The beauty of stone walls is eternal
I grew up in New England, in a house surrounded by stone walls. Outside stone walls, the kind that delineate the limits of people’s properties. Most houses in the region are made of wood, and they have interior walls covered in plaster or plaster board. The original plaster in New England was thickened with horse hair as insulation, and you can still see some of this in our attic.
Now in France I live in a house with stone walls. Twelve-inch thick stone walls to be exact. And they are not only stone on the outside, the inside walls of my house are stone, too. Lovely, warm stone that keeps the inside temperature relatively stable all year round. Lovely, craggy stone walls that catch the dust in their myriad of nooks, crannies and crevices. Lovely, natural stone walls that provide perfect adhesion for spider webs and cobwebs.
Yikes! This unwanted visitor will be sent outside in a jiffy!
Spider webs and cobwebs??? Ah yes, spider webs, cobwebs, and spiders are my daily lot, especially in the fall when all sorts of creatures come in from the cold. But do they have to come into my house? Really! I get as many out of the house as I can with the glass and cardboard method, and allow a false sense of security to settle in over the winter. This false sense of security tides me over until the spring and summer when the ones I missed start crawling around again – with their offspring!
In this battle of man vs. nature I have decided that I will definitely prevail!
The combination of spiders, spider webs, dust and stone walls is a hefty one, and in this battle of man vs. nature I have decided that I will definitely prevail. So out comes my trusty vacuum cleaner with its myriad of brushes and off I go to… wait for it… vacuum the walls. You see, not only does the vacuum cleaner suck up the unwanted sticky webs of the creepy crawlies I manage to send outside, it also removes the dust and tiny bits of cement and other grout-like substances that cling to the stone walls. The more I brush and vacuum, the more bits I dislodge from the walls, so on and on it goes. And then in some corner I disturb a nest of spiders who start skedaddling around the place to my great joy and, well, panic.
I learn the hard way that I should start vacuuming the walls and ceiling before doing the floor, as bits of dust and cobwebs tumble down on my just-cleaned floor. I also learn the hard way that I should be wearing an old bandana to protect my hair, but as I only have a silk Hermes scarf with me today, daaaahling, I opt for the dusty grey look instead.
Now there’s a lizard lurking lazily on my wall!
As I’m vacuuming one bit of the bathroom wall I look to my left and get quite a shock. In addition to all the spiders I’ve gotten rid of, now there’s a lizard lurking lazily on my wall! I nearly jumped out of my skin at the sight of this unwanted visitor so close by. It’s a good six inches from head to tail so a glass won’t be big enough to capture him. I luckily have saved a clear plastic rectangular fruit pack from the supermarket, and this combined with a clever new use for the local community magazine returns the lizard unharmed to the great outdoors.
There’s a lot to be said for plasterboard walls, but there’s so much character in a stone wall. I suppose that the extra upkeep is compensated by nature and its unexpected thrills!