Cycling gives you a lot of time to think. And given how we often ride around the local countryside almost at random, it also brings you into contact with some unexpected sights. This can be a dangerous mix.
Today, riding a road we’d never travelled before, we came face to face with this abandoned mill. It still has its water wheel, although the mill race seems to have dried up long ago.
It reminded me of the first property we looked at when we were hunting for a house in France. That was a mill with a fully functioning wheel. We didn’t buy it because of its many issues (mostly connected with damp). But here’s the dangerous thing…
Today was one of those perfect rides. The air was warm but not too hot. The sun was dazzling. The colours of the landscape were almost painfully intense.
This wasn’t a day for thinking about problems. We were feeling great as a result of the exercise and all the oxygen were were sucking down.
No, this was a day for looking at an old mill and thinking what you could do with it. Imagine how light it would be inside with all those large windows. Imagine the studio space you could have with those three stories (plus large attic). Maybe you could get the water wheel working again and use it to generate electricity. Some of the mechanism is still there…
How much would it cost? Perhaps €50,000? Empty, dilapidated properties like this still go cheap around here. Not that there was a sign saying ‘à vendre’. And the nearby barn is still being used for storing firewood and stone.
In all likelihood, the mill is standing empty because of some family dispute about inheritance. That happens a lot and can cause houses to remain unused for decades. On the other hand, if you found the owner and proffered a briefcase full of cash, there’s a good chance you could soon be the owner of a lovely old mill.
Of course, that’s where the expense and the hard work starts. But today was too beautiful to think of such things.
Luckily we avoided the danger and cycled on. It’s just as well we’re poor…