Haimps, France. Where did you say? Exactly, but it exists and I spent 4 weeks living with Florence and Carole in their very comfortable home. I had my own room with personal shower and toilet, a big comfortable bed and central heating. OK, so the shower in my room wasn’t working correctly…I simply made use of the shower down the hall. This place was like heaven compared to the weeks prior where I needed two hot water bags each night and had to go out to a caravan in order to shower. Not surprisingly, it was easy for my hosts to convince me to stay an extra week!

Florence and Carole had recently purchased an old home in a nearby city and were in the process of renovating it for use as an Airbnb. There was a lot that needed to happen, including the demolition of an old brick, metal and glass structure which had been added in the back. This was just too intimidating for the otherwise very industrious two women. But when I sized up the situation, I started to feel the child in me come to life…the one who likes to take things apart, who likes to see glass shatter, who likes to see sparks fly while cutting through metal, who enjoys watching a brick wall topple like a mini Jericho! It is so therapeutical to demolish things which need demolishing. And it is good to remove the old in order to make room for the new.

After the demolishing, there was also room for me to do some more constructive activities. A section of roofing was in urgent need of repair, and although my experience as a roofer is minimal, my fear of heights is practically non-existent, so once again, I was the man for the task. Later, while exploring the surrounding lots, I discovered an abandoned wooden door. After taking the measurements, I realised it would work perfectly as a replacement of the half-rotten door leading to the garage. With my carpentry skills challenged and the door installed, I had the opportunity to play with electricity while installing some used lighting units in the same space.

Cutting down trees, removing the remains of a greenhouse, replacing a rotten section of floor, digging a trench for water pipes…never a dull moment.