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Southern France
Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This Old House

In a house as old as this – 600 years give or take a few – winter is a constant battle.  Curtains billow as the wind slithers in between the aging woodwork, windows ice up reminding us there is only paper thin glass separating us from the freezing temperatures, and an occasional snow flake can be seen making its way under the door.  Anyone who’s lived in an old house knows nature makes its way in and an additional dose of courage and another sweater are needed on days like these.
Winters long ago must have been hard in the house. People lived a much more rustic life, but without a doubt, it was difficult.  What we consider to be our home was actually habitable living space for humans, a barn for the animals, and a dry storage area for hay and grain.  The basement, which has low ceilings, was for the animals.  While I’m certain it smelled to high hell, their body temperature heated the house from below.  (Could this have been the inspiration behind heated floors?)  The living room was the hay loft, and a grain shoot still exists under the kitchen.  People lived in small spaces alongside the sole heating source, the fire, and the whole family slept in what we consider to be a relatively small bedroom; quite a stark contrast from the comforts we demand today.
I don’t have look far for a reminder of what life could have been if I had been born centuries ago. When it comes to things of this nature, I don’t consider myself to be hardy stock, so I would have been cold, cramped, and most likely un-bathed, so not at all happy.  While this puts the drafty window into perspective, I still want my modern conveniences, but forcing that square peg into a house like this isn’t easy.  There are some compromises.

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