Monday, 20 October 2014

Grappling with the garden.

So our on-going fight with the roof continues and will probably go on for months. There is just the 2 of us doing the job and Dave works full time, so it seems to take ages to do anything. But around that job we also are grappling with the garden and trying to sort out the levels so that we don't have any problem with the water and unusual ponds in the garden this winter.

After having lots of discussions with the Mairie, they have provided soil for us to raise the garden levels up so that it is higher than the road and we can block off the water coming over from the lavoir. So far we are 2 large lorry loads in and still needing more. Due to not having our own mini digger (who has?) we have done this the old fashioned way with brute force and lots of digging and raking. This is how it's going.

Please excuse the weeds, it was something in the soil that arrived, we will weed kill them before we grass seed.

So now this is done we just have to dig out the old tree stump and get some more soil to fill in the last section before we can grass seed it all. We have built a raised flower bed in front of the hedge with a rock edging to block water out from the lavoir. The ground was nearly 2 ft lower before we did this. At the end of the photo above you can see the chickens helping with searching for grubs in the old tree stump.

Slowly we are getting there, we have already done 2 large sections of the garden, before we even started this. Its a huge change. this is what it has looked like in the past.

So hopefully I can soon show you a photo of the finished article, we are so close to finishing this now.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Beams, roofs and mud.

We have been doing a number of projects recently and have out of necessity had to go from one to the other and back again.

Our back barn roof was always going to be one of our scarier projects. The roof used to be connected to the rear wall but fell down many years ago, long before we got the house. There used to be a tree growing where the roof should be and the beams and rafters have been open to the elements for many years getting rain and weather damaged. 

This is where a roof should have been.

The  Roof should have been joined to this wall.
But after a couple of years when we have been concentrating on the house and getting that water tight the roof on the barn is now in a  sorry state. We have done the front half up until the point of tiling. But we are worried (or rather Dave is) about putting the tiles on before we have shored up the back of the barn. So the front half of the barn has been re-chevroned (new rafters) and re-voliged (re-wooded) and has had a waterproof membrane put down for the moment while we attempt to concentrate on the back.

The front half of the barn with new wood on.

All re-wooded :)

The over long chevrons will be cut back when we have finished.

Membranes down.

The rotten end of a beam at the back of the house

These are holding the back of the roof up-.

End of this beam is slightly dead.

preparing to put the new beam in.

You can see the front half of the barn roof, all re-chevroned and voliged, and the collapsed back section being shored up.

One new beam and Support in place under the main upright. Ignore the roof edge, that still needs doing

So this main beam is in 3 more to go and a bastaing (roof end supporting beams that the rafters sit on). So the job has started, can we finish before winter? 

Ok the title on here says Beams, roofs and mud. The mud bit will now be carried into our next blog, don't want you all getting too bored do we. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Hols part 2

Just a quick add on to our holiday info. Sorry of you are a bit bored but this place is beautiful.

We decided on one big day out and plumped to go to le Gouffre de Padirac, which is a huge underground cavern and waterway system. It was over a hours drive from where we were staying but it was worth it. The drive itself was quite a interesting thing as it was nearly up hill all the way and if we could have gone as the crow flies it would probably of only taken us about 15 minutes. The roads were a like a slalom course of steep up hills and down hills with acute bends and the most amazing views. 

On the way to the gouffre we  stopped at the beautiful place called Rocamadour. It is the most gorgeous place and is at the top of a very high ravine, with a town and monestry hanging off the cliff face on one side. I stopped to take a photo, hanging out over the ledge to do so and my legs went all wobbly because of the height. That's never happened to me before. For more photos and info look at

Rocamadour with the village below it

And from such highs came huge lows - at the Gouffre de Padirac. The Gouffre de padirac is a giant abyss in the ground that is 105 meters or 345 feet (in old speak) deep. To get down (or back up) you need 3 lifts  or 550 steps. It's so popular we had to queue for 45 minutes to go down. 

The Gouffre was discovered in 1889 by Edouard-Alfred Martel. Can you imagine being lowered down on a rope with 1800's technology and discovering something like that, it must of been mind blowing. Currently 2.5 kms of tunnels are open to the public but 40 kms have been discovered. There is loads of info on their website and also lots of cool videos and animations.

Well we descended down down down into the depths, we were aloud to take pictures until we got to the boats. We had to dress warmly even though it was 34 oc outside in the caves it holds a steady 13-14 oc. The tour guides were really funny and they must have one of the best jobs in the world paddling through that lake system underground every day. When we finally came out we were quite tired it was a hour and a half journey through the system with lots of stairs to climb in between boat rides to get to all the levels. But I would recommend it to anyone.
Going down

Further in

Further in and at the mouth of the caves.

Part of the lake system

Friday, 19 September 2014

Our hols part 1 :)

The time of year has come again for us to take a bit of time away from the house and remember why we love this country so much. 

Dave and I have always been suckers for camping and it's a cheap and enjoyable way to have a holiday. Takes loads of packing but that's half the fun. There is so much of this country that we haven't seen so we want to go to a different area each year.

So this year we took a stab at the map and decided on the Dordogne, and picked the campsite by looking to see which was the nicest. We ended up deciding on campsite Le Capeyrou It is a gorgeous campsite in the village of Beynac in the Perigord Noir region of Dordogne.  This area is full of old towns and villages some literally out cropping from the cliff faces and it has massive hills and valleys and is dominated by the river Dordogne. If you want to know more about the history as always Wikipedia is a great fountain of knowledge

So car packed we drove our 4.30 hours to the camp-site and were just blown away by how beautiful it was. The château of Beynac dominates the landscape and sits proudly above the camp-site that we went to. 

This is the view from the camp-site

Beynac low town looking to the Chateau.

Beynac is nestled between a towering cliff with the chateau on that was built in the 1100's and the river Dordogne and the roads and pathways slope majestically up to the château. The Chateau was owned by Richard the Lion Heart for a while and featured heavily in the 100 years war. It was French owned and the chateau opposite on the other side of the river was English owned. The walk up to the chateau is not for the faint hearted as it is extremely steep.

This road kepp going up and up and up.

The view from the chateau. that's the camp-site on the left in the distance you can see Chateau Milandes.

There are actually 5 chateau's dotted within a 6 mile radius of the place we were staying. But due to cost to get in each we just nosied from the outside. Chateau Milandes was owned and lived in by the 1920's dance star Joseph Baker, and the chateau near to Beynac but further up river is privately owned as a 2nd home by a wealthy Texan, I hate to think  what his main home is like. 

One evening Dave and I went for a walk along the river and it  was so hot I just had to go for a swim. The Chateau behind me in this pic is the private Texan's one.

We also visited other local villages and had the most brilliant time, there wasn't enough hours in the week to see everything and we may go back to the area next year. I would recommend anyone to go and visit this region.

Part 2 of this blog will include our foray underground by boat :)