samedi 29 octobre 2011


Another trip to the UK and a break from the building works.

Earlier in the week Jon and I took down a huge eucalyptus tree in the garden of my flat in Bath which was now taller than the three storey terrace, alas I forgot my camera.With Susie, Jasper and Ruby, I made an interesting walk around the coast to Dartmouth for a fish and chips super before walking back to the car park arriving just as the sun set.

Yesterday an excursion in the estuary above Dartmouth on sea kayaks with Dominic. Beautiful calm conditions.

mercredi 19 octobre 2011

Cladding the dormer before the rain and then some internal for a big clear-up!

mardi 18 octobre 2011

First roof complete

Tony and John left early this morning leaving just four courses and the ridge to complete. They worked their socks off and their help was a real boost at a time when I was flagging. It was another hot day today (mid-thirties in the sun).
Virtually nowhere to stand on the ridge, quite difficult and frequently frustrating slating, but at last the first roof is finished. Even managed a little work to the front dormer before dark. Rain due tomorrow afternoon so a useful test for the roof.

dimanche 16 octobre 2011

Work progress

Last night with rope and pulleys we managed to manhandle the cast iron bath upstairs to it's new resting place in the bathroom.

Today was a semi rest day. In the morning we helped the local farmer move the escaped cows into the field in front of the house.Then we went for a stroll up to the airstrip at Joubac. It was another amazing day and when we got there we were surprised to find 4 aircraft parked up. Another 2 came into to land shortly after we arrived and there was soon a grand lunch underway for all the pilots.
When we got back, we moved the rayburn and took down the last of the old chimney.

samedi 15 octobre 2011

More roof progress shots and a rare one of me as there's someone else to hold the camera!

vendredi 14 octobre 2011

The amazing weather continues and Tony and John are here helping me with the roof and gutters. Quicker progress with three of us.

A quick wander in the woods yesterday even and we had enough mushrooms for a risotto.

mercredi 12 octobre 2011

Been pressing on with the front roof for the last day or so...south-west facing so even hotter and the great summer weather continues. A small contingent of cavalry arrive later in the shape of Susie's uncle Tony and a fellow biker, who've ridden down from West Wales via Le Havre on the back roads. They've promised a couple of days assistance in return for board and lodging.

lundi 10 octobre 2011

First roof 95% complete

A return to hot weather which should stay for at least the next week. Finally I have finished the first roof (except for a few finishes touches, the gutter and the cover flashing against the wall of original house).

The slating went better today, I got more organised with the work, bought a slater's hammer which is good for cutting and holing the slates - plus it's lighter which seems to reduce the bounce, and I had some better quality drill bits for piloting the battens.

dimanche 9 octobre 2011

This morning I finished the insulation, lined out dormers and fitted the newel post. Then time for a break from building...god I needed it.

I took down some of the electric fencing from the fields, repaired other fences and did some strimming. Found some lovely orange birch bolettes for dinner too. The weather is still summer-like and the forest and fields are just beautiful. Tomorrow back to roofing.

samedi 8 octobre 2011

More snow

The church at Aleu this morning

Lots of rain yesterday which has brought snow to the mountains once more. I spent the day insulating the timber framed extension, a job I'm finishing today whilst things dry out.

mercredi 5 octobre 2011

Velux number 2

Last night a lovely meal at Alun and Breezy's. I've barely seen them this summer so it was good to catch up. Their place is really coming on...had to fight past the donkeys to get in though!

Here the second velux is in, and I'm hoping I can finish this rear roof pitch before the rain comes on Friday.

mardi 4 octobre 2011


Another day of searing heat. Only smoke from the fires below Mont Valier have interrupted the azure sky.
Slating continues, the main roof is much less frustrating (bouncy) than the dormer.

lundi 3 octobre 2011

Slating in death valley

Been so hot here I've had to wear an oven glove to touch the slates...I never thought I'd say it but I wish the hot weather would end now...I'd rather be slating in fact I've realised I really HATE slating.

My biggest pain in the arse is that there is 'bounce' in the battens which makes driving the slate nails home near impossible. I'm not sure if its the hardness of the baked douglas fir, the warm roof construction or the 3.35mm diameter copper nails. I even bumped up the thickness of the battens from the normal 25mm to 30mm but it doesn't seem to have made any difference.

dimanche 2 octobre 2011


Indian summer continues with temperatures into the high thirties - great for relaxing before the autumn weather arrives, but not so good for being on a slate roof devoid of shade all day. The battens have been baked hard...most nail holes have to be pilot drilled and even then the douglas fir is snapping drill bits at an alarming rate, such is the hardness of the dense part of each growth ring.

Got 3/4 of one of the dormers slated today...progress seems painfully slow and the roof enormous.

Although most of the swelling in my little finger has receded, I'm still unable to play my guitar as it's too painful when I use my pinky. Seems like ages since I've played.

samedi 1 octobre 2011

First velux in!

Cursing not going and buying a roof ladder today, but the first velux is in and some of the dormer leadwork too.