>Grand Designs – A Vision Splended

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I’d intended to wind up blogging for this session, but then caught the tail-end of a quite inspirational TV programme called “Grand Designs”.  Folk in the UK will know this programme.  It follows people building their dream homes, and the homes raneg from Gothic homes complete with gargoyles, mud-brick homes to very modern structures.
The progamme I watched tonight to me showed how the Universe works in mysterious ways.  It was about a couple who’d been together for five years and were stooging on the internet looking for a home in the UK.  What they ended up with, believe it or not, was a wreck of a house in a remote region of France.  They “happened” to come across an advertisement for this home and bought it, off the internet, within two days.
The house they bought was just a shell of the original home.  It was four storeys high, plus a cellar, and had been used by the French Resistance until the Nazis found out and torched the house.
This couple then set about rebuilding this chateau-type house, living in a caravan while they did so.  They had the support of the local people who gave the couple advice on how the house had been originally. They thought it was fantastic to see the old house being restored to its former glory, since it had been left as a ruin when it had been torched 60 years ago.
Now consider that these two didn’t speak French, had no building skills, yet set about doing ALL the work themselves – rebuilding the original brickwork; restoring the inner walls; installing plumbing; installing a new kitchen; decorating a kitchen, living room, dining room, master bedroom with en-suite and gym on the top floor, as well as papering the walls with wallpaper that had a design reminiscent of 60 years ago;  and renovating four bedrooms on the intervening two floors, with all those bedrooms having en-suite also.
The furniture they put into the house was also respectful of the era in which the house had operated, and they had the most beautiful antiques through this now glorious home. Many of their neighbours donated furniture to this home because they appreciated the couple’s dedication and genuinely warm attitude.  As a result, the quite small community – where normally outsiders would take decades to be accepted – have taken this couple to their hearts and now treat them as honoured and valued members of the community.
When the story started, it seemed almost unimaginable that this couple, probably in their mid-fifties could ever complete this project.  Yet they succeeded, they now operate a Bed & Breakfast service, and are absolutely ecstatic living in this home. All the hard work hasn’t phased them at all, and it’s hard to believe that this glorious old home was renovated and restored by a couple with not a skerrick of building skills between them. AND they did all the work themselves. Amazing and courageous stuff.
It’s my belief that they were drawn to restore this home to its former glory because it called to them, and because it spoke to their hearts and souls.  And the best part was that they heeded this call to their spirit and followed the siren call of this old, rundown ruin.  So listen up, folks – when you get this kind of call yourself, listen to it and do your damndest to follow it to your best possible efforts, regardless of the difficulties, challenges or fears you may face. Courage has its own, fine rewards and very often not in the way you expect.


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