This was a BIG deal. I have never, NEVER in my life, spent this much money at once… Especially on something I can’t use to make photographs!
These weren’t just any tiles, either.
The story goes: Once upon a time, there was a Chateau. This chateau was built a very long time ago in a town called Jarnages. So long ago actually, that the roof had begun to fall apart! So, the French government stepped in and put up a lot of money to put a beautiful new roof on the Chateau. And of course, a chateau certainly can’t be clothed with just any old tiles! NO, a chateau must have special tiles, approved by the bureaucratic powers-that-be to conform to standards of beauty appropriate for preserving the heritage and patrimony of France! But of couse… France being France, only half of the roof of the beautiful chateau was ever finished, while the owner awaiting his FEMA check to complete the other half. (In the mean time, a certain American came along who needed some very special tiles for his own chateau. And he wasn’t going to wait for government bail-outs…)
It was a big decision. Lena and I debated about for at least a month before finally deciding to go for it. It was a lot of money. How would we even move seven tons of tiles from Jarnages to the house? Not to mention, someone would have to put them on the roof…
Luckily, Alexandre kindly offered to undertake the massive job of getting the tiles home. This made the decision a little easier knowing that he was willing to take on the biggest obstacle in terms of physically getting the tiles to the house. We woke early that morning and rushed to the bank to make some financial arrangements before meeting him on his farm in time for lunch. We ate quickly and then set off to Jarnages, about 45km away, by tractor… pulling a 20-ton hay trailer behind.
Once we arrived at our destination (at 45km/h maximum), loading the tiles went fairly smoothly. Then we began the long journey home with seven tons of tiles behind the tractor. I followed in the truck so that I could watch in case anything were to go wrong (though Alexandre never told me what I was supposed to do if something did happen). After a small problem with my tire, and an exhausting drive home, we reached the village and created quite a commotion with all the neighbors when they saw our little convoy pull up. Alexandre’s father had met us at the house with a second tractor equipped with a fork to unload the palettes from the trailer and deliver them to the yard. We almost had to abandon the project and leave the palettes along the road-side when it seemed like the tractor wouldn’t fit through the space between the buildings to make it into the front yard. Luckily though, our friendly neighbor Guy showed up to save the day- He works in shipping and logistics, so technically he qualifies as a trained professional. He helped guide the tractor through the tight space (minus the side-view mirrors), which passed with only centimeters on each side!
At the end of the day, thanks to Alexandre’s excellent tractor-driving skills (certainly not anyone could have done it!) all the tiles made it in one piece… I was too nervous to even watch through the whole ordeal and after an afternoon of watching thousands of euros hover in the air waiting to crash down and smash into little pieces, my nerves were shot! Once again, Guy had just the solution- A nice apéritif with a double shot of whisky to calm the nerves to finish off a long day.
For some inspiration of what’s to come: