Category: Spring 2008

Still Raining

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Still raining, although the river has abated some. Chris left at 7:30 to get a lift with Eke as he had to go to the airport anyway.

Breezy and I went up to the barn. We had wanted to do a walk for a day or two in the mountains but the thought of walking in this weather with really low cloud was not at all appealing. Used off cuts of DPC to cover the boxes and started building them into the walls. More playing with concrete and stone. The weather perked up mid afternoon so Breezy took to strimming and I shifted part of a huge pile of broken slate left from doing the roof. Finally hitched up the trailer full of wood to drop off at Annies and headed down the hill.

Back at the gite we had a couple of messages from Chris about staying the night. Confusing! And a message from Lee to invite us for dinner the next evening. Responded to Lee and then Chris walked in the door. Apparently a strike at Carcassone meant his flight was cancelled so he is now booked on Weds instead. Boule I think!

Categories: Spring 2008, The Project

Rain Rain and more Rain

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Rain Rain and more rain. Dropped Chris off at Annie’s to borrow her car for a rendez vous with Nikki. Breezy and I braved the rain and went up to the barn for some indoor work. The torrential rain has uncovered a couple of leaks in the roof. One is where the chimney is which we will have a go at fixing and the other is where the ridge zinc is attached which we may have to get Clive in to sort out.

Used some of the left over Poplar from the roof to make three big boxes to build into the wall on the ground floor. Good to do something physical to keep warm. Also sorted out better security on the end window. Still raining and the stream is now a raging river. Called by the bar for a drink on the way back.

Chris’ last night so had pasta and watched a DVD.

Categories: Spring 2008, The Project

A Leisurely Day

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A very leisurely start after the party the night before. Weather still raining and dismal. Chris wanted to go to the market so we headed off there and got caught in a huge downpour running from shelter to shelter. Not the best day to see the market, however, we bought a few good cheeses. Chris was starving so we had a quick bite to eat before locating the local brocante that Murray had told us about. A huge warehouse with everything you could imagine being there. Had a good browse and will be useful at a later date we think.

Chris went to bed in the pm and Al and I had a catch up with Annie (who had given us so much of her old slate last Oct) she is lovely a lecturer at Toulouse Uni and is retiring next year. She showed us her wonderful flowering Wisteria in full bloom. We hope to catch her and her husband Jean next week end for an apero.

Al and I have wanted to do the little walk along the other side of the river back to Salau for a while so we continued up to the barn on foot and back down the other side of the river seeing the other little properties tucked away. We bumped in to Annie and Jean who live near the beginning of the 4×4 track en route. Annie showed us around the garden and is very pleased with her Wisteria which is in full flower. On the walk we tried to find out where the nearest phone line is to us. We reckon 400-500m away so now we need to get in touch with France Telecom and see if it is possible to get a phone line installed at the Bergerie.

We had invited Peter, who was on his own, over for a BBQ and luckily the weather held so we could have a couple of games of  boules before a meat, salad and cheese; even if we did have to eat inside due to the thunderstorm that descended upon us.

A leisurely day!

Categories: Spring 2008, The Project

Party night

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A brighter start to the day which was a relief, as we had Murray booked in to help us get the floor down in the annex. Plenty of muscle needed.  Al and I got up there 40 mins before Murray arrived which gave us time to get the entrance to the annex sorted for wheelbarrow access, the cement mixer, water etc all in the right place and then it was full steam ahead. Murray on the cement mixer,  Al inside laying the floor and I was getting the rest of the ballast and water up the hill and helping  Al out inside with moving cement around.

We were very surprised that we had got it all laid by lunchtime which was a real bonus as we thought it would take all day. It all looks pretty good, at least we think so. The sun came out a bit in the afternoon so we used Murray’s strength for shifting wood, chain sawing and tidying up a bit outside. A really productive day, lots done.


Party night which Annie and Chris had arranged for us at the bar to celebrate being married. A “partager” which works really well, basically BYO for food and wine Daniella and Freddy let us use the bar for the night and there was about 14 of us including the Mayor and his wife and daughter. Good food, plenty of wine and lots of giggles!!!

Categories: Spring 2008, The Project

Floor Preparation

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Up earlyish to get to St Girons and back before we wasted too much of the day. I did the food shop while Al sorted the material exchange at La Forgue, so we could sort the pipe out under the floor. We were back by 10.30am and up to the Bergerie soon after for a very good day.

Pipes went in, insulation down first followed by the DPC. Reinforcement was cut to size, ballast and water moved up the hill and we were ready to go for tomorrow.


Categories: Spring 2008, The Project

Basic Plumbing

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Shopping day…..we headed off into St Girons to get supplies for the floor, insulation, reinforcement, waste pipes, conduit and pine floor for upstairs which all squeezed into Vinnie with a few ties to hold it all in on our way home.  Had a coffee with Murray at midday and arranged for him to work with us on Friday so hopefully we should have the floor in the annex down by Friday afternoon.

Back to Salau for a very late lunch, before heading up to the Bergerie to shift materials up to the barn. We also laid the pipes into position and realised we had a slight problem with some of the piping so would need to head to St Girons again in the am. to get some new pipes.


Sorted out a complete list for POA for Thursday so we could use Murray to the max on Friday!

A quick drink at ours with Annie and Chris as the bar was closed


Categories: Spring 2008, The Project

Getting Sorted

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A slightly better start to the day weather wise, and it was mainly dry all day which was great and meant we could get loads done.


Chris turned up to help us lift the wood burner out of Vinnie and into the barn with the use of the Muck Truck and trailer. Thanks Chris for your muscle power! And glad we found Annie’s dog without too much trouble.

Lots of preparation work for the annex levelling the floor ready for insulation, DPC etc before the cement goes down. Also plenty of shovelling ballast from the field by the river up to the annex door.

While the sun shone we decided to prune the trees out the front to keep the light coming in through the front window and door as well as a bit of bramble clearing. We both thought of you Monti Bianco as we tackled the brambles!

Lunch in the sun, with our somewhat disastrous effort of bread making. We managed to get a recipe from John (Al’s Dad) since I had forgotten the one we used last year. It was not very successful for some reason we are blaming the altitude so we have tried again tonight to see if we have more success!!! So our butties were somewhat interesting but still tasty!

We have also decided that we would like to paint the bridge as a “nice too” so I wire brushed it in the pm while Al shifted more ballast so that when the sun shines we can paint it.

All in all a productive day. We aim to shop tomorrow for building supplies so we can crack on with the annex floor once we have got all the materials up to the Bergerie.

Caught up with Adam for a beer once we got down and then lists of things to do plus lots of phone calls to make.

Categories: Spring 2008, The Project

Return to the Project

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After a fantastic 10 days travelling down from Chamonix on holiday where we managed some great climbing in Italy and France, an exposed Via Ferrata near Briancon 3 leisurely days sight seeing with Dad in Provence and 3 days of decadence with Dad at the Swans at their lovely house in Grimaud (thank you both very much for your generous hospitality as always) it was back to reality of DIY at the Bergerie.

We had a good trip over with a night in Carcasssone, a visit to Mirepoix and Camon before we arrived back in Salau. We decided to take the small gite this time in the hope that it would be warmer than the apartment we have rented before. 5 beds, next to the river considerably warmer and plenty of space and a bonus of a washing machine!

We trundled up the Bergerie in the morning in pouring rain to get ourselves organised for the work ahead on the annex. We are hoping to get the floors in the annex so we can get the composting toilet installed and working before we leave in 3 weeks time.

So we needed to clear out the inside of the annex and then search for likely places where we could put a couple of holes through the 60cms walls to accommodate some pipes. The first one was relatively easy, the second one we gave up on and the third one was a relief that we found one we could use.

We then sorted out the first floor, floor joists in the annex already to be nailed into position when we are ready to do it.

The rest of the day was mainly a planning day with sorting inventories of kit, looking at security options (since people have tried to get into the barn) shifting kit around and emptying most of the van except the wood burning stove.

We had a roast chicken for supps before Annie and Chris turned up hoping for a drink at the bar but it was closed so we had a few drinks at ours before hitting the sack.

As we got backAs we got back 

Categories: Spring 2008, The Project

Snow at the grange

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No we are not there yet. A few days ago Lee sent us these images after he walked up to our place. We haven't actually met Lee yet but he lives locally and has his own Blog Here!

Lee kindly let us use the images and we aim to get to meet up in May time. Enjoy!


Categories: Spring 2008, The Project