Odd jobs & cake in France

Wissembourg / Weissenburg

Departed from Tilburg by train to Arnhem. There Jelle was waiting at the back exit, I could ride with him. The trip went very smoothly, hardly any traffic jam. We were the very first to arrive in Wissembourg at our castle at 5 o'clock. The ladies sleep in the bedroom with a sauna in it! And all the windows are open, just like the door, everything can fly in here merrily. Luckily I was able to get a mosquito net. The castle also has a large courtyard with all kinds of tables for sitting outside. Outside is an outdoor shower. It's like I'm on my own episode of I'm leaving now.

After the apero we got a whole tour. There are also tiny houses and horses on the property. The idea is to become self-sufficient and let people live here with different generations. Its founder couldn't stop talking about this until it was said that the food was ready. It was lentil soup with caprese salad from the vegetable garden and delicious apple pie. We are now with 6 girls and 2 boys. Tomorrow the last two will arrive and we will start. Here, German, French and English are spoken together, so it really takes some getting used to.

Wissembourg, samen eten

August 3

Every day the menu is written outside and we eat warm at noon. It is served coronaproof and we eat at long tables outside. This gives the ultimate holiday feeling. The food is mega delicious! They give us delicious cheese and bake at least two kinds of cake or pie every day. This afternoon we had brioche.

In the kitchen is a very nice old cupboard, which I would like to take it with me. Our sink is in the middle of all the renovation stuff. When I brush my teeth there, I really feel like I'm in 'Ik vertrek'.

In the afternoon we had to help to remove trees that had been cut down to clear the road in order to enlarge the stable and make more money from it. In the end it worked and everything was in a heap in the woods. The clay wall is now also completely ready, it still has to dry and can then be painted. Claudio explained a lot about how to build more sustainably and reuse things and why concrete is so bad. The sand that is suitable for it remains too cheap so everyone continues to use it. After dinner we got a tour with more explanation about their vision. They would like to build houses from straw and clay, start a camping site and a flamkuchen restaurant. They only bought it a year ago and the castle needs to be better winterized this year. There is still much work to be done. Wallpaper is almost in these days, which makes it look like a time machine. We did this completely safely with a mouth cap. Afterwards we played uno on the terrace while enjoying their own tea while watching the stars.


wissembourg taart

August 4

They have huge workshops here where everything is neatly in place and labeled. There is also a huge horse stable here, I have seen about 10-15 horses. They also have a herbal spiral, in which herbs are planted in such a way that they can grow optimally. Furthermore, this afternoon they had homemade juice and of course cake.

Today I worked on a support for the horse shower. This one is sliding because the previous owner put it on a slope. It must remain in place by means of stones and a support of two trees. The one I did this with is studying architecture and came up with triangle constructions for it. Finally the other architect came along and he was of the opinion that the stones should not be underneath, but a foundation should be put through concrete. In the end, the 3 architects disagreed. We have removed the stones from under the construction and repaired the wall with concrete. This was already delivered ready-made and was professionally installed when the German Building Order came by.

wissembourg beton kant-en-klaar

After all that hard work we got cake again and we went swimming in the lake, which is also on the property. There are several tiny houses here where people now live temporarily, during the renovation. After this I enjoyed the outdoor shower, wonderful with the sunset. We got another epic screwdriver from the Building Order, you can put different sizes on it. After dinner there was a feedback round, in which everyone indicated what went well and what could be improved. The people of the project thought we had a good energy and came up with great ideas and input for the projects. After this we enjoyed a campfire and I brushed my teeth under the starry sky.

August 5

This morning we started with a tea ceremony. Tea was drunk and a story read, of which I had to read the French version. We see the French-German border here. Then there was breakfast with cake and sandwiches with marmalade on the roof terrace. Something I can get used to.

wissembourg taartontbijt

After an explanation of the work, the work could begin. I went with two others to remove the concrete layer from the terrace. The damage on the walls is largely from the second WWII, where there were apparently prisoners and a lot of fighting.

wissembourg drilboren

Then it was time for lunch, warm of course at noon. It tasted delicious, we smelled the nice smells all morning. I went to help in the garden, clear the trees from weeds and got a full explanation about the way of gardening. The insects are attracted by the use of flowers. I also tasted fresh tomatoes and blackberries, of course they were delicious. From there you could see the castle very well, which is really gigantic, with a cellar with a flamkuchen oven in it and 3 more floors above it approximately. Unfortunately it started to rain and we had to go inside. There I was able to help smear the clay on the wall to get rid of the heating on it. This was quite heavy as you had to leave your mask on when you weren't sitting. I got the three bottom layers pretty decent on it. After dinner, table football was played in the attic with a glass of wine. The clip is on it so that you can recognize your glass. Then our sauna, which is in our room, was ready. At the moment I am still vaping and I have sweated out all the dust from today.

wissembourg verwarming

August 6

This morning I helped with the herbal spiral. We built the last walls well to finish it. The herbs that need the least water are at the top, as the water runs down. Tomorrow we will add soil and straw to finish it off. In the garden here is a huge bush with wild blackberries, which are all ripe at the moment. After lunch I went to paint an apartment with a kind of lime paint. Only water had to be added and then it could go on the wall. There is loam on the walls and a good layer of insulation underneath. It's more like a felt that is pressed together. A heater was also built into some walls. It dried up really crazy, as it first turned gray and then suddenly white. It was wonderfully cool and therefore very pleasant to work. After the feedback round, every day there is a schedule with the tasks for the morning and the afternoon. This way you can see what kind of things you can do. Last night there was an opening of the stairs that some volunteers had made. The penny lane was opened with a song and a drink. He goes to the horses, so from there. After that I went to cool off in the lake and after some waiting I was able to enjoy the outdoor shower. In the evenings we often eat cheese and bread here with a salad. The cheese is really delicious. After dinner we played earthworms while enjoying a beer.

wissembourg kruidenspiraal

August 7

This morning I went to finish the herbal spiral. Meanwhile, the rooster had also escaped. He wakes everyone up early and keeps crowing, there were already suggestions to throw him on the bbq. We returned it properly. There still had to be soil and hay against the weeds on the herb spiral. When we went to get these we came across pygmy goats. They eat all the leaves, so they have to prune less. Because of this we were not that fast. Furthermore, during lunch I went swimming in the lake again. By walking back differently we passed other houses. I had the idea of ​​being in Germany rather than in France.

The clay is mixed with water in a machine, so that it has the right structure to smear on the wall. Of course there was also good cake with a cooling drink. That afternoon I helped with the digging, so that a drainage system and insulation can be built against the wall of the castle. I also helped finish the second stage.

Tonight was the long-awaited flammkuchenparty. They were baked in the large wood oven. Before we could start the feast, the projects that were closed had to be opened. So there was plenty of music at the spice spiral and the new staircase. It was opened with the pleasure of cremand. This is a kind of local champagne, really delicious. After this came the flammkuchen and we sat at long tables on the other side of the castle to enjoy. In the end I watched the moon rise from behind the trees that evening and took a night shower. There are lights in the shower head of the outdoor shower, so this was ultimate enjoyment!

Wissembourg geitje

August 8

Finally weekend, so sleep in this time! After a quiet breakfast I walked across the border to Germany. There were many butterflies and a hunting lodge. Because it was so hot, we spent a lot of time in the ice-cold lake. At the end of the afternoon we cycled down the mountain to Wissembourg, the city nearby. This was the first time in 5 days that we have left the premises here. It had all old houses that were also a bit sagging at times. It looked very cute.

Because of the temperature and corona there were hardly any tourists or people on the street, it looked like a ghost town. I did feel more in Germany than in France. After some cooling in the form of an ice cream at the Italian and a local beer, the way up could start again. Tonight was Spanish night and they had cooked Spanish and there was sangria. It was really delightful. There was also some plum crumble left over from lunchtime, so there was also a nice dessert. After that we sat outside for a long time and there were all kinds of discussions about feminism. This is really different in Germany than in the Netherlands.

August 9

The plan was to cycle to Wissembourg to eat the best pain au chocolat. They happened to have made these themselves this morning. However, we still wanted to compare them with the very best. The town itself was deserted and the bells were ringing as we cycled into town. This really made it seem like we were 100 years back in time. Unfortunately the bakery ran out of pain au chocolat, so I went for an eclair. He was delightful of course! Then after lunch I went for a swim and relaxed by the icy lake. The water there comes from the well. It had to be around the corner. After a long walk, we are just the other way around. Then someone told me where it was, it was very hidden and much smaller than expected. This afternoon they also made croissants. Tonight we had grilled vegetables from the bbq and afterwards I went for an evening walk to Germany. Then we suddenly end up in a military cemetery, apparently there were many French prisoners there during the first WWII. After climbing over the fence we found out that the gate was just open. Finally we walked on the German-French border and we came across Notre Dame there! Due to the walking tour we were late for the movie night, we were able to enjoy the last part.

wissembourg eclair

August 10

This morning I had breakfast again on the balcony with cake and a croissant. This morning we shoveled and divided stones, so that there is an even surface as foundations for a shed to store dry materials in. After some slogging, they figured they actually had a big excavator that could do it. Then we went to ask for everything if they didn't have a machine for it. They had another smaller excavator to divide it even further. After lunch we continued with a waltz to make it even flatter. New stones were then thrown into the holes and at the end of the day we even laid a number of stones. It was so hot today that working from 9 to 13 and from 15 to 18 was not really possible. Nor were the people interested in it. So from tomorrow we will work with a tropical schedule. So from 8 to 12 and from 16 to 19. Tonight we played the pan game, a lot of people happened to have thrown in the same words. Then I found out that the rooster here also has a name, Carouso. Fortunately, it cools down very well here in the evening and it is even a bit chilly.

wissembourg graafmachine

August 11

Also this morning a fantastic breakfast was ready. And the vegetables are fresh from the garden. Yesterday someone was busy assembling a scaffolding. He looks a lot like that of Chateau Meiland. This morning we went to paint the ceiling of the great hall white. With the crazy paint that is gray at first, but then dries white. After the first layer, we found out that a second layer definitely needs to be applied. Just before lunch I had some time to read. Then it was time to cool off in the lake. When we came back there were two cakes from Klaus. Have never seen this man, but he brings delicious cakes along. Meanwhile, Gabriela was also painting on the ladder. Then we started working on the tiles for the shed. By flattening the ground, the tiles could be placed precisely on top of it, so that materials can come on and machines can ride on. It was nice in the shade, so that was ideal.

August 12

This morning I continued working on painting the ceiling. Going over it a second time made it a little whiter. Before dinner there was some time to read. We ate fufu with curry made by someone from the construction camp. I walked around the castle this afternoon. There used to be a lot of small rooms. The wallpaper is so old that it is now hip again. The view from the attic is also beautiful. This afternoon I started working with cement. The holes in the floor where all the walls had been had to be sealed. Because it was so dry you have to wet it well, otherwise the cement would dry too quickly. After dinner, it was campfire night, as the four French Scouts leave the next day. In the end it even started to rain at the end of the evening and it could cool down nicely.

wissembourg plafond witten

August 13

This morning the rooster was crowing loudly again. It was more cloudy today, so it was better weather to work. We have made the ceiling a bit beautiful in a temporary guest room. It went pretty smoothly, except for the pillar in the corner of the room. In the end, it was almost Ikea worthy. Then we painted the next room white. There we came across a poem on the stones, so we left it alone. In addition, someone had made temporary windows by sawing a hole in the plates in front of the windows. Lunch was again fantastic! My favorite cake was back with little plums underneath and very fluffy. In the afternoon everyone had to come and help, because very heavy beams have to be moved. In the end it wasn't that bad, so half of them were watching. They had to go up to the plateau, which we had made where there is another shed. It was a whole procession across the site with the machine with the beams in front. After that I cleaned another room where walls had been removed, because that building dust is really everywhere. Because someone was already leaving, we had to take a group photo. Everyone imitates their construction pose of the two weeks. I have depicted my painting skills myself. After dinner it was time for a movie. However, it was in German and because I was tired, the tracking didn't go very well. Then I just went to bed.

wissembourg groepsfoto

August 14

The last day has unfortunately arrived. In the morning we finished a support in the basement, because the doorposts there were now finished. Sometimes the screws had to be rammed out by force. Then I noticed that many muscles were very acidic. But we got it all done. Also, the entire basement had to be cleaned for the farewell party. The living room ceiling now looks almost cloudy. And everything is back in its proper place. Then the round started over all construction sites. Every time, all builders were thanked and the result looked at. The horse shower is now really ready and it looks a bit tidier.

Then Thierry was ready with a local drink, beer with Picco and lemon. S'gilt, cheers as they say here locally. After that, sheets were hung up to write down feedback. The summary was that there was yet to be an outdoor shower, that the food was fantastic and there was a lot of variety in the work. Also, everyone had a sign on their back for positive feedback. Meanwhile the sky was blue, but a little rain fell, as if the castle was also sad that we were leaving. Afterwards we received a small present: jam made from the fruits of the tree that unfortunately had to fall because it was in the way. We also left something behind with the group and we wrote a farewell song for them on mamma mia. Our performance was the start of the party. The song was about Gabrielle who organized everything for us. With her paint apron and her delicious food, she could have come straight out of the mamma mia movie. They all thought it was fantastic and it was nice that I had written this with Anne. Christian, who is a DJ himself, played one record after another. He used real records. The beers, the Crémand and the wine made for even better dance moves. It was noisy in the cellar for a long time.

wissembourg kelderfeest