Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Puy de Fou

Living as we do in this part of France I don't quite know how we managed to avoid going to Puy de Fou for so long. It is a huge historical enactment theme park about 40 minutes away from us. We  been wanting to go for a long time but there was always something else to do that got in the way. 

Our friends and their family were visiting us for a few days and it coincided with their daughters birthday. They asked us to join them on a day out at Puy de fou here is Puy de Fou's website We duly went along long and were transported back to being kids for the day. 

Historical re-enactment is actually a bit of a tame phrase for what goes in there. It is really like a full on theatrical display. 

There is viking world which 
is amazing and but my viking friends would say isn't very historically accurate but this is a show not living history. Here's a link to a video of it,

There is also a King Arthur area, the actors are brilliant

The Roman arena was amazing and it did worry me at first all the  animals including lions and horses that are involved but I found out afterwards that Puy de Fou have won awards for animal care and are members of conservation organisations.

In between shows there is lots of other things to do as well. There is a medieval living village, traditional music shows (where Dave fell in love with the French bagpipes from the 1500's), nature walks, dancing fountains, and much more.

We had a great day out and if anyone is in the area, I would suggest giving it a go, you won't regret it.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Roofing escapades and a kitten?

Hi all. How are things where you are?

Here things are ok, the weather is extremely odd. We have had scorching temperatures of up to 37 oc and also torrential rain and thunderstorms. Crazy huh. Because of this the grass and hedges are growing as if on speed and we are constantly cutting and weeding. Why is it weeds grow quicker than anything else? frustrating eh.

But our primary on to concentrate on is the barn roof. The roof has been collapsed for over 30 years on one side of the barn with more being lost of the main barn each winter. 

So we began the pain staking job of taking the old tiles off the barn. We knew that the roof as it was wouldn't hold our weight and that we couldn't climb on it to remove the tiles.  we started at the edge and moved up. When we got to a area we couldn't reach there was no choice but to spread the weight across the beams with a board and for Dave to dangle in the roof and try not to fall while passing me tiles.

This is all that was holding our tiles up.

The view of our garden from the scaffold.

The old rafters (chevrons) and thin chestnut lath was really damaged and brittle.
Lucky Dave didn't fall.

So we carry on across the roof and after ripping off the tiles and old rather rotten chestnut lath get down to the nitty gritty of the beams. One was broken in the middle, another was so slim in the middle its a real surprise that the roof hadn't totally collapsed.

Once the tiles were stripped these are the old beams.

With the new chevrons next to the old, you can see how wobbly the old ones were.

New chevrons going in.

We had to use the board to stand on so that we could get up onto the roof and screw in the chevrons onto the beams below. This all needs to be done before the volige (roofing boards) can be screwed in place.

One section re chevroned and voliged.

Looking from the section we have done towards the next bit to do.
The boarding will all be covered in a waterproof membrane before the tiles go on. But we can't tile the front until we have put new beams ans support on the back barn as all the extra weight could canter lever the roof and cause it to fall.

Since the photo taken above we have nearly completed this side of the roof and are awaiting a delivery of chevrons and 4 huge 4m long 20cm x 20cm beams to use in the back of the barn to hold the roof up. Its been open at the back for 40 years and the upright beams are in terrible condition. Must say we are not looking forward to replacing them as its a scary job and we need to get as much of the tiles off as we can to reduce weight before doing anything else. But the roof beams are in such poor condition its going to be hair raising (or not in Dave's case) to do.

On a more fun note, we now have a little kitten. I found him in the chickens cage trying to get away from the chickens. We have called him Chance and he is a real mischief. Here he is