Friday, 29 November 2013

A Good Friday

 The window man came today and replaced the guest bedroom window.

Which looks so much better from the outside.

He also put in the cloakroom window. Him Outdoors has put the basin in too - just to see, not finally.

And then put proper French handles on nearly everything. (Note that apparently it is normal to put window handles at really strange heights! Not sure I believe this but hey, another French oddity.)

And also today, Noam came and crepied the cellar wall. This is Him Outdoors admiring his technique. He was being labourer and providing barrowloads of golden crepi. They have done an absolutely brilliant job. And so quickly.

And since there was some left, why not crepi the pillar too.

A blast of gold on a freezing winter day. It will dry paler but is a gorgeous colour and turns such a gloomy dreary space into a wondrous goldenness.

Yesterday afternoon there was a loud noise of a wheezing engine coming up the hill. Turns out the neighbour opposite was having a load of wood delivered by ancient tractor. We couldn't leave her on her own to unload with elderly driver so we helped. Got a drink after and also ordered our own load to be delivered next week.

Went up to the Mairie this afternoon because apparently if we are having wood delivered we must ask the Mairie to get the road closed so that we do not cause a traffic problem - oops. Well after explaining what and when I wanted a guy said, oh that's ok, the road is already closed because the roofers are reroofing a house next week. Turns out it is our house!!! Who knew?? When I mentioned to another neighbour that this was happening, they knew too!

Love it.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Where do the days go?

It seems ages since I wrote anything but it isn't really. Nothing much has happened but there is a general feeling of turning a corner. Putting things back instead of ripping them out. We hope to reuse 5 of the old doors, so Him Outdoors thought he'd better check that they were possible to fit fairly easily when you haven't got the original frames or hinges. Shall we keep the wallpaper??
I have pretty much finished smearing what I've decided looks like breast fed baby pooh on the walls of the cellar. Just the bottom of the walls to finish off and much brushing off of pooh to make it look lovely. It takes ages to dry off enough to brush in this weather.

Super Mario delivered a cubic metre of castine (gravel) this morning, which Him Outdoors spread over the floor of the workshop. The big box is an enormous new water heater.

This lot was from a trip to the local DIY sheds yesterday. Half way through Him Outdoors rang to say that his card had been refused and could I ring the bank to find out what random limit had been reached and was there anything they could do about it. Turns out that the general opinion is that it is so complicated to raise the limit and it could only possibly be raised for a month unless we pay for a superior card - yes you pay for credit cards in France - that it would be better to use the cheque book which has no limit. No wonder there are such long queues while people painstakingly fill in cheques.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

He's got to the end of his list !!!!

Apparently Him Outdoors has got to the end of his list!! Quick, quick make a new one.
The old kitchen - yes, that's all that was left - has had the rails put in for the electrics, pipes, insulation and plasterboard. Take out old sink, discover that its fittings are not standard, can't reconnect with bits we had (sigh) but Him Outdoors and the local Brico to the rescue and we can have tea again.
Also lots of time spent trying to work out the best way of replacing the cupboard frame in front of the plasterboard.
Sometimes this rail system feels like we are building a plasterboard box inside an old stone house. I suppose we are but there will be loads of old bits left and it makes it really easy for all the structural gubbins apparently.
This will be the downstairs cloakroom. Lots of debate as to the height of the ceiling.

This will be the wall of the pantry/wine cellar. I've chipped out all the old wobbly stuff and put in some new golden. It is taking an age to dry so that I can finish it but it will look gorgeous, only 2 more walls to go. The wall on the left of the picture will be all golden but we are having a local professional in to do that - hopefully before the end of November.

On the other side of the wall we have made  a concrete plinth for the oil tank. Him Outdoors has been digging out the cellar floor to make it level having realised that if we don't do it soon there will be no easy way of getting the soil out.

I spent a happy morning buying trees and plants I couldn't resist. And then an equally happy time planting them. Two apricot trees, a plum, and two apples and also a pomegranate which I have seen here as a tree but seems to come as a bush. Some of the garden turns out to only have about 4 inches of soil above solid rock so on Sue C's suggestion I had a lovely time choosing irises and then on the same theme surely pinks and rock roses would go well. We shall see - which is one of the joys of the whole game.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Sideswiped again

What is it with people commenting on how tall you are. Even after all this time it still shocks me that people seem perfectly OK commenting on your height.

Out to lunch with a group of people I know slightly. Lovely lunch, lots of chat. We get up to leave and a man says 'lovely to meet you, shame you're so tall'????

Is there any other physical characteristic that people feel able to comment loudly upon for no reason?

OMG but you're short, fat, bald, skinny???

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


Someone last week said that they were amazed that we were doing up a house at all, let alone together.

It was the 'let alone together' bit that is proving the more difficult. We have been together for more than 40 years and since 2007 have spent most of our time together. So we think we know what the other one is thinking. How wrong can you be.

There are more and more occasions where we assume that the other one has understood that we were ordering such and such, that we were 'always' thinking of doing this, 'never' going to have a radiator there, the basin was 'always' going there. And so on.

I guess we are having to make huge numbers of decisions.

And each time, it is surpring. And somehow unsettling.

PS The roof man has confirmed that we are booked in for end November, beginning December - yay. Happy Christmas!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Delivery points

France has a very effective system of delivering to central points. Usually a bar. We have had several things delivered on this way and it works very well.


Get an email saying your delivery is ready for collection at such and such a shop. Check here for location and opening hours of shop.

Oh good, open Sunday morning, we'll go out of our way this morning to collect the parcel.

Bonjour have you got our parcel.

We're shut.

Since the door is open and you are obviously here, may we have our parcel please?

Non. The machine doesn't work on Sundays.

Are you open tomorrow? Non.

Oh, OK then we'll be back on Tuesday then.......?..........