Friday, 8 August 2014

Running Water!

The end of July and we're back again.
We were in the high sided carriage of the train this time, just because the train was full.  These carriages are single deck.  The cars were chocked to stop them rolling I guess.

We've bought a few more workers this time, and travelled in two cars.  We also have work caps.  
From back left.  Sarge, Smiley, Smiley's Dad, Chopper.  
Front row, The Boss, new to La Petite Maison, Our Best Mate and me, Clicky Needles.

 We stayed in gite about a 25 minute drive away from the maison.
When we arrived at La Petite Maison, there was some very exciting looking plumbing.  
The plumber had put up a piece of plasterboard an insulation in the kitchen, et voila, there is running water.....
....waste pipes for a loo and sink in the first floor bathroom....
sink, shower and loo in the attic bathroom. 
and hot water boiler, no electrics yet.
We started work.
Smiley and Smiley's Dad started on the rails for the ceiling in the first floor bathroom.  They managed to get Chopper doing a bit but his heart was elsewhere.
Namely, chopping down the enormous elderflower and bay tree in the back garden.

We bought him a new bowsaw as the one we took was a bit blunt!  
It took a good couple of days but when the trees were gone the light was flooding into the back of the house, and our back garden view appeared.
The Boss and me set to work digging out some more elderflower trees near the back door.

About 1/2 metre away from the back door there was another elderflower stump.  Our neighbour told us that he had cut tree down several years before, as it was banging on the house.  There was a lot of sweat put into getting this out.
But eventually, come out it did.
In the front garden some stinging nettles and acacia shoots were showing.  AAARRRRRGGGHHH not more acacia.  Upon investigation, most were coming off the main tree and it's roots.  Where The Boss and Me had taken out the saplings in May nothing seemed to be growing.  This may be success.  Fingers crossed.  Our farmer neighbour was true to his word.  The hay rake has gone!  
The Boss, Me and Our Best Mate went to Brico Depot in Macon to buy a toilet, sink and plumbing supplies.  Our Best Mate has fitted his own bathroom, so offered to come and give us a hand.  We decided to put a toilet and sink into the outhouse as the bathroom floor needs tiling and the ceiling needs to done first.  After a long chat it seemed that a piece of worktop and some legs would be the best option. 
Our Best Mate didn't seem daunted by just a waste pipe and cold water pipe
and before too long we had a working toilet.  At this stage it was still a bucket flush but a toilet nevertheless.  This means we no longer have to hop in the car and use the public one in the village!  It's at jaunty angle which may remain. 
The ceiling rails were going up very well, so The Boss popped off to Gedimat the buy more plasterboard and osb floorboards.  She loves driving that van!
Whilst she was there, we replaced the broken tiles on the outhouse roof and put in two glass tiles to let in light.  There are lots of unused tiles in the front garden and we found some to fit.
Much better.
The glass tiles let in lots of light.
This is the old kitchen window which we had saved.  Smiley and Chopper used some expanding foam ~ wonderful stuff ~ to fit it in the hole in the wall.  Perfect!
Our Best Mate drew around the shape of the sink on the worktop, drilled four holes in the corners 

and used a jigsaw to cut the hole.

More plumbing went on and a sink, worktop and running water.  Can you believe that tap only cost €9?
Washing up, just to make sure it works.  Our Best Mate also put the toilet onto the mains, so proper flushing now.
Inside and the ceiling rails were up on the first floor rooms.
These are straight, it's the plumbing and electrics that aren't!
The insulation was cut and squished in ~ technical term there
and the plasterboard was manhandled up.  A much easier job with 7 people to take the weight.
The Boss was the only person with small enough hands to grab the electric cable ~ we had used an iPhone to take a photos so we knew where the cable was.
Ta-Dah!!!!!!  It looks like a real room now.
I filled in as many cracks as I could, but the walls were nice and smooth as The Boss had gone over them with an electric sander.
Smiley put up the last of the kitchen wall and taped over the joins.  I ~ not very neatly ~ skimmed them over with ready mixed plaster.
The ceiling gang moved onto the living room.  Sarge and Our Best Mate had already put up the rails. We didn't quite finish it, but sensibly drilled the hole for the electric cable and pulled it though before boarding the whole ceiling this time.
We removed the nasty porches from above the front and back doors.
We had a week's hard work and felt we achieved a lot.
We drove back along the motorway past emerging sunflowers.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

May 2014

Another working party travels down to Burgundy.  This time we are The Boss, Clicky Needles, Smiley and Smiley's Dad, newly retired with time on his hands.

We were luckily able to stay at Friend J's gite Les Cresiers for a few days before the next guests arrived.  After a hard day's driving, a lovely glass of Crement (champagne) enjoyed on the back of the truck.
We admired the lovely iris'..
....and Peonies in J's garden.
The next day work starts in earnest ~ no rest for the wicked. 
We were greeted by our new temporary step, made by The Lovely Roofer S.  Much safer than before, and as promised he had dug the soil out and cemented underneath.
 We had thought we might leave the ceiling on the first floor bedroom and bathroom, just punch through to find the beams and attach the hangers for the new ceiling below, but the nastiness and mouse nests would still be there.  They needed to come down.  Smiley and his Dad set to work.
The Boss and me tackled the roots of the Acacia Trees that had stood in the garden.  This is how it looked in 2010.   The main tree had already been taken out by our Friend M and his chainsaw, but it's fighting  back.
All the saplings you can see here we also chopped off by our son, Chopper, but they too, were still living.
 There was nothing for it but to dig the roots out.  They are the nastiest things.  Not only do they run from the main stump under and over the other roots, they also seed easily, doubly difficult to deal with.
We had our job cut out for us.  The roots were like pre-historic snakes.  We dug as much as we could, sometimes giving up and snipping them off with loppers.   It was hard work.
The plumber turned up to put in our water and copper pipes.  We were greatly cheered.
He had all sorts of exciting equipment.....
...waste pipes.......
............pipe bender and a radio, played at loud volume.  We kept out his way as much as possible, but did unplug the radio to make cups of tea.
As Smiley and his Dad knocked down the lathes from the ceilings we burnt them over the main Acacia stump hoping a fire would have some effect.
After a hard day's work we returned to the gite for a hot shower and bottle of something or two.  Grey clouds were gathering, and sure enough we had lots of rain.
The next morning the view from our front garden was a bit misty.
Plumbing things were happening.  This may just look like a hole to you, but the excitement of having a hole drilled into our newly laid floor, so that a waste down pipe can go into was almost too much.
Look the bath will go here!
The owner of 41 and 42 popped by to give them some water.
He said he knew the old farmer who owned the hay rake and that he would come with his tractor to take it away.  The old farmer wanted it back.  We didn't ask why it was there.  It looks like someone has been helping themselves to the tines, there were more.
The Boss and me carried on in the garden.  The roots were pesky, and the old fork lost two prongs.
The boys carried on with the ceilings, we wrapped up the chimney so it didn't get damaged.  
It was a really nasty job.
But worth doing.
We took two loads of plaster to the dechetterie (tip).  The dust covered everyone and everything there.
 The plumber meanwhile was working miracles.
 Hot and cold pipes.  Hooray!

Our time to leave was on us.  The plumber plumbed on.  When we're back there should be a hot water tank and water in the pipes.
Happy Days.