Rent  A  Traditional  Country
Farmhouse  in  South-West  France

Week 60

Day 389, Monday 30th May

Bank holiday in the UK, means it must be raining there. It's a cloudy start here, but the clouds are clearing slowly. We had some rain late yesterday, so light, that even after two hours of rain, the soil is still hard as rock.

I spend most of the day rubbing down plaster in the "lounge". Then plaster another coat on the smoothest wall, and touch up a few bits. As the day goes on the light in the lounge fades and the plastering gets more and more difficult. Instead, I move back to the kitchen which has real lights and begin cleaning the chimney breast, ready for a covering of plaster as its condition is too poor to leave the stone exposed.




The kitchen chimney breast, including gun holders,  before the clean up starts.

In the evening, Charlotte comes around, and we eat outside. Although its hot during the days, it does get cool once the sun goes down.

But summer is on the way.

Day 390, Tuesday 31st May

Clear sky, sun shining, means its going to be warm.

All morning rubbing down new plaster is not really my idea of fun but someone has to do it. One wall is ready for painting, but the others show up how the quality of plaster deteriorates as the light gets poorer.






Much of the rubbing down, has been to expose the original stonework. This traditional kitchen cupboard and window, in what will be our lounge, now looks quite different to this time last year.

After lunch, another big day out for the Boss, to Brico's. The added insulation for the "lounge" is on a promotional price from tomorrow, so I just buy sockets and wait until tomorrow for insulation.

Once home, its time for gardening. The tomatoes get their stakes, some weeding and each one gets a tile to protect it from the strongest sun. Some hoeing, and more weed clearing around the fruit trees and its knocking off time already.

Day 391, Wednesday 1st June

I'm helping out a friend who has some furniture arriving on a 40 ton truck, and it needs to be off-loaded nearby. Then we'll load into my van and transport it to his house. The owner of the house where the truck is parked is a Yorkshire man, who's been in France a year.

His view on speaking French is that English is the universal language, and he's trying to teach his neighbours English. The evidence of progress is the postman now says "goodbye". Thank heaven all the British here are not like that.

By the time we've unloaded the van, its time for pain au raisin in the sun. That's Danish pastry to you. I get home just in time for lunch as the Boss arrives back from a haircut, with a Sinhead O'Connor look-alike.

We eat outside and have a siesta in the sun. One has to slow down when it gets hot!

Then, paperwork. Stuff like car insurance, tax returns and filing of bank statements seem to be more onerous somehow, especially when we opted for an easier life.

Twice as many bank accounts as we have both French and English accounts; twice as many tax returns (as we have yet to declare a change of residency status); and a pile of tools blocking the route to the filing cabinet make this almost half a days work. Well, on the tax return front, if we did a French one, we would have twice as many.

Out to Richard and Lynette's for dinner, eating outside. The food was good and the weather warm.

However, the mosquitoes also decided to eat outside.

Day 392, Thursday 2nd June

The Boss is off to work. I'm plastering; all morning. The biggest holes are now filled, one wall ready, and it's time to make a mess. I have to cut a channel for the power and control cables for the under-floor heating.






Yes, yes. I know I've got a mop holding up a load of wires. Something has to ensure the wires stay in the channel while the plaster dries!

Fortunately most of the dust has blown out of the open window or settled before she gets back. I've got a structural engineer coming to look at the barn and advise us about the dodgy walls and floor. He arrives and we wonder around talking about exciting stuff like the cement mix and expansion joints.

In the afternoon, off to French lessons, then Brico's. Before leaving town, we stop and have a beer in the sun.

Then home for dinner

Day 393, Friday 3rd June

lounge well insulatedWere going to compress the fibreglass used for lounge wall insulation, using "laine de roche". I get one pack of the stuff out of the van and the Boss arrives to help get the fibreglass in place. The metal studs need to go up while the fibreglass is in place which means one holds it while the other puts the studs up.

As with everything we do there has to be a quicker way, but until we find it this will do. Once the fibreglass and studs are up then its time for the laine de roche. Its like fibreglass, but its less irritating to work with. The fun will really start when we get back to Brico's.

I bought 20 panels of laine de roche. However, they gave me two packs and told me there were ten panels in a pack. But there are six. As I've used one pack before realising there are only six per pack, I only have one pack to take back. This is like Laurel and Hardy so bear with me.

I get back to Brico's and explain as best I can. What they gave me is 100mm thick, with six per pack. I wanted 45mm thick, which would have had 10 per pack. However, what they actually gave me should have been at the regular price and they actually charged me the promotional price assuming that it was something else.

Eventually, I agree to keep the ones I've got, and buy one pack of 45mm thick, but leave with this and one pack of 75mm thick, with 8 in a pack, which I did not pay for! The full story is too long for anyone with less than 100 words per minute typing speed, but c'est la vie!

Day 394, Saturday 4th June

I'm working today, driving 400km to get there and then back again. For those in Britain who can't imagine driving 250 miles, doing 4 hours work and then driving back again the same day, its easy.

The motorways are well maintained, the main roads are clear and even on a Saturday rush hour, the traffic moves. And even the weather; despite threatening rain, was kind to us.

Day 395, Sunday 5th June

The weather has got cooler and its overcast. Of course I don't care while its still raining in England!

Not too much activity today, except sanding of the plaster in the "lounge", using a power sander. Not really a good idea, but easier than doing it by hand. There is plaster dust everywhere, including in places other than the lounge.

Tomorrow, its back to real work