dimanche 31 janvier 2016

Some poor weather at the weekend slightly hampered progress, but the biggest problem was that the beams were too short! I ordered 3m lengths but forgot that the upper timber clad part of the barn gable is set back from the stone face. Also, here in the Ariege you must state the lengths of timbers ordered from the sawmill to the nearest metre. Usually if you order 3m you get 3.1m or 3.2m sometimes 3.3 or more. I ordered 3m and for once I got 3.0m!! I needed 3.09.

I don't have time to re-order, so after some searching I remembered I still had the remnants of the H.T overhead power cable assembly that came down in the 2012 snow storms. I cut it up to make some shelf angles, reducing the span sufficiently. I added a few extra bolts for lateral restraint and beefed up the bearers to stop them twisting. Not my first choice, but it works.

Lifting the ridge beam was also problematic as it was heavy, the ladder short and sky hooks were in short supply! Sandrine arrived just at the right moment and whilst her and Jasper hauled on a rope attached to a pulley in a sling looped over the gable apex, I climbed a ladder with the beam on my shoulder, somehow it was manhandled and nailed in place!

Today (Sunday) Jasper had a day off, whilst I tried to get the remaining beam, rafters and some volige in place in mostly pissing rain. 

Tomorrow is our last day and we need to get everything watertight, might be a tall order!!

vendredi 29 janvier 2016

Plenty of progress in the past few days. We ran out of steam a bit today, not helped by a cold wind and some drizzly rain. We did get the partition up inside (which you can't see in the photos) and fixing the top of the gable was tricky as until the ridge and beams are fixed the gable is still a bit wobbly.

mardi 26 janvier 2016

Gite works again

Back to France with Jasper...for a refill of light, sunshine and quiet. Hopefully we'll get the gite extension walls and roof erected, ready for cladding and slating, before we leave in a week's time. Weather is set fine for the week and more.

dimanche 24 janvier 2016

mercredi 20 janvier 2016

At last a respite from from the wet and stormy weather in the UK and some frosty dry mornings. Back to France next week with Jasper, who's going to be lending a hand with the timber frame.

mercredi 13 janvier 2016

Another beautiful day!

After moving most of the rest of the wood down to the barn - some on the tractor some on my shoulder, I mixed up some mortar and laid the sole plates (weighted down with rocks for good measure although they are strapped to the concrete slab).

mardi 12 janvier 2016

A strange day which began and ended with wintry showers - but the middle was warm and sunny! The wintry weather is slowly closing in though. Most of the day I was moving the timber, I've done about half of it. The bigger longer pieces had to carried one by one on my shoulder, the shorter pieces (3m) I could stack against the roll bar of the tractor and transport in the back box in bundles. 

I also dug and filled the foundations for the three posts which will form the porch/veranda of the gite and trimmed the holy bush which was becoming unmanageably large

Around 4.00 Paul came by to see the progress. He's 93 this year but still strong as an ox!

lundi 11 janvier 2016

Wood and weather

The materials for the barn finally arrived today. I transported the insulation and some of the smaller section wood to the barn by hand and by tractor. The wood in the picture below is still to move. I need to build a wood transporter to save my back.

A trip to St G for provisions, oil for the car and tractor, some cement and to see the D.D.T (planners). Apparently our commune (Aleu) is now under the Reglementation Nationale d'Urbanisme, so the old Plan d'Occupation des Sols (zoned land-use maps) are obsolete. Applicants must now make their case and await the decision of the statutory consultees...interesting times.

By the time I got home it had turned decidedly cold. The wind (of change) is blowing and the sky is clear...snow is on it's way!

samedi 9 janvier 2016

Sun at last

Yesterday, the weather was poor so I varnished some of the internal doors, then tried to fix the intermittent ABS problem on the suzuki - must be a broken wire between the sensor and the fuseboard but the sensors are rusted into the hubs and the bolts are made of tin - they'll have to be drilled out...might have to take it to the garage. No luck with passing on my books, so they had to go to recycling - I hate throwing books out.

After a couple of days of rain and grey and the mountains playing "peek-a-boo" the skies finally cleared today and by mid morning it was a balmy day. 

As the snows are late this year I had the chance to give the remaining fields their "short cut and sides".

Next from offcuts in the house and wood shed I built a couple of saw-horses...god knows how I managed to build the house with any!

The final job before dark was to move the 4 steres of fire wood below the barn which were in the way of future drainage works.

Here's the rug Susie x.

mercredi 6 janvier 2016


Back to France in time to take the latest ham out of the salt and start to air dry it. The amazing weather seems to have ended with my arrival and wintry showers are the order of the day. Snow in the mountains but rain here at Quelebu.

The wood for the extension won't be delivered until Monday which only gives me 3 days to build. I think I may have to resort to cutting everything to size ready for later assembly, especially given the weather forecast.

An odd day today - after visits from John and Hanno, a trip to St Girons to give surplus books to the secondhand book shop, but the owner wasn't in, then I went to the DDT but they were closed today, then onward to Cazalé to get wood for a new front door, but there was no room in the car (because it was still full of books). A visit to Minsou on the way back and by the time I got home the Rayburn was out and the house not so warm.