Sunday, January 12, 2014

Walls, walls, walls

The Stones of Le Ripe

Originally at Le Ripe the farmers laboured over many winters to build terraces up the slopes so that they could better work the flatter land that resulted. As you wander around the part of the farm that was cultivated and grazed you happen upon odd sections of ancient wall, some crumbling, some hidden under rampant growth, some concealed by earth, moved during recent building renovations.

old wall uncovered after who knows how many years
a well-preserved original drystone wall which has become a feature

Since settling here it has been our dream  to retrieve/restore/rebuild some of these walls. But the farmers built drystone walls and nowadays builders claim that mortared walls are better.  For more on this see my diatribe here.

After a few years of dithering and bargaining we have come to a compromise. The builders will complete some walls with mortar and others we shall restore in drystone, with a drystone specialist. Here is some of their work. 

you can hardly see where the new wall has been knitted into the older one

a stretch of about 30 metres along the drive; the wall will be covered with earth, the grass will grow back and, I hope, my snowdrops as well

that stretch completed
One wall made of what are called pietre ciclopiche (cyclopic stones), is drystone by default; it is unnecessary, given the size of the stones, for it to be otherwise, as our builder ruefully acknowledges.

gigantic rocks, boulders really, being moved into place for one drystone wall
They have also just completed a set of handsome steps which echo some of the venerable steps of Lamole.

More of their handicraft:

another perspective on the newest wall

walls at all angles

a well-established new wall (constructed in 2009)

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