samedi 26 décembre 2015

Christmas lunch

Something a little different for a Christmas dinner this year Duck lyonnaise (recipe here). Very delicious and it was preceded by some spiced scallops with orange and chicory salad.

Susie and I definitely needed a run this morning!

jeudi 24 décembre 2015

This afternoon the sun has come out in Devon for what seems like the first time in at least 2 months. Whilst Quelebu has been lying under high pressure basking in sunshine for months, weather which is forecast to continue until February, Totnes has been enduring unrelenting gales and horizontal rain. Hopefully the weather in the Pyrenees will remain good through early January, allowing me to progress the gite extension ahead of schedule.

Merry Christmas to all.

dimanche 13 décembre 2015


On Thursday John helped me with the concreting again. We quickly put down the DPM, insulation and some mesh and by 1.00pm the floor was done. After some tidying up I jumped in the car and sped off to Pamiers where I picked up the windows for the main barn. I got back after dark and as it was a crystal clear night I covered the concrete over to give it some frost protection before heading over to John's for dinner with him and Ian. A roast dinner with plenty of good wine!

On Friday I fitted the windows without too many problems and after some more tidying and packing it was time to leave.

At Toulouse my flight was delayed by an hour then once we were on board we were delayed by another hour. I wonder if this is a ploy by Easyjet to avoid buying refreshments for the passengers which is obligated if the flight is delayed by 2 hours. It's the second time this has happened in the last few months.

By the time I got back to Bristol is was gone midnight and when I went to start the car, the battery was flat. Fortunately, the staff at the airport car park jump-started the car for free. The tank was nearly empty too but after a detour I found a 24hr garage and by then there was enough charge in the battery to restart the car after filling up.

The little problems didn't end there because when I went to upload the photos of the works at Quelebu, something went wrong and I lost all the photos.....UPDATE thanks to little bit of freeware called "Recuva", I've retrieved the files from the SD card in the camera, even though it claims to be empty.

mercredi 9 décembre 2015

More digging

To St Girons to collect sand then on with the block laying which I finished just after dark. Rain overnight which didn't affect the blockwork but turned the heavy clay into gloop! It was still drizzly in the morning so I finished off the shutters for the bathroom which had been awaiting bolts for about a year! 

After a trip to the Mairie, Danni and Serge's and Gilbert's, the rain had stopped so it was on with laying the drainage. The trenches were partly in stiff gloopy clay (think plasticene) or in sold it took all afternoon. Final levelling of the ground is impossible with the ground so sticky, so I'm hoping to get it done tomorrow, as John has volunteered to help with the concreting again in the morning.

 Drainage for the washing machine/shower, WC/sink and septic tank ventilation.

lundi 7 décembre 2015

The weather remains fantastically warm and sunny (28 in the sun) but with just a hint of frost at night.

On Saturday a trip to IKEA in Toulouse, getting proper beds for Jasper and Ruby's rooms.

On Sunday, I was digging foundations and waging war with the remains of the chestnut tree stump which was right in the line of the proposed wall - chainsaw, axe and pick axe were all brought into play, but the stump won. It's been twenty years or more since the tree was felled but the roots are hard as iron. Foundations are now poured and half the ballast for the next floor slab has been moved from road to barn. Block laying tomorrow.

vendredi 4 décembre 2015

Nice to have the snow back on the mountains

Back for another week. Hope to get the foundations and floor slab for the extension done on this trip. Today I ordered materials, transported more ballast and cement, burnt all the remaining bonfires from the hedge laying and made a ham. Usual early December weather, cold mornings giving way to warm and sunny afternoons.