A little over two years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to not only buy one house in the south of France, but two. Yes, I know, this sounds very romantic and all, but… The two houses needed a lot of attention. I say that in the past tense, because the first house was finished last summer thanks to my oh-we-love-renovating-old-houses parents. It’s beautiful, it’s yellow and you can have a look at a whole lot of photos from the renovations here.
Now on to the second house. I guess you can still call it a house. It has walls and floors (on most levels) and someone did live in it. Mind you, when we got the assessment, it was rated as non-habitable. To this day, I don’t understand how someone could have lived in such conditions at all. There was an old man living there before with dogs and chicken (possibly rats and mice and other things). He seemed to have lived on the ground floor, the first floor was for dogs and chicken, the last one never used and rained into, and the cave (French for cellar) was his tip minus the recycling part. I almost wish there was smell-o-vision, so you can get an idea of what it was like before we cleaned out the majority of things but, then again, I wouldn’t want to do that to you really. There were faeces and dead animals. Simply put, it was disgusting. When we showed the house to family members (who rightfully are excited at the future prospects of holidaying in the south of France), it came with a major warning and they entered at their own risk (animals and all).
I am pleased to say that we’ve managed to empty the house as much as possible and that the piles of unidentifiable objects and stinky leftovers have been bagged and revealed some stable floors on the first floor where the sleeping quarters are to be.
The local municipality offers a free of charge container every so often, and so my mum ordered it for the first days we all were supposed to be emptying the house of its lively treasures. Unfortunately, three of us couldn’t be there in the end, so my husband, such a trooper, was left alone to fill the empty container as much as possible over a couple of days.
Fear not, he left some of the piles of poo for me to shovel into bags a few days later. I swear, I can still smell it.
Now to the fun part, I filmed some bits and pieces (sorry, with my iPhone!) to show the before and after. There wasn’t enough light to shed on the chaos in the cellar, so I’ll spare you seeing it.