lundi 25 septembre 2006


Here's the photo of my first slate roof.
Yesterday, Hannah, Saskia and Natasha (John and Sondrine's children) came over and my boardwalk became 'un bateau'. I made them some fishing rods and wooden fish with wire loops so that they could fish for them.

mercredi 20 septembre 2006


The bathroom roof is finished (all bar 2 metres of abutment flashing). All done in two days...I don't why I set myself these crazy challenges. Yesterday the old roof was stripped, new insulation installed, new rafters, felt, battens and bargeboards fixed plus an extract fan for the bathroom. Today, the chase for the lead was cut, the wall repointed and all the slates fixed. Today was hot - maybe thirty degrees - and in the morning the slates were in the sun and too hot to pick up without gloves!

Hope to finish the flashings tomorrow morning before leaving for Toulouse and England. Hopefully will have time to post a picture of the finished roof - it looks fine if I say so myself - unfortunately it was dark when I finished this evening so couldn't take any photos.

dimanche 17 septembre 2006

Slates and Plumbing

Yesterday it absolutely fell out the sky all day - man when it rains here, it really rains. I took the opportunity to finish the plumbing which I had been avoiding for some time.

The work required was to connect the new hot water tank (heated by the Rayburn in winter) to the existing hot water pipework which is fed by the electric hot water cylinder. I also needed to install a couple of gate valves so that only one hot water source is connected at anytime (the rayburn is gravity fed whilst the electric cylinder is mains pressure) and whilst I was at it, replace the last few bits of the original plumbing in the house (all of which is diabolical).

This took until 1.00 in the morning - I HATE PLUMBING.

Actually new plumbing is OK, but I hate trying to repair old plumbing, connecting into old plumbing and French plumbing in general (which is ridiculously over complicated due to hundreds of pipe sizes and different connectors - some with gaskets, some compression, some push fit, some capillary end fee soldered but no 'Yorkshire' fittings.

Anyway its all done now and seems to be holding water.

Today was dry (cue rain outside on the window) so after tidying up and finishing off a few other little DIY jobs in the bathroom, I spent the afternoon in the sun. Watching the clouds chasing across the mountains in their new snowy raiment whilst cutting all the slates for the bathroom roof to size and punching all the nail holes. I've always laid slates bevel side up, but Claude (who strolled over for L'apero) reckons here in the Pyrenees they should be laid the other way up to minimise spalling of the slate surface by ice and snow. Not sure which way to lay them now, but I've punched all 350 slates to lay them bevel side up already, so I guess it's decided.

The usual hour and half of bramble scything before tea and time to blog.

vendredi 15 septembre 2006

Hedgerow dinner

The rain of yesterday and last nigth was enough to fill the rivers and put the first sprinkling of snow on the mountains. Today it remained dry and I made several trips to St G to get the materials for re-roofing the bathroom (slates, rafters, battens and insulation). Just need a couple of clear dry days to carry out the work.

I forgot to do the food shopping so a walk down the road provided most of the food for tea - Chanterelles, blackberries, apples and grapes. Because this area was farmed long ago, there are still fruit trees dispersed through the woods which is nice addition to the mushrooms and nuts.

jeudi 14 septembre 2006


Just a quick note, as some people have wondered if I'm still alive! I am of course and its pissing with rain here today, so I've been pottering about in a slightly damp fashion.

dimanche 3 septembre 2006


The shed is now complete with a boardwalk - all I need now is a banjo and that 'in-bred' deep south look! Made a jumbo swing too (just visible in the background).

Really hot again today.