It´s been a long wet and fairly cold month, with a few nice days. Not the weather we came here for! I think we have spent more time indoors this month than ever before, but having said all that it looks as thought the weather in the U.K. has been a lot worse. When it rains here, even if it is heavy and prolonged, we do not see floods near us, just a few puddles on the roads. The stream running below us becomes a little noisier, and on occasion is difficult to cross down in the valley. The worst that happens here in the village when there is heavy and prolonged rain is that some of the stone walls collapse. This happened at the bottom of our garden last year, but fortunately it was not too bad and we have had it rebuilt. There are long stretches of high walls all around our garden, and if one of the main walls went it would be a very expensive problem.

Last Winter, which was very wet, caused a number of roof leaks around the place. Firstly there was a slowly enlarging stain which appeared on the side of the Adega, below the chimney. I had this looked at in the Autumn and there was a cracked tile which we had repaired. Next time it rained the stain spread. This time all the tiles around the base of the chimney were lifted, and under a couple of them were birds nests. These have been removed, and this seems to have fixed the problem. An area around the main kitchen chimney was leaking last year and again this year. On examination this appears to have been caused by the wires from the satellite dish and aerial being put straight under the tiles. We have changed these so that there is a big loop, with the bottom of the loop before the tiles. We also painted the outside of the chimney with waterproof paint, so far this seems to have fixed the problem.

The biggest leak problem though has been occurring in our sitting-room. There are two chimneys here, both of which pre-date our arrival. The one from downstairs has always produced a small leak which exits either onto the outside balcony or comes in just above the balcony door and drips onto the floor. We removed all the tiles around this chimney and removed a large handful of accumulated dirt, so far no more leaks!  The other leak however is all around the stove pipe at ceiling level above our wood-burning stove. This started last year and I had hoped it was just because of the wind direction change over a prolonged period. No such luck! This year it has become much worse, and now we have a large stain on the ceiling above the stove, and an almost constant drip of horrible black soot and tar filled water. We have removed all the tiles around the chimney and found nothing amiss. There were however a number of the pieces of facing stone which were touching the bottom of the flashing, so we have cut these back. This was done about a week ago and there seems to be some small reduction in the leak, but it still continues!!

Stormy January
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