Tuesday, 25 December 2012

I'm Fat And I Can't Spell

Spell Check and Mangoes

Welcome to new members. Once again I am being told that some of you are unable to leave comments and I don’t know why.  Two comments did come through this week but only got as far as my emails.  Here is a little sample of the first one.

‘far reaching effects on erection problems’ – well, we have already erected the main building, but thanks for the input.

'erections improved when using pomegranate’ – actually we found cement and sand did the job, but worth looking at in the future.  I'm all for eco builds.

'When looking for erectile dysfunction treatment……’ hang on, hang on, have I got the wrong end of the stick here (no pun intended whatsoever)?  Get off my blog you sad little person, go and bother someone else!  Someone with a willy for instance!

I was a little perplexed by the second comment.  It came from a site called africanmangodirect which at first I thought was a dating site – African Man Go Direct (dot com). I wondered how somebody could read my blog and think that I might need a new man.  I am quite happy with the LGB.  Okay, I have a little moan about him now and again, but I wouldn’t change him for the world (that’s how I feel today at least).   I have copied and pasted the comment in whole exactly as I received it.

‘of course like your web site however you need to check the spelling on several of your posts.  Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome to inform the truth then again I will definitely come again again’.

Thank you very much for your comment but may I say I in finding it very bothersome to inform you your post was rife with grammatical errors and a sentence starts with a capital letter and I do use spell check (when I remember) so blame Google and I already have an unofficial proof/critic/smart Alec reader who is quick to point out my errors (thanks Al) but thank you again for feeling the need to inform the truth and please feel free to come again again!!!!!!

Curiosity, however, got the better of me and I had a little peep (I can feel Alan’s palpitations as I type! I didn’t go directly to the web link, I Googled it Al.)  It is actually African Mango Direct (dot com) – a weight loss product.  So as well as being told I can’t spell, I’m also too fat!  

Anyway back to serious building matters. 

Looking at the entrance to the master bedroom

Inside the master bedroom

Loitering With No Intent
We have taken to loitering in shops to avoid going back to a cold house and caravan.  Usually I like to go to the builder’s merchants buy the materials and leave (unlike the LGB who would take sandwiches and a flask and spend the day there, complete with anorak).  The last visit, however, I told the LGB to take as long as he liked playing with the tools.  He skipped away and I mooched through the books.  We spent much of the afternoon in Leroy Merlin.  We did buy quite a lot and ordered the glass for the picture window and front door.  I hope the measurements are right!  Leroy Merlin was closing so we headed to Géant and dallied there using the Wi-Fi and keeping warm until finally we had to venture back to the cold site.

Bed-sit Land 
Never mind the soft-close lid; I should have pushed for a heated toilet seat.  We have had some very cold days; in fact it has been colder in the house than outside.  We are now sleeping in the house and I have to say we are sleeping so much better.  We don’t hear the wind and rain, we don’t rock about during the night and the LGB can get out of bed without putting in a gymnastic performance that would win him medals in a competition.  He is actually seeing Dr Crochet again but a real bed is helping his back and neck.

The bed-sit, looking more like an old folk's home!

We have to climb up the ladder to get to our ‘bed-sit’ and as it is the only warm place on site we are eating there too.  I have mastered carrying up two cups of coffee, or a coffee and a bowl of porridge or two plates of food.

We have been to two Christmas dinners and each time someone asked us what we were doing about toilet facilities in the ‘bed-sit’,  ……….a bucket dear Liza, dear Liza, a bucket!

The Contortionist

In disguise

Shaping Up
We are putting insulation into the loft space.  I hate, loathe, despise, abhor and DETEST insulating.  We are using fibre glass; it gets in your clothes and hair, makes you itch and cough and hangs around forever.  I looked at the possibility of purchasing Black Mountain sheep’s wool insulation, but as I haven’t yet won the lottery our woolly friends still have their coats firmly on their backs to keep them warm.  I cut the insulation with a bread knife and the LGB is doing the much harder task of fitting it in the eaves of the loft; a job much better suited to a Munchkin than a grown man.  Little by little upstairs is taking shape.  We are deciding where to put beds (because we will need sockets for lamps) and where to place showers, toilets basins and a bath.

After rehearsals for our concert we had time to kill so most of us drove to Marthon to a photographic exhibition 106 Ans de Marie Gervais.  It was at La Tour St Jean Marthon which has recently been renovated and the owners live on the top floors.  The photos were of villages and life in the area.  The building is beautiful, the photos were very interesting and there was an abundance of delicious fruits for consumption.  Just the display looked amazing.  

Kaki (persimmon or sharon fruit), tamarind, nefle (medlar) to name a few.

We were asked to sing a couple of songs for the guests, impromptu but fun.  It was much appreciated with much applause. The actual concert went quite well.  A few mistakes ‘comme d’habitude’!  I don’t think we will be winning choir of the year just yet, but they are a great bunch and I enjoy it. 

As usual, I am a week behind with the blog!

Finally, we'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year.  Thank you for reading and see you in 2013. xxx

Monday, 3 December 2012

Are You Snug As A Bug?

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

So, are you wandering around in your slippers and jim-jams all warm and comfortable with your central heating and cosy log burners?  There’s lovely!  As long as you are snug and comfy, that’s all we were worried about.  B*st*rds!

I am sitting here in my furry jacket with a hot water bottle.  Faux fur darling, faux fur.  No animal was harmed in making me comfortable.  I have already inadvertently eaten meat this week.  When I asked for a vegetarian meal in a restaurant I was offered spaghetti with just tomato sauce.  A little uninspiring but fine never the less.  All they did, however, was sieve out the meat from the bolognaise sauce, well most of it!  When I asked the waitress if there was meat in the sauce she said ‘peut-être’ - perhaps!

The North wind picked up this week and the site is well exposed to it.  We will have to resort to taking an evening dose of Sea Legs to get us through the nights with the caravan swaying and rocking in the wind,  a couple of sleeping tablets to give us a little respite in the wee hours, and a hand-full of Pro-Plus to keep us going during the day.  Shake, rattle and roll!

This will be partitioned to become our bedroom

Come Dancing                               

Apart from being cold, suffering from sleep deprivation and raging backache I've enjoyed this week.  We have been laying the chestnut flooring upstairs.As we were sticking on the final plaster boards Chet Atkins was belting out  'Yakety Axe'  My kind of music.  The LGB calls it ‘thigh slapping, arse kicking’ music.  Despite that he asked if I fancied a dance!  I said we should save it until the floor was laid.  Well, we have now laid three quarters of it, just one bedroom to go, so we did a little formal dance followed by a little jig in celebration.  It’s like a little ballroom up there.

A formal dance.............
followed by a little hoedown

                                         (There's life in the old boy yet!)                   

We have a good little system going.  I lay out the boards, we both fit them and the LGB nails them down.  We have decided to do the bathrooms in wood instead of tiles so we have to order some more chestnut from the supplier.  I am chuffed to bits with how it is looking.  Just need to sand and varnish it.

We had a couple of big, strong men lined up to help us get the plaster boards upstairs but decided to give it a go with just the two of us.  We got another system going and I won’t say it was easy but if we take it steady and haul a few up a day we will manage nicely.

Razzle Dazzle 'Em
During a visit to La Rochefoucauld I stopped at the tourist office to look at the posters in case there was something worth visiting or seeing.  What do you know, there was I looking back at me!  There was a poster advertising an evening’s entertainment with my chorale group and a jazz group.  What was even more astounding was they are charging Joe Public for the honour!  Hahahaha!  Joking aside, it put me in quite a tizz.  Firstly I didn’t know it was on so soon and secondly I promised at the last AGM I would learn the lyrics to the songs this year.  I can’t even remember the chuffing tunes from one week to the next never mind the words.  We have just been given a new song………in Portuguese!  Polyglot I am not!  I’m off to practice.  That’ll upset the wildlife.
Blonde (OK white) hair fourth from the right
Ladies Day 
I had a day in Angouleme yesterday with Jane.  It was for my birthday, only two months late!  It was delayed because we had been back to England and Jane had fallen from her horse and suffered broken ribs and amnesia.  (Honestly, some people tell the most dreadful porkies when they forget a birthday!)  We had a lovely day and the weather was kind.

Coffee and macaroons at La Biscuiterie Lomede followed by a little retail therapy, a lovely lunch with amazing frites (thank you Jane) and more retail therapy (just in case the first session hadn't worked).  We drove on to a local dépot vente (junk shop) and had a good old spend up there.  I got a number of little gems including a washing machine (machine a laver), plant stand/table, candle holders, picture frames and more.  En route home we managed another shop and lots more knick-knacks.  Together with my belated birthday present – a beanie hat and a lavender filled heart (both made by Jane, you too can buy one from her) I thought Christmas had come early.

My new washing Machine.
What were you expecting a Zanussi front loader?

Time to Say Goodbye
Today we continued to plaster board the ceilings upstairs.  It was cold and I didn’t get warm all day.  Il Divo were on The One Show and sang ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ and it was our time to say goodbye too, we were in bed five minutes later!  We may be cold and stepping out of the shower into a freezing building and running from garage to house to caravan to jumble together a meal but it is nothing compared to the poor folks suffering in the floods.  

As usual I am a little behind but don't want to bore you by making the post too long.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A Sh*tty Week

The Queen’s Got A Throne!

I am not giving myself airs and graces or getting above my station when I refer to myself in this regal way, but I consider that I am Queenie of all I survey around and about (within the boundaries of my field).  We all know every man’s/woman’s home is his/her castle.  The throne I refer to is the downstairs lavvy, lovey!  Yes, we now have a fabulous, fully functioning, flushing Thomas Crapper!  Complete with ‘soft close lid’ if you please.  The LGB has been hankering after a ‘soft close lid’.  Not that that will make the men put the seat down!  The latrine is curtained off, but is in full view of anybody working upstairs so for now I will have to keep doing toilet emptying duties in the caravan.

A Word of Warning

On a recent visit to the fabulous, fully functioning, flushing, lovely lavvy with the ‘soft close lid’, I lifted the aforementioned ‘soft close lid’ and turned to make ready use of it.  I can’t have opened it quite enough because as I disrobed and squatted the ‘soft close lid’ had already begun its’ descent to close ……softly.  My ample nether regions met it half way and it was nearly lost forever where the sun don't shine.  It was quite a shock I can tell you.  Perhaps it should come with a health warning or a beep, beep, beep like reversing lights on a lorry.  Baaahhh, 'soft close lid’, my arse!

While the LGB was busy this sunny, yes sunny Sunday afternoon with the loo I was working on the picture window frame we had made by Chris at Perseverance Place Ltd, Richmond, Surrey.  Sanding the frame and  watching The X Factor repeat. Happy, happy!

Monday morning Kevin gave us a hand to get the plaster boards, which were delivered bright and early, up to the first floor.  We then used the hoist (money well spent) to get the chestnut flooring up too.  Two jobs well done.

Late Departure

The weather has been fabulous, although we woke up in the caravan on Sunday about 4 am and it was so cold my Kindle wouldn't even switch on!  It hit 21 degrees in La Rochefoucauld in the week.  We have eaten lunch on the terrace (well I'm calling it a terrace) and enjoyed our coffee breaks there too in t-shirts.  We heard the cranes fly over last night.  This must be the first year we haven’t actually seen them heading South and it seems to be a late departure for them.  Hurry back! 

This week I took a photograph of a rose in bud!  (A little celebration of the glorious weather.)  In complete contrast, and in keeping with the above Thomas Crapper theme, ten minutes later I took a photo of a big pile of pooh/poo/poop, call it what you like. 


More apologies!

The LGB has been fixing a leak for some friends.  What he thought was a simple leak has turned into multiple leaks.  He uncovered some pipes behind the boxing in in the bathroom and we discovered a huge, and I mean colossal pile of pooh!  I thought it may have been a squirrel because we had seen one on the roof, and the nuts in close proximity seemed to confirm this.  However, we asked a French neighbour to identify the excrement for us and he recognised it as ‘fouine’ pooh.  A ‘fouine’ is a stone marten, it actually translates as ‘the long pitchfork’.  La Fouine is also a French rap artist, but I don’t think it is him hiding in the loft!  This fouine is like a weasel. I have heard of a pine marten but not a stone marten. What a well-trained marten to do it’s doings all in the same place in a big pile, and in the bathroom too!  House trained?  Two guesses who will be clearing out that little heap?

Cute!  Courtesy of Wikipedia

Today, Wednesday we began cutting the plaster boards for upstairs.  I think the LGB’s idea is to floor out upstairs thereby freeing up some space downstairs of plaster boards which are taking up a considerable amount of room. 

Tonight the LGB is  happed up warm and cosy watching the England match.  I know tomorrow I will be in for a treat.  He will have verbal diarrhoea (there we go again, enough of the pooh theme), and chat on for an age about the football, managers and players like I am some football crazed geezer!  I quite like the fact that he feels I am worth talking ‘footy’ with but see it rather that he is starved of male company.

Living in the lap of luxury!

Sunday evening we had almost finished plaster boarding the exterior walls and had all the pieces cut ready for the LGB to finish this morning.  It is really making the shell look like a house now.  I was sawing away thinking about where to position the beds and wardrobes and what colour to have each room!

Friends came to see progress today and afterwards we ate lunch at the local golf course. It was nice seeing you all and thank you Brenda for the lovely treat, you can come and see us as often as you like!

Thank you for all your comments.  I was thrilled to get one from Becca at http://www.roofingmelbourne.net.au/Australia this week.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Fluffy Bits and Damp Squibs

A lovely evening on the site

Come out, come out whoever you are!
I have to say I am amazed and stupefied that the ramblings (disguised as a blog) of a middle-aged female builder’s labourer  has had over 5,200 views (5,263 to be precise but who’s counting)!  I am not so naïve to think they are all avid readers, probably 4,999 are visits from surfers who have misinterpreted some of my blog titles, such as ‘Tits and Old Bones, Kerb Crawlers and Short and Curlies’ had a quick glance realised it didn’t meet their needs and left very disappointed.  Sorry about that! I have only 12 signed up members and another handful who I know are reading the blog. I constantly get  hits from the United States as well as other more obscure locations. Being the nosey parker that I am, if you are reading the blog I would love to know who, where and why?  If you are shy and  don’t want to come right out of the closet and close the door behind you (by becoming a member) just poke your nose a little way round the door and drop me an email at deborahmathias@yahoo.co.uk to satisfy my curiosity.  Be brave, come and say hello and put me out of my misery.

I'm Rankled
Monday morning found us once again buying electrical supplies.  All the way through the build I have just handed over the bank card or signed a cheque without much thought to it being real money leaving the coffers.  We needed it, so we bought it.  However, for some reason it is irking me to be spending so much on electrical materials and I am not sure why.  One length of cable alone cost 260€ today.  At this rate I will have no money left for the fluffy, pretty bits.  Perhaps that is the reason I am peeved.  I have always pictured the finish of the build with cushions, curtains and pictures whereas the LGB sees an empty plastered room.  All the money spent on electrics and plumbing will be hidden (I hope) behind plaster boards so we won’t see what our expenditure has bought.  It is all far more essential than the fluffy bits I know but it still rankles! 
But is it art?

The Tardis and the Tea Urn
The LGB has been working on yet another shower.  This time we have a water heater as we can no longer heat our water with the sunshine on the garden hose.  As a temporary measure the LGB has hung the heater on the wall in the dining room.  We had a French electrician come round to advise us on some things and he didn’t even bat an eyelid at the boiler adorning the wall in the salle à manger!  I can only assume he has either seen it all before, thinks it is a huge tea urn (Brits do like their cuppa), thinks it is a piece of modern artwork or he thinks the English are raving loonies!  Answers on a postcard.  The shower cubicle is on loan from the Old Bones on Bikes and is nestled in the corner of the dining room looking like a phone booth or Dr Who’s tardis.  When the LGB came to fit the toilet he was a little disheartened to find the cistern doesn’t line up with the fixing holes.  Pack it all back in the box!

Sorry, you must have the wrong number.

When the clock strikes three...

everything stops for tea!

It’s a good job the French don’t celebrate Guy Fawkes night because there would only be damp squibs here. No rockets or firecrackers for us, we watched a DVD tonight, Monday, but will have to watch the second half again because we couldn’t hear it for the rain!  It is still raining, I am still peeling snails and slugs from the side of the caravan, chucking out creepy crawlies (okay, the LGB is chucking out the creepy crawlies), mopping water from the awning floor and in charge of emptying the loo.  All a bit déjà vu isn’t it. 
                                        Spot the snail top right after a quick cuppa!


Some friends, Jane and David, popped round today.  They haven’t been here since the summer.  It always gives me a little boost when people are surprised at the progress because sometimes the build can seem to stand still for us when there are no huge developments.

Tuesday night we were in bed by eight thirty entwined like our frisky slugs (read the older post).  Nothing romantic you understand it was just an effort to get warm.  If we could have fitted into the same pair of pyjamas for extra warmth we would have done so.  With me as the LGB's belly warmer, him snuggled up behind me, I felt like I had gone to bed wearing a ruck sack. Crikey, it doesn’t bode well for when the really cold weather comes, does it?
The insulated plaster boards have been ordered and will be delivered on Monday.  I have no idea where we are going to put them.  I have been mooching about since our return from the UK but that is about to change and it will be full on again soon.  Oh joy!

Hear Ye!  Hear Ye!
A momentous development on site today.  You’d think the LGB was  JLB, John Logie Baird himself (more like Yogi Bear) because he has the television up and running.  He has torn Kevin away from his electrical duties to set it up.  Would you believe he is watching football?  Kevin has kindly loaned us a television but as it is the size of a small car I objected to it being in the caravan, it was me or the TV.  It was a scary moment when he hesitated before agreeing to putting it in the house!  The LGB said it would be cold watching it in the house.  I have told him to pretend he is actually at the football ground and dress up nice and warm armed with a pint and a pie.  Sorted!

All ready for the rugby Six Nations

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sockets, Spaghetti and Shwag

The journey back from the UK in Vera was uneventful, however, we chickened out of going back to the caravan in the dark and booked ourselves into Chez Mary & Alan (Old Bones on Bikes) for a delicious meal, a good shower and a cosy bed.  We ventured back to the site with a little trepidation as the awning had collapsed again under the weight of the rain and although Mary & Alan had righted it some damage had already been done.  There was mould and mildew on surfaces in the awning but the caravan, house and garages were fine and dandy.  Even the mail was kind to us and there were no hidden nasties there. It felt good to be back. 

The LGB can’t wait to get started on the build again and confessed tonight that he has never been happier doing a job than he is doing this one!  Aaahhhh.  Of course, I too have never been happier than I have as a builder’s labourer, except when I was a trolley dolly, or when I worked in a greasy Joe café, or the time I worked as a cleaner at Sonning Working Men’s Club (I was fourteen), or when I was at college and lasted two hideous nights in a factory putting Evel Knievel dolls into a box, yes, I’ve never been happier.

My apologies if you had parts missing from your Evel Knievel  box that Christmas but it was a pretty mind numbing job!

It took the neighbours at least two seconds to witness our return to the site!  But I find that very comforting, they have been great guardians for us in our absence.  It took us a lot less time to unload the van than to pack it.  So, here we are our first night back in the caravan and…………it’s raining!  Home, sweet home.

Tons of Work
We collected the chestnut flooring on Friday.  That was a rude awakening having to unload one and a quarter ton of parquet flooring.  It looks nice and I’m glad we chose the wider boards this time.  We have yet to get it upstairs!

Saturday the LGB pottered on his own and I helped a friend move house.  In my absence he put together the frames we have had made for the front door and the picture window in the kitchen/family room.  Sunday, we made a feeble attempt to cut the grass but the mower let us down again.

After two very cold nights in the caravan we were rescued by the Old Bones once again.  Simple things like a hot shower, a nice meal and a log fire become luxuries when you are deprived of them.

Spaghetti Junction
The first fix electrics have begun and the house is a mass of spaghetti wires.  Remember how not so long ago I said we were reclaiming the front ‘garden’?  The LGB has now dug a big trench for the services to be laid.  One step forward, two steps back.  Refilling the trench was hard work and in the process the LGB has put his back out again, so this afternoon he was hanging from the rafters trying to right it.  Not a great start to our return.

Socket To Me!
The electrician is getting impatient and the LGB is getting grumpy because I haven’t given precise positions for the lighting.  I thought the wiring was just going to a junction box and I could decide later – not so!  So, although I have some wall lights I have abandoned installing them in some rooms because I can’t decide where to put them and I don’t want to hold up proceedings.  They can go in the next house.  Did I really just say that, wash my mouth out with soap for uttering such profanities!


The regulations regarding the electrics seem pretty ridiculous to a mere simpleton like me.  For example some bright spark has decided I have to have ten sockets in the living room, TEN! Why would I need ten sockets unless I had a little cottage industry and was heating marijuana plants to supply a small country.  Now there’s a thought!

Watts up? Lighten up man, don't get phased! It's just the first fix!

We are required to have a telephone socket in every room including the bedrooms and television sockets in three rooms.  Methinks the powers that be have got together with the socket manufacturers, and of course the electricians won’t be complaining when they charge the client per socket – win, win all round for them.  You think I am ranting you should hear the LGB!  He’s blown a fuse over the whole business!

We went to the cinema tonight to see Bond ........ James Bond.  The chairs were so comfortable (I am sure they were heated) and it was lovely and warm, I wondered how long we could stay there all cosy and comfortable before someone noticed and evicted us.  Before that we enjoyed fish pie and a hot shower at Suzanne and Kevin’s and now as I type the rain is lashing down and the caravan is rocking and the LGB is snoring.  Happy days.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

White Van Man, Slinkies and Baked Beans

I thought I was going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the cosy comfort of Dad’s log burner and thrust bodily into the Euro tunnel to return to France.  I’m not sure who would have done the dragging and shoving though because Dad was trying to persuade us to stay until Christmas and Brendan only had the use of one hand.  Don’t worry, it was nothing nasty.  The other hand was attached to Dad’s remote control in a firm, take it from me if you dare, kind of way as he flicked through teletext.  Teletext is his little obsession.  He will peruse any scores, fixtures, news or gossip about any sport with a ball and any sport without a ball for that matter.  Even if I am watching a programme that I have followed religiously for six hundred episodes and it is reaching its final climatic end if the mood comes over him he will read teletext and leave me with a tiny picture in the corner!  Rant over!  Here is a little synopsis of our trip to the UK.

Sunday 7th
I am actually beginning to have palpitations wondering how we are going to get our purchases back to France.  As is the norm, my poor Dad’s house turns into a warehouse whenever we come back to England.  The bedroom we stay in is compact at best but the space shrinks in size as each day passes and going to bed becomes a dangerous assault course.  At any moment during the night we could be crushed by tins of baked beans or suffocated in an avalanche of Dorset cereals.

When we return to France the LGB always says we won’t get all the ‘shopping’ in the car, but I always do!  This time I must concede that he is right (oooohhhh that hurt!) we definitely won’t get the ‘shopping’ in the car.  It looks like we are going to have to hire an artic! Now you must excuse me but I have a few bids to place on eBay! In for a penny, in for a pound.

Sunday 14th
That’s it!  I’m all shopped out now.  I enjoy a city fix and a spot of shopping but the LGB can leave me standing.  In fact I am often left standing outside shops waiting for him with all the long suffering chaps waiting for their other halves.  He is the only man I know who can spend a couple of hours in the biscuit aisle, he loves food shopping.  Kitchen shops – he loves them; pots, pans, potato peelers, oven dishes, oven gloves, glasses, you name it he loves it.  B & Q is his drug of choice.  He has to have a regular fix when we are here.  He is like a kid in a toy shop in a DIY store.  He relishes it all the more here because he can converse with every Tom, Dick or Harry.  Actually because Reading is now so wonderfully multicultural it is every Tomski, Dick or Ali. The Southerners have a bit of a problem with his accent, but he’s in his element North of the Watford Gap.

Monday 15th
It is beginning to feel like we are spending monopoly money.  We paid the deposit for the geothermal heating system at Ice Energy , had the car serviced, bought four new tyres, doors, white goods, did I mention two sofas?  I am beginning to sound like the Generation Game conveyor belt; I just need to squeeze in a toaster and a cuddly toy.  Oh, nearly forgot………… we've bought a Volks Wagon van!  Renting a van from France was going to cost over one thousand euros and they imposed so many scary if, buts, maybes and excesses that we would have been terrified to drive the van from their forecourt. Brendan priced up a local company and just half our goods would cost £1,000 to get back to France.  So, welcome Vera the Volks Wagon to our fleet of vehicles.  Have van, will fill it!

Vera's Void waiting to be filled

Friday 19th
Today we had our ‘training day’ with Ice Energy.  We spent the morning with Mike, the engineer, who talked us through things and answered our questions.  We collected the pipes that will be buried in the garden, the under floor pipes, manifolds, joints and all the other paraphernalia that will hopefully keep us warm and cosy. I was rather alarmed that it was piled on two pallets!  (I had suggested to the LGB that as we had managed to fit two ovens in the Laguna we would easily fit the Ice Energy kit in.  Deborah, sometimes you are sooooooooooooo naïve (stupid!).  Have van, have filled it!

Baked Beans?

We have to take the baked beans off to fit the other sofa on.
The beans stay!!
We spent nigh on a day and a half filling the van with our goodies.  One of the sofas had to be taken off to fit in the important stuff.  We have left my poor Dad with an extra HUGE sofa in his lounge and a little less paint on his door frames!

Thanks to Sue, Kevin, Mary and Alan who have been keeping an eye on the site in our absence and rebuilding the awning each time it has collapsed in the wind and rain.  We understand our French neighbours have also been over helping and recovering our logs.  Lovely people one and all.  :)

Hopefully our Slinky Ground Loop will look a little like this.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

We've Downed Tools.

You may have gathered by now that there is not much happening on site. The windows and French doors have been hung, another little milestone reached.  The front door opening and picture window in the kitchen have been closed up whilst the frames are being made.  Little by little we are getting there.  I think the next big job will be laying the flooring upstairs and doing the room partitions.  That will be followed by the electrics; another dilemma, where to put the sockets and how many, shall we have wall lights, ceiling lights or both?  

We have been busy looking for interior doors, door frames, paint and other bits. We have had another meeting with Ice Energy to discuss the option of geothermal underfloor heating.  I have bought some paint.  Yes, you read it correctly, but don't get too excited they are just sample pots from Farrrow and Ball and some Annie Sloan chalk paint and wax to 'shabby chic' some of the furniture.  At huge cost I have purchased an Annie Sloan paint brush!!   I thought the LGB was going to have a coronary when I paid over £18 for it.  I will prove him wrong and keep it in pristine condition!  I am breaking into a panicky sweat at the thought of that commitment! 

I managed to choose a colour for the furniture to play around with from Marilyn and Melrose.  I am still deliberating over the colour for the windows.

I met lovely Denny at Lorden Design and got lots of inspiration from her new shop.  I would have loved a few pieces from her but we had to take Jack and his baggage back to university, so no room in the car.
Did I mention we had bought a couple of ovens and a hob?  I would never have believed  you could fit  them into the boot of a Renault Laguna!

Sunday, 23 September 2012


It's a worry!  I am forever looking for my glasses for painting and reading and they are usually on my head, sometimes two pairs.  I hunted high and low for my shoes in the week and I was wearing them.  My friend told me I had lost an earring, but I had put two in one ear.  It's a worry!

The guttering is on on the main house, just the downpipes to be fitted, but the single storey has yet to be done.  The roofs are now finished apart from the pointing.  The plaster boards were delivered, all 119 of them.  The driver wished us ‘bon courage’ and we duly carried them into the house.  Usually where plaster boards are involved a little conflict ensues.  Not this time because, according to the LGB, I listened and did as I was told!!!!  Oh, I play the little woman role so well…………… must stop biting my tongue because it is really, REALLY starting to hurt!  I must concede, it did go well, but they have yet to be transported to the upper floor. Pass the boxing gloves and the gum shield.

The plaster boards make a useful 'table' for the paint workshop

Today the LGB painted a couple of frames as I had an appointment with a nasty radiographer, but that is another storey.  ‘I knew I would end up painting some of them’ says he.  ‘It’s not a crime, is it?’ says I.  Give the man a knighthood for deigning to pick up a paint brush!

Before commencing the painting the LGB did a little stock count.  One of his posh brushes was missing and two of my less posh ones.  Had I realised he was going to help I could have covered my tracks somehow.  However, he ranted and raved about me and paint brushes for two minutes then carried on.  I have actually been using the same two brushes for all the windows and I can’t recall what has happened to the ‘missing’  brushes.  So my darling man you must get over it, they are just paint brushes.  You can moan and nag all you like – I am not going to become Saint Deborah the patron saint of paint brush cleaning.  There is actually a patron saint of painters, St Luke.  Although he is more likely to be looking out for the likes of Zeng Fanzhi or Peter Doig than your common or garden painter and decorator.


The couple we bought the land from stopped by on Saturday.  After the ‘tour’ Jean Claude said we had a water source in the field.  We had thought we must have as the neighbours have a well, but we were delighted to have it confirmed.  He said it was not deep and a ‘sourcier’ would find it for us with a pendulum or a divining rod (baguette).  Later the lad two houses down dropped in.  I thought being of the younger generation and working as a computer whizz he would pooh-pooh the ‘sourcier’ bit.  Not at all, he said it really did work.  I said the LGB had his own method of dowsing; let daisy the digger loose!  Just another little project when we find ourselves twiddling our thumbs.

No day of rest this Sunday.  We stayed with the Old Bones on Saturday night to partake of our weekly ablutions and imbibe a tasty repast.  The LGB and Alan enjoyed steaks the size of fireside rugs.  This brings to mind the LGB ordering a steak in a restaurant.  The LGB likes his steak rare – saignant so when the waiter asked how he would like it cooked he replied ‘mignon’.  An easy mistake!  Mignon and saignant sound almost the same except for the M and S of course.  Well they sound almost the same to us but probably not to the French.  The waiter looked quite bemused, not sure whether Brendan was saying he was cute or asking for a cute steak!  So Sunday was spent…………….. you’ve guessed it, painting windows.

I started back at choir on Monday.  We started a new song ‘Help’ by the Beatles.  I was asked to read the lyrics aloud which merited a round of applause at the end.  Oh that my French would get the same response!  I flit between singing soprano and mezzo.  I opted for soprano for ‘Help’, but came away with a sore throat.  My voice seems to be getting deeper.  I think my working environment might be a cause?  I suppose you don’t get many soprano builders’ labourers do you.  Crikey, I hope a pair of b*ll*cks doesn’t drop any time soon.