Les poissons en France

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Culture Break

We went up to Paris last Wednesday to stay with our neighbours at their Paris home. They had been pestering us as to when we would go up to stay with them, so....we took the opportunity to go before the seeds start germinating. (You can see the priorities in this house.)

Thursday we all went to the Pompidou Centre, in particular to see an exhibition of the work of France's most celebrated modern artist, Paul Soulages, who we'd never heard of!

His work now consists solely of paintings in black...just black! He investigates the effect of the light falling on the textured black surfaces of his canvases. Our jury gave it the 'thumbs down'!
As for the Pompidou Centre....

....why would you rip down a complete square of old buildings in the centre of Paris to build an old factory, when you could have used any old 'brown-field' site???

On Friday it was a case of 'from the sublime to the ridiculous'. We went to Fontainebleau, an historic residence of the French kings.

I knew a little of the history of Fontainebleau during the 16th century and the time of the start of the French Renaissance, but I hadn't realised that Napoleon and then Louise-Napoleon III had used the palace. Well worth a visit!

So, it was nice couple of days of recharging the batteries.....back to the grind now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Smoke Signals

I thought that we'd got a tribe of Indians moving next to us.

But it was only my resident Girl Guide having a bonfire. There's still a lot of trimmings to be burnt or what-ever but she felt happy to be outside and working!

Meanwhile, I'm pleased to report that I've finished laying the floors of the bedrooms.

I'll now organise the materials for the ceilings and the walls!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Grab your Shovel

Those of you who read our last post will have noted that Sue was muttering about collecting manure on Friday. Well, today was Friday. And we went collecting manure!

We managed 4 trailer-loads over the course of the day and we are really pleased that, now more of the stones outside the back door are covered up, it is becoming clearer what we're trying to achieve.

We've realised that we're going to have to leave the soil to settle before we sow grass seed, so the plan is to develop a firm base for the 'lawns' over the course of the summer before we sow grass seed in the autumn.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Spring

Yes, it's confirmed. Spring is here; I've seen the 'grumpy gardener' out working the land.

Sue's been getting fed up with being stuck indoors and there hasn't been anything that she could do to help me. However, our mornings of -6 and -8 seem to be over and it really warmed up today, up to 10 degrees. She's now muttering about going to get more manure on Friday.

Meanwhile, I've just been plodding on, fitting in work around Bridge Club and Valentines Do's and other socialising (as one does!). My floor laying has progressed until I'm nearly at the back wall.

The only trouble is, the nearer to the wall I get, the more I've got to cut holes for the electrics and the plumbing where they're going to be hidden in the dividing walls which I will be building.

It's nice to walk on the level!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Playing Games

It's good being retired because friends are frequently calling and asking you to come round to play. As you know Sunday was Valentines Day so, what more excuse did our friends Judith and Simon need to organise a "bit of a do".

Well actually it was a wedding between Valentine Cupid and Joan Bollins (although the groom never made it). It was a full Hollywood extravaganza!! John was Seymour Films (a director)...

...and I was Lucinda Marbles (an elderly aunt let out of rehab for the day).

Our barmy crowd really entered into the spirit and it was great fun.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Creaking Along

We're making slow but steady progress on the bedrooms. I've treated all of the metal joints which we think were making the noise in the downstairs rooms. I've relaid all of the insulation and I'm moving on with the task of levelling the new flooring.

The plumber, Thierry, came today to lay the water pipes for the en-suite facilities in these two new bedrooms. So, I'm hoping to have the floor all laid in about a week or so. Then, having ordered and received a delivery of plasterboards, I'll be able to start on fitting the ceilings. We should have some bedrooms in about 6 months or so!!!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

And It Was Going So Well.....

As you will have seen from the last posting, I felt that we were nearly at the point of fixing down the flooring in the bedroom. Silly! My supervisor was obviously following developments with interest and wanted to know how springy and quiet the flooring would be. So, I got the nearest thing to a herd of elephants we have, and got Sue to walk on the first 3 boards that I'd put down. Walking on them didn't feel like walking on a mattress, but ....... below in the bathroom, every step was accompanied with creaking and squeaks. After much discussion ( about hearing intimate activities above one's head) we decided that the problem must be the metal hangers, fixed to the beams, which in turn support the plasterboard ceiling of the ground floor rooms. When walking on the first-floor flooring, these beams 'give' and we think that the squeaking comes from the metal rails rubbing against the metal hangers.

Fortunately I hadn't got too far with fixing floor boards down, as I'm now taking up the insulation and coating every metal to metal joint with expanded mousse. I did my first batch yesterday and this morning the results seem satisfactory.

We're hoping that the results of this work will be OK but perhaps we'll just have to ask our guests to wear soft, fluffy slippers (and put any younger guests on the ground floor!)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

You Can't Keep an Old Gardener Down

Despite her recent experience of a bad back, the lure of manure was too strong to resist. Yesterday, we went off to some friends who have horses and procured a trailer load of horse manure. No back problems resulted so today we went up to the top of our hill for some of the manure from our 'pet' farmer. Sue felt so good that she let me get on with my flooring whilst she spread the manure over her embryo lawn.

I'm pleased at my progress in the bedrooms. The levelling for the new flooring is time consuming but I'm ready to fix about a quarter of the flooring sheets.

We'll both be pleased once the floor's down and we can start to get accurate measurements for the sizes of the rooms and the en-suite facilities.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Bridge Club

Some of you may know that over 30 years ago we used to play Bridge and loved it. In our previous life we idly said that one day we would like to play again. So I was rather surprised when we were at a drinks party around Christmas and John called me over to meet Michel and his wife and announced that he had arranged with them to go to the Bridge Club in the New Year. Dont ask him how they got round to talking about bridge, he has no idea.

Anyway in the cool light of the alcohol free, following day panic set in. John searched the net for instructions and I found my old notes from an evening class many years ago and revision began. We have had no problem whiling away the long winter evenings!!

Eventually, yesterday, "B" day arrived and we went along to the club in Gourdon. We were most impressed with the facilities, a lovely room, toilets etc. which are apparently provided by the council, free. We will have to pay a joining fee in the future but that we are told is to buy the champagne for the occasional do!!

You may find this hard to believe but it didn't occur to us until a couple of days ago that we would have to play this rather complicated game in French, and whilst we did know the names of the cards that was about it. We needn't have worried. Madam La Presidente had arranged for an english couple to come along and explain the ropes and everyone else was very welcoming and forgiving. Yes we/me did make some real howlers. We'll be off again next Monday, apparently Monday is the "non-serious" day.


I have been meaning to report that I saw our owl a couple of weeks ago. We hadn't seen it for over 9 months and assumed that she had moved out. May be the scratching of tiny feet this year!

PS Our friend Betty sent us a card, just because the card seemed to be 'us'.

I think she knows us too well! Although there is a feeling of pots and black kettles about it.