Life in a Greenhouse or 'Three Panes of Privacy'
Before we arrived in France, Jock, our soon-to-be Project Manager, hesitantly but honestly briefed us on our accomodation: a renovated greenhouse a.k.a. 'the glass caravan'. We were used to a dust-magnet of a condo in Argentina, so we didn't think for a moment that this sort of living situation in France would be a problem. The conversation went a little something like this (adapted from memory for blog purposes): Britt: Does this 'glass caravan' have curtains?
Jock: No, curtains obstruct the view and make the caravan seem smaller. We will put private signs to deter others from bothering you at night.
Jeff: o.k.....is there anything else that we should know?
Jock: Yes, how tall are you?
Jeff: 6 feet 2 inches
Jock: Hmmm...the ceiling comes down lower than that in certain areas. To be perfectly honest, my friend has a hard time being in it and he is 6 foot 5 inches. By and large, you will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen where the roof is highest.
Jeff: That will be fine since we love to cook.
Jock: Also, instead of a proper toilet you will be using a compost toilet.
Jeff: (head spinning) oh?
To most people, this may have been a deal breaker but I figured I may just have to duck occasionally, and, you know, "contribute" my healthy digestion to the garden.
We arrived just before the renovation was complete and the entire greenhouse was in construction mode with sawdust and tools everywhere. By the time we moved in, the glass caravan had become a posh, modern flat with surrounding views of the Meditteranean. by this time, we'd also come to terms with the compost toilet, mosquito netting, and the fact that our privacy consisted of the three panes of our curtained screen.
Over the next four months we spent our time in France involved in a very complicated love/hate relationship with our 'serre' (greenhouse in French). Yet, now that we've moved on, I'm feeling a little nostalgic for this fiberglassed, screened, see-through, metal-framed flat. To show my gratitude I've composed a love letter to express my true feelings:
Thanks for all you have done over the past four and a half months that we were living with you. Your windows gave us some of the best views of the coast from our village and all of your ammenities were top-notch. Your screens kept most of the mosquitos out, gave us cool air in the evening and surround sound audio of the morning bells from the village church. Despite the ocasional leak in the roof, you provided us with plenty of pots to catch all of the water and silicone to ultimately fill them with. Your screens also gave the rain an ideal opportunity to be enjoyed from the inside (not just from the outside) and allowed for a veritable slip n' slide to be played within your walls. But your kindness didn't stop there! You exposed us to the various varieties of insects that lived in the garden and came to visit us through your walls. How can we ever repay you?! Worms, mealworms, beetles, spiders, ants, flies, mosquitos....all became family to us during our time with you. We felt so surrounded with insect love due to your generous morning, afternoon and evening gifts! And how could we forget the everlasting coastal mistrals? The strong gusts rattling your fiberglass roof were like music to our ears at night and we recognized just how solid you were constructed. I hope that one day we may cross paths again and stay within your glass walls, it was truly an unforgettable experience.