Rent  A  Traditional  Country
Farmhouse  in  South-West  France

Week 34

Day 235, Monday 25th October

The weather forecast is not too good. Therefore its mostly indoor jobs.

As its market day and the "Outiror" lorry is at the market, its a shopping morning for me. The lorry is a large articulated truck, stocked with DIY and garden tools, equipment and accessories. You make your choice, write down the item number and wait in the queue.

While waiting I listen to the other immigrants talking about their things. "Our heated pool is 30 degrees all year round", meaning if you want to be friends, do some serious sucking up. Or "Yes; we've got 100 acres" meaning mines bigger than yours. Or, "We're doing it up" means we've got a load of builders in. Not like the real renovators!

Moira and Maurice help Steve move tiles from the front to the back. We'll probably move all the unused ones back again some time. While all this is going on, the Boss cooked "all the bloody dinners".




A light switch; what excitement? We really know how to live!

In the afternoon, Steve and I move on to making the second bathroom more usable. By the end of the day we actually have a light switch on a wall, that switches on the bathroom lights and the extractor. Also a false wall framework.

Still only three walls but who needs privacy?

Day 236, Tuesday 26th October

 I'm out most of the day. But the rate of progress is remarkable, with a few extra hands.

The side door, painted and sealed, actually looks like a real house door if you ignore the surrounding walls. The roof has been lightly tested by a sprinkling of rain and the indoor water feature has been removed.

Moira and Maurice work on the the grassy knoll, or the "mound" as it's become known. By evening, it's raked and the grass seed is planted. As Maurice starts to water it while doing a rain dance, the rain begins again.

The fire is earning its keep, getting rid of the stock of old roofing boards. However, Maurice refuses to collect the wood as last night he collected the wrong type and was criticised by Steve - the chief fire lighter, for collecting wood that was too thin, too small, too.......

And the local wine stocks seem to be running low.

Day 237, Wednesday 27th October

Its raining. And its cold. I'm emigrating.

Some breakfast and then to work. As Clyde and Kirstie arrive this evening and are using the "lounge" to sleep in, its clear-up time. Breathing in the dust from lime, cement, and 50 year old spider webs, probably won't do one much good.

Fitting the window, is the same difficulty as the original one. The window is 25mm too wide and the window ledge as is, gets in the way. The window frame can be planed to reduce the width, but not enough to fit the opening. So the wall has to be cut.

Charantaise stone is relatively soft, but grinding it away is slow, and I end up looking like the snowman. Steve finishes off some wiring and then comes to help. Between the two of us eventually, there is a fitted window.




Suddenly, the 15 degree chill factor is gone. Pity about the picture

While the Boss drives to Bergerac in hard rain to collect our son and daughter-in-law, the rest of "the workers" i.e. Maurice and Moira start the cleaning. Some mastic from another trip to Brico's, a cardboard glass look-alike by Steve to close the other window, and the room is ready.

And I'd better tell you the fireplace has now been dug out and concreted by Moira and Maurice, ready for building up the hearth.

Day 238, Thursday 28th October

After a really cold, windy and damp day, the sun is shining, the rain has stopped and there is blue sky almost everywhere. For clarity, that means everywhere we can see from here!

Might as well start Clyde and Kirstie on some heavy stuff. No point in breaking them in gently. The Boss explains the intricacies of cement mixing, and she and Kirstie begin.






Well I'm glad someone thinks getting splashed by the cement mixer while wearing my best gear is funny! Wait till they hear about this at Luton Town.

Moira, Maurice and Steve use the sunshine to go out walking.

With the ladies mixing cement and Clyde pouring and levelling, I get on working on plasterboard for the second bathroom.

Day 239, Friday 29th October

More raking, grass seed and watering of the existing seeds. Moira is the only one tough enough to tackle raking of the ploughed field. She manages most of the morning before revolting. No, no, no. She's not revolting; she revolted!Natural Views for renters in France

After lunch, Steve tries raking the field and gives up after three minutes. I try and give up after two.

In the evening we go out to the pizza parlour, without booking. To accommodate seven, they move a couple already eating. To compensate them for their trouble we buy their "digestif".

We arrive back home to find the electricity off. Have we upset the farmer, or more likely perhaps, EDF have read some of the early weeks of this diary.

Oh well, find the torch and go to bed, but there's no money back at this hotel!

Day 240, Saturday 30th October

Its cold but the sun is shining. The electricity had tripped out at the farmers end so toast is back on the breakfast menu.

We don't have enough roofing wood to use the sunshine, so its other jobs. The Boss gets bread from a local baker who still uses a traditional wood-fired oven. If you can chew this stuff, you can chew anything.

Clyde gets a door handle on the side door. It takes a lot of fiddling as its an English purchased door lock, and a local handle. The gap between the handle and the lock are different. But eventually we can open and close the side door, using a handle, and we can lock it.

The ladies go to buy essentials like food, while Steve gets bored and decides to mow the grass. Hover mowers work on nice English lawns, but on course grass, uneven ground, and rocks; well lets just say he swears a lot. But the front of the house now looks quite good.



Okay, if you're going to be picky, maybe it just looks better than it was






Well, perhaps its better from this distance?






Day 241, Sunday 31st October

Day off today, but as the croissant shop closes on Sunday out of tourist season, boring breakfast, but I'm sure better for the clogged arteries. A friend with high cholesterol, told me his doctor gave him a list of foods to avoid. Top of the list was croissants. Glad he's not my doctor.

And now there are only five of us.

The Boss has cleared out the traditional cupboard in the "lounge" and stacked stuff that was cluttering up the hall and other places into it. Its a traditional cupboard as it has a hole underneath for hot coals and you placed food in the cupboard above to keep warm.

Another trip to Bergerac airport, and then there are three.

And tomorrow is another day!