Sunday, 30 June 2013

New Love

Him Outdoors has a new love in his life.
Not me? (equipped for spraying insect killer in the cellar)

And not dear Trockti. Trockti left us for a new home this afternoon after stirling service. I hope he'll be very happy in his new life. Our new garden is just too slopey - and small.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A collection

Nothing major occurring just the usual delights and frustrations.

Lovely evening yesterday. In the summer the town organises a meal under the covered market each week. They provide tables and chairs and stall holders provide the food and there is a band. At this stage of 'the season' there are very few tourists so it was a lovely mix of locals partying, families and friends and there was plenty of room to sit. In July/August you struggle to find space to lay your plate. And for once it was warm and light til 10pm. Such a delight that we now nearly live here and next year we will be able to stagger down the hill to bed.

The house continues slowly slowly. Him Outdoors is sorting out pads for beam supports, titivating the kitchen fireplace. We couldn't find a suitable lintel for the sitting room fireplace so he's made his own which is now curing and should be ready on Monday. I've been hoovering cobwebs and spraying the wood in the cellar, knocking off old mortar for eventual rejointing, pottering in the garden and generally just sitting and staring.

The wood burner man will deliver sooner but will let us know when.

We are getting some advice on the safety of the balcony. Since we are going to have scaffolding up and most of the wall down, it would be a good time to have a new one if we had too.

The window man is coming to advise on best method of waterproofing a difficult sill.

The plumber has been summoned but no sign yet.

The lovely neighbour had said that her husband had a nephew who supplied wood for the fire. Eventually managed to catch her inbetween her several cleaning jobs and she took us to the nephew. 'None left'. She gave us another name 'none left'. They gave us another name and he is supposed to be ringing back. I knew you had to get your order in early but obviously this long winter has taken its toll.

Today we are off to another town to the bank. We set up an account some distance away because we nearly bought a house there. There is another branch much nearer but when we asked to change, they don't 'speak' to each other so would have to close everything and start again. Same bank. OK so left it there and we have a nice trip out occasionally which of course involves lunch.

PS I officially hate the way this tablet 'corrects' your spelling. Too bloody cocky by half.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

When santa got stuck up the chimney!

Continuing the Christmas theme :-)
The first bit of construction instead of destruction. Who knew that fireproof plasterboard was pink. Certainly not Him Outdoors who sees it as a slightly darker than normal plasterboard grey.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Cheops - otherwise known as Chops

The floor is finished - yay. The guys are just squeezing the last teaspoonful out of the last load so that they don't have to do another one.
The dog is Chops. A dog rescued by the builder from his last job where she was tied up outside all day every day. She doesn't look very impressed with the whole thing does she :-) Apparently she was called Cheops from birth. Why? when Cheops is an Egyptian Pharoah and therefore a bloke?? 
Actually, I say that the floor is finished. It would be more precise to say that the first layer of the floor is finished. But that will do for now.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Some hard graft and some fancification

We have half a cellar floor. Much effort involved over several days of preparation, then yesterday mixing concrete in the front garden and barrowing into the cellar - not through where Him Outdoors is, that's just the easiest way in without treading on it, and apparently today we have to water it (!) and cover it in plastic. Fortunately they didn't need me for the mixing.

As a quieter day job, Him Outdoors has been slowly deciding how to remake the lintel of the sittingroom fireplace. Where to prop up the wall, where to remove stone. Lots of teeth sucking involved.

We have also been doing a bit of fancification to the fireplace in the kitchen. At some point it has been painted with really thick gloopy brown paint. Something I can't get my head round is that, when I looked closely, there is a tiny crucifix left of centre. All covered in gloopy paint. Why would you do that. Surely if you didn't want it you would remove it, not cover it in paint. Anyway one of the concreters kindly took it away to paint strip it and it will be returned to its rightful place. It was important to someone and is part of the house. 
I have stripped the fireplace now and Him Outdoors has sorted out old bricks with a local brick works stamped on them and will rebuild the base so that the new woodburner will look lovely. Any ideas on what paint to use to cover sooty back - and what colours. I think the mantel will have to be painted but I'll see when I've had a go at it with sandpaper.
We've now got all the artisans in place. Roofer signed up but unfortunately not until November. Mason confirmed for August (!) yes a Frenchman in August. I met one of my Tuesday afternoon old ladies in the town on Saturday and after all the usual chat she leant forward and said that it was her son who had put in an estimate for the electrics. Yay result. That's him sorted then.

Christmas Tree

Yes, I know it's a bit early for thinking about Christmas.
In our garden we have a 4 storey high pine tree. A huge dark hole of a tree. Fortunately it is on the north side of the house and set back between the houses so, apart from blocking some of the view to the north from the balcony, it doesn't really effect us or our neighbour. But it is neither use nor ornament. (Of course, now that I am home, I can't find a decent picture of the bloody thing, except this.)
It has been on our mind to get it chopped down at some time but it has also been on my mind that if what you want is a Christmas tree then this might be just the job. Surely the town will need one.
So this afternoon I went up to the Mairie to ask either if they might possibly want it, or, if not, did they know a man who could chop it down for us. Him Outdoors was busy saying scathingly that it would be too difficult to remove, too tall, too wide, they wouldn't want it, basically don't be ridiculous.
So hah to him. Adjoint Maire says that he will come and see and let me know.
And he did, and he does want it !!!! He will have to talk to his colleagues but it looks fine to him, they would come about 8th/9th December, take as much of the top of it as they need, chop down the rest and leave it in nice chunks that we can burn in the garden during the winter.
And I am so delighted. Not only that our tree will be the Christmas tree but also that the previous (much loved in the town) owner's tree will be giving pleasure to everyone.

Thursday, 6 June 2013


I think the bees are securely shut out of the house - fingers crossed.

After hoovering around the beams in the corner (interestingly they don't seem to mind hoovering, just banging they don't like) we could see where the holes into the wall were.

Having been sent to the DIY shop - yes we can walk to the local DIY shop! - to find a new bit for the toilet in the rented house, I asked the lady owner what she would recommend to block up the holes. After an urgent 'it's not Asiatic hornets is it?' we, and a man that was also there, agreed that if we squirted expanding polystyrene mousse into the holes that should do it. And they wouldn't eat their way back through.

So we did, and it seems to have done the trick for the moment at least.

I also managed to get into the conversation which house we had bought, that we were English and that we were planning to live here all the time. Much smilier after.

Note to self I am 'anglaise' with a 'z' on the end. I automatically say anglais which is French man. Ho hum.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Busy busy busy

First thing this morning, Super Mario delivered 2 tons of castine (gravel).
2 hours later it was all laid in the cellar. Not quite enough unfortunately, but close.

After we'd done that, Him Outdoors finished preparing the sitting room fireplace.

And I finished taking down the ceiling

Interestingly, no sign of the bees today. They must have heard us discussing ways of getting them to live in the wall without coming in, blocking up the holes into the house without them attacking us, or as a last resort killing them. Death sentence postponed.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

A lot of talking .............................. and some walking


We went on a walk today, organised by the local tourist office. As usual there was a lot of introduction. Talk from the man organising the walk, the man who had lit the bread oven so that we could have bread for lunch and the woman from the tourist office who was translating for some of the walkers.
And a local man whose family had lived in the area for generations.

But eventually we're off
More talking from a hydrologist (?) who gave us information about every watery point of interest that we passed.
Very interesting to start with but after the fourth one ..................................................
Isn't this Australian surfer dude horse gorgeous :-)
And then lunch
And all within spitting distance of the new house!


After dithering for days, we have decided to remove the cladding from the ceiling. Let's just remove the stuff that has to be removed for the stairs and see. And it's rotten. Full of woodworm. Fortunately doesn't seem to have affected the beams or the flooring above.
As I got to the furthest corner, a bee joined me, and then another and another and another. Yikes. They are not honey bees unfortunately, a French friend said that they were bourdons but that translates as bumble bee and these are just half sized bumble bees.
My hero, Him Outdoors, very bravely, did a 'pull plank off and run' job and discovered this in the corner!

OMG!! Turns out that this is dead and no longer used but it doesn't stop dozens of bees from going in and out of the wall right in the corner. So we have a bee's nest in the wall. Hmmmmm more thought required...............................................