How I wish the old walls -transformed by time and mildew- could talk and tell us the stories of long ago. How these rooms used to be stocked with provisions and packed with fine wine and handcrafted cider. Where the young servants’ giggle could be heard as they went up the stone steps to the basement kitchen, their arms full of bottles. Fantasizing about daily life down here helps me overcome my (apparently very common) childhood fear of cellars. Fetching coal in the basement used to be my household chore and I was convinced I heard voices whispering every time I descended into the dimly lit underworld. The eerie stillness, the earthy scent that rushed at me. The musty odour of decay.
Overseeing major underground construction (a venous system of pipes now runs through the vaults and we’ve laid the ground work for a spa in the future) has made Lescure’s cellars less sinister. The other day, we also took to thoroughly cleaning one space to turn it into a cool storage pantry. Natural light now streams through the small windows again, throwing a gentle spotlight on the walls on sunny days. I’ve brought in items from the ‘upper world’: a couple of antique stoneware bowls and fresh-cut flowers. Of course, there are still faint whispers to be heard, but now they come with gratitude for Lescure’s ongoing awakening.