We are making a work here called Carbon Pool which is made of many large logs in an 18 m. circular vortex going down into the earth. There are 7 of us making it, 5 from the UK: myself, and three guys from Second Land in Lewes – Drew, Will and Ben. Kay is also here to lend much needed female balance and moral support, but it has to be said she spends all day working on her novel, but gets in vital supplies and booze when required. Then there is Monsieur Nicolas Lenoir who is supplying and bringing the timber, and his worker David, who is excellent in all things related to moving and cutting timber. He is very disdainful of my small chainsaw while he wields his massive Stihl. He is a great addition to the team and as we teach him English, he attempts to teach us French. Monsieur Lenoir however shouts in French, and even if you were fluent in the language, you still wouldn’t understand a word he was saying. For two days we waited for him to bring us logs, while the message was always – he was on his way. Finally someone got irate as we were standing around at £1000 a day and he brought logs and has been doing so ever since.

As well as us 7 there are others who have a hand in making it all happen. Laurent looks after our lodgings in the stables and brings in plumbers when the hot water packs in. Benjamin and Catherine in the office relay messages about equipment we need and smooths the way between all of us. Usually requests for tools and materials goes to the excellent Christoff who in no time appears in his van, or dumper truck with whatever we need – usually with a huge grin on his face. He loves his job and it is because of him we have a circle dug before we arrive, at the right scale in the right place with a 2 m. deep hole in the middle in which a pump is installed to drain water away, as we are on clay here. Then there is Leighton (English) in the office who doubles up with Benjamin and relays most thing to Chantal Colleu-Dumond who is the boss of the whole outfit. Chantal has a very complicated job as she manages the garden festival, the Chateau and the art installations, as well as dealing with local and national politicians. She has been an incredible success here and has brought in 400,000 visitors a year. Before this she managed the whole of France’s cultural affairs in Berlin, then Rome. So she is a force to be reckoned with, and she does it all by a unique attention to detail while delegating most jobs to her excellent team.

So the five of us drove down on the Sunday 16th in beautiful sunshine and started work on Monday when the weather began to deteriorate. They have had the same atrocious weather here as we have in Britain so it is wet and very muddy, made worse by the clay soil, so we know that we are in for a mud bath and we have 7 days to get it done. A tall order!IMG_2288







Chaumont-Sur-Loire | 2014 | Uncategorized