samedi 31 octobre 2015


Tits at Yarner

Autumn colours from the house

A quick trip to Eastbourne on Tuesday/Wednesday. A dingy (but cheap) hotel on the seafront broke the travelling but a very nice curry in the town was a compensation.

Susie and Ruby went to the Brighton University open day, Ruby wants to do the illustration degree there, whilst I headed to Hastings for work related meetings. We met up again at the end of the day at Willow's home before the long drive back.

Off to Quélébu for more gite works today (Saturday).

samedi 24 octobre 2015

Autumnal photos from a walk in North Woods

Leaves in the River Dart #1

Leaves in the River Dart #2


mardi 20 octobre 2015

Lightning visit

A few days back in france, to meet with the ErDF (electricity board) who had to cancel and Jean-Marc Sentenac who can hopefully do some excavation around the barn, dig the services trenches and eventually put in the septic tank. He's very busy and I'll be lucky if he can do the excavation work around the barn this year...I might have to hire a digger and do it myself.

Most of my short stay (even the nights) was taken up with Architecture work in the UK, where a project I'm running has been slipping further and further into the red and despite my constant warnings heads have remained firmly in the sand. It wasn't until the contractor issued his draft final account on Friday that "the shit hit the fan". It's been an incredibly stressful time.

Still I grabbed a couple of spare hours and finished demolishing most of the barn stair, burnt the 7 big bonfires, dismantled the chicken coop and took down some fencing.

Staircase mostly gone

 wall getting bigger!

mercredi 7 octobre 2015

All done for this trip

Getting the window frame into the existing oak lintel in window no 2 was a bastard and then halfway through rebuilding the wall above window no 1 the heavens opened - I'd just made a barrow load of mortar so had to continue until it was all used and was soaked through. Today was finishing off, a major clear up of stones and starting the demolition of the stairs.

What to do with the mountain of stone from making the openings and the demolished stair? A wall 5 feet thick which I'll eventually top with soil and plant. There's still half the stair to demolish and a doorway to make so it'll probably be another foot higher.

The partially demolished stair, revealing the little window I carefully protected when I built the stair.

Finally the hippies who set up their caravan camp in the woods just up the road last spring, returned this afternoon with another caravan and a friend also with a caravan! My heart sank (they have been a nuisance with several marauding wild dogs which they spend most their time shouting expletives at). However, after a few hours they departed - I guess they took what they wanted from the old caravan which has broken windows and have abandoned it together with all the pots, pans, rubbish, gas bottles, etc. for someone else to deal with, usually the Mairie....which means all the inhabitants of the commune foot the bill. (This has happened several times since I've lived here). I have no problem with people living in the woods if they leave it as they find it...but I have zero tolerance for these polluters.

Back again soon to make a door opening, organise some excavations and a temporary electricity supply.

dimanche 4 octobre 2015

Hedges and mushrooms

Today dawned clear and I watched the rising sun bathe the mountains in light. 

In the field I also watched a couple of roe stags (a young male still red and a much older three point grey male) sparring. I filmed the exchange and a little later the young male was back again.

I spent until 2pm laying the hedge on the other side of the chemin leading to the barn. 

The next section to the barn is mostly quite dense now so I may just top it rather than lay it, which should be quicker.

After a quick lunch I headed to Oust for some shopping and on the way back stopped in for a long chat with Minsou. When she asked what I was having for tea, I replied chicken and mushrooms. She laughed when I said I hadn't picked them yet, but it only took 15 mins to collect an assortment when I got home!

samedi 3 octobre 2015

Barn progress

A very long day working on the barn. Lintels finally up on the first window and internal reveals done.

Then it was onto the second window which needed the old frame taken out, the cill lowered and width slightly reduced. The old frame was built in and offered support to the walls on either side (dry stone construction, no mortar) so when it came out there was rather a lot of wall to rebuild. All done by 7.30pm.

vendredi 2 octobre 2015

Snow and hedgelaying

After a rain, hail and thunder storm last night, this morning dawned clear with a dusting of snow on Mont Valier...winter is coming.

In the morning more work on the inside of the new window in the barn, its slow work rebuilding the reveals and supports for the lintels, hopefully after tomorrow I will have the interior lintels placed.

The rest of the day was spent hedge laying. First section complete.

There are four huge bonfires of branches piled up and two giant stacks of spars about 3m long. What I've done is about 20% of the total that needs doing. Next I'll tackle the already thinned out section against the garage/woodstore.