The Cider Barn

When we discovered our house on our hunting trip to Normandy one of the things that stood out was the cider barn attached to the rear of the house under a catslide roof. I imagined I could still smell the fermented apples although the space was filled with ancient spider webs and dust.

For the first few years we were here it remained a shed, a store for garden tools and bicycles, until we raised the money to replace the slate roof and had to clear it out. We stripped out the loft floor and the loft beams to reveal the vaulted beams set so long ago.

The roofers complained there were no straight, square or parallel sides to the house and the barn was the worst of all. They fretted and stressed, but continued to sing along to the radio and eventually they won. When they left, they cleared the cider barn out and left us with a huge new watertight space, with roof windows and dropped light onto the flagstone floor.

I reopened the bricked up doorway from the pantry and made a new door from new timber and left over wood from the roofing works. It’s a handsome enough door, but like most things in the house, it requires a little finishing before I will be happy with it.

Today the cider barn has temporary light and power, and while it is still home to the two bikes in daily use, and some tools it has also become the route to the garden and a part of the house. At some point in the future the door will be removed to the piggery and new windows will be installed in the outside wall.

One day the cider barn could find itself promoted as it gets progressively finished. The next, less glamorous job, is to fit a catflap. Nutkin and Cornflakes will be pleased…

About 14thcenturypoet

Author of The Legend of Zonza, an historical fantasy based on traditional Italian folk tales...
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