would be required! The other problem was the weight of the rug – there was no way that even sausage shaped David and I would be able to get the thing up the stairs, so being almost lunch time we decided to wait for George and Sabrina to get back to provide some extra manpower, and poured ourselves a pre lunch time drink while we waited.
Some 15 minutes later our friends appeared on the terrace … looked wide-eyed at the rug, looked at each other, looked at us, looked back at the rug and exclaimed “where the BLOODY HELL is THAT going???!!!!!!” (Slightly taken aback, I thought ‘ok, so the colour isn’t quite right, but it wasn’t as though it was red or anything) – “into our bedroom” I replied. “You have GOT to be kidding”, said Sabrina, “that rug is MASSIVE”! At that point it occurred to David and I that yes, it did look a tad big and that we hadn’t actually measured the size of the existing rug for ourselves and compared it to the one in front of us, we had simply gone on the dimensions estimated by our good friends who had been at La Martinié a week earlier. We took a tape measure to the rug; 17.4 ft x 19.9 ft… hmmmm… big rug. All four of us then trooped up to the bedroom and measured the entire size of the room, (taking into account the fire hearth which sticks out into the room and at which point the rug has to stop)…. 16.1 ft (to the fire hearth) x 12.4 ft – oh sh*t!
After a lovely sunny lunch on the terrace, accompanied by much merriment at our rug fiasco and some gorgeous Gerberas bought by George and Sabrina, our guests took off again to visit some of our local bastide villages while David and I carried the old rug back up to our bedroom and set about returning all of the furniture we had earlier taken out of it, declaring “well, that’s one way to waste an entire morning!”
The worlds biggest rug sat festering on the terrace for the remainder of the afternoon while we debated how we were meant to get the thing back to America.
Having wasted the morning I decided to paint the new armoire that we had bought yesterday while David started to empty the studio of all the rubbish we have managed to accumulate since we bought La Martinié in September 2010. There is a loo and a very rudimentary, bohemian shower in the studio and we were thinking that this second loo, and shower might come in useful for larger parties who are renting the house this summer.
Taking a look at the reassuringly blue, cloudless sky I dragged the armoire out onto the lawn and started to paint.
Cordes In The Mirror
Meanwhile David drove the Avis van across the lawn, parked it just in front of the terrace and spent the next couple of hours ferrying empty paint pots and wine bottles, cardboard boxes, broken sun loungers, odds and sods and about 40 sacks of unused lime mortar into the back of the van ready for a trip to the dechetterie (the French equivalent to our tip/dump).
Half way through my second coat of paint, a huge black cloud appeared from nowhere and from it a whole load of rain. David and I made a dash for the rug adorning our terrace and heaved and pushed at it, in an attempt to manhandle its great bulk in-doors.
The rain was really coming down now and I managed to drag the still drying armoire into the studio while David, hopped into his van with the intention of driving it back onto the safety of the gravel, rather than risk it getting stuck on the already waterlogged lawn.
This however, was not to be! With much screaming of engine, spinning of wheels, flying of mud, digging up of lawn, and swearing from the drivers seat the already full and heavy van embedded itself into the grass!
What followed next was not a pretty sight as van, picnic bench, dining table and chairs and everything else in its path got caked in mud from the vans spinning wheels, while David continued to rev the hell out of it in his attempt to shift the now firmly rooted vehicle!
After 30 minutes of wedging various things under the front tyres to give it leverage, and following a highly feeble attempt by me to push the van, it became clear that the only thing which was going to shift it was Allen’s digger but as Allen was going out that evening to celebrate Steff’s birthday, we decided not to bother him until the morning.
Writing today off as a complete disaster, we waited for George and Sabrina to return (and for their subsequent howls of laughter to subside!) before heading off up to Cordes for drinks, where our favorite bar was closed!