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Mounties, Mooses and Maple Syrup

So where do you think our latest workaways come from?! A lovely couple, Chris and Elyse, whom have been traveling through Europe for a year now. We are their last workaway before they head back to Italy and fly home in time for Christmas. They live on Vancouver Island (the size of the UK) and we have been learning loads about their fabulous country. Both went to French schools so are bilingual, even if it is Québécois! Funny accent and old-fashioned words, but it is great to have people staying that can communicate in both our key languages.

Anyhow Chris (from now on known as CC – Canadian Chris) had been working with a construction company before they came traveling so has experience with building. Although much like our Kiwi boys, the Canadians are a new country so they have no experience in dealing with old houses. Our house is in fact 100 years older than their country is!!!

We had big plans for these guys and thankfully have the risen to the challenge, met it and bettered it!! Firstly we got them to insulate the big wall in between the living room and our bedroom. Again we are using fibre de bois, this time the insulation is for sound and solidity rather than warmth. It was a tricky job as they had to push it in between the old brick wall and the plasterboard. But they managed. Then Elyse helped Chris sanding down the treads whilst CC fitted door liners on all the doorways in our bedroom and bathroom. They then insulated the bathroom walls, which was much easier and quicker as there was only the one side of plaster board up. Once done they plasterboarded, which gives the room a more completed feel. The walk-in wardrobe was also done, plasterboarded,, electrics run for lighting, floor in, trap door built.

Which leaves us to now. Yesterday they put down the floor insulation, again fibre de bois but a more solid, rigid version especially built for floors. It goes down like a jigsaw puzzle. Then today they will be running the piping for the underfloor heating. We had hoped that we would be able to pour the lime scree whilst they are here but that is not going to be possible so we shall do that when they go at a weekend.

Meanwhile Chris has been working on both the staircase and the stone wall and stone staircase on the south terrace. Both are looking blooming marvelous. The interesting thing about working with stone is that it is very labour intensive as it takes a lot of time to find the right stone to fit the space. Also, which I suppose is logical but I had never thought about it before, but when you are building with undressed stones you can only make one side neat. So we are planning on rendering the wall eventually as it looks a little craggy. That said it defines the space and the outside is looking less and less like a builder’s yard and more like a terrace!

The indoor staircase has not been without its difficulties but it is a thing of beauty and it is wonderful to walk down, even if not all the treads are in place or screwed down yet! In fact it seems an age ago that we were using the ladder, actually it was only 6 days! It isn’t finished yet, it will take sometime and Dom came by yesterday to help with some of the technical issues. Dom is an architect in the village, hugely knowledgable and very talkative. He is the only person I know that talks about a staircase in terms of past, present and future! Very philosophical.

I have been jumping in and helping where and when I can. Louis has started going to the crèche for two afternoons a week which gives me a couple of hours to be productive as he doesn’t seem to be too keen on renovating yet!

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