I haven’t written much recently about the 15th-century chapel that we are helping to restore. This is partly because the work goes into hiatus over the winter; and partly because the bureaucracy involved grinds exceedingly slowly. However, there was a flurry of activity last Friday when work resumed on the wall that encircles the cemetery.
Because the chapel is a listed historic building, our team of volunteers is not allowed to do any further work on it. This must be carried out by qualified professionals. But waiting for the necessary permission for the experts to start has been a frustrating process.
Nonetheless, some progress on the bureaucratic front was reported at our association’s AGM a couple of weeks ago:
- The permis de construire (outline planning permission) has been agreed.
- The wrangle about disabled access to the chapel has been sorted out by the Prefet, although I’m still not quite sure how or in what way.
Still to come, though:
- ERDF (French electricity network) has to check the ground to make sure that no cables extend under the site.
- There has to be an archaeological survey carried out, starting in May. If they find anything that requires excavation, this will put back the schedule.
- Some sort of overall approval (don’t ask me) is necessary before we can apply for various subsidies.
So it’s two steps forward and one step back, as ever.
However, the cemetery wall is well on its way. Since there is a drop of several metres between the cemetery and the field below on one side, we have had to build up a substantial wall in places. Last Friday’s work involved shoring up the lower part of the wall with concrete. We are lucky to number a couple of maçons among our members.
I have to say that I did very little. I shifted a few stones around, fell over a couple of times, took a lot of photos for the association’s record and had a good chat with some others who were also standing around. But, as always, the ambience was friendly, there was a sense of achievement and the entente cordiale was operating well.
Our annual fundraising fête will take place on Sunday 28th June, following the usual pattern: outdoor mass by the chapel, apéritif and slap-up alfresco meal at midday, games, entertainment etc. after lunch, a lot of hard work behind the scenes but a lot of fun. And a sense that we are doing something useful – even if we don’t live to see the final results…
Watch this space.
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