jeudi 30 juin 2016

A misty humid day after yesterday's thunderstorm. Spent the morning building formwork and collecting more stones to level the garage floor, then after collecting the concrete mixer from John's with the tractor, I spent the afternoon mixing and pouring.

Second fix electrics underway, chaux chanvre still drying.

mercredi 29 juin 2016

Escape to Europe

After the disastrous UK vote to leave the EU, I have escaped the depression and the UK to home in France. The kiwi plants have finally got going and there are even a couple of flowers though I think it will next year before we get any fruit.

The chanvre-chaux is still drying, probably another 4 weeks at least. In the meantime I've pressed on with second fix electrics. The ballast and cement have arrived to concrete the floor of the garage now I've levelled it a bit more and there's more plasterboard to finish the enclosure for the shower and under stairs cupboard, which I transported to the barn just before the heavens opened with a big thunderstorm.

4 tonnes of ballast and a tonne of cement

mercredi 22 juin 2016

Bye bye Jazz, hello Shogun Pinin

Hopefully a replacement for the Suzuki Jimny too - just need to get some headlamps for driving on the right and a "certificat de conformité" from Mitsubishi France for which they charge the outrageous some of 250 euros (it's effectively a copy of the information on the UK registration document).

mercredi 8 juin 2016

Chaux chanvre finished!

 4-6 weeks to completely dry, by which time it should be a light straw colour.

dimanche 5 juin 2016

After taking Susie back to the airport there was just time to shutter and pour the concrete for the porch slab, which got rid of the last of the gravel and sand stacked in front of the barn.

After finishing the last of the first coat chaux-chanvre in the entrance and bathroom I tried my hand at some second coat with a much smoother finish. Not easy to get the surface compact and smooth without pulling the bits of chanvre from the surface, but overall I'm pleased. Think I might need to make a slurry of chaux to wash over the surface to fill some of the tiny holes.

Phil and I have been pressing on the last few days...slowly we're getting the walls covered but it's slow and tiring work...too much of the same thing everyday can be hard. Mother of all rainstorms this evening that has given the barn a moat.

samedi 4 juin 2016

After finishing the first coat of chaux chanvre in the main room of the gite and with it being Susie's last day here, we decided to go for a walk on Thursday afternoon. Sandrine was back from her photography exhibition in Paris, so she and Deetcha (the dog) joined us.

We headed up to Les Courtals on the ridge opposite the house, then followed the watershed through Coumes and along the Serre de Rapheau, passing the Col de Sausech before descending to the stream which drains the valley around Aliou. A short climb up to Galas d'en bas (where a couple of houses have been beautifully restored recently) and then Galas d'en haut, before passing close to Coumarba, heading to the little grange above Bosc de la Coste. From here we descended to the Ruisseau below Quelebu and rather than climb back to there we headed on a more or less straight line through the woods to Pinsou and a well earned glass (or two) of wine and devoured John's "bombay mix" much to his chagrin.

 Spiked Rampion

 On the Serre de Raphaeu

 Acacia blossom everywhere

 Galas d'en bas

 Meadow flowers

After taking susie back to the airport it was on with some concrete mixing for the entrance porch, interrupted by a very brief thunderstorm.