Les poissons en France

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another Trailer Load

Having replaced the tyres on the trailer, Sue was insistent that the trailer started work again. So, off up the hill for more manure! But, when we got there, we were shocked to see that the farmer has taken about 90% of the heap. And without asking us!!!
However, Sue says that there's still plenty for us (even though she's said in the past that we can't have enough). So, we brought home two trailer-loads and have left them in heaps ready for me to start making the planting holes for the roses.

Another job to go on my list.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hole Plugging

I took the trailer in to Gourdon this morning to get new tyres . I'd tracked down a pair and, even though it took the tyre-fitter the best part of 40 minutes to change them, they only charged me 3.20 euros to put them on!

Then it was back home to start repairing the holes I'd made in moving the beams. And I was very pleased to get all of them done by the end of the afternoon.

So now all I've got to do is joint them up before I start working on the landing floor. Still, it keeps you out of mischief!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

By Design?

Now that I've started working inside and we've got the basics for the configuration of the stairs in place, I've been unhappy. And the reason for this goes back about 2 years when I changed the architect's layout for the two bedrooms on the first floor. He had drawn up the plan showing one large room and one small one. However, as we were changing the stairs and creating a 'library', I got the builders to position the door openings for the bedrooms such that the 2 rooms were equal sizes. But, 2 years down the line, I realised that this meant that you needed to be under 5 foot in height to be able to pass under the 'new' supporting beam as you mount the stairs from the ground floor to the first floor.

So, we finally hit upon a solution, but it meant moving the 'new' supporting beam (as installed by our builders) 50 cm back from the stairs opening. Just the sort of job for a quiet Sunday morning.

Fortunately I was able to start on the end of the beam that is in the wall at the back of the fireplace.

As you can see it ended up quite a big hole, but at least I could work from the salon until the hole was large enough to move the beam from where it sat on the left of the hole across to the right hand side!

At least our guests won't have to crawl up the stairs on their stomaches now!

Having moved the beams, and cleared up the mess, we grabbed some lunch and then charged off with Betty to the annual Chestnut Fair. Although it rained all day yesterday, today was warm and a clear blue sky! We enjoyed a wonderful journey with magnificent scenery, and beautiful autumn colours. And, as usual, we were thoroughly entertained by the crowds and the bands at the fair.

Have you heard the one about the two old ladies and a lavatory?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Demolition Man

Yes folks, that man's here again. However, the 'demolition' is a necessary part of the rebuilding process. The rain duly arrived as forecast so the final part of the lawn edging is left hanging.

Instead, I resumed work on removing the beams in the stairs passage.

I managed to get them out without dropping anything onto the tiles below! The only problem was that the clearing up took as long as removing the beams.

At last the entrance is beginning to look how it should; high, open and light.

PS Thursday
Today was a short one as we were going with Betty to a restaurant in one of the next villages, Peyrilles. We hadn't been to it before, but it was a really good mid-day meal; good food and a nice atmosphere. So I've only managed to put up the lights in the stairs passage. Back to normal tomorrow, Friday!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Plant Troc

OK, a Troc is the french idea of a plant exchange. It's an occassion for gardeners to get together to swap plants. We knew that there was one of these 'trocs' on today at a very picturesque village the other side of the Dordogne.

Sue had prepared a few things in pots as well as a number of Irises for the exchange, but, the whole system seems rather haphazard. I suppose we like things to be orgsanised, and, wandering around the venue with your box of goodies, saying 'I'd like that, what do you want of mine?', was all rather unsatisfactory!

Still, it was a lovely morning for a trip out for the old codgers.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where Do We Begin?

John and I were up early as we had scheduled two trips to the manure heap at the top of the hill to put onto the new rose beds. ( By the way I don't want to shout too loud but the "cheapie roses" from Carrefour are all doing well, despite the odd nibble from passing deer!!). We had just filled the trailer and about to head for home and a white van arrived and turned at the end of the track. We assumed it was the farmer who owned the manure just checking what was happening. We decided that it would be politic to stop at his house on the way home to ensure all was well. We saw the white van parked outside the farmer's house so out I jumped. However the man who got out of the van was not the man with whom I had previously negotiated collection of the manure. Eventually we established that the manure farmer who we had seen on his roof was infact his neighbour and just doing some work for him. He then launched into a very involved tale about his boundary disagreement with his neighbours. He was a very pleasant man but all this took about half an hour and we were pleased to extricate ourselves and be on our way home.

About 500 metres further on we passed the farmer who owns the manure so again we thought it politic to stop and explain what we were doing. However as I got out the farmer and his son began shouting and pointing at the wheel on the trailer. It was totally flat. Almost before John was out of the car, they were jacking up the trailer on pieces of wood and had produced a socket set to undo the nuts, but as always they wouldn't budge. ( Not to worry, son leaps on his moped and is soon back with an air gun - as used in garages.) Meantime their neighbour had arrived and was contributing to the mellee. Eureka, the wheel was off and we were directed to a shop in Gourdon to obtain a new tyre. Much hand shaking of manure covered hands and profuse thanking followed. Needless to say the particular tyre we required was out of stock and due in next week. John then remembered that he had an aerosol designed for tyres in just these circumstances, so we had no alternative but to give it a go - it worked miraculously.

It was way passed mid day by the time we were eventually spreading the " muck" on one rose bed but we reflected that we had had a thoroughly enjoyable morning and made new friends.

We had to go into Cahors shopping this afternoon and John keeps moaning that he is just not getting on with his jobs, shhh I've got a few more lined up for him.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Vision of the Future

Having had a lovely evening with some friends last night, I duly started opening up the stairwell. Dust everywhere, but I've repositioned the temporary stairs (to give us access to the next level), and removed the floorboards from where the stairs will eventually be.

With the aid of modern tools (such as chainsaws) even people like me can perform major jobs such as removing beams!

Even though I've got two more beams to remove, we can now get an idea of how the passage and stairs are going to work.

All I've got to do, after all of the making good, is to make the stairs!!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bright and Crisp

The rainy weather has gone and we're now in for a long spell (if the forecast is right) of dry, sunny days with low temperatures first thing in the mornings. So, I'm back working outside, as well as mowing etc.
To keep the Head Gardener happy I've been working on the wooden edging for the lawn which will be made leading out to the back garden.

Once the morning warmed up I had to rotivate the two new rose beds in the front.

The roses could arrive anytime from November onwards so Sue's anxious to get some manure into the beds before they come.

Meanwhile, Sue's been tidying up the flower beds and the veg beds and moving any excess soil into the main courtyard 'lawn'. I also dumped today's grass clippings into this area. It's starting to look less like a heap of stones!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bridging the Gap

It was drizzling this morning so I carried on with the 'bridge'. I've fixed the flooring between the beams, but we can't walk on it yet until I've removed the floorboards and beams right above!

I have made a start on removing the old floor boards but I'm not allowed to cut anymore and make more dust until after Thursday when we're having visitors. I need to remove the right hand beam so that there's enough room to reposition the gash stairs that the builders rigged up as a temporary measure last year!

So the next couple of days will be in the garden; mowing, rotivating, and shifting more stones into the courtyard. Frost forecast for tonight! Autumn for real.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Winter Schedule?

It rained yesterday evening and through the night, and I do hate it when your shoes get covered in mud just walking outside. So, this morning I assembled my tools and began on the first of this winter's inside projects.

The plan is to fill in the 'bridge/landing' before I lay down a new floor on the landing/library on the first floor. Then I'll be able to make a small flight of stairs connecting the bridge to the library. But, I'm getting ahead of myself a little!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Landfill Started

The courtyard is nearly there; well apart from the corner by the barn which I can't finish till I make a new, enlarged door in the back wall of the barn so I can take the mower in and out without going through the courtyard.

I've made a little 'wall' around the 'post feature' as the lawn won't go around them. So now it's just a matter of finding soil to make a lawn. However, I have made a start. I've been digging out the grass on the edges of the two new rosebeds before I run over the beds with the cultivator.

But it occurred to me that I could use the dead turves in the courtyard. So the landfill operation has started.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Blazing Along

The weather continues fine and dry, and so we're crashing on in an attempt to get the courtyard finished, bar the soil for the 'lawn'.

Today I have been making the wooden 'edge' for the 'lawn'. This was a learning process but, having done the first side I saw what was needed and was able to finish all 4 sides.

The idea now is to get the sides fixed to each other and secured in position. Sue will then be able to start filling the area with soil, compost etc......she wants grass for next year!!!! But at least she's smiling!

Whilst I've been working on the courtyard, Sue's started her 'autumn' clear-up of the garden. This also included setting light to the big heap of prunings that she and June produced from the bottom hedge of the back garden.

Now that's what I call a bonfire.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Just Another Day at the Mad House

Monday morning and we'd got 3 days before we have to go up to Limoge to collect Betty. I'd previously organised a delivery of Castine for this morning, although we were'nt quite ready for it.

So this morning was spent bringing in rocks to level up around the manhole covers on the septic tank.

The Castine was delivered mid-morning and I thought that, after lunch I'd make a start on moving it into the courtyard.

What I hadn't planned on though, was Sue deciding that I needed help. The help was great, but it meant that, instead of stopping when I'd done enough, I felt that I had to keep going. And we kept going till we'd finished!

Then, just as we'd finished, JJ and his cousin, Jean-Luc, arrived to remove the caravan! We'd checked with JJ and Nadine if they minded if we got rid of it, and then they said that J-L wanted it. I thought that there might problems getting it moving, but, to my surprise, it went without a hitch.

So now we have an uninterrupted view up the tree alley.

The day was rounded off with two long phone calls from the UK, two lots of unexpected guests who dropped in, and a subsequent late dinner. Where did the day go?