Day 288, Monday 7th February
Monday is local market day. For the moment, I'd rather get on with work and the Boss
only has a few things to do in town and these can wait till the afternoon, when the market is finished
and the town is deserted.
This morning its rework all the temporary plumbing in bathroom two. At the same time,
prepare all the connections for the bidet, shower and bath. For the professionals, I'm sure plastic
plumbing is frowned upon. That's because it makes it easier to be a plumber, once you get your head
around certain facts.
First, as I've mentioned before, pipe sizes use metric measures, brass fittings are
imperial, sink and bath fittings use metric at one end and imperial at the other.
Second, it's possible to make certain joints using multiple combinations of male to
male or female to female connectors, reducers and other paraphernalia, however, each extra piece in a
joint, adds an order of magnitude to the likelihood of a leak.
And finally, what ever bits of pipe and joints you have, there is an immutable law
that says you will always be short of one piece at the crucial time, and Brico's will definitely be out
of stock of that one item.
After lunch, down to Brico's to get the remaining bits, and see if I can get a
replacement for my loyalty card. My French is actually good enough to manage the request, but they have
to go and find the computer operating manual to figure out how to look up my old card number and transfer
While we're at Brico's we buy two mouse traps. No, not humane ones. Our friends will
know about our previous use of humane mouse traps and the mouse taking the mick by simply running
straight back into the house! So these are the mean ones, because people who rent the house will not want
to see mice.
Tomorrow, perhaps mouse will be on the menu
Day 289, Tuesday 8th February
I set both mouse traps, one in each bathroom, before I went to bed last night. By the
time the Boss came to bed, one trap had already been sprung. But there is more than one as we can hear
the second mouse scratching away during the night.
I wake up to find the electricity off. It's EDF, again! I know that because the lights
flick on and immediately off again, a couple of times. After sitting around wondering how I am going to
get through the day without a cup of tea, the Boss calls down and says, "Get the kettle on for a cup of
tea". There's always one.
Well the guys at EDF must have heard her, and knowing her reputation, the electricity
was on before I had finished saying, "We've got no power".
Richard and Lynette arrive mid-morning while passing, so its time for coffee, again.
After lunch the Boss worked in the garden finishing the bed dug on Sunday and planting the flowers she
got for her birthday.
Day 290, Wednesday 9th February
Today, real fun in the bathroom, as I complete the last few bits of plasterboard in
all the most awkward places. The routine is simple. Up the ladder, measure the gap, down the ladder
and cut the plasterboard. Then up the ladder, try the cut piece for size, down the ladder, shave the
plasterboard, and then you guessed it; up the ladder again.
Once it finally fits, its up and down several times to get the right size screws, or
the ones dropped while hanging from a beam and standing with only one foot on the ladder. The Boss is
pointing the stone wall at the top of the stairs, just outside the bathroom.
In the afternoon, after I've just mixed a tub of plaster, we decide to go and collect
the taps and the tiles ordered last week. I leave the plaster wet, with my trowel in it. Its warm enough
for me to go in a T-shirt; yes, yes and trousers and shoes. By the time we're back, of course, the
plaster is set solid and the tub and trowel eventually go into the bin.
But tomorrow, the final bits to the bathroom walls, before the tiles go down.
Day 291, Thursday 10th February
The morning is misty and cool. I know I said that today it's the final bits of
plasterboard before the tiles go down, but it's not quite that simple. The two largest pieces of
plasterboard, both have to be shaped around beams. If you've ever moved plasterboard, you'll know it's
The final bits are up, except for a thin strip between the sheets, which I can do at a
later time. The support for the bath taps, which are "through the wall" fittings, is not easy either. As
the taps themselves are heavy and they will need to take some rough handling from renters, they will need
support, which does not rely on plasterboard.
Some visitors in the afternoon provide an excuse for the Boss to bake a cake, and I'm
eternally grateful for the visit, as we are left with plenty for tomorrow. This interrupts work but I'm
Without some very large wood drills, where typically, I have several, but not the
right sizes, the fitting of the bath taps is easier said than done. And Brico's is closed for a week as
part of the store expansion. So its knock off early and watch junk on TV.
Day 292, Friday 11h February
As its grey, I don't wake up until 9, and its raining.
The day starts by clearing accumulated tools, a disconnected toilet and other
miscellaneous rubble from the bathroom. Easier said than done, as the unused floor area upstairs is now
almost completely covered with wood, boxes of clothes and personal effects, and tools of every
The Boss has given instructions, that she must be able to reach the boxes of her
clothes so there are gaps between the piles of tools and wood.
Then, it's tiling of the bathroom floor. We're using a special cement based tile
adhesive, that's supplied dry. It is especially for wooden floors where the floor moves and hence normal
tile adhesive that sets rock hard, will simply crack and the tiles will start to move underfoot.
In the afternoon, its a small shopping expedition. Our local Brico's is closed for a
week to finish their expansion, so it's a little further to go. But we get what we want including rubber
ties for fixing trees to supporting poles, as ours as suffering in the winds.
By the end of the day, I've got a few tiles laid and the bathroom is beginning to
become quite exciting for me as it is getting closer to painting and this will be the first room to which
we have applied any paint.
Day 293, Saturday 12th February
Usual late Saturday start, but no croissants today as we're going out to dinner
tonight. First, we go to Brian's house, where all our personal effects are now stored. The Boss is
looking for more clothes (yes, more), and we want to bring back the fridge freezer as the one we brought
back two weeks ago is faulty.
Of course, the fridge is at the back and that means moving everything to get to it.
That means no work in the morning. While watching lunchtime TV, I get captivated by a program called
"Dream House in The Sun". A couple have bought an old villa in Spain for almost a million Euros and they
are renovating it.
I laugh at their initial budget and could have told them they would never do what they
wanted to do at anything like that. Everything is way behind schedule despite having an architect and
professional builders on site.
I just sit smugly and smile thinking while I've made lots of mistakes here, it seems
the professionals make even more. And as for budget, well, I was not far away. They went seven hundred
per cent over budget. The Boss says, "No one likes a smartass".
In the afternoon, the farmer "en face", that's across the road to you, delivers the
two square meters of wood we're buying from him. In case you're wondering what happened to measuring wood
in stere or brass, he cuts his logs longer than a meter, so we're buying it by the square meter.
The logs are thicker and longer than we've had before and they are mostly oak, which
is heavier as well. Stacking them up is my workout for the day and the Boss and I set about cutting a few
into manageable sizes.
A few more tiles down on the bathroom floor and were off out to celebrate the Boss's
birthday. What I can't understand is why I wasted all those years working in an office.
Day 294, Sunday 13th February
Sunday, allegedly a rest day. Of course unless you're doing something else, you might
as well work.
After a late start, and a laugh about the man in the restaurant last night, we get
back to tiling. Last night, while eating, Mick's mother, who's out here on holiday, gets approached by an
English drunk, with a weak chat-up line. He spends a while telling us all about himself with the
Boss and I being polite, and Mick and Tracy ignoring him completely.
After he's gone with his strange companions, the restaurant owner shakes her head and
says in a frustrated tone, "Twice a month, every month, drunk as a skunk".
Because you speak English, some people think you are already