My top tip on how to relieve stress when renovating a castle? Live a dreamer’s life. Ballooning budgets, high expectations that can never be met, a phalanx of construction workers coming and going while you’re still in your PJs. None of it matters when you float through the foolish undertaking on a gauzy display of fantasies. Unless. The other week, a crazy tunneler was tearing up the beauty of the fields, digging deep trenches to connect water mains and electricity we’re introducing to the buildings. As I saw the conical mounds of soil and dirt grow to giant molehills, I felt besieged. The molehills became mountains, off came the rose-coloured glasses and soon all I saw was a muddy and murky future.
Gloom pervaded my heart and silenced the dreamer in me. I found myself roaming the estate with some pretty serious discontent. Cigarette stubs, broken glass and debris everywhere, cracked trees and shrubs. Ugliness! Disorder! It wasn’t until I noticed the periwinkle – surviving against all odds, its dark green shoots and violet petals threading their way through the rubbish – that I remembered age-old wisdom. It’s in the waste that flowers grow. Next, the sun came out for a second, turning the shadows on the gravel heaps into those of an enchanted desert landscape. I heard the birds sing, they weren’t going to be silenced by the noise of a digging machine. I could even make out the ribbit-ribbit of the frog who recently took up residence in the basin. Lesson learned: Life is both messy and magical. By welcoming and loving the unwanted chaos, we’re inviting transformation and beauty to our lives and to Lescure.