Wednesday, 11 April 2012

If The Egyptians Can Do It!!!

Way Hey!!  We got the oak beam up!!  We thought we may have to call in the cavalry, but with the help of a couple of metal rollers we rolled it inside the house.   We stood it on end and balanced it on the scaffold and then kind of see-sawed it up onto the scaffold.  Then Brendan lifted one end whilst I placed a block under it.  We repeated this each end until the beam was level with the stone where it had to be placed.  I did get the heeby-jeebies a couple of times but it went smoothly - no flying dummies, tantrums or tears!  Unfortunately, it has left the LGB with a bad back again.

Rolled the beam along on metal bars..........

Easy peasy - the LGB upended it..........

Stood and scratched his ar head.........
Et voila!!  All in place

And a close up of his handy work!!  Bravo!

Thursday the floor joists arrived nice and early. I had a close shave when the driver was taking them off the lorry.  Brendan and I were placing blocks down for them to sit on.  The driver bent down to move a block and hit the lever on his controls and the load jerked down hitting me and knocking me sideways.  I escaped with a grazed hand and bruises on my arm and shoulder, although I can feel I have been bashed!

We're moving our belongings from the gite over to the garages and caravan.  This will be our seventh move in ten years!  The next time we move I am taking just a suitcase (and Brendan I suppose).  I am planning to sell this house fully-furnished! When it comes to moving our wordly goods from the garages into the house I am going to be brutal.  I have already drastically reduced my homes and decorating magazine collection much to Brendan's delight.  I have to admit they are a bit of an obsession with me.  I am planning to replace them - the LGB will never notice them coming in one at a time!

Hallway and Brendan's room beyond

Brendan's room

Dining room - I think!
The internal walls are nearly finished.  It does make the space look very different.  Some areas seem smaller and some like the LGB's room look huge.  I am having second thoughts now about the room swap, but it is too late now!

I know the 'we would like to thank' is usually expressed at the end of the project but I would just like to express our gratitude to all our wonderful friends and family who have housed us, fed us, offered us the use of showers, beds, swimming pools, washing machines and given help and encouragement.  You know who you are and we appreciate the huge gestures and the little ones. No-ones offered to pay to have the work done yet though......... Seriously, thank you, we are very lucky to have such lovely friends.

Moving into the caravan tonight.  I am not sure when the next post will

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

And The Walls Came Tumbling Down....

Don't be alarmed!  UnlIke the battle of Jericho the walls didn't actually come tumbling down but more of that later.

I haven’t written lately because I had mislaid my camera in this chaos that is my life!  The following is written in no particular order because unless I write something every night (fat chance) I forget what we have done and when.

We have a stay of execution, a reprieve from our eviction!  We are staying on in the gite for a couple of weeks whilst Suzanne and Kevin are in the UK.   We are looking after their sweet little cat who is 92 cat years old, a magnificent old lady.

I became a ‘lady who lunches’ for a day.  Jane and I had lunch al fresco in Angouleme.  I am not lying when I say it got too hot to sit in the sun, it was a fabulous day.  We then visited our favourite shops followed by a visit to Emmaus where Jane bought a coffee table to try her hand at mosaicking.  Emmaus is now in the UK.  It is a charity for the homeless based in a huge building selling donated goods from bric-a-brac to furniture.  We went on to another second-hand warehouse where I bought an occasional table that will become a paint project along with the other furniture pieces I have bought when I get some spare time! I could get used to being a lady of leisure.  When we moved here I thought I would have the time to get manicures and put the thousands (no exaggeration) of photos that I have stored in boxes into albums.  What a dreamer! 

The first tree in the 'orchard'!
How many fruit trees make an orchard?  We have planted seven, so I am calling it an orchard.  We have planted Bramley, Cox’s Pippin and Braeburn apple trees, a Morello cherry, Victoria plum, Conference pear and a peach tree.  We fenced around them because there is evidence of wild boar on the field and to keep the deer out.  Brendan has also dug over his ‘potager’ ready to plant veggies for this year.  There really is nothing like fresh herbs and vegetables straight from the garden.  Remind me that I have written this when I tell him where he can put his hundredth courgette when he proudly presents it to me!

The roof trusses arrived!  We sat on them, plans in hand and scratched our heads.  We then covered them in the event of rain!  We will sneak up on them again at a later date and hope that the big pieces of this giant puzzle fit.  I can feel another dummy heading my way!

Our huge puzzle of roof trusses under wraps'

The LGB started to build the internal walls. As he started the wall to his music room I had a little thought!  The LGB ran for cover.  What if we made his music room the dining room and kept it open plan to the hall?  So, the walls that he had already built or to be precise the blocks he had laid didn't actually tumble down the LGB took them down.  I went to order some limestone for the new opening of the re-sited dining room!  Watch this space.

The LGB now has a larger music room at the front of the house.  He calls it his ‘music room’, but don’t be fooled, he isn’t some musical virtuoso, in fact he doesn’t play an instrument.  Actually, that isn’t strictly true; he does frequently blow his own trumpet.  We like to listen to music at different levels of loudness.  He likes it ridiculously loud.  So he is getting his own little room to deafen himself in!  Don't feel sorry for me, he says I can have the kitchen.
Living room 

Utility room

With the change of plan, we have collected the stone we ordered.  It is a soft limestone with pieces of shell embedded called coquillage.  We worked on this and some we already had, with Brendan cutting it to size and shaping the edge with an angle grinder and I finished it off with a grater and sandpaper.  He is in his element as he loves working with stone and the bonus is that I enjoy it too.  The other bonus is that the LGB actually thinks the change was a good idea!  It is slowing us up but I think it will be worth it.
Detail at the top of the opening (not the block!)
Looking into hallway from dining room

The young man who lives a couple of houses down has been on holiday, so stops by each morning for a chat.  The neighbours across the road ventured over yesterday so I gave them a little tour.  On the other side across a field the neighbours are English.  We have never officially met the parents but we wave, however, the children have a chat when they pass on their bicycles, they are lovely chatty children.  One of the boys asked Brendan if he and his wife were builders.  Brendan replied that he was a builder and his ‘wife’ thought she was!  (I think the sarcasm was lost on someone so young.)  The youngster replied that he thought we were builders because 'the work is very good'!  Aaaah bless!

We have ordered RSJs and will have a little wait for them.  The floor joists arrive Thursday, but we won’t be able to position them until the RSJs arrive.  We have bought and sanded another 3.30 metre oak beam for the dining room opening.  We stood and pondered how we are going to get it up.  We’ll sleep on that one!  As long as it goes up before the next full moon......