Life in France

A not every day story of normal people trying to live their dream in France starting at the beginning and ending?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

STILL plastering

This is a corner of the "main" guest bedroom just to show how far i think i have advanced in my attempt to plaster the whole room! To the left you can just see how far i have got with the finishing coat and the little orange blobs in the top corner are old onion sacks full of walnuts which we picked last year. This picture shows off the exposed chestnut beams in the room as well. These used to have a ceiling suspended from them and they were a lovely flaky pink painted sort of colour. It took me TWO weeks to clean them off and restore them to this lovely colour.
Short but sweet, back to plastering..the sun is out and it is a beautiful day 10° outside and getting warmer.. it won't last..we still haven't had any snow yet. The last two years it has arrived in great dollops about the first week in February so not long to go now........... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Windows and plaster

This is the new window in the main guest bedroom that i have put in. As you can see it now requires the wall around it to be plastered and then hey ho it is done. I know that it doesn't look vertical or horizontal but it is an elliptical elloption. Really it is!
It is very difficult working with 1metre thick loose stone walling held together with mud packed between the joints.
It is even more difficult trying to plaster. My arms are aching like mad and i swear more is splashing on the floor than going on the wall. The dark bit above the window is an original solid chestnut beam which we uncovered when taking out the old window and removing the old lathe and horse hair plaster. It has cleaned up really nice and will be left exposed along with the beams which used to have a ceiling attached to them! As you can see, just outside the window is a beautiful old pine tree which provides a great perch for all manner of birdlife including two varieties of woodpecker.
Having now rested my arms a little i shall return to my torture....more plastering..i will post a picture of the finished window area complete with new window ledge made from reclaimed chestnut flooring. (made from offcuts of the original floor)
My arms i am sure are now inches longer than they used to be, plastering is very heavy work! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Deer & Plaster

I managed to get this shot yesterday mid-morning as the clouds were lifting and the sun was just starting to stream through. There were six deer just about 30 foot away from the back door of the house in part of the field normally used by the horses. I took this through the glass of the back door so it not brilliant but what a lovely thing to see. ( they were back this morning as well taking a drink from the waterhole in the field).
As for me, i am trying to teach myself the black art of plastering! I have taken the old stuff off as it was loose and cleaned back to the stones of the wall. As they weren't good enough to leave uncovered i rough rendered them and now... i am trying to plaster them. Does anyone know how to get this stuff to actually stick to the wall? It is sort of nearly there but i just can't seem to get it mirror flat.... Luschious bless her says that it is ok as the walls were never straight or flat before i started. It has taken me a whole day to do 4 square metres of wall, that leaves err err about another 8 to go..arrgghhh help, please...... I think more of the plaster is going on the floor than on the wall plus i am covered in it is as well. i look like a red indian that has gone mad with the white warpaint!
Ah well, here we go again...maybe i will take up deer watching instead? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 07, 2006

MOUSE Alert!

We have a slight problem, there is a mouse loose in the house. How do i know this you may ask? Well, apart from seeing it run across the bathroom floor i have spied half eaten chestnuts littering the entrance room!
As you can see my prime mouse catcher is completely un-interested in this particular mouse. It is obviously not enough to tempt her to move. This, despite the fact that she goes outside and will allways come back with a mouse to eat outside the door making sure to leave the stomach sac in a prominant place for all to see!
What can i do? Get another mouse catcher? Buy a mouse trap or somehow get willow to earn her keep in the house for a change? How does one encourage a cat that already catches mice to catch the ONE in the house? Perhaps i should catch it then release it so that she can catch it? A bit too drastic i think but somebody has to catch it 'cos if luscious sees it one of is in trouble and i can take bets that it won't be the cat!
Now, where is that old cheese?....... Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 02, 2006

A New Year

Bonne Année to you all.
So, that was it then another year gone and we have now been here three whole years and still the house is not finished as i would like. Granted we had to spend the first year sat on our hands twiddling our thumbs while the french paperwork squad did their thing and forbade us to do ANY work on the house on pain of refusal of our grant applications!! Then we lost another six months while we found another builder as the first one had lost interest and gone away!!
I suppose if we look at what we started with and what we then did to it which was basically pull it to bits leaving only the outer 4 walls standing we have actually come a long way. At least we can now live in the house and we have fresh spring water instead of brackish slush, we can shower without the smell of cow urine coming from the water and we have a ecological toilet system instead of the toilet waste just washing out into the field. We have heating from the solaire system and the boiler and we have a sort of kitchen with a beautiful AGA. So, things are coming along.
will be the year that we finally see the house finished and ready for an influx of paying guests. The web site is under way and will i hope be ready for launch end of january and we have already received enquiries from people wanting to come and stay and pay us money for the privelage!
This is going to be another wonderful year in this small part of the world and we hope that whatever you wished for this year will come true for you.
We are exceptionally lucky in that we are already living our dream.
Happy new year.
(The picture is the view from the lounge taken in November)
 Posted by Picasa