vendredi 30 novembre 2007


The weather for the past few days has been glorious.
I am still hedge laying though the end is in sight - couple more days should do it. An enormous bonfire yesterday to start disposing of the twigs and branches which are too small for firewood, fencing or posts.
The guy digging out the parking area for Philippe kindly moved the huge felled chestnuts which encircle the barn with his digger - Photo tomorrow. He also dug out the pond a little (the pigs had all but filled it in) though now there's no water in it! I might have to shovel some gluppy clay back in to it.

mardi 27 novembre 2007


Despite my tales of the cold and damp the sun shone all day today and there was a beautiful sunset. A day of more hedge laying.

lundi 26 novembre 2007

Cold and damp

Its been cold and damp for the last few days and it's set to continue. Plenty of mud (sticky clay) which sticks to your boots, picks up leaves, then picks up more mud, which picks up more leaves, etc. Until you've got huge dustbin lids of crap on each foot. Philippe is having an area behind my house excavated for a parking area so there's extra mud about.

Pressing on with the hedge laying and have finished the render on the chimney over the lead flashings - not easy with the grit which passes for washed sand here!

vendredi 23 novembre 2007

10,000 hits

My blog has had more than 10,000 visits!

Fete des toits

My neighbours came over this afternoon for the Fete des toits - a placing of bouquets on the new roofs and some champagne!

jeudi 22 novembre 2007

Changing the colours

Today I made some new shutters from the larch left over from the workshop and barn, and gave quelebu a colour change. the blue just didn't look right with the thatch.

mardi 20 novembre 2007

All done

Amazingly the weather stayed dry today and Tadeusz and the lads finished the roof of the barn. In the afternoon I helped them load the van and clear up before bidding them farewell and bon voyage. They've done a fabulous job.

You can see the evolution of the barn by clicking here and selecting 'slideshow'.

dimanche 18 novembre 2007

Winter approaches

Last window fitted, but some more finishing work internally to do tomorrow. The barn roof is ready for the ridge tiles to be grouted in place tomorrow (there was just enough reed to finish), then final redressing the day after.
The weather remains dry and cold (except in the sun when it's 26 degrees). Tomorrow a little warmer with a southerly wind arriving overnight, so hopefully the mortar won't freeze.

samedi 17 novembre 2007

Barn update

Mission accomplished in Toulouse and by 1.00 all the new reed was adjacent to the barn - fortunately I think we now have enough. In the afternoon I fitted the new window to the barn and the mezzanine. Tomorrow the last window and finishing the hedges on one side of the path.

vendredi 16 novembre 2007

No more reed

-6 last night and everything frozen in the morning (although I was warm inside). Tadeusz, Szimon and Christof made themselves busy using up the last of the reed and finishing around the chimney. With no more reed, I chased the delivery company. Despite rumours that they had been unable to find us, it eventually transpired that the reed was still in Lyons about 1000km away! After getting very shitty with people on the phone (my french is improving) I eventually arranged for the shipment to brought to Toulouse overnight and the guardien of the depot there to open up for us and let us collect it tomorrow morning. Better than the Tuesday delivery I was originally offered!

jeudi 15 novembre 2007

First snows

Snowed last night and light flurries all day. Over 30cm at 2000m - I may be skiing soon!
I continued to work on the hedge and the thatchers worked all day too, despite the cold. The windows for the mezzanine and barn and hopefully the extra reed will arrive tomorrow.

mercredi 14 novembre 2007

Barn storming

Today it has rained and hailed for most of the day, tonight and tomorrow morning some snow is forecast here (it's down to about 1000m already), but then we have another good weather window which should hopefully be long enough to allow the thatchers to finish the roofs - provided we have enough reed!
Have laid about 40m of hedge so far, about 35-40% of the total, but it's delivered about 4 weeks worth of firewood (for 2010) so hopefully by the time I've finished I'll have completed the years wood collecting.

The house is warm and there's a roast chicken in the rayburn.

samedi 10 novembre 2007


Click on the image for a closer look

The roof is more or less finished and looking great. Today I helped Christof and Szimon move all the materials, tools and scaffolding to the barn whilst Tadeus worked like a demon 'finishing' the thatch. After all the recent hedge laying and the days in the mountains I'm feeling pretty exhausted and am looking forward to a long nights sleep in a warm house. Tomorrow the guys are back here working as there is a spell of poor weather later in the week and they want to make the most of the good weather now. I'm going to be cooking them a boeuf bourgignon as a thank you for their hardwork.

vendredi 9 novembre 2007

Mont Rouch (2)

Just got back from a three day trip into the mountains with my neighbour Sandrine. We'd originally planned a circuit staying in two different unmanned cabines but due to the heavier than expected snow in the mountains, we spent two nights at the cabane de leziou and climbed Mont Rouch on the second day instead. It was great to be up in the wilderness and Mont rouch was a fantastic ascent under snow and ice.

lundi 5 novembre 2007

Roof progress

Thatch progressing a pace and house getting warmer

samedi 3 novembre 2007


Thatchers arrived yesterday having driven through the night and immediately erected the scaffold! Today they made a start and have already made excellent progress, getting reed on about a third of the front pitch and a backfill layer on the rear pitch. The weather is set fair for at least a week so hopefully the house roof will be completed before the next spell of poor weather. It's great to see the house with it's original thatched 'hat' at long last.
Meantime I've made a start with the laying the hedges to the barn.