If all goes according to plan, this will be the last trip down to France in respect of the renovation of Petits Chats and the associated decorating. The 11 days I have here this time should be enough time, but you never know.
On arrival, we are taking advantage of the good weather and working on the extension to the pool terrace. A breaze-block foundation is now in place and we are back-filling the terrace with various piles of building materials we have accumulated from elsewhere - mainly the tiles that used to make up the path
Meanwhile, the Petits Chats terrace at the far end of the garden is nearly finished. We have finished rendering it today and it will take a few days to dry. There is a chance that the tree might be in leaf by the time I leave and I could get a better idea of how it will be in high-summer.
It has been a really sunny day all day today and the temperature reached the high-20s at one point this afternoon. Warm enough to work in t-shirts and to sit out with a drink at 6:00pm
The final plaster skim of the ceiling in Petits Chats kitchen went on today and has created the most amazing amount of dust. For the next day or so, there will be frequent clean-ups each time the dust settles.
Though everything was covered with dust sheets, there is no way to fully protect it all. A good job Wife isn't here on this trip as she would not be best pleased with the mess. At moments like this, you have to remember that the kitchen is supposed to be finished by the end of next week. There is work to do on the kitchen units and work tops, tiling above the units and under the fireplace, painting of walls and doors, etc
And the dust has got into the lounge as well. This room has barely been started but also has to be done by the end of next week. For the next few mornings I will be starting the day with some ceiling painting
More work outside on the pool terrace extension. We are preparing the foundation walls for the creating of a cement surround. This will then enable cement to be poured into the terrace area and levelled off to exactly the right depth so that the new tiles are flush with the old
I had hoped to go to St Jean market this morning for duck mousse and maybe to Emmaus and the Depot Vente this afternoon but no time. I barely have time to go to the boulangerie for bread and an eclair au chocolat each morning.
I have been watching Season 2 of Northern Exposure in the evenings - I had forgotten what a great show this was
The kitchen clean up continues whenever I am not painting in the lounge or tiling upstairs in the shower room). We have also fitted the worktops between the appliances (not at all straightforward) and I am nearly ready to start work on completing the tiling above the units
Meanwhile, the render on Petits Chats terrace has dried and the area looks rather nice now it has its chairs and table in place. I have been enjoying an evening glass of wine here most nights.
And I have moved the fridge from the van to the kitchen. The previous fridge was a huge american-style one which was ill-suited to the location. This one is much better.
An evening out tonight at Grant and Karen's to celebrate Karen's birthday. Also in attendance are Dave and Cathy, Simon and Sue and Bridget and Frank - virtually everyone I know down here. We have a barbeque and a few hours chatting. By 10:30 I am falling asleep!
A slightly less frantic day. I have time to go to the market this morning (which is really busy) and then spend the afternoon doing jobs in the main house lounge so I can watch the rugby on tv.
The first brocante of the new year at Le Gicq. I wasn't sure I had enough time to go but then persuaded myself that I might be able to buy some pictures. This year's event was huge compared to last year - probably because the weather has been so good.
I met Bridgit and Frank soon after I arrived and then saw Simon and Sue later on. I was able to find 5 nice pictures for about E50 - then found I didn't have enough money to buy something to eat, which was rather a shame.
The pool terrace has acquired its cement. It now needs a week or so to dry and then it will be ready for the tiles to go down.
From the Petits Chats terrace, it definitely makes the pool area look bigger
The first room is trimmed up and finished enough to take some photos. This is the downstairs bedroom in PC - the only downstairs bedroom in the entire house. Since my arrival, the walls have been painted, a tile skirting board has been put in and the purple window frame has been repainted. The huge armoire on the right still requires some work though.
And the room has two of the new pictures from the brocante in it
The downstairs bathroom is now done too (though there is a problem with some of the plumbing in the cupboard at the far end). I had been looking forward to having a bath in the new claw-footed bath tub but no chance at the moment.
And the kitchen is now done too - remarkable given the state it was in when I got here. I have to admit I am rather pleased with how its come out. Exactly the "french-country" look I was going for.
Finally, the lounge is in some sort of order now too (though not actually finished). The walls and celing have been painted and a new skirting board added. The tiles have been cleaned up and some furniture is finally in situ. And the huge cupboard that has been in this room since we bought the house has finally been cleaned up and looks great.
And one shot of the upstairs shower room which is nearly finished.
Our local cat has been more or less living with me for the past two weeks. Previously, he was suffering from a bad leg, but that seems to have healed ok. Now he seems to like sleeping out on our terrace and he eats 6 pouches of food a day. I wonder what he does when we are not here.
So that ends another 11 day trip. I am away late on Friday afternoon for the long drive back to Caen, then two weeks decorating at home before back to France again for a holiday with our parents.