Les poissons en France

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One Year On

We've been rushing round trying to get organised before we go off on holiday tomorrow to go to see Guy in South Korea. Things have been made worse because our builder has told us that he's starting on Monday 15th October! So we've been trying to get in touch with the electric people (EDF) to organise getting the meter moved. Then Cyrille (our builder) needs the water meter moved out of the Cave before he starts to concrete the floor. Trouble is, we get our water from 'the Commune' not a national water company. I went to see who to talk to at the town hall, but they are only there on Tuesday afternoon, Thursday morning and Friday morning. And when I went there on Tuesday they were closed for a 'Reunion'. Then we're still sorting out the stairs design with the carpenter as Sue still can't explain to him (or me) what she wants. Then Cyrille was worried that the windows won't be ready for when he starts making the new window openings! Being away for two and a half weeks isn't ideal.

I then realised that it is just a year since we came out here. OK, we haven't started on the house, but we have made noticable changes to the whole environment. Let's hope there are even bigger changes in another year.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Long and Winding Road

Today, 9th September, just happens to be our Ruby Wedding Anniversary. So, to celebrate this milestone on the long and winding road, we went to a really good restaurant near Toulouse.

The restaurant, L'Amphitryon, (http://www.lamphitryon.com/) was given a 'Highly Recommended' by my food critic (Sue). It wasn't cheap, but, in view of the occassion, we thoroughly enjoyed it. It has been a glorious day of sunshine. We have reminisced about the events on the journey here from our wedding in Hemel Hempstead until we turned up in France, and then looked on to the next stage to who knows where?

From two young things to two old codgers. But every line in the face and every grey hair tells of a story or an experience. (Now, where did I put my zimmer frame?)

The pressure is on

Spurred on by our imminent holiday and the 'building' start date, we were hard at it all day yesterday. So, in between mowing the grass and moving beams and pallets given to us by our neighbours, I was mixing cement for Sue so that she was able to finish one side of the path behind the box hedge. We also had a quick 'site meeting' with our staircase man, who had heard from our builder Cyrille that we'd changed our minds about the stairs. He arrived on his weekend motorbike ( these old boys are the same in any country) and he and Sue successfully devised a satisfactory solution to her concerns. They also had to alter the idea of having the landings in glass. That was going to cost another £3000. We are still going to have some glass on the 2 landings to allow light on the staircase, but it won't be a complete sheet of glass.

Meanwhile, I managed to fit in putting up the rest of the guttering on the porcherie. Then, the next time I looked round, Sue was painting her rendering!

So, not to be outdone, I laid the 'doorstep' to the porcherie. Unfortunately, I was about 2 trowels-full short of getting the job finished. C'est la vie!
But by then enough was enough. And it was gone 7 o'clock. And we had to water the veg patch. And Sue hadn't started our meal. It's good being retired isn't it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Oh my Gawd!

Since Bob and Jenny left we've recommenced operations. Sue has cemented some more of her path, and I've begun fitting the guttering on the pigsty. Of course there were problems, but there always are, aren't there? Our idea was to collect the rainwater from the Porcherie roof in a couple of water-butts in the ruin. But, despite appearances, this system would only work if water would run uphill. When I tried to put up the guttering I realised that the roof is actually sloping and sloping the wrong way. So, new plan!

I've placed the downpipe at the other end of the guttering and we're letting the water spill out onto the ground. Whether we do anything about trying to collect this water has been left to await future events.

Meanwhile, Sue has finished putting the render onto the old brick pillars of the Porcherie. So it's now down to me to press on with making window frames, etc.

We had an amusing incident yesterday when a car which was obviously lost arrived outside of the porcherie and then decided that their route didn't include going up the hill. So they turned round in the area Bob and I had cleared beside our ruin! I've now put down a row of stones to discourage this.

However, the bombshell hit us this afternoon when our builder arrived with a plumber to give us a quote for the plumbing work in the house. Whilst they were here Cyrille, (our builder) said that he was expecting to start working on the rooms on the ground floor on the 15th October! Whilst this is great news, it means that when we return from our visit to South Korea to see Guy, we'll have 2 weeks to empty out the 'caves' and get ready for the off. Life's going to get hectic!

Monday, September 03, 2007

We're Stumped

More guests, more workers! Bob and Jenny arrived with us on Saturday after a cycling holiday, (energetic souls) and were keen to help us. No sooner said than done. Bob took one look at the old tree stump in our 'courtyard' and it had to come out.

And out it came!

So we were all able to turn our attentions to moving the remains of the compost heap/rubbish tip that we've been working on intermittently for months. Moving this soil will provide some storage space for the larger dressed stone which we have either salvaged or will want to move in the future. And this is going to become more pressing the nearer we get to our builder's start date.

Fortunately we didn't have to move the soil too far as we used it to level the ground behind the 'ruin', which is next to the 'heap'. So results were seen very quickly; the sort of jobs I like!