Rent  A  Traditional  Country
Farmhouse  in  South-West 

September 2007

Mostly hot, dry and sunny until the last week of September, and now it is definitely Autumn is on the way. The cows in the farmers field (which was previously sunflowers, then wheat) are a constant source of amusement for the Boss. She knows each one and has decided that the bull named Corned Beef needs a shot of viagra, despite the calves appearing every few days! I'm just waiting for her to get her cow spotters notebook out and write down what happened to number 17. But on return from a long weekend in England, the field is empty. We later discover they have been moved further down the valley.

There are lots of comparisons between the British and French health services. One recent experience of ours was this. The Boss gets a letter telling her she should register for a free breast scan. She calls the telephone number on Monday, is at the clinic on Thursday, has a three minute wait and then gets x-rayed. She waits 20 minutes while the x-ray is developed, she is given the all clear there and then. The plates go away for a second and independent check and she and our doctor get a copies of them two weeks later in the post. She'll be sent a reminder again in a years time. All free!

Some friends arrived from England, Steve to work on the barn roof; yes again; and Pete and Maggie for a holiday. Part of Pete's holiday was mowing the lawn. Took three days mind but he made a better job of it than I would have and it looks the best it ever has. If only he hadn't mowed those rocks, I'd be able to use the mower again with some maintenance!



Not too much of the roof left? Well .....


We needed some more roof tiles and the easiest way was by a palette at a time, but unloading one ton of tiles from the van by hand in the middle of the road is not the best method. A quick word with some French builders working just down the road and the palette was unloaded by an "elevateur telescopique" and placed at the side of the road next to our Heath-Robinson hoist. Not bad French if I say so myself.

From the pictures, it doesn't look too high does it? Well, stepping across the beams when the old wood has been stripped off makes me really nervous; but better that than reckless like Steve. By the time Steve left for England, the roof was finished to just over half way, on both sides. A bit of cementing of the lowest tiles to be done, but that is at my leisure; if I ever get any.

Portuguese Pete whose real name is Victoire (but will always be referred to fondly as Pete) had a big JCB arrive, drive down our communal track and park partly on our "garden". It was to dig a trench for the foundation of his driveway gates. As they had a trailer there, taking away the rubble, I asked if they could take a few of the stones we had collected as well. That got rid of a ton or two without any lifting effort, but the Boss insisted on keeping the biggest ones. Now, I am eating all the spinach from our garden, ready for moving them. Then, we just have to dig the area over, get rid of another ton or so of stones and the Boss can begin her "winter garden".

And the back garden, with all the gravel? Well here are some pictures after an email lesson on photography from my sister. Boy, did I need it.

To cap off Steve's visit, we had some concrete delivered, for the first part of the barn floor. Well, we began with eight cubic meters, which was well short. I asked for another three, not wanting to be short again. By the time the extra three had arrived, we were still short, so I spent two hours shuttering wet concrete and shovelling it out from one area to another. I was not a happy bunny, but a big chunk of the floor is now down. Just another one and half tons of gravel to do the shuttered bits, all of course this time collected and mixed by hand!

And a footnote. If you want all the months pictures, they are in thumbnail form here and larger images can be seen by clicking on a thumbnail.