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.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Gutters, Bad Bargains and Septic Tanks

We actually used last Sunday as a day of rest.  The LGB took it to the extreme and didn’t actually vacate his pit until nigh on midday!  His excuse was Dr Crochet had told him to rest his back (I didn’t begrudge him his lie in as he works hard and doesn’t often lie in).  I on the other hand was mooching around the vide grenier in Vitrac St Vincent about 8.30, munching viennoiseries with coffee.
Thought he might look good on the dining room wall, but nobody likes a bore at a dinner party do they?
It’s a lovely little village, and there was a good turn-out for the car boot sale.  I was, however, sad to see that the little bar was up for sale and the proprietor was selling off his chattels.  We have seen so many small local bars close in our time here.  I am not sure of the reason for the closures, but it is sad to see them go.
The patron selling off the contents of the bar at Vitrac

The LGB wasn’t there to keep me in check, so I spent more than usual and came back with amongst other things an old wooden wine box and an old metal tractor seat!  Don’t ask, because I am not sure, but I will let you know when I know!
I lured the LGB out of the caravan with a hearty brunch and we spent the afternoon ‘gadding about’.  We visited Le Hameau de la Brousse which I shall write about in greater depth at a later date; for now I will say, perhaps we are just art ignoramuses (ignoramusi?), but we just didn’t get it!

The LGB was not impressed with the 'art work' at Le Hameau!
We came away from a Medieval Jardin in Dignac with some ideas and visited the ‘office’ (Quick Burger) in Angouleme for the football scores!  We are now chilling with red wine and a gourmet feast of peanuts and twiglets!

We have been doing the other side of the roof on the kitchen/terrace this week.  I have been more involved with this roof and enjoyed it.  We have also ordered the chestnut flooring for upstairs.  We had chestnut in our last home, this time I have opted for a slightly wider board.  We are buying it direct from a small business that brings the trees in (they may even grow them) and cuts and dries them.  So we are doing our little bit for the environment by buying locally.  We did have the opportunity to buy some reclaimed oak which I would have loved (and it would have saved us some money) but it would have involved a lot more work to relay it and at this point in the build we really don’t need any extra work.

We have bought the plaster board that was on promotion at Bati LeClerc and had our final delivery of tiles, after chasing up the order; I think Fourgeaud had forgotten – again!

The highlight of the week for the LGB has been the septic tank being placed into the hole in the ground.  The lad who delivered the tiles lowered it in for us.  As soon as he left the LGB scampered away to get his spirit level and was tickled pink to find it was spot on!  He was like the cat that got the cream!

The septic tank being positioned.
The eager beaver checks the level.....

Gives the thumbs up......

Feeling all chuffed with himself!!!

The building inspectors called today (the children from next door).  They had a friend in tow and had morphed into salesmen.  The friend, Pallas (pronounced palace – Brendan says she has probably got a brother at home called Buckingham) had made a little ‘bag’ and would we like to buy it.  When I asked what the money was for they said sweets.  Very honest, they could have said the down and outs of La Rochefoucauld or some other worthy cause; but when you are a kid sweeties are a very worthy cause.  Once I had parted with my 2€ the three of them then regaled us with the history of said bag.  In fact it had been hanging around for some months and as the stains would confirm it had been used for berry picking and in fact Felix had also spilt water on it.  They were in fits of laughter telling us this.   I teased perhaps they should have told us all this before the sale.  They said the company had been called ‘Bag Bargains’ but they had changed it to ‘Bad Bargains’.  More fits of giggles (us too I have to say).  They had sold one other bag with a handle at a discount price of 2€, the same price as ours with no handle. Duped by two eight year old and a nine year old, but it was worth it for the laugh we had.

Still wielding that paint brush!  Reclaiming the front garden little by little.  Nature has been behaving itself so nothing to report there.

We have put up a wooden fascia board on the kitchen and terrace.  I painted the first coat of one side today and then washed the guttering, brackets and downpipes.  The LGB says nobody washes guttering before it goes up.  I do!  One of my little foibles, and I have many, is that I hate labels being left on things (toilets, basins, guttering, pipes etc.) so they also had to be removed.  Why don’t companies use stickers that peel off easily?

Today the LGB put the guttering up on the front and back of the house.  It was quite a mammoth task for him as he was doing it from the ladder.  This meant up and down 30 times to fix the brackets, moving the huge ladder each time, then up and down to fix the guttering and moving the ladder again.  He was absolutely exhausted by the end of the day and there wasn’t even a beer left in the fridge!  I assisted by leaning out the upstairs window and holding one end of the guttering with a broom.  We have all the mod cons to assist us you know.
Looking a little disgruntled, having to take gloves on and off after I complained he was putting dirty fingerprints on my  clean guttering!

We were too tired to even think about something to eat let alone cook it, so out came the twiglets (again) and a bottle of wine!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

A Glut of Goodies

I was going to wax lyrical tonight about all sorts of things but that last glass of wine has left me unable to even conjure a coherent sentence.  Thank goodness for spell checker!  This last sentence would have read; I was ggoinh to ewax tyrical tonight about all sots of thins but thath lat glass of wine has legft me unable to ……………………………….  You get the picture!!!

Meet the neighbours.

The French neighbours have arrived next door; they are here for a fortnight in their holiday home.  We haven’t started work as early as usual, mostly so as not to disturb them but also the mornings are darker.  Monsieur came over to say hello and we gave him a tour of the site.  I then spotted his wife making her way over.  We have never spoken to her before.  
I said; ‘Ah, votre mari arrive’  (Ah, your husband is coming)
Monsieur replied ‘ No, c’est mon ├ępouse.’ (No it’s my wife).  
Thinking he had said somebody else was coming I said,
‘No, c’est votre mari’ (No it is your husband).  
He insisted, ‘ No! Je suis le mari, elle est mon ├ępouse.  !’ (No!  I am the husband, she is my wife!).  
I really must get to grips with this blooming language!

So, I gave the second tour of the day.   I am thinking of investing in those head phones you get in stately homes and at Stone Henge that translate everything into a language of choice.  We could charge and make a few bob for the coffers and at least the visitors would understand the ‘tour’.  However, they were suitably impressed and muttered words like; ‘tres solide’ ‘chouette’ and ‘jolie’. The LGB thought I coped very well, but I was quite exhausted and had to go for a lay down to recover from the exertion.

Wood cladding on terrace
The garden is looking clearer.

Kitchen and terrace tiled one side only!

We decided we would put wood cladding on the terrace roof to give it a tidier finish rather than just looking at the underside of the tiles.  We have completed this and tiled one side of the terrace and kitchen.  The other side is ready for tiling having been felted and double battened.  I have managed to get onto the roof and give a hand this time.  It takes me some time to get used to being up a height and I shuffle about on my bottom for a while but soon gain a little confidence.  The LGB says it is three nails per row that he doesn’t have to hammer in.  Every little helps!

Some of the lovely goodies

Fait maison par Hugh and Daphne

We have had a week of nice little offerings; vegetables and plants from neighbours and friends; coming home to find a box filled with goodies – homemade chutney, jam, a squash and a plant; a cyclist passing and shouting ‘belle maison’; friends visiting; eating out with friends and just the two of us and finally meeting another neighbour, the mother of the lovely children (the building inspectors) who also made nice comments about the house and invited us for a drink. The little gestures can bring a smile. 

I am continuing to paint a window here and there, whilst working out where the kitchen units will go so that we can get some doors made for them.

The football season has started.  I wonder how long it will be before the LGB erects the satellite dish and has the television out of wraps.  Of course he will say he is putting it together for me!  We stayed with The Old Bones On Bikes last night where we had our luxurious shower rather than the quick douche we have here and the LGB gets his teletext fix and catches up on the football news.  Most men bring their ladies a cup of coffee and a croissant in the morning; he ran up this morning empty handed to tell me Newcastle are in the same group as Bordeaux and we must try to get tickets (who says romance is dead)!

The neighbours over the road have been preparing and cutting their logs ready for the winter and many a tractor has gone by laden with logs.  We always get caught out as we never think about buying any in August when we are sweating in t-shirts and by the time the cold nights arrive we are too late and struggle to source a supply.  This year we have some ready but I’m not sure if it will be enough to see us through.  The petite voisine was on top of their log pile, it is taller than her and she jumped off like a gymnast finishing a routine on the horse.  She is in her sixties and was wearing wellies!  Amazing!

Work has been interrupted by rain and a couple of little storms and Friday we woke up to a chilly ten degrees and the fleece tops had an early airing.  The nights are drawing in and the sun is gone by 9.30 now.  The time has flown past.  All too soon the cranes will be flying off.  

In the office ................................

at Quick Burger
Not a very exciting week I'm afraid, but I had to upload something sitting here in my office, Quick Burger, waiting for friends to arrive in Angouleme.  Off for eats now, not Quick Burger I might add.