Escape to the Chateau review: an inspiring fairytale about crumbling walls

(nichola haxell) #21

We have enjoyed this programme as it is unlike all the others we have seen where Brits are shown as being totally unprepared for life in France. The cheerfulness is refreshing. We, too, have had problems getting tradesmen (not come across any women here) to give us devis and I can understand why foreign tradespeople are engsged. That is what freedom of movement is about, isn’t it? If the bulding was of any historical value then surely the french authorities would have stepped in to ensure renovtion was ‘correct’. If the building is warm, waterproof and safe does it matter if its dry lined or rendered?
It’s good to see something succeed on a reality show.

(Chris Kite) #22

Getting a bit tedious now, and I’ve definitely crossed Roofer off my list of possible career changes.

(Michael Blackmore) #23

A bit sanctimonious David. Our old stone house (built in 1790) had quite a few parts dry lined when we bought it - all done by previous French owners. Would you rather it had been left to fall down. No “old building” is as it was built. They all get altered and modified to suit the owners from time to time using the most relevant techniques available. This chateau is not all that old anyway - it was built in the 19th. century.

(David Martin) #24

You are obviously proud of owning a house built in 1790 but traditionalists would prefer that a house of that era was maintained in a manner in keeping with its age. Dry lining does not meet that end.

(stella wood) #25

Friends live in a 12th/13th century property. There were restrictions on what they could and could not do … when making it liveable/comfortable. They were quite happy to have everything done using the old methods and ideas and it is a faithful reconstruction/renovation… call it what you will.

It is wonderful to visit … conducted tours are well attended… and folk ooh and aaah with delight.

However, winter living in this property is pretty awful… heaven knows how they kept themselves warm in the olden days.

The owners have now put the property on the market and are dreaming of a future without needing to wear 7 vests…:grin:

(Paul Flinders) #26

I’m getting a sense of déjà-vu…

If I recall correctly David is passionate about this, which is absolutely fine but a lot of people do take a more pragmatic view.

(Michael Blackmore) #27

What a strange observation. It 's just a small house in a village.

My point, which you seem to have missed entirely, is that the French - whose heritage it is - adapt houses to their needs using the materials and techniques available just as others have done to countless building over many centuries. A Georgian front added to an earlier house is now accepted, even by “traditionalists”. Older houses have Georgian and Victorian additions in the style and materials of their time. Many have now been listed and are thus frozen in time and their evolution is halted. I often wonder why and where is the merit in this rather retrospective view of development.

There is no reason why dry lining if properly applied should compromise the structure of an old building or why modern techniques are inappropriate in modifying it. Even the National Trust - notoriously “conservative” used steel joists to reinforce the roof in Kingston Lacy which itself was completely transformed by one of its previous owners by being “turned round” and having a new Georgian front (rather badly) applied to one side. The rusting iron bolts holding it on have been replaced with stainless steel. Very sensible. Would you have let if fall down in the cause of traditionalism?

Our French house is being adapted to our needs with whatever technology is most appropriate. Its not a historical monument, its our home while we are in France. Rotten old joists have been replaced with Masonite fabricated ones (they are straight, light enough for me to handle alone and came from UK where they were much cheaper than they are here. The roof is insulated with modern materials. All the electric wiring is “out of keeping” with the house - there wasn’t any in 1790, nor was there any plumbing.

For those who want to be true “traditionalists” I assume they are living in unheated hovels with no electricity or plumbing and no phone or internet. If they are not it’s just humbug.

Enjoy debating with yourselves. I have a plasterboard ceiling to fit (over steel laths) in a new kitchen which will be equipped with modern technology and efficient extraction so the house doesn’t smell of fish when we cook it.

A goodnight to all.

(David Martin) #28

Enjoy it. I wouldn’t.

(David GAY) #29

With regard to Kingston Lacy referred to in your third para. Yes I would have been quite happy for it to fall down. The human tribe tends to use the same sites to live on rather than dwellings to live in. had it fallen down then it may well have been razed and something more in keeping with the twentyfirst century would have replaced it. There 's very little of any real value that the NT conserves save for the landscape and the coast. In other respects it resembles a giant social housing scheme for elderly aristos still in situ and agreeable country living for its wardens.

(Michael Blackmore) #30

I should have added that I would always use lime mortar and never cement
for repairing or repointing stone walls. That is, of course, about
engineering not “conservation”.

(Vivien Chapman) #31

Absolutely agree. Groaned while I watched it. Time spent on “crafting” which could have been better employed on doing a decent job. They are both hard workers though

(Barbara Deane) #32

He is the production co…Mr Strawbridge.
In essence it is a modern day fairy tale which unites renervation with PR.
I usually love fantasies like this…
Yes like David I watched it a year or so ago.

(Elaine Hayden) #33

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky!

(Barbara Deane) #34

Not so sure that I would put it down to luck.

(stella wood) #35

Quite right Barbara … not just luck… having connections does help …more like a lot of hard work…

Many years ago, we had a film crew with us for 7 days, 8am to 8pm, non-stop (except for when I insisted on feeding everyone)… a lot of hard work… which resulted in just a “blink of an eye” moment…

so for this chappie to be doing a series… phew… he is definitely working very, very hard indeed.

(David Martin) #36

The comment about being lucky had nothing to do with the TV programme. It was in reply to someone who knew a plumber who would always come out quickly.

(stella wood) #37

Ha ha… I see what you mean… Dav id…

but, on reflection… such stuff makes good TV … (reality is often slightly different)…:wink:

(Elaine Hayden) #38

Thank you David. Yes, sorry for confusion caused but my comment was purely in relation to Maureen being lucky enough to find a reliable plumber. Not everyone can claim that - we have been let down many times. C’est la vie and each to their own.

(Elaine Hayden) #39

I actually enjoy watching this programme. Why? I enjoy seeing a couple take on a huge challenge with such enthusiasm, imagination and determination. I am impressed at their unfailing energy to turn their dream into a reality. Yes, they may have contacts in the right places (Media) but they need all the help they can get with such a huge project so good luck to them. They are clearly a hard working couple, nothing seems to faze them (is there anything Dick cannot do?). They seem genuinely happy together and are full of optimism so long may it continue. May their bubble never burst and may the Chateau become the dream they were brave enough to take on. I wish them every success.

(Barbara Deane) #40

Another point is that if you are talented and brave you need to exhibit your
product on the best stage possible. If people do not know about something
then they will not find it. Good things should be shared and enjoyed.
You have to be brave to “do” television…and I do not recommend it to the faint
And not all documentary programmes focusing on living in France are negative.
New Life in the Sun has helped several people in France to reach success. They
are all hard working people with good skills and sound ideas and the appearances
on TV have helped them greatly.
No I do not work for the production co.