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An Indian Summer

After Matt and Miranda left us we had a quiet week of just the three of us. Then Gary came out for a short week, flying out on Wednesday and back again on Sunday doesn’t leave for much time for work, but we managed to squeeze something out of him! I had been gradually making my way through the upstairs completing the beams, scrubbing off any plaster and paint, then vacuuming and oiling. I had done everywhere except Louis’ room, which were in the worse state, and the big section across the hallway. So with Louis in the creche, Gary and I set to work, it is dusty, faffy work, so I was glad of a helping hand. 

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After Gary left us we were joined by another workaway couple, Jan and Bine, from Germany. A lovely couple taking six months out to travel and work out what and where they plan on living/doing. They were both very tall, there aren’t many people whom make me feel short, especially living here in le sud,but these two did! So obviously I used this to my advantage and got them to paint the bits I couldn’t reach!! 

They were with us for 21/2 weeks so we got plenty done with them. Jan helped in the workshop a lot, planing and sanding for Chris’ jobs. Whilst Bine helped me lime-wash the big external wall along the driveway. Lime-washing is an old fashioned method of painting it has several advantages, it is breathable, so much better for the building, lime is locally sourced and it is incredibly cheap! To paint with masonry paint would have cost roughly 350€. For me to mix up and tint the lime-wash cost 30€, and that is including doing a separate colour for around the windows! The trick with lime-wash is to make it in advance, then you need to keep stirring as you go as it separates, with horizontal and vertical strokes only one coat is needed, so it is quick too. The outside now looks great and I have planted the lavender, grown from seed, and a climbing rose. Fingers crossed we keep them alive over winter! 

Vincent came back a few weeks ago, en famille, and in between catching up and lunch he kindly finished the little bit of plastering in the hallway. Although we could have done it ourselves, he does a far better job than us and so it looks great and I have painted it so the hallway is complete, well sort of! Just needs a finished floor…..

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Talking of floors, one of the tasks that Bine did was to continue slicing the old floorboards in two. It is a slow job, the blades on the saw can only cope with doing six at a time. She did well and I now only have eight left to complete. But sadly it doesn’t end there as they will need planing again, treating, chopping and grooving before we can glue them down and oil them!!

Jan also finished off the tiles as we had not cleaned the edges of the square tiles completely. He made short work of this and in true German, orderly fashion arranged and sorted our tiles so we now know exactly what we have!! There are two different colours and at least three different sizes. Being hand made they are far from perfect which will be a pain when we come to lay them, oh well.

The last thing the guys did for us was to continue on the water channel so that it now goes to the well, so that (when we clear the well) we can store and use the rain water for gardening.

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As you can tell by the photos we have been enjoying an Indian summer, in fact it is mid 20’s today and we are the 7th of November. Long may it last! That said we have had a couple of cold nights so we thought it best to plumb in the radiators in our bathroom and bedroom, the last to be done upstairs. So much to Louis’ excitement Tuesday was plumbing day, he had been looking forward to it for days, throwing all the taps and bits of copper around, unscrewing everything from the radiators!! Plumbing is not complicated, dealing with the fools in the plumbing stores is another matter, as is plumbing with a 16 month year old!! ‘Tis done and we ran it to check all was working and were overheated that night! The underfloor heating isn’t particularly hot underfoot but it takes off the cold feel and made getting out of the bath onto a concrete floor that much nicer.

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Lastly Chris started working on the mezzanine banister and so we have the beginnings of safety up top…

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