Thursday, 31 January 2013

We Shall Not Be Moved!

In response to your messages I would like to clarify that we aren’t selling the house.  Well not anytime soon anyway.  It was on my bucket list of the things I want to do before I die and I don’t intend to kick the bucket just yet, although there are no guarantees in this life.  We will certainly be here for a while yet, at least to finish the job and as we all know a builder never finishes his own house.

Snowed In and Snowed Under

Got snowed in chez Old Bones on Bikes

Most days on site are good days but I had a day last week when I felt overwhelmed by the whole thing.  Waking with a migraine was a bad start to the day.  The LGB didn’t help when he popped in to say he had found a breakage amongst the paraphernalia stored in the garage; my lovely Tiffany lampshade. (I’m still convinced the LGB was cack-handed when he was getting the box down.) The postmistress left a notice that a registered letter was awaiting collection at the post office.  Registered letters never bring good news and this one was from ERDF to say they are cutting off our temporary electricity supply on January 31.  We have started to move some of our worldly goods from the garage to the house to avoid another winter in storage. Our bedsit and kitchen, which were as neat as our circumstances would allow are now a jumble of boxes and black bags.  We rounded off the evening with a delightful couple of hours in a freezing launderette and to top it all off there’s a moose loose aboot this hoose!  For my French friends, we have a mouse in the house.  Tomorrow is another day.

Ring, ring, ring, ring.
‘Hello.’ says I.
‘Hi, how are you?’ says my little friend.
‘Fine, but cold.’ says I.
‘Ooohh, I haven’t been out yet’ says she.
‘Nor have I.’ says I ‘It’s only three degrees in the house!’

Three Degrees is a good name for a Motown singing troupe but not a good temperature for a house.  Mind you it was an improvement on the night before when I was in the shower and the LGB called out that it was one and a half degrees in the kitchen! The shower is in the kitchen!  Brass monkeys!

After terrific wind that took some ridge tiles off the roof, rain, sleet and snow, Monday brought us a lovely sunny day.  It was actually warmer outside than inside and I even basked for a while in the sunshine cleaning an electricity box!  Simple pleasures.
Hopefully we have sorted the electricity supply but only time will tell.  I never quite trust anything we do/sort/arrange here until it comes to fruition.  I am not blaming anyone but things get lost in translation.  The lady at the electricity company said they are sending out a technician and I am not too sure why. She mentioned ‘coupe’ which is cut, so you will understand my trepidation.   As she had been shouting at the couple ahead of us I didn’t want the same treatment because I may have just crumbled into a blubbering heap beneath her desk, so rather than ask again for clarification I just smiled and said ‘merci’.  Quite what I was thanking her for I don’t know, for not bawling at me perhaps. 

Meanwhile work continues with wires looping hither and thither, conduit being pulled through holes and plugs and switches being fixed onto walls. 

The upstairs rooms are taking shape with all four bedrooms and the bathrooms having been plaster boarded on one side of the metal partitions.  The bath has been positioned in every conceivable place in the main bathroom, bar the ceiling, to determine the best place for it.  As usual there has been a complete turnabout in where the shower, toilet, basin and bath will go. 

If I pass you in the street and I am walking funny and looking a bit boss eyed it is because I have everything crossed in the hope that I haven’t got my wires crossed and the electric supply will stay connected.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Bucket Lists and Resolutions

“Will you come out for a cookie?” 

says the LGB and it's not even light outside yet.  It’s time to crawl out from under the duvet.  The Christmas break is over and we have to get into work mode again.  Here we are back on site.  I always worry a little whenever we are away from the sites. There were no nasties awaiting us.  The LGB had even left the keys to the transit van in the door of the van, but nobody took advantage!  Other than that all was well.

New Year's Eve came and went.  I left the LGB and Dad celebrating in the village pub.  They indulged with full gusto, returned to eat a meal and promptly retired to bed.  I spent the evening in the company of Jules Holland and Hootenanny and celebrated the New Year to the sounds of fire-works, Auld Lang Syne and two squiffy men snoring down the corridor.

No, no, no, don’t feel sorry for me, well maybe a little.  Actually, I really didn’t mind.  I am not one for New Year’s celebrations.  They are often a big anticlimax and Jules Holland doesn’t make a grab and smack a sloppy kiss on my mush at the stroke of midnight.  Why do total strangers do that?  Thankfully I usually manage to turn my head quickly enough for them to leave their spittle dripping from my earlobe like a shiny drop earring. Yuk!

Bucket Lists

Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions?  I don’t make any, well none that I say out loud.  I kind of whisper a few to myself. Never give anyone any ammunition to throw back at a later date.  Mine are usually; lose weight, get fit, do the ironing as soon as it comes off the line.  Unsurprisingly I’m still a chubber and still get out of breath as I push the ironing into the cupboard as it strains against the door to escape.

A ‘Bucket List’ seems to be the in thing at the moment.  It’s a wish list of the things you would like to do before you kick the bucket.  For my French friends to ‘kick the bucket’ means to ‘pop your clogs’ or ‘pushing up the daisies’, does that help?  Perhaps not, it means to die.

What would be on your Bucket List?  Mine would read;
Lose weight.
Get fit.
Do the ironing as soon as it comes off the line.
Finish building the house.  (Actually, I’ll put that on the LGB’s Bucket List instead.)     Blimey, I hope he doesn’t kick the bucket before he finishes.  He wouldn’t be so selfish would he?
Sell the house.
Build a house.  (Are you totally barking?)  A much smaller house, much, much smaller, ……… tiny, minuscule in fact.  A bolt hole for when we are not travelling in our camper van.
Buy a camper van.
Make a rag rug.
Learn how to use this laptop and my camera.

This is not a binding contract!  I may do all, some or none of these things.

Ranting in the Mother Tongue 

The main purpose of our trip back to the UK (besides Christmas with the family) was to collect the remainder of the system for the heating system.  An email to Ice Energy before leaving France received a reply that all was well.  A confirmation phone call the day before collection brought the bad news that the equipment wasn’t there.  The LGB was not pleased.  However, he did say it was satisfying to be able to shout at someone in English!  Every cloud has a silver lining!

Our First Visitor

We didn’t get straight back to work as the LGB’s daughter, Lily came to stay.  I think she was suitably impressed with the progress we had made, but not too impressed with having to sleep on the floor in our ‘bedsit’ and even less impressed with the en suite bucket.  Strangely, nobody needed the loo during the night!  Meanwhile the family Lily was holidaying with spent a night in The Lavender House in Montemboeuf, a tasteful and very reasonably priced local Chambre d’Hote.

The second night they spent at my favourite local Chambre d’Hote, the beautiful Chateau du Mesnieux, my dream house. 



This bench is for sale.
Circa 1900
Call the Chateau for details

Back to Building Business 

We’ve laid the chestnut flooring in the last bedroom and have put up all the partitions for the bedrooms and bathrooms ready for plaster boarding and first fix electrics.

I forgot to take a photo of the finished floor before covering it!

The camera battery was flat so I have no photos of the partitions :( I will put them on the next blog post (add to bucket list).

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Busy Lollygagging

Lollygaggers And Scallywags

After the season’s festivities and two days at the sales we are now doing a spot of lollygagging.  What a great word!  It’s up there with scallywag, golly and gosh (which I actually do use when I don’t have my labourer’s hat on – then I can usually be heard effing and blinding) and if the PC brigade will allow me to say it, golliwog is also there with those lovely 'olly ally illy' words.  It conjures up childhood memories of jam butties, collecting badges and soft toys.  My Dad still has his childhood golliwog and a younger companion beside his bed.   When my niece was about seven Brendan called her a ‘scallywag’, she gasped and her jaw dropped. “You’re not allowed to call me that!  You can’t use that word!”  It took some time and much laughter to realise she had got her words muddled up.  How sad that the PC brigade make us feel uncomfortable calling Dad’s Golly by his full name.

The old gent on the right is over three score and ten now and the years have taken their toll

The handsome young whipper-snapper is about ten years old

Golly I've side-tracked again, way off track!  Back to our lollygagging.  When we are working hard I long for the time when we can have a rest and spend time aimlessly, idling at leisure.  However, now that we do have time on our hands we are restless and are wondering what we can do to while away the hours.  It has been too wet to clean the moss from the roof.  I have asked Dad if he would like me to paint a room.  No thanks love.  The front door? No.  What about some furniture Dad?  No!  Well, can I paint the cat then?  

So, we shall have to hope for some better weather and don our walking shoes and wait for Ice Energy to reopen so that we can collect the rest of the geothermal heating system. 

We have ordered a bath (not too taxing) and today we bought the top for the island in the kitchen. I suppose I could scour the land for paint for the windows. That would kill some time.

BBC Repeats

As there has been nothing to report on the building front I thought I would post a few pictures of the build from the start.  If the BBC can get away with ruddy repeats I surely can, and I don’t even charge a licence fee.  Now there’s an idea!  So here are my BBC (building blog cop-out) repeats.

 Looking at this picture the start seems eons ago
It was only November last year!

And they're off!  

I was let loose tipping the concrete
January 2012


March, things are taking shape

April we moved into the caravan.
...............and rained!

It rained


 Then in May the sun shone
Some fancy details added

By June we were up to the first floor!
Still talking and laughing.

The roof trusses were put up in June

Et Voila! The end of June the shell is up.
A celebration dinner
Take away fish and chips.

End of August oak truss looking lovely

 End of August. Wow!
Give that man a pat on the back!

The frisky slugs came a-calling!

October most of the windows were in.

November we moved into bedsit,
first fix electrics are in. 

Shower facilities improved somewhat!

Deluxe model.

So there you have it.  
Thank you again for all the help and support and encouragement we've received from you all, it has been much appreciated.