Sunday, 29 July 2012

Making progress

I love how our days are so full now. It's wonderful to have a new project to work on and to be working towards creating an amazing new home.

Our main priority has been to clear the place of decades of 'stuff', with the old 'grenier' (our future guest en suite bedroom) seeing the main thrust of our efforts. We have disposed of boxes and boxes of old magazines, of jars, of clothes and goodness knows what else. It is almost clear now and we can see just what a big space it actually is - over 48m2! It'll make a great guest bedroom.

Before we can start work on the interior however, the canal-tiled roof is going to have to come off, timbers treated, lattes replaced, membrane laid and then properly secured canal tiles put back on. It's a job we'd like to tackle before winter, but time is going to be an issue.

The smallest bedroom in the main house has also started its transformation into a first floor bathroom. Here's the obligatory 'before' shot
The 70s wallpaper had to come off (put up in June 1974 by Antoine if the scribble on the wall is to be believed!), the pine clad ceiling and cladding around the beam likewise. The radiator and pipes have been removed and the space looks much lighter and cleaner already. The old beam is actually in fantastic condition and the ceiling boards likewise. Shopping for bathroom equipment next week and then Andy is hoping to start installation next week when I am away!
The other two urgent projects are the sanitation and the heating. We hope to get approval within the month from the authorities for the installation of our 'fosse toutes eaux' which means we should be able to get the system installed by September. Re the heating, we have removed the fuel boiler from the house as that is an expensive and not particularly pleasant system to run. We're opting for a wood-fired system and research is continuing as to the most suitable woodburner with c/h boiler to install here.

I am pleased to say that we have had our first crop of truly delicious plums from our plum trees.
.... collected with the aid of a simple but ingenious device left behind by the previous owners - a long-handled 'grabber' with a bag on the end which gently removes fruit from higher branches. Brilliant!
I have transformed some into jam and have frozen more for the winter.

I am keen to get my potager/kitchen garden up and running as soon as possible so that we stand a chance of having some of our own produce this autumn/winter. Although we have got our 8m x 16m patch marked out with stakes, we have had one major problem which is the length of the grass in the field which had to come down before we can turn over the soil....

 The solution? Ask one of our neighbours, M Maylin, whether his five Breton heavy horses fancied a bit of a feast. The answer? Hell Yeah (said in a French accent naturellement!) They have turned out to be the best grass cutters. The bonus for us is that we are collecting plenty of manure that will be used to nourish the soil over the coming months and scoring brownie points with the locals... a win-win situation!

Talking of locals, the people here have welcomed us with open arms and are so pleased that we will be actually living here rather than just using the place as a holiday home. I am sure we will both be playing an increasingly active role in local life as time goes on. It is a truly special place to be live and I find myself smiling like an idiot just about every time I step out of the door! I love it!

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