Currently, we are renovating an old house for, and partly with, our daughter and her husband. It’s hard work and sometimes, I am so tired after a day, that only a warm bath or, if the weather allows it, laying on the beach brings me back to life.
After all these years in management positions, I have to say that I prefer now this kind of work. Restoring a house also needs a lot of organisational and project management skills, and a great ability to learn new things in short time. I really love this work, it’s satisfactory to build something which remains a long time, which is useful and beautiful.
During my childhood, I had to work with my father (I was the only one in our family who did not run away 😉 ), building and repairing everything, from a broken zipper to a broken car. We renovated our apartments together, painted and papered walls, fixed broken furniture, sewed our clothes. I happily strolled around in workshops, watched people working and sometimes helped out. Those workshops had something magical to me, to see what people could create out of a few basic materials.
This was when I learned to appreciate self-made things. That part of my education nurtured my creativity and independence.
Last week, I found, by accident, such a magical space just a few houses from where we are living. There is an old house, which is always closed but this time it was open. A woman cleaned the entry. As typical here, the entry leads to a big cave, which was empty and from there, over an old wooden ladder you reach the first level. Here was the old workshop, covered with thick layers of dust but still with all the old tools and workbenches, like as if the workmen just had left for a break. It was the workplace from the grandfather and father of the woman downstairs. She keeps it for all the memories involved, hers and those of her mother, who is already 87 years old.
It was like going back in time, into a lost world, and immediately, memories of my childhood came back into my mind.