For the whole of September our street has been blocked. Our neighbours across the road, Laurent and his family, have had their roof completely redone by local Preuilly firm Couverture Veron. The house is a holiday home and Laurent et al live in Alsace, coming down a few times a year for short breaks and a whirlwind of renovations. The truck and lifting machine used by the roofers, not to mention their scaffolding, has meant that the street has been blocked from 8am to 5pm every week day at the level of our courtyard. At night and over the weekends they have been parking their lifting machine in our courtyard, and that led us to have an idea.
The wardrobe is loaded into the scoop.
In return for the use of our courtyard, which didn't really inconvenience us because we have space out the back as an alternative to park the car, we asked the roofers if they would help us get a wardrobe upstairs. They benefitted by being able to leave the big machine on site for the whole of the job, rather than having to drive it back to the depot every evening. The wardrobe we wanted moved has lived in our sitting room and stored things like guitars ever since we moved here and discovered it was too big by just a few centimetres, to go up our stairs and into our bedroom. What we wanted was for them to lift it up to the first floor bedroom window, which it would easily fit through.
The apprentice rides up with the wardrobe.
(I suspect he is taking the opportunity here to perve into Anne and John's workshop across the road.)
I explained our problem and we set a date for just after lunch the day before they finished Laurent's roof. We shuffled furniture as necessary and cleaned behind things that hadn't seen a vaccuum cleaner or a duster for quite a long time. I was rather shocked to see just how dirty one corner of our bedroom really was.
I couldn't get a photo of him doing his tightrope act, but here is the roofer,
one foot on the windowsill, one on the scoop.
We lined the lifting machine's scoop with cardboard and lifted the wardrobe out of the sitting room window on its side. It isn't heavy or very large and fitted quite neatly. Just to be sure it wouldn't move though the apprentice roofer travelled up in the bucket with the wardrobe. On reaching the right height and distance from the upstairs window the roofer driving the machine stopped, hopped out of the cabin, tightrope walked up the hydraulic arm and jumped in through the window. Then he, the apprentice and Simon lifted the wardrobe in and set it down. Unbelievably easily done, taking no more than 10 minutes (probably less).
Simon and the roofer lift the wardrobe in through the first floor window.
The wardrobe matches the other one in our bedroom, and the bedside tables. It is part of a suite of furniture that Simon acquired when he bought a house in Australia and the furniture was left in the house. There is also a bed and a dressing table, which we have in the guest bedroom. It is well made of some Australian hardwood (no doubt a eucalypt of some sort). It will be nice for Simon to have something a bit classier than a blue teflon zip up wardrobe for his shirts. But the guitars will have to find a new home.
A big thank you to the Veron roofing guys, who were friendly and careful throughout.