Friday, 10 January 2014

New year and beyond.

I hope everyone has made in through all the christams and New Year celebrations in one piece. Our daughter and her partner came for christmas and we all eat too much, drank too much and were generally lazy, a ideal christmas really. For new year we were going to have a nice quiet evening in and were invited out to friends for a meal and a catch up. We had a lovely time. It was a meal for 16 with a good mix of French and British people. We taught some of our French friends the traditional songs such as old langue syne as well as giving them their first introduction to things such as mince pies and trifle. It all seemed to go down well and we all had a great time.

The new years eve party at Ian and Brenda's.

We also have been to a second post new years party with friends and drinks with the boss and his family recently so have thoroughly enjoyed the party season and are now trying to get back into the swing of things and knuckle down and do some work. 

The party at Martin & Christine's, Dave and I and our french friend Christian.(Dave's the one with the silly grin)

As far as the house goes we haven’t been as industrious as maybe we could have been, as we took a quick trip back to the UK so see friends and family before Christmas.  The re-tiling and wooding of the roof is all finished and for the first time in 40 years we are actually watertight! Believe me you don’t realise the merit of a good roof until you get leaks. To have to put buckets out and take them in again depending on the weather is a real pain. It’s sort of something we all took for granted when we lived in the UK, a good roof to keep us dry. But I have to say this old leaky roof has probably done us a favour, instead of patching it we have totally redone it and it should now last 25+ years (fingers crossed)

To try and stop the dreaded draughts that all these old houses seem to specialise in, we have put up a new temporary room inside the back barn that is attached to the house. If you can visualise an old semi falling down barn of a good size attached to a medium size house that’s roughly what we have at the moment. This year’s big project is to put a new wall up at the back of the barn in the area where the roof had collapsed (and took the wall with it). The barn is currently mostly open to the elements and then when the wall is done re-roof the barn. Sounds easy when you say it quick doesn't it. But it will be a really big job. Some of the big supporting beams on the roof have started to rot at the ends where they have been open to the elements at one end, and some of the smaller beams that hold the lathe for the tiles to sit on need replacing altogether. The surface area of the roof is huge and I think it will take us the best part of the summer to do the job.

The temporary room inside the barn is made with volige (the timber used for roofing planks here) but it does a brilliant job of stopping draughts and giving me a small utility room until the roof on the barn can be done.

Recently we had our microstation installed (how posh are we? real drainage!) and for the first time ever since we have lived here I can pull a plug out of the sink and the water runs away. It’s the small things that make a difference. Each and every little improvement to this once old ruin feels like a genuine achievement, and makes us love the old place more each day. I think that having an old ruin to renovate makes you appreciate all the little things in life, way more than if we had bought a finished house. It doesn’t suit everyone but for us it’s perfect. Mind you we did have a little blip or opps moment maybe you could call it the other day. We had a funny smell in the house, a rather yucky smell really. I searched everywhere to find what it was, there weren’t any presents from the cat hidden anywhere so I was a bit stumped. After a few days of spraying loads of air freshener in the house, I finally found out what it was when washing up. When Dave set the sink up he forgot to put an ubend on the drainage pipes, so we were getting the smell of the microstation coming straight up through the pipes. Yuk. After me taking the mickey out of him the other half has now sorted the problem and we are très tranquille.