Rent  A  Traditional  Country
Farmhouse  in  South-West  France

Week 47

Day 309, Monday 28th February

It's brilliant sunshine and not a cloud to be seen. To ensure I get my vitamin D, and escape, albeit temporarily, from the gulag of bathroom 2, we decide it's time to work on the vegetable patch.

Also time to use the new rotovator. Now I definitely have more toys than my children ever did. No sooner have I got it out and turned my back, the Boss decides she wants to play as well.

vegetable patch

 

 

 

The vegetable patch, looked like this

 

 

 

organic vegetables for sale

 

 

 

The patch, after. Not much difference?

 

 

 

 

 

By the end of the day we've lit the bonfire to clear all the old dead weeds and remaining wood from the original roof, dug over the surface of the vegetable patch, and removed the first lot of rocks, and now need a bit of rain so we can do this all again, only digging deeper this time.

The Boss will do the rain dance later, when the full moon comes out!

Day 310, Tuesday 1st March

Today, we grouted the parts of the bathroom floor that it is possible to get to. The tiles at the door are not yet in place and won't be until we do the floor on the landing leading to the bathroom. And it's not easy to get to the tiles underneath the sink, bidet and toilet.

Those bits will have to be done later. We're using the special grout for flexible floors, bought a few weeks ago. I mixed it exactly according to the manufacturers instructions. Hopefully this will make grouting easier than the kitchen floor.

As the instructions say use between 6°C and 20°C. That means we can move the mobile radiator into the bathroom to get the temperature more than a few degrees above freezing. In the early afternoon, we are both on our knees, cleaning the excess grout from the floor.

And tomorrow, we will have been living in France for one year, so we're bunking off work.

Day 311, Wednesday 2nd March

Now you could ask if we've been here a year, how come it is only day 311? Well, there are several reasons.

First, we have been away several times, so the counting of days stopped each time. Second, when my last computer went to the big computer heaven in the sky, I lost count, so it could be anywhere between day 300 and day 330, but I'm not going back for a re-count.

We went to the seaside, at Royan. About an hour and a half of easy traffic free driving, and we're there. Nice long sandy beach; well, nice in the summer. It's cold and the wind makes it bitter. Every third or fourth shop seems to be a chocolatier. Well at last I've made it to heaven.

Estate agents take up one or two of the shops between the chocolatier's and the rest are typical town centre clothing stores. Eventually we take refuge from the wind in a "pub", with red wine to get the circulation going again.

And hidden away between the estate agencies and chocolate shops, is an Indian restaurant. While the typical restaurant food is good, the French don't use many strong spices. So the day ends with a good Indian meal, and a French speaking Indian waiter from North Yorkshire.

Now just the drive home.

Day 312, Thursday 3rd March

When we arrived home last night, the wind had unwrapped our Mimosa tree. It was wrapped up to protect it from the frost, and now it will just have to take its chances.

Today, we grouted the parts of the bathroom floor that is is possible to get to. The tiles at the door are not yet in place and won't be until we do the floor on the landing leading to the bathroom. And it's not easy to get to the tiles underneath the sink, bidet and toilet.

Those bits will have to be done later. We're using the special grout for flexible floors, bought a few weeks ago. I mixed it exactly according to the manufacturers instructions. Hopefully this will make grouting easier than the kitchen floor.

As the instructions say use between 6°C and 20°C. That means we can move the mobile radiator into the bathroom to get the temperature more than a few degrees above freezing.

However, as its French lessons again this afternoon, we escape the freezing bathroom for a freezing classroom. A new couple of "mature students" arrive at lessons today. They've been in France for 7 years and are only at our level of French.

I love being able to feel superior.

Day 313, Friday 4th March

Another hard frost, and the partially unwrapped Mimosa doesn't seem any worse for wear.

Back to the gulag, but only with the heater going and my gloves on. Today, should be a milestone day for bathroom 2. With a little luck, the toilet, bidet, sink and bath should be connected and ready to use. The shower can be connected later.

Although the water had been on to check for leaks, I had to turn it off to connect the bath taps. The only fly in the ointment was the bath taps. Connecting through-the-wall taps for me, has to be the hardest plumbing job. And having done one up so tight I struggled to undo it.

When I finally turn the water on I forgot that the bath taps were turned on. By the time I had got upstairs, the bath was awash with cardboard, a few sunken tools, sawdust and bits of tile cement and other assorted rubble.

We get a call from a courier company who are trying to find us. It's Mothers Day on Sunday, and they arrive with a big bouquet for the Boss. I know someone who will be getting their brownie points!

As we changed the amount of tiling behind the bath, the Boss has run out of tiles and we have to order another box. Of course that's a half-day trip out, consuming more working time. However, by the time we quit for the day, apart from the shower, it's all working. 

I feel good as that's another milestone, albeit not a major one.

Day 314, Saturday 5th March

As croissant days have been banned while the Boss is on a diet, and with a lie-in, I did no work at all in the morning. Watched some of the Australian Grand Prix qualifying rounds, read a book, and cut a few logs. Life really is hard.

After lunch, the Boss went shopping, for food. That meant I had to return to the gulag. A bit of plastering, and then back to the tongue and groove. While the fitting of this is actually quite easy, I am making all the trim myself. I have rough pine, which needs to be cut, planed, routed and then sanded. This is slow and time consuming and I had grossly underestimated the time needed.

The time taken is compounded by us having access to UK television, and for me anyway especially the sport. Another hour tea-break is taken up by watching the North versus the South charity rugby match.

Oh well, I'll make up for the slackness tomorrow.

Day 315, Sunday 6th March

After another night of hard frost, the sun is shining. We go walking in the woods again, but the wind makes it feel really cold.

A bit of work, and not much else today except cut up a good supply of logs for the next few days.

And it seems to be getting colder again.