Saturday, 28 August 2010

The first floor has arrived

You know I said it would be the first thing to install, well 7 months in and with a little (lot of) help from my sister and family (James was a star) we have a first floor. check it out!

Above we have the work in progress. And below Jon hard at work.

By this point you will have noticed that I'm laying a chipboard sub floor. Anyone who knows me well will know that I don't do chipboard; Not for kitchen cupboards, floors or indeed anywhere (in Coventry I made the Kitchen cupboards and dovetailed the draws by hand). Well folks, after 4 months of living in the caravan and winter drawing in, I'm a born again chipboard fan! Whilst I would have loved to put down oak or solid timbers, time is of the essence and we need a house to live in before the winter sets in. So like most things in life its a compromise. My excuse is that we will cover it later with some sound insulation and a hardwood floor. It is of course Hydro chipboard and resists damp, oh and 22mm not 18mm (so the best chipboard you can buy). That said laying chipboard flooring for me is a bit like admitting I'm never going to win the lotto? Ho Hum!!!

As a side note you will see in the first picture the support bandage on my arm. According to the doctors I've been over doing it a bit and as a consequence my arm swelled up like a football. Anyway the surgeon has drained all the fluid off and whilst not back to fighting strength I can at least use my arm again!

And if you were wondering what Ms Lumur has been up to here is her latest creation!

See her work at:CheekyLumur

And if you find CheekyLemur via this blog and quote promotional code MLFF we will give you a 10% discount on any jewellery you buy!

Friday, 27 August 2010

I've never been so excited

By the sound of a flushing toilet. As we all know in rural France this unfortunately means installing a septic tank and associated drainage soak away for the run off. This I can tell you is hard work. Even with the aid of a man with a digger raking out 12 tonnes of gravel is not easy. If fact its been a bit of a epic saga all round. First off you have a survey done, a man comes along and does a soak test of the ground and then sends you a report. In our case we waited a month just to get the man to come because they were so busy (this is because, of new regulations, many fosse septics have to be replaced by 2012). You then submit this to the local Maire who sends it to Veolia. They approve it, and send the plans back with strict instructions to inform your Maire not less than 10 days before you start work. Simple! This bit is tedious but fine. Now you have to get someone to dig it. At this point you will be tempted to hire a digger and do the job yourself. My advice would be not to. If like us you need 48 metres of trench 600mm deep and 500mm wide then its a lot of trench. If you have tight spaces to manoeuvre you will probably knock something over or turn the digger over, especially if the ground is as hard a dry as it has been this year. On the other hand getting in an enterprise is expensive. The best root is to find a neighbour with a digger and form some sort of reciprocal arrangement. This is what we did and in the end worked very well. I say in the end because most arrangements like this usually involve "a mate" and "mates" work in their own good time. In usual French style the "Ami" would appear probably at the beginning of April...then beginning of May...late May....June at the latest...July definitely! Then when all hope had failed low and behold middle of August he appears. One day later we have to work done, next day its inspected and passed and bingo we have a fosse. Well no, cause there are a few other bits to a fosse, like air vents that need to go in the roof and in our case a pumping station. We got the pumping station off the net half the price as the local builders merchant and fortunately the guy who did our roof is also a neighbour and came at really short notice to fit the roof vent when I chickened out!! (shed roofs are one thing, big houses are a bit different. Any way its done, it works and I for one am very happy not to have to empty a chemical toilet three times a week. This last week my sister and family came over to help (next post I'll cover all their hard work and assistance) but 8 people and one chemical toilet really is no fun especially if like me your head of sanitation. In fact as Leslie Nielson said its "Like being in charge of sanitation at a Haitian jail".

That's my lovely sister and her husband in the background. Don't worry Joanne, next time you come over I'll have a kitchen sink!

And thanks to our local roofer. It was a pleasure to watch him at work.

And the pumping station or "station de relevage" from Good value, well made and excellent service. Ours was the sanidrain model at €607 as I said over €1200 at the local builders!

If any sad people are wondering why there are two pipes its because one, the top one is the vent for the fosse and the pumping station, the other lower one being grey water.

Sunday, 8 August 2010


The bathroom's not finished yet but the main elements are now there (drains, shower toilet, walls and a door). The door is all held together with oak pegs because nails and screws would have been too easy! The cupboard under the window is a home made affair. For this I've re-used the old shutters off the house and I think the weathered grain really goes well.

Likewise the hinges came off the old windows and have been cleaned up with some hydrochloric acid and then finished off with wax.