The long pause

As bloggers go, I’m not that consistent. So many things happen and yet there never seems to be a good moment to writing about it all. It’s nearly 2015, and I have barely put digits to keyboard in 18 months. That being said, I may try and blog a bit about the last few months (ok, couple of years), but in reverse order.

So, the most recent happenings at Number36 have been to do with the roof, the façade, and the garage. In mid November, M. ABELLO Serge put the scaffolding up to redo the façade and the roof of the house. Jobs like that are horribly expensive over here, but with an old house its possible to get a grant to help. Perhaps more of that later…Top half, base coat, bottom half bare stone

The plan was to chip off the old frontage, and redo it in a shiny new lime based render in 2 coats. All good, and while the thick basecoat was drying they would do the roof.
So all was going to plan, they finished the basecoat and Monday morning were due to start the roof. Only it hammered down with rain. For the whole week. There was another small job to be done from inside, so they got on with that. Basically making a window a bit bigger to get more light in.
That took us up to the 1st December, and at 7.30am on Monday, while it was still dark, the doorbell rang. Men and machinery were in place to to get the old roof removed and start on the new one. Day one was removal of half the roof, day 2 was casting a concrete beam around the perimeter, and getting the 8″ extruded insulation in place. Water resistant chipboard on top, water resistant plasterboard on the bottom, and a lot of insulation between.DSCF9080

Day 3 arrived and the rest of the roof was removed, and on the 4th day a similar process was underway, so we had a complete but not yet tiled roof. Hurrah! Note there is still no glazing in the window openings so we are still very open to the elements. That was the Thursday. On Thursday night, it started to piss down with rain. There had been 1mm predicted, and what we got was a downpour that lasted 24 hrs. The gaps between the panels were filled but not yet watertight so the attic started to fill with water, and we went to sleep to the sound of dripping water. Hard at work with a crane!Sleep may not be the right word, suffice to say it was not a good night.

The next morning the chaps turned up at the usual time with a determined look on their faces. “We’re tiling” said they. And boy oh boy, did they tile. 3 of them covered the 140m2 roof in the morning, rendering us more or less watertight. With the lack of glazing, the breeze is running through and drying the attic out nicely, so the next week should see most of the roof finished, and maybe even the façade on it’s top coat.

Exciting times. More photos will follow!

The “Holidays”

A month since either of us posted. Could that be due to it being the ‘holiday’ season?  Kitchen tilesHere at ‘Borris Towers’ there does not seem to be one of those, although in many ways there was no real expectation of a rest, just a slight hope!

Since the last post, we have sorted the heating, and even in the coldest weather the house has been comfortable, helped of course by the lovely open fire and a diminishing tank full of heating oil. Mr Baskerville (Nibs) likes to try and climb in to the fire as it gets going, then when it’s hot he collapses in to the nearest bed. Other progress includes continuing the quest for a red and white kitchen (see pic) and a proper go at making it habitable in some of the other bedrooms. One of the reasons for that is Katie (sister of Annette), Mark and the 2 kids are arriving this morning. New years eve for them would not be the same without some fab food and a boogie in a restaurant in the South of France. As last year, the choice of venue is the Terminus. Just to make the week even more challenging, tomorrow we have invited pretty much everyone we know to come and look at the house and have a drink and a nibble. All this seems to have escalated to the point where a sausage roll is now a smoked duck blini, and a cheese and pineapple on a stick has metamorphosed in to individual pear and blue cheese tartlets. Annette has worked her socks and knuckles off to get the house straight for this week, all the while trying to keep paying clients happy. Me? I just keep going through my ever lengthening DIY list. Happy new year all…

The Moving Diary

I’ve been very bad at keeping the moving diary up to date on the blog.  I think we are both suffering “overload” for different reasons.   I’ll try to get some photos on here soon – meanwhile you can find a few of them on a Facebook album: The Move

Not our favorite colour.

The boxing of things has been put on hold for 48 hrs as we have run out of padded cells and are waiting for the Usain Bolt of bubble wrap to arrive. We have had a couple of interim messages saying that the change of account is ‘en cours’. Great! We asked for the 5th of November and they are aiming for the 4th. Of course! ‘Why wouldn’t ya’ to borrow a phrase from friends. Luckily, the 4th is a Sunday, so the chances of the French telecoms bloke turning up are slim. Monday morning, there is a much better chance of things happening.

Moving the Phones

Although I am not big on phone calls, our business world is totally dependent on being connected.  Having had the experience of moving in France before, we know first hand the high levels of stress caused by the inefficiencies of Orange and France Telecom.  That’s not really an unfair statement – they do seem to have a widespread reputation across France for inefficiency and appalling customer service.  It’s just how it is.  Their standard response to any request for assistance is to wait “15 jours” (15 days).  That phrase is imprinted on my memory.

So this time we thought we would get organised and give them plenty of notice to make the transfer of a broadband connection and 2 phone numbers from one village to another.  According to Google maps we are moving 2.9km (whatever did we do before Google?!).


View Larger Map

So Miles rings dear Orange.  (It has to be Miles because his name ended up on the documents 2 house moves ago and they won’t speak to me).  So he explains what happened last time (far more than 15 days without phone and internet) and how crucial it is for us to have the lines switched on the specified dates.

Their answer?

Non!”.  Nope, they don’t do organised.  Apparently, planning this event 6 weeks before we move means that someone clever chez Orange will think it’s a mistake and cancel it.

So we must wait and call back in 3 weeks time.  Whether that is actually going to make a difference to the inevitable “15 jours” remains to be seen …