Monday, 14 July 2014

Pride comes before a fall

HO is busy putting the kitchen together. We went to IKEA last week. Spent all day there with too much waiting and too much misdirection by Agathe (GPS). We arrived home totally smug and pleased with ourselves that we had conquered the system, manhandled the many boxes from the warehouse shelves onto a trolley and then into the van, then out of the van and onto our floor. (Now realise why we were the only wrinklies in the place!)

I counted them all in and I counted them all back. But we missed one. OFFS. There's a tick on the sheet but there are 3 of the same sort of shelf fittings missing (not paid for and missing, just never collected). OK, well we're going back to England soon, let's not go back to Toulouse (2 1/2 hours away) let's get them there. Then this morning HO rings from the house to say 'there aren't enough cupboards'. And 'you know how we carefully measured and planned this unit there, well there's room for the bigger one we first thought of.

Sigh. Looks like we'll be back to Toulouse..........

BUT. On the good news side. We are spending the night there. The meteo says that it will be a lovely evening in the square and we shall join the throng celebrating Bastille Day. Yay. I was a little concerned that the only working toilet and tap were downstairs but HO informed me this morning (with that slight 'don't you listen') that it's only the taps upstairs that don't work. All the waste is working and we now have stairs so it is very easy to take a bucket of water up and we will have washing and toilet in the ensuite.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Now THAT is a staircase

Only half way through but so delighted so far.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Domestic Goddess

(Note to self) 5 kilos of strawberries makes 14 jars of jam. And it's too many to get an effective boil going in my pan. 5 kilos of apricots makes 16 jars of jam. And that's enough for now until there is some fruit in the garden.

We have been so busy on the house that I missed a tree full of cherries. How did that happen? One minute they were way off ripening and the next they were on the ground. Always next year.

Today was supposed to be the day when I went round taking photos of everything and wrote a detailed blog with pictures.......................

Instead, it's taken to almost bed time to get the bloody jam to set. But then I hadn't taken the pictures either.

The house is brilliant. We need another visit from the electrician to fix lights and the plumber to connect up water but apart from that, upstairs is pretty much finished. The tiler is two days into a three day job in the bathrooms. All the walls are white, all the wood is brown, we have skirtings.

The stairman is coming on Tuesday, the floor sander is booked for next week for the ground floor floors.

My gloopy joints are brilliant. Especially downstairs where you pretty much can't see the join anywhere!

I have been telling the neighbours that I will be eating in the square for 14th July and then sleeping in our house. Talking about it makes it happen, right?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Only a little bit further to go

Doesn't our bedroom look lovely, the beams are all done and the floors are ready to stain.
Our ensuite just needs some paint but not until the caulking has been done around the beams and then there's just the floor...............

Your bedroom just needs skirting boards. (Well actually we need 70m of skirting boards so a trip to the woodyard is one of this week's jobs.)

The new stairman called round yesterday to measure up. (He required lots of decisions about banisters and spindles which were a bit pot luck but should be back to fit in a couple of weeks!) He needed something to measure so lots of painting and finishing was done before he got here. (Just finished the beam, they aren't that shiny really.)

The downside is that when the walls in the living room were painted ready for the stairman all my gloop spreading seems to have been a bit lacking and you could still see the joins - sigh. Upstairs everything is fine but somehow not so good downstairs. On with the gloop.
On the cat front, Mum has b*gg*r*d off with three of her kittens and left one wailing mournfully in the ruin. It is old enough to eat small tins of expensive cat food but not if anyone is looking.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

We're getting there

Yesterday HO put up the last bit of plasterboard in the attic! We have all the walls. Downstairs we have nearly all the walls and ceilings but are awaiting the stairman to say that there is enough headroom to go up and down before finally fixing that bit.

All the basins, toilets, showers and bath are fixed to them. (Although in France they don't fix the toilet cisterns to the wall - who knew.)

I'm still glooping my way through the joints - 75kgs and counting. But almost all have one coat and most two. Some of the beams are painted - bit hit and miss with the colour but got it right now.

All the radiators and pipes are in place ready for connection. As are the waste and water for everything. The water heater isn't out of its box yet and the boiler is still in pieces in the workshop but hey.

We have a toilet with a flush that works!!

We have lights that switch on and off at switches!!

The tiling man is available and booked - not that we've found the tiles. He's a lovely guy that did our last project and although we can do it ourselves we're happy to give him the work. I am trying to get to a local brico to talk to someone about their tiles for the kitchen but the man who does it only works 9 - 5 and not Saturdays so every time we go there is the full Gallic shrug.

The dear neighbour opposite gave me some more of her precious tomato and chilli plants yesterday. Her husband was brave enough to come and give me radishes and summon me but then stood back to let her talk. We discussed the awful weather, the problem with the cats, and then she told me how to deal with snails (to eat, not kill because they eat the garden). She is convinced that there are less than there used to be and it is all down to Chernobyl. Her husband's contribution was that 'the cloud did not stop at the border'. We seem to have plenty, although very few worms, maybe that's the same.

Today started beautifully sunny and we went to a Sunday market and strolled around and sat in the sun and had coffee. A holiday. Now the clouds have gathered and we are off to lunch at a local restaurant. HO's first day off for 3 weeks.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


Last summer I happened to see a mother cat and her six kittens enjoying the sunshine beside a neighbour's pool. After a massive last minute strimming session before the neighbour arrived for their short summer break, she disappeared.

Over the next few months it gradually sank in that the cats now being fed by the family at the top of the road were the same kittens.

Then mum starts getting fatter...............................and fatter..........................and fatter.

Then she disappears and several weeks later reappears in the road too often for her to have hidden them anywhere but in our ruin.

Then four kittens are seen playing on our garage roof with mother snoozing in the sunshine beside them. All goes well until two days ago when there is a squawk, a jay flies off, and then much pathetic mewing from the garden below the garage. (Do jays take kittens?) Mum spends most of the day trying to work out how to get the 'too large to carry' kitten back home. We tried to help her but she wasn't having any of that and we were obviously making things worse.

Today more plaintive wailing from the garage while kittens played on the roof and mum looked on.

To the rescue.

HO climbed on the very precarious roof, knocked a hole in the felt and we retired to the balcony to watch.

Now I'm up for paying for her to be spayed but there are now 10 offspring that we know of, and ugly white bruiser dad is still in the village. And how do you catch them anyway?

Friday, 23 May 2014


Him Outdoors has been playing with his new toy. Brilliant gadget which lifts the huge pieces of plasterboard and means he can fit them by himself. Yippee.
This week we have had the plumber and electrician here and each time they see me lifting the other end of one of these huge pieces of plasterboard they move in and take over. I feel very cared for ............and grateful.
HO has taken off the front door and filled in the bottom half with blocks fronted with stone. There was so much wood surround on the door that it is amazingly much lighter. (We do plan to reuse the door.)

Today's main event has been the removal of the toilet from the kitchen. An essential but rather exposed toilet! All HO's endless planning and placing of plastic waste pipe was stuck together this afternoon and this has disappeared.....


 to be replaced by a toilet in a room with walls.................and a door...................

and a view.