A Frog in Hot Water

And before you start to think, this is not a Dailymailesque racist pun based story, but one based upon a proverb (I think!).

The proverb goes, if you drop a frog into hot water, it will immediately jump out. But, if it is placed in cold water and slowly heated up it will not notice the change and will stay in the pot until it is too late!

The stone fireplace now finished

The stone fireplace now finished (apart from the hearth and the painted beam, so not really finished!)

Now, what has this got to do with Frelon Cottage….well, I am feeling like the second frog at the moment. Having made three visits and put in a huge amount of work, I look at the cottage and do not see much change. It has all been very gradual.

I know a lot has been done and I we are further along than expected but it does not seem monumental.

My kitchen!

My kitchen!

Anyway, I am now looking forward to the next milestone…hot water and light at the flick of a switch!

Sleeping in the salon!

Sleeping in the salon!

It is the plan to complete the two bedrooms, wire upstairs and complete the downstairs shower room by next Summer.

I have three more visits before then and now I have a great builder, I think it will be done…maybe more.

My new storeroom in the upstairs bathroom!

My new storeroom in the upstairs bathroom!

I just hope that when I return in the autumn and see the progress, I will feel a bit more like the first frog!

Goodbye!

Goodbye!

Hornets at Frelon Cottage!

Work on the chimney came to a sudden halt today as Hornets where found at Frelon Cottage!

Un Frelon

Un Frelon

Not just a dead one on the window sill, but a full blown nest!

Sam the builder was about to remove the cap when he decided that four angry hornets where too much to deal with, especially at the end of a tall ladder.

So off into town to test out another avenue of French vocabulary, at the pest controller’s office.

After disturbing the lady have a sneaky cigarette in the toilet, I managed to communicate by predicament. Now, who am I to say they were short of work, but by the time I returned 45minutes later the man was removing his suit and the hornets were no more!

It turns out, last years nest was blocking the chimney and they were busy building a new one a little further up.

With a hearth full of dead hornet grubs in their cells and 90 Euros lighter, we returned to our plastering!

Exposed stone around the  upstairs fireplace

Exposed stone around the upstairs fireplace

and around the door

and around the door

Dust

After yesterdays dust fest, I woke up tired and with a headache and so began the low point of the week.

Sam The Builder could not have been a better choice for the works as he just works, and works, and works. No chatting or extra long teabreaks like most builders, just work! We have got so much done it is unbelievable.

Creating dust!

Creating dust!

So why the low point?, you wonder, the answer is simple…….dust!

All the work we are doing involves lime. Whether removing old plaster, putting up new or channelling for the electrics it all involves dust. At 28 degrees you tend to sweat a bit and guess what?……. the dust then sticks to you!

Creating dust!

Creating dust!

Dust, it dries your skin, gets up your nose, it dehydrates you and then there is the sweeping, it needs to be done but it creates more dust!

Creating dust!

Creating dust!

By this afternoon all lime work was complete and Sam moved on to repairing the floor boards. This created dust, but this time sawdust. I was able to move onto filling and sanding timbers ready for painting. Who would have though we would anywhere near contemplating painting yet alone preparing to paint as the next phase of upstairs.

The Percy trap repaired!

The Percy trap repaired!

Buoyed on by this thought, the day finished well and I headed to the river for a swim!

My swimming hole!

My swimming hole!

Pierre Apparente 2

A gratuitous set of photos, as today, apart from a swim in the river, it has been dust, dust, dust……

The wall complete

The wall complete

IMG_0439

IMG_0436

Chimney Breast rendered and second panel of exposed stone

Chimney Breast rendered and second panel of exposed stone

After the dust cleared!

After the dust cleared!

Socket boxes and conduit

Socket boxes and conduit

We got so much done, in fact I think I may have dinner in Cafes des Colonnes!

Pierre Apparente

After the destruction and demolition of the last visits and of the last two weeks, today we started to get constructive.

Sam The Builder as Percy calls him arrived loaded up with sand and lime and with no nonsense set to work on rendering the gaps left by Aneesa’s exploits.

By lunchtime and after a visit to the Bricomarche for more supplies, the front room was rendered. Whist Sam rendered I raked the wall in our bedroom to accept more render.

Lime render in the front bedroom

Lime render in the front bedroom

Pierre apparente, is what the French call the effect we wanted either side of the fireplace in our bedroom. Literally meaning the stone appears, all render is removed along with some of the binder, on these old buildings no more than dust! And replaced with lime mortar leaving the stones exposed.

Raking out ready for render

Raking out ready for render

The afternoon was spent on this feature wall. Sam flung the mix at the wall, after wetting it to make it stick and I firmed in in and raked it back. It was all then finished with a soft brush. By 6.00pm two thirds of this wall was complete!

Half done!

Half done!

At this rate the house will all be done by the end of the week! All starts again at 8.00am tomorrow! Goodnight!

A little detail for Aneesa!

A little detail for Aneesa!

Peyrillaut

After a wonderful two week family holiday, I am now sitting all alone at Frelon Cottage.

At 3.00pm this afternoon, I dropped Aneesa, Iris and Percy off at Bergerac airport and after a tearful farewell (mainly from Myself and Percy!) I returned to Riberac.

The plan had been to holiday at Peyrillaut, in particular Zepherine Cottage as we have done since 2006, when as novices to French holidays we discovered this idyllic place, and then work on the house, relax and make the visits to nearby river beaches and lakes.

Zepherine cottage at Peyrillaut

Zepherine cottage at Peyrillaut

The plan worked perfectly, with one exception, as is always the way with Frelon Cottage, the planned rubbing down and general titivation, turned into wholesale demolition and ripping off of plaster.

Aneesa, who was assigned rubbing down of the stairs was the main protagonist closely followed by Percy. This was accompanied by shouts of “Stop him Jim, he‘s wrecking my house!” as lumps of plaster and clouds of dust came tumbling down! (The aforementioned quote is a family joke and far too long to explain here!).

Aneesa did this!

Aneesa did this!

The sun is now setting and Aneesa and the children should be arriving home soon. I have cleaned and hoovered and set up camp. Tomorrow I have arranged for a local English builder to help me repair the damage done by Aneesa and Percy, so I will turn in soon to get an early start before it gets too hot.

She wrecked my house

She wrecked my house

My family!

My family!