13 June 2006
I had a very bad night and an SMS came through from a friend at 00h05 which gave me a bit a scare, I thought something bad had happened. Presumably it had been delayed somewhere! I woke up with a headache which I could not shake off. Not sure if it was the bad night or the fact that I had sprayed everything before going to bed as lots of flies around and some huge spiders. I am not a spider fan!!
I painted the bottom half of the wall at the back of the house and managed to finish it just before the sun shone on it and it got too hot. I also painted part of the fence again in the afternoon with the second coat on the shady side, the builders have put in an extra couple of posts as they were worried about the wind, also they have cut the top of the fence off straight so that needs sealing once more. I also managed to finish the ceiling in the kitchen where the centre panel had been.
14 June 2006
I spent 5 hours in the morning doing a second coat of paint on the fence, hopefully I should finish it tomorrow; it takes so long filling in the grooves in the wood!
I decided to have an afternoon off as I wanted to do some shopping. Phoned the friends who lent me the scaffolding to see if I could go over there for a swim after I had finished shopping and they said it would be fine. Brian had been playing around with his computer and had discovered a way for me to download a free programme for dial up internet connection. I will only use it for emails and no photos as we are trying to keep the French phone bill to a minimum, but it does give me another means of contact.
Erica asked me if I would like to stay for a barbeque which was nice, so I had a good evening with company for a change, not that I am worried about being alone. I chat to Nigel on the phone nightly and I am too tired generally to be sociable anyway.
When I got home I tried the internet connection and had a few problems luckily I managed to discover where the problem was and hey presto I was connected.
15 June 2006
I almost finished the second coat on the fence in the morning. As soon as the sun moved I finished off the remainder. That would be the end of the work outside except for finishing off the shutters and the barn door, both of these can wait and I will see how my time is going. This five week visit is just not going to be enough!!!
16 June 2006
I cut the grass down the strip in the front of the house with the lawn mower which I had now managed to get out of the barn. Even on its highest cut it struggled but it did finally look a bit better. The barn, attached to our barn, is owned by the hamlet ‘busy body’. It seems he is disliked by everyone and he has to have something always to complain about! He has four bits of land in the hamlet so many neighbours have a problem with him!!!! He showed me how his barn was built and our chimney is actually built into his barn which is all causing some confusion as to whose wall is whose!! After phoning the notaire I was told that the wall at the end is a communal wall and does not belong to either as such; I just want to solve the problem as he is complaining about where the pipe from the septic tank goes.
Brian and Erica came over in the morning and helped me get the scaffolding up in our bedroom. It is a difficult height, one section up is not really high enough and 1 ½ is a bit too high. It seems I will have to be a contortionist to get to some places to sand down the plaster ceiling. It should not be a problem painting as I can stretch with the brush but sanding is another story. Some places are not very good at all and I will need to plaster over and rub down again! My DIY is improving by the minute.
I was feeling very lazy today and energy levels seemed to be very low. I really cannot afford the time to feel like that!
17 June 2006
I tried to dig a hole for one of the two the black bamboo plants that I had brought over with me but it was very tough going. I kept filling the hole up with water and digging a bit more.
I also started sanding the ceiling in the bedroom but there were many dips which needed re-plastering first.
Andre the eldest son of the previous owners called to try and sort out the problem with the pipe from the septic tank. The neighbour was obviously very difficult but he eventually, under pressure it seemed, agreed the wall that he said was his, was a communal wall so he could not stop me putting the pipe up there! A very small piece of garden on our side he insisted was his, but to my mind there is still in some doubt when a straight line is drawn from the fence and Andre agreed with me. Anyway we finally agreed that I would look after ‘his’ hydrangeas and that he would not insist on the right to come through our land. I think at the end of it all we are friends but we shall see over the next few days.
A very depressing day, I just seemed to put polyfilla into cracks and ‘dips’ in the ceiling plaster and as soon as I thought that I had finished I would find somewhere else to fill, it was never ending. I did manage to dig the hole for the second bamboo and finish the first one.
I eventually managed to get some sanding done and only had dinner at 21h00. I had bought a small grill in Chasseneuil sur Bonnieure yesterday as I did not want to use the large oven all the time and it made cooking so much easier for me.
19 June 2006
I managed to get two coats of varnish done on the wooden floor in the spare room. It was easy to do and dried very quickly. I popped into Leclerc (supermarket)in La Rochefecauld and bought soil and compost for the bamboos. I came home and planted them both and then went back to sanding the bedroom ceiling. I hoped that I could finish it by tomorrow; it was very difficult now as I was off the scaffolding and on the steps. After this there was still the bathroom which would also be difficult, the steps don’t fit in there very easily. An account arrived in the post with what I think is the charges for the council for looking over the fosse €120.00!! Thinking about it I seem to remember getting this account before and the builder said he would pay it!! Will have to sort it out when we see the builder on the 6th when he comes to see Nigel who is flying over on the 5 May.
20 June 2006
We had a drop of rain overnight so hopefully it will have helped the bamboo to settle in. I got up early and did the washing; I was running out of clothes as everything was full of white dust. I had (I hoped) finished sanding the bedroom ceiling and decided to paint on the undercoat. It was very difficult with all the moves I had to make to cover the ceiling, six moves with the scaffolding and about twelve with the steps. The undercoat which is quite thick dried too quickly and I have marks at each move. Tomorrow (if my right arm would let me) I needed to sand lightly over the whole ceiling yet again. Time is running out and there is still so much I want to do before Nigel arrives but I feel like I really need a rest day!
21 June 2006
I rubbed down the ceiling in the bedroom yet again and painted it. With blinkers on it looks O.K.!! I painted the high part of the wall so that I could let Brian & Erica have their scaffolding back. Went to bed very late
22 June 2006
Only woke up at 07h00, very late for me!! I tidied up a bit and then went to Chasseneuil sur Bonnieure to get two folding single beds plus mattresses from Lidl that were on special, only €48.99 each. Met up with Brian and Erica and walked around the market. Everything was on sale there from cheese to clothes, and chickens to puppies, even hamsters. Good time to buy the Christmas turkey, only €7.00 and let them fatten up in the garden for the next 6 months! Brian and Erica came back to the house afterwards to help me take the scaffolding down and I then took it back to their house for them, my car is much bigger than their car. Not sure what I would have done without all their help. I bought some bread and French sausage for lunch, took a couple of tablets for a headache and had a bit of a rest before starting work again.
I did some plastering on the walls in the spare room. After having removed the wall paper, there was quite a bit of plaster that had come off the wall in places. I also managed to finish off painting the back wall of our bedroom. The rough plaster was just drinking up the paint so I hoped one coat was going to be enough.
23 June 2006
I painted the remainder of the bedroom wall. It was very slow trying to get the paint to cover. Almost ran out and had to dilute a bit to get around the last part of the doorway. I will need to get some more paint as the high bit which had two coats looks much better than the rest which has only had one coat of paint. Good job that I did the two coats on the high part while I had the scaffolding or it could have been a problem afterwards. I tidied up a few bits of wall in the spare bedroom with the white plaster including what was a big mess over the top of the door. This was the remains of the builder's efforts!!
24 June 2006
I rubbed down the bathroom ceiling; it was very difficult to get to as the steps would only fit in the part by the door. The bit around the sky light is quite high and is over the top of the shower. I ended up using the stool from the kitchen put on some paper and standing in the shower. I managed to do the undercoat, hopefully it will look OK so I can paint top coat tomorrow. A whole day spent doing what was quite a small ceiling!!! I discovered that I still had the part of the scaffolding that I did not use in the barn! I phoned Brian who said it was not urgent so I said I would get over sometime before I left.