Les poissons en France

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Slow Progress

I've just looked back at the blog and see that I was making up kitchen units last Friday. And, whilst they're all made up, I don't seem to be much further forward!

I've fixed the tall units in place but I'm really going to have to take out our favorite, temporary black sink to proceed further. So, I need to be sure that I've got the necessary plumbing 'bits' so I can perform a smooth transition!!! More shopping required.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Sue finished filling the tile joints yesterday. We've seen that the grouting changes the whole appearance of the floor. Suddenly the 'black' lines disappear and the floor takes on a unified colour. We're pleased with the result, but pleased that this phase of work is now finished!
We continue to do things for the first time, but this time it was not a gallic experience but a gaellic one. We have some Scottish friends who laid on a Burns Supper. They had gone to an incredible amount of trouble, serviettes with pictures of Rabbie Burns and copies of his poems. Donnie (duly decked out in kilt) addressed the most enormous haggis I have ever seen.I never realised that there are "gourmet" haggis - but I soon did after tasteing this one. We toasted Rabbie with a " wee dram" and then tipped some of it on our haggis - you should you try it, it is delicious. Some people had written poems in the style of Burns and we had a great evening. Annie assured us that this may be our first Burns Supper but it wont be the last.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Going Batty

It rained hard last night; hard enough for us to find a leak dripping into the dining room this morning. The rain must have been blowing against the front of the house, and it had got in around and underneath one of the windows.

When I looked from the outside, I realised that I could stop some of the rain getting in by closing the shutters.

However, when I pulled the shutters to, I noticed a poor little bat, hibernating in the gap between the shutter and the wall.

So, we decided that we could put up with a small leak if and when the wind blows in the wrong direction, and we left the shutters open.

I spent the day making up the kitchen units. It's been 2 days but the units are now all assembled. It was a learning process as you have to marry up the sides from one box with the base and shelves from another. And each box has about 8 sheets of pictorial instructions catering for numerous permutations of designs!! We also spent time figuring out which doors went with which unit. That was relatively straight forward except, without any diagrams, it was more complicated to sort out how many and what sizes of doors to put with the fridge and the oven units.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Flat Pack

We entertained our friends Sue and Jon last night so, having cleared up and washed up this morning, I brought over from the Porcherie all of the boxes of the kitchen units.

I didn't start making up the units because we had to go in to Gourdon for Yoda to have his coat trimmed. We walked him before we took him so that he didn't get messed up after his beauty treatment.

As you can see he looks a'shaggy'dog and, with the wet weather, he soon gets messy. So, off to the Beauty Parlour and, 2 hours later, we collected a little puppy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Another Eureka Moment

At last........the final tile has gone down!!! (on the ground floor at least)

Having finished in the passageway, I was able to lay the last few tiles on the top step linking the passage and the kitchen steps.....and fortunately the joints all matched up.

At the same time, Sue was finishing the last bit of grouting before she began in the passage. It's a bit like a tanker, now we're moving on there's no stopping us.

For the next couple of days we intend to have a good clear up in the house and the workshop. Also we've got some friends coming on Tuesday evening, so Wednesday morning is pencilled in for the start of the next phase; kitchen assembly!

Friday, January 16, 2009


We all have something in life that is really important to us; well with me it is manure. As you know, in the Autumn I began to mark out the new beds in the garden and it soon became evident that we have very little soil. Apart from that, I am a firm believer in the basic philosophy that if you set the beds up right initially, they are productive and easy to maintain. So I was a woman on a mission to try and track down a supply of manure. There are numerous piles locally and I tried to deduce whose they were. I soon realised that they belonged to farmers who also had no soil and that they were saving them to put on their land!

On the main Cahors road about a quarter of an hour from us I noticed that someone had recently moved into a house and that they had several horses.

My antennae shot up and I had them focussed on this potential source for several weeks. However I never saw anyone and the gate had a big chain across it. Finally, one day I saw a lady in the field and we screached to a halt. I stood at the end of the drive shouting at her in my best French - could I buy some manure. Yes the vision you have is correct.

Well after some negotiating she agreed to start saving the manure for me and it would be FREE.

I rang her before Christmas as I was worried that, having found this source, she might think I had forgotten her and didnt really want this "gold dust". This was not the case and today we went to collect the manure. I thought it was diplomatic to go bearing gifts so this very nice lady was presented with a jar of John's chutney and a bottle of wine. As it turned out this was a stroke of genius and got us off to a very good start.

We ended up collecting three trailer loads and then spreading them on the front garden.
However we need at least another three loads just to do the "serpentine bed", so we'll be back in a few weeks having secured our own regular source.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Keeping my Head down

As you can see, it's still 'nose to the grindstone' here. But it's not a chore, as I can see the finishing line. I'm hoping that I will basically be finished laying the tiles tomorrow, and Sue is hoping to finish grouting in the dining room/kitchen tomorrow.

Things are looking 'rosey' at the moment, not least the evening sky.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First Signs of Spring

You'll be pleased to know that Spring is starting to stir here in the Quercy. Today I had the first sighting of the early spring visitor, the 'Duffeled Pruner', seen, as usual, on budding roses.

I mentioned to Sue that the roses were nearly bursting into leaf and the next thing, she was out there with the secateurs!

As you can see, the 3 climbling roses have had a very hard prune!

Meanwhile I'm pleased to report that all of the tiles are now laid in the kitchen, ( awaiting the grouter now) and I've got over half of the tiles down in the passage.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sorry to Bore You

We realise that all of our jobs take a long time, so we seem to be going on about them for ages! We're still tiling the kitchen floor, but we feel that we're actually getting there.

We're now at the point where we've got to move our temporary kitchen to allow me to tile the floor. This may take a couple of days as we think we'll need to do it in two stages.

Sue's been pushing on with the grouting and, whilst she says that she can only do two mixes a day, she's not far behind me.

Because I've got to leave access to the sink and rings, I used up my adhesive by starting to lay tiles in the passage.

It's going to be good to finish all of this floor tiling now!!!!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Trouble with Holes

I've been trying to cut holes in the tiles for the floor lights in the dining room...unsuccessfully! I bought some special cutters for the job and they worked fine for the holes to allow pipes to pass through in the shower. However, the holes for the lights are big, 10 cm. So, having tried and broken 3 tiles I've decided to cut the tiles in half and have a semi-circular hole in each half.

Once I've sorted out the lights I'll have done about three quarters of the floor.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Le Gossip

You will no doubt have realised from our Blog that life in France is different from life in the UK but basically things are very similar. However I suspect that the media would have a field day if the Mayor of a town was arrested. Well it did make the local paper, which is a daily but incredibly "parish pump" as my Dad would say.

For the past 18 months there have been protests in Gourdon because the train operator has cancelled a lot of trains stopping at Gourdon and Souillac. The demonstrations have been typically french; lots of people taking direct action - like blocking the line! Last week however things took an incredible turn and the Gendarmes had had enough and ended up arresting three local Mayors including ours. He is a very nice gentlemen in his 70s but is up before the Magistrate soon. We were pleased to see that there was another protest last night but that Mr Cocula behaved himself this time.

Nothing special to report with us; still tiling the kitchen floor!!!!!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year

We hope that you have all survived 'enjoying' the festivities! Our full programme was slightly reduced because of weather and illness, but, none the less, we have had a good time. The weather for the start of the New Year has been cold but lovely and sunny. As you can see we got warm walking up to the top of the hill.

It has been so nice to have the chance to be out in the sun in the middle of winter!

Today, the 3rd, we're proceeding slowly across the floor of the kitchen and dining room. Sue began to grout the joints but she had to stop as she now seems to have my cold. She kept having to stop to blow her nose so often that she decided to just be ill and carry on with the grouting another day!

Because of the cold, (well, it is winter!) we now want to get the floor done as quickly as possible because we can only have the underfloor heating on low until we've laid all of the tiles!! It's not too bad during the middle of the day, but it starts to get cold by tea time. And with -4 degrees in the morning you can't sit around too long.