jeudi 23 février 2012

Latest kitchen progress

Beautiful weather continues with sunshine temperatures of 18-20 degrees although the snow stays on the ground around the house and it's very cold at night. The snow plough broke down last week and so 2 km of snowy road between us and the next hamlet Biech, is now thick ice making journeys a hazardous and slow adventure.
Removed the old kitchen, demolished the wall around it and then reinstalled it with a few extras in the new kitchen space. The temptation to progress with this rather than the electrics was too much to resist. The door Paul made was hung finished and painted and it's all looking good.
Philippe and Sophie popped in for l'apero on Wednesday evening and then Ian, Nina, John and Sandrine came for dinner to christen the new space on Thursday.

lundi 20 février 2012


Took Paul back to the airport and after a long queue at the Ikea tills I managed to get all the extras I need for the kitchen. Three days to get as much done as possible.


Back to France with Paul for a short skiing break and then the usual continuation of the house build. A vast quantity of snow has fallen and because the house has been empty and unheated, most of the snow has stayed on the roof! Still a good test.
An afternoon off piste at Guzet to find our ski legs, then a day of low cloud (sent doing some DIY). Next day we were off to do a little ski tour - alas thick breakable crust saw us quickly retreating. Beautiful weather so another day in and around Guzet.
Paul forgot to put on sun cream and got horribly burnt, so much so that we he had to stay indoors the next day to avoid permanent damage!

I discovered a stupid error with the pipework from the hot water header tank which will cost me another day of plumbing works and no doubt a lot of cursing.

Bathroom make over

Now mostly complete
After several days effort the bath/shower installation is complete and looking good.

A lovely St Valentine's day with Susie relaxing in pool, sauna and steam room before a leisurely lunch and a stroll around Dartmouth.


A day with Dommy, Oscar, Jasper and Buffy the dog, exploring along the coast at low tide. There are a succession of beaches/wave cut platforms, each separated by narrow rocky headlands which can crossed either through caves and blow holes or through collapsed arches.Dommy took some great photos with his DSLR, particularly of Buffy in motion.
The geology and physical geography here is all very interesting.
A link to another beach
Fishing net trapped in the rocks
Quartz veins

jeudi 9 février 2012

Bathroom refurbishment well underway

After some more fun and games the car is now fully functional again and this time with a spare key!

Works got underway with the bathroom refurbishment. The bath was 5' 6" long, so I had to remove a full height built-in cupboard to fit the new slightly longer 1700mm bath. The usual problems - breaking the old cast iron bath to get it down the stairs with a hammer caused some ringing in my ears, all the plumbing turned out to be in old imperial sizes, and the walls around the bath were mostly tile adhesive on cardboard, and not square to the bath!

I replaced the cupboard with lower open fronted unit to hold towels (built mostly from the old removed cupboard), have plumbed in the new bath a shower tap and replastered the missing parts of the wall....just wall tiling, the shower screen and redecorating to finish the job.

Back to France soon where the snow has at last started falling - looking forward to some skiing at last!

jeudi 2 février 2012

New smile for the saab

Some minor works to the saab whilst I wait for clarification of the scope of works for the bathroom refurbishment here in Totnes from our landlady.

New wing mirror, classic chrome radiator grill and light surrounds (replacing the horrible black plastic one it had before), spare wheel and tyre, some tinkering with the tick over, new passenger door lining and lastly the ignition which turned into an epic.

The existing ignition key was just a tiny stub as the rest of the key had long since snapped off in the lock. The key frequently falls out as your driving along - most disconcerting. I managed to find a replacement lock cylinder and key in a an old scrapped saab 95 - the key was jammed in the lock making normal cyclinder extraction methods impossible. We managed to disc-cut the dashboard apart and after much cutting on the bench retrieve it in tact. Some oil and gentle persuasion and the the key was removed and the lock working smoothly. It was quite a job to remove the existing cylinder from my our saab but eventually after a few hours struggle out it came. I put the salvaged cylinder in and the key immediately jammed!! It wouldn't budge. Disc cutting was not an option this time and in the end I had to drill out the cylinder. Fortunately, I've retrieved the snapped end of the original key which was still in the lock, so I am hoping that I'll be able to put the original lock cylinder back in and make a complete key.

Very cold here in Devon but not as cold as back in the Pyrenees - thank heavens I drained the central heating. Some snow at last so looking forward to skiing again soon.