Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Progress ~ Part 1!


Sarge, Smiley and Me have spent our week at La Petite Maison.
Instead of our usual 2.00am get up, this time we were booked on the 8.30am train as we had six work days in the house instead of three or four.   The journey around the M25 was pleasant and we arrived with time to spare at Eurotunnel.  
The terminal was full of people, much busier than at 5.00am!
The journey to Burgundy was uneventful although the amount of things stuffed into British cars heading south was amusing.  There were skis and bikes on roof bars, trailers with building equipment and one four wheel drive with a large packet of loo rolls.  We arrived at our little cabin on the campsite in La Clayette early evening, time enough to check in
and go to the local supermarket for essential supplies.
  As you can see when I said little cabin, I meant it ~ best described as compact and bijou but it had everything we needed, good comfy beds, a hob, fridge and a hot shower.
We sat watching a local football match in the sunshine drinking the essential supplies.
Sunday was our first day of work which we had to undertake quietly, as in France Sunday is a family day and we didn't want to annoy the neighbours.  We painted the kitchen ceiling with woodworm treatment before the plasterboard went up and woodwormed the floor above.
The crumbling wall in-between the kitchen and living room ~ more mortar than brick ~ we're not removing any of this as it is the supporting wall.
Early Monday morning and our delivery arrived.  The very nice driver bamboozled us with French, we resorted to hand signals and he stopped bothering.  We all smiled and nodded, I managed to fill in a French cheque under instruction from Smiley and he was away.
 We had insulation, plasterboard and railing for the walls.
Smiley and Sarge attached the rail to the beams of kitchen ceiling and filled the gaps in between the beams with insulation.
  The three of us then man (and woman) handled the board up.  Plasterboard is extremely heavy and it was a struggle ~ I'm sure there is a better way than using your head to balance the sheet on.  A bit wonky but we were pleased with our efforts.
 This piece was smaller and easier.  One job done.
 Sarge then set about removing the wooden door frame in the cupboard under the stairs in what will be the first floor bathroom.  The plumber wants the frame out of the way so he can install the hot water tank and the shower will be in here as well.
Sarge came across more evidence of mice from the past.  In the nooks and crannies we have found mice nests, grass seeds, wool, fabric and paper and friend M found a desiccated rat when he replaced the attic floor.  There are none now, but in the years gone by there must have been lots of mice in this house.
The Sarge and his hammer removed the door frame and whole wall, so at the moment you need to be bit careful when going into the attic.
Meanwhile, as bricks hit the floor above, Smiley and Me set about building the kitchen wall.  Smiley has done a plaster boarding course, so I was The Apprentice.  There are two different types of framework,  montants (uprights) and rails which attach to the ceiling and floor.  Unfortunately we forgot the spirit level, and had to use a phone app, which to be honest, wasn't that great.  
 We had a crimping tool to join the corners, which I didn't have enough muscle for, so I left that to Smiley.

 It took us half a day to make the bottom half of the wall.
After a hard day's work, we retired to our cabin and a treat of Mille Feuille and Tarte Citron.

I'll leave you today with the lake the campsite overlooked, the wonderful chateau in La Clayette and the town itself.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

February and March

February and our neighbour, S, the very nice roofer, strips off the old tiles.  He is reusing everything he can, the ridge will be replaced.   He's promised us a good job 'Because if I do a bad job, I will see it everyday and it will annoy me.'  Sounds fair enough.
This photo was sent by our friends J and M.  Much excitement back in Angleterre.
We ask S to take the TV ariel off the chimney as we don't need it.  The chimney comes too.
A few days later another picture arrives.  The Velux in the front is in, the tiles back on.
Two new Velux  in the back.
Mid-March and The Boss and Smiley pop out for a few days.  S the very nice roofer, had put our kitchen window in.  We have a view!  (The bit down the middle is the frame.)
The locals turned up to have a look.

The new roof has a plastic membrane.  The velux fits under the oak beam.  Smiley admires the view up to Le Mont St-Cyr.

And from the bathroom in the back.
The builder has filled in the gaps under the eaves and brought the height of the wall up under the eaves.  Unfortunately some builder's boot sized holes appeared in the attic floor.  New floor laid by friend M and a big bonfire of wormy floor boards.
The bathroom framework had to come down.  Floor looks good though.  We've even got a new hatch.
The Boss and Smiley went to Gedimat ~ diy store ~ to buy some bits.  They discovered that for the princely sum of €11 you can hire a van to bring the bits back.  
S, the very nice roofer had a bonfire in the front garden and took lots of rubbish for the tip for us.
The electrician has now done as much as he can, we need to start putting up plasterboard before he can proceed.
The Boss has painted the first floor bedroom.  The plan is to get the bedroom and bathroom ~ loo, shower ~ useable so we can stay in the house on subsequent visits.
The Boss put her 80 year old mum to work clearing the back garden.
Not bad.

La Petite Maison, with new roof but minus chimney.
Me, The Sarg and Smiley are now going out for a week, there will be a delivery of plasterboard, insulation and timber when we get there.  We've got our gloves ready.
Wish us luck!