Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Knuckle test

If I press the render with my knuckle and it doesn't leave a dent, it's ready for the top coat. That's good news because I thought I'd have to wait a week.

It's another clear day so I got stuck in.

I used a 1:3 mix as opposed to the base coat of 1:4.  I'm very pleased with the outcome. Now I know what needs pointing. I'm looking forward to finishing it off.

When it dries I'll wire brush the stone and hopefully the lime will come off. I've never rendered with lime before so this is a new experience for me.

You were probably wondering why I had stands on the top of the wall in earlier photos. Well, now you know I think ahead :)

With luck the weather will hold for another week and I'll be able to finish the other side.  I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Inching forward.

It was such a beautiful day so I decided to spend the entire day outdoors. The sun is setting and I'm satisfied with everything achieved...including finishing the scratch coat.

Bev went walkabout with her backpack and stick and came back at five feeling pleased with herself.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lime render day one.

Finished reading this in the beautiful evening sun. He was born two years after I was and, although bitter rivals in the football teams we support, I found his autobiography compelling reading. We finished the day with a bike ride to Cruguel to see Karen and Hubert.

We went for a walk and came across this forgotten corner. I wonder who lived here and what their lives were like?

We played 10's with Dave and Annie and came across this in the ditch.

Back-filling ready for the next batch of lime render.

Scratch coat (day one). I have to wait about a week before putting the second coat on. Hopefully the weather will be fine enough to move along. I'd forgotten just how frustrating it is to render, but enjoyable when it eventually stays up on the wall.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Last of the grass seed

As it's so mild we thought it best to get the last of the grass seed down before the temperatures plummet and winter sets in. First we had to level the area. Do you see that stone next to Bev's newest grow-box? It's one of three piles we had to dig out, and all of the soil was seived one shovel-full at a time...took us most of the day.

There's still a lot to do here, but it's taking shape. The main thing is the grass will be growing while we carry on. 

No rain forecast so it's watering time. Moles beware...I've got a plan.

It may look a mess but it's real progress for us. The main veg plot is ready and covered with plastic for winter and all we need is more crushed slate to finish the step-down area.

One of the piles of stone from this area.

We also managed a trip to the tip. replanting our silver birch and picked up a load of sand ready for rendering the bread oven internal walls. A good day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The little beggars...

My early morning surprise. I might have known...

They've been waiting for me to get my hopes up. The new grass is up and running and so are they. They've really got it in for me. Someone please tell me how to evict them.
We've prepared and seeded another section of the garden and I feel they are already planning a raid.

The morning glory is exploding into life. I'ts gorgeous.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A night out

After such a busy week it was a relief to go out with Martin, Colette, Joel, Annie and Nicola for a sell-out Big Band Jazz, Swing and Rhythm & Blues evening at Sene located the other side of Vannes.

Arriving at the Grain De Sel.

Getting settled.

Not long now. 

The band were excellent and the singer brilliant. She had one little exposure moment but discreetly and professionally recovered her dignity. 

Bev discussing the performance with the band singer... 

...and her little 'Boob'.

The morning glory looking good in the evening sun.

Enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon reading in the garden, followed by a walk and bike ride.

I don't know what it's called but the leaves of our tree look stunning.

I can't believe the grass is up already. I only seeded it last week.

Face Time with Serene and the boys, followed by Ash and Amber and ending with Jon and Serene.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I know it's only Tuesday, but...

 A lot has happened already.

A quick mock-up of our quickly revised plans for the bread oven ready for the Mairie. Sorry John Flinn for hacking into your polished rendition.

Pascal dropped by to help me fill in the forms for the Mairie. Apparently, we will not be able to have a full glass frontage, but once the plans are approved, we'll be able to have a window at the front without the need to re-appy.

And here is my receipt after taking everything mistakes! If there are no objections within a month, the plans will be approved.

Our car in the UK has sold. 288 views and the phone was still ringing before I cancelled the ad. Thanks, Jon and Serene for taking care of the sale.

This morning there was a heavy mist as we made our way to Vannes for our French lesson. We found several free parking areas for future use. After our lesson we had lunch by the old marina in brilliant sunshine. It's so warm and summery...completely opposite to Sunday's weather.

Came across this bread oven on our way back from Pontivy after filling
in the forms for registering my intent to work in France.

This is what the back of our bread oven would have looked like.

That sky in this photo is exactly how it was today. 

And finally...

I've finished Madonna's latest novel and will be reviewing it when it all sinks in.

It's a fascinating novel based on an actual event on 7th March, 1920 in Madonna's home town in Iowa. I feel compelled to read her 'The Orator And The Sage' which is about two of the main characters in Patricide.

Today I brought home the autobiography of Jimmy Nail...a man born two years after me in neighbouring Newcastle. His accounts will feature events happening near me from age two.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

New territory.

It's blustery and autumnal and the message is..."How dare you have parasols up at this time of year"

There is a distinctly different feel about the place today.  I'm so glad I managed to cut the grass yesterday in the sun.

We've succumbed and stored the parasol but I'm sure it'll still be nice enough to be sitting out again soon.

And it was.

We've never been here this time of year. It's new territory and we're doing new things.

Seeded at last. 

The colours are stunning.

The flowers are still with us. 

I haven't done anything with this photo. the green was lush in the early evening sun. 

Some of the gooseberries are in. See how much stone came out of those little squares. 

The walnuts are amazing. These few are just the beginning.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Work progress.

Boy, that was a busy summer.

Bev is back from visiting her mum in the UK and we're beginning to settle down.

After Pete and Sue left to go back to the UK we enjoyed one last outing to Concarneau before the weather turned.  As it happens, this week is when the weather turned.  It isn't particularly cold but we've had a few rainy days this last week and when it rains, it really does rain here.

We are officially resident here in France and after registering the car, we registered ourselves with the local doctor in Plumelec. What an experience that was. It certainly is different to what I'm accustomed to.

Here are a few photos of work progress, some of which I've previously put onto Facebook.

The concrete base finished.

Starting to level the surrounding ground.

Our newest tree against the uncut maize.

Pointing the back wall with lighter colour parex and starting to level the ground. The clean concrete didn't last long.

It's a much better colour for the inside which will need to be bright when the roof is on.

Harvest time.

Sunrise over Sophie's barn.

Sunrise over Yvon's woods.

Sunrise over the harvested maize field ouside our door.

stubborn very thick oak root in the way of the levelling process.

No longer a problem.

Oak leaves falling in protest.
There was a bit of a wind last night so most of them have blown away revealing all the walnuts previously camouflaged.

The right hand side wall seems to be leaning but it's only an optical illusion (thankfully). It rained last night so the stone is looking a little dark around the fire.

The next few days should see the ground levelled and seeded if the weather holds.

Managed to cut the grass today as a bonus.