Rent  A  Traditional  Country
Farmhouse  in  South-West  France

Week 52

Day 340, Monday 4th April

Today's a rest day. It doesn't seem strange resting on Monday as one day is so like the next. If we didn't visit the shops we wouldn't know a Sunday from a Monday.

A bit of plastering, clean up and then out to lunch. We go to a "routier"; a truckers cafe. At 12:20 (French lunch time), the place is busy. There is no menu. You get the dish of the day, regardless.

After six courses, all home cooked, one bottle of house wine and a bottle of mineral water, the bill is 46€ for 4. Just under £8 per head and I won't have to eat again for four days; welllarge_garden perhaps four hours .

The sun is shining so we stop at several places on the way home. The first visit is to Charlotte's, where the roofers have replaced all the woodwork and are now laying the tiles. I want to see the process and learn what I can, in preparation for the inevitable; the barn roof.

The second is at Mick's place for help completing an enquiry from the agency dealing with "tax de habitation". The equivalent of the UK's community charge with a difference. We're expecting the annual amount to be the equivalent of what we paid in two months in the UK.

Then home again. And just as we finish watering with the watering can again, it starts to rain.

But on days like today, its hard not to forget, we aren't on holiday!


cycling and running

Day 341, Tuesday 5th April

It tried to rain overnight and the air is damp and misty. I start the day by using an electric sander on the the plaster in  bathroom two. Even with a mask, glasses and the extractor fan going, its soon impossible to work. Tea break!

Once the dust is settled I try sanding by hand. It makes less dust, however is much slower. But it is possible to see what your doing. Another tea break and then vacuum up the dust. Examining the rubbed down plaster, its clear where there is still some smoothing to do. Most of it, needing additional plaster, not more sanding.

For once I get the plaster consistency right. And once that's done, of course there is no possibility of painting today. After lunch, it's a trip to town. A "Big day out" as the Boss calls it. Post office, boulangerie (the bakery) and of course, Brico's.

By the time we get home, the sun is out. The Boss points out rape growing amongst the grass. To get our does of vitamin D, its outside. I pull up rape plants, while the Boss does real gardening. While the ground is wet, its possible to pull up the rape with its roots. We are getting to it before it goes to seed as rape spreads easily.




Two trees weeded and not a rape plant in sight

Every time I look around, there seem to be some new yellow rape plants popping up. Eventually, we've got the worst of those visible. In a few days, we'll probably have to do the same again! The trees we (and a few friends) planted last year, are now all shooting.  And so is the grass around them and the weeds.

After some grass clearing and weeding, we are still outside in T-shirts at 7 o'clock.

But tomorrow, it must be our first painting day.


Day 342, Wednesday 6th April

Somehow the morning gets largely taken up watching a TV program about an English family moving to France. I am interested in the building they are doing which is pretty similar to our own. The Boss is watching the decor and design aspects.

Then, with the bathroom ready to paint, I decide to give the beam one more coat of woodworm treatment. First, clean the beams with a wire brush. Then treat them. The treatment means face mask, glasses and rubber gloves. And no, I'm not auditioning for any medical programs.

My glasses steam up, and it's actually quite strenuous working on the overhead beams but trying hard not to be under them, to avoid any splashes. Even with the extractor fan running and all the upstairs "windows" open, I still go out fro regular breaks in the fresh air. Once its done, we close the door and leave the extractor fan on.

Then its back to the kitchen. We move all the appliances so we can get to tile in all the hidden areas that we had skipped previously. Under worktops, behind the cooker and around the water heater, is not great fun.



The Boss thinks it hilarious; lucky I had hitched my pants up just moments before!




And two can play at that game

Then, with a little sun and a forecast of rain for tomorrow, we get out the rotovator again. The prepared bed gets some sand and lots of wood ash and this is all dug in. And then overnight, as if on cue, we gets some reasonable rainfall.

Day 343, Thursday 7th April

The thunder in the night woke me with a start. That's unusual as normally nothing wakes me from the dead. It rained quite hard and it is still grey and raining lightly,

The Boss goes off to work in the morning (that's paid work, as opposed to the type I make her do, unpaid). I get on with the really difficult tiles, under worktops. You'd think I would remember after bumping my head a few times too many, but hey; no sense no feeling.

After lunch, with the Boss back, we go for another big day out to Brico's. I just need a few plumbing bits so I can connect the dishwasher, before it goes back under the worktop. As we get back, Louis, our 82 year old neighbour arrives to return the plate which the Boss used for the cake she made him.

Two glasses of wine and an hour later, I hardly feel like doing any work, but I must finish enough to get the cooker back into place so its grouting time.

Tomorrow, the kitchen gets back to normal. Well; part of it anyway.


Day 344, Friday 8th April

More tiling in the kitchen, but its difficult. First, as its raining, I have to cut all the tiles inside. That means using the lounge. Second, there are no lights in there yet which means get out a work light and hang it from a beam. Finally, all the remaining tiles have to be cut to fit around kitchen fittings.

After a bit of this, boredom drives me back to the bathroom. A bit more plastering to try and smooth the joins in the ceiling. And then the Boss gets back from food shopping and saves me.

After lunch, we jointly tile and grout. Don't ask me how, but the kitchen is now in even more disarray. For a break we take a trip to Brico's; where else. I get the bits needed to connect the dishwasher, and soon, washing up will be a thin of the past.

For the first time for ages, we stop for a coffee on the way home, and sit outside. Mad dogs and Englishmen, as they say, sit outside while everyone else still has their winter coats on.

As the day draws to a close, it rains again, and it is definitely getting colder.


Day 345, Saturday 9th April

Croissant day, again without croissants. When the Boss has lost enough weight (no comments about me please) croissant day might once again be the day that starts with croissants.

With a bit of lying on the floor, cursing and a few bruised knuckles, the dishwasher is no connected. To prove it all works and to get rid of anything accumulated during a year in storage, we put on a cycle. Unbelievably, there are no leaks. Another few bathrooms and a kitchen or two and I'll be a real plumber!

The Boss gets the paint brush out for the very first time. We just use white undercoat on the plasterboard beneath the worktops and the concrete blocks holding them up. I grout more of the tiles, using grey and white grout mixed to try and match the shade of the existing grey. The white grout has been in the barn and has got damp and partly gone off, just making the process harder.

We also tile behind and to the sides of the cooker (now that its standing in the middle of the kitchen floor).


Day 346, Sunday 10th April

Its the annual brocante at Bonne, just a few kilometres away. Its a mixture of antiques, miscellaneous personal items and junk. But winter has returned with a vengeance.

Wandering around, I am convinced I have a new hobby, as soon as building work is completed. Every brocante we go to, there are always several old radios, from before the days of transistors.

I think I would enjoy restoring them to working order, getting the looks closer to the original, and then sell them on the web. I would enjoy the work and am convinced there is a market. Just as soon as the building is finished!

The Boss buys a marble topped bedside table, with the marble intact but the woodwork needing some attention, in case I run out of things to do. We also buy a large wooden headboard for a double bed, in keeping with the rest of the house. To get this home, I have to go and get the van.

After lunch, I plaster a bit more of the kitchen, grout some more and end up cleaning the remnants of this work, until quite late.

However, the kitchen is looking better and better.