On the Tuesday we completed the back of the roof at just gone one o’clock. There was a big cheer as the last piece of the ridge was nailed on. Unfortunately, Murray was in the UK but Giselle came up for lunch so between the five of us we consumed 3 bottles of champagne and a bottle of red (plus a bit to eat). Needless to say there was a motion to take the afternoon off. I quashed that saying that everyone would thank me later if we got the down pipes on while all the scaffold and tools were on site. Grumble grumble…
Scaffold went up and down a couple of times and by the end of the day we did have down pipes. All the building was left secure and all kit offsite. Done and dusted before 5pm meant that we had time for a couple of beers at the bar.
Almost there Preparing a bite
Then all we had to do was:
- pack the van
- clean the apartment
- drive to Toulouse and drop of keys
- drive to Chamonix and sort out Breezy’s appartment
- drive back to the UK
Now back in the UK and planning the next phase which will not be such a mad rush. All in all we did achieve what we set out to do and it was very hard work!!!
Had a fab day as far as the roof went. All done on the back bar a few slates in the middle of the apex. Breezy had a fire going all day and got shot of a load of the old roof woodwork. It was baltic this morning so the fire was a good warm up. Having cleaned a load of slate this morning Breezy and I got the floor beams cemented into the annex. This will give us a head start next time when fitting a bathroom. Like a numpty I locked the keys in the barn!! Easy to get in so need to secure a couple of the small windows.
Started with a lie in. Yippee. It is what we both needed, Breezy more than Al though!!!
Another glorious morning, blue skies and a real frost, my favourite time of year.
We headed up to the barn around 11.30am just before the sun got on it and had a productive yet relatively easy day with lots of entertainment on the wayâ€¦
We decided to start a large fire to tidy up as we really want to leave the place looking respectable before we go and not like a building site. Lots to burn but luckily all very dry so burning very quickly.
Al had also thought that it would be a bonus to get the floor joists in the annex ready for our return in the spring. So we prepped them as much as we could ready to get them set in the walls tomorrow.
We then had the joyous task of preserving the two external rafters, which we had forgotten about. A job which would have taken two minutes on the ground but as we had forgotten about them it took the best part of 3 hours, a bit of a pain but done now.
Just sitting down to lunch and Al was fettling the fire when our hearts sank. the Gendarmes arrivedâ€¦oh no not by foot or by car but by helicopter onto our land!!! My heart was doing several hundred to the minute and when I located Al at the fire his was doing the same. After a few minutes we decided we best brave the Gendarmes and headed over to them. Charming they were, hoping they had not disturbed our peace and quiet. They were actually waiting to go and collect the medic who was dealing with a fatal accident up Mont Rouch just opposite us. I honestly thought they were here to whisk us away!!!
Relief by us both so we finished preserving the wood and then looked around to find 2 Gendarmes in Vinnieâ€¦jeepers now what? So we waved and descended. The chap who had fallen and died was driving a VW and they were in search of it and thought it was Vinnie.
They were also very curious to who we were and are preparing to come back and take our detailsâ€¦all a bit odd but we are sort of getting used to it.
A perfect end to a relaxing, different day sipping a bottle of fizz by the fire as it died down.
Today we had a really successful day on the roof. All the preparation yesterday paid off as the slates went on really quickly with Hans and Clive working together nailing them all on. Only two more lines of felt (2m) left to get to the ridge. In the afternoon the boys were fairly autonomous and Breezy and I had time to start sorting materials out and the site for the party on Saturday. A stash of scaffold went in Clive’s van before leaving so that we don’t spend a day at the end repatriating equipment to their homes.
1st slate on rear Clive Hans
A day of sorting, cleaning and grading slate in preparation for the back of the barn. Clive soldered the guttering for the back of the roof and laid the first line of large slates. All the slate is stacked in lines and ready to go on the roof as required. A boring day but it had to be done.
Slightly overcast start to the day but air temperature warmer. After arriving at the barn we had our first visitor of the day Monsieur le Maire. He walked up to the Bergerie with his dog to see how work was progressing. All good in his eyes with lots of advice too, which was more than welcomed. He liked the work, thought it looked good for the area…he is on our side, a good way to start the day. Al and I set about getting the rest of Raymond’s slates up to the Bergerie and then a load from Annie’s as well. Murray and I then stayed on that for most of the day with the odd bit of cleaning and drilling in between. Giselle steamed ahead with continual cleaning at a rate of knots and has been a HUGE help, merci Giselle. Al persevered with re grading the slate so that hopefully the back will be a smooth running process. Meanwhile, Clive and Hans tackled the smaller slates to finish the front whey hey! It looks great and looks like it has been there for years, which is just how we wanted it to be. We left at gone 7pm after taking a load of scaffolding down to Clive’s van as we slowly try to tidy up before we leave. Time is precious at the moment.
How shall I say it…more slate!!!! Giselle, Al and I cleaned slate pretty much all day, covered in dust from head to toe. Only at the end of the day did Hans say “Breezy you look really funny” uum I thought why? He said I was a tad black!!! The sun shone all day and made progress for Hans and Clive on the roof great. They managed to get 25 metres square of slate down and it looks great. They work well together and steamed ahead. We all retreated to the bar at 7pm for much deserved beer and rose for me!
A very Productive day. Hans and Clive worked together slating the front roof and fitting Chatiers (air vents) to the annex. By the end of the day half the front is done! Two more good weather days should see it finished. Having the scare of not having enough slate to do the front a few days ago we have managed to get permission from different people to raid (recouperer) slate from their old roofs. We now have a few extra tons in a pile to be graded and cleaned; a boring job but someone has to do it. We may even have enough to do the back as well? Breezy and Murray had a few forays down the valley snaffling more slate during the afternoon. Well deserved beers were consumed in the bar early doors. Having worked Saturday and no time to shop we are running low on food. Need to address that soon.
A day of repose. A lie in and then phoned my folks in St Girons to arrange a rendezvous before they left for the airport. Took them to a flea market. Breezy survived it, having kept me away from junkyards for the last five years. We did find four large old hand made nails to finish the trusses off. Back to Salau and up to the barn with some nibbles and a bottle of rose. Met up with Cecile and Eke on route who joined us for a while. An early night in preparation for another hard week.