When I first met my lovely husband I wrote to my parents in England to tell them about him. I wrote, “…and he loves visiting open-air museums as much as I do!”
Over the last 28 years we have certainly visited hundreds of such museums, in different parts of Germany but also in many different countries. In the north German museums we often end up in a house which is actually just like ours, and each time I have to pinch myself to realise how lucky we are, that we and our house found each other.
I always find the foundations of these houses both alarming and fascinating: there aren’t any to speak of. The house sits, rather like a table, on large stones.
One reason I find this alarming is that I spent a large part of my childhood in Sunday School singing choruses about what happens to houses (or lives) which are not built on firm foundations.
Zoom forward to this spring, and we came to the idea to have a greenhouse in our garden. Starting by looking at smaller, more simple (and cheaper) versions at Aldi and Lidl, we began to ask ourselves what we wanted this greenhouse for. Growing vegetables? Not really: in the summer here in our village we lock our doors to stop neighbours sneaking in and leaving zucchini on the kitchen table.
We came to the idea we wanted the greenhouse as a place to sit in, to enjoy the winter sun (Oh it would have been lovely in the snow!) and watch the bats and hedgehogs, squirrels and woodpeckers enjoying our garden on summer evenings.
My lovely OH found a company not too far from here which makes greenhouses which have (we think) a rather English flair and before you could say ‘Jack Robinson’ we had ordered the model of our dreams, which will be delivered in June.
This greenhouse needs what is called in German a ‘Streifenfundament‘, a strip foundation, and the plan was to find a local contractor to do this for us. Many phonecalls later we had to face the reality that nobody had any capacity or desire to this work, and so my not only lovely but noble and talented husband decided he could do it all by himself.
Reader, you would not believe how much concrete is needed for such a foundation. So, the first question is: What is the difference between concrete and cement?
Many years ago we visited New Zealand, and in the north of the south island stayed in a bed and breakfast in a place called Greymouth, where the husband worked at the local cement factory. Of course we were totally fascinated and eagerly accepted his offer of a tour of the facility.
(Because visiting production plants is almost as good as visiting open-air museums.)
So this week, thanks to Click and Collect, my lovely husband could be spotted with his car and trailer fetching sack after sack after sack of cement. He had already dug out the foundation and prepared the wooden cladding.
I get to do the fun parts of all this, which are to think about the decorations and colour schemes; at some stage in the discussions one of us said out loud what fun it would be to have a chaise-lounge in there. A fun fact is that in German these are often called récamière, and I found out that this is named after a very beautiful and sophisticated woman, Julie Récamier, who obviously spent a lot of time lounging on one. Juliette Récamier – Wikipedia
I mentioned this vague desire for a chaise-lounge to our daughter-in-law and in a flash she had found such a piece of furniture, up for auction at a local auction house, starting bid €50. In yellow.
Reader, we bought it!