Le Camion Jaune

It is strange that the one of the first French words taught to me by Mr Watson the headmaster, was le Camion Jaune (‘the yellow lorry’, Jo), and when I went in search of crushed limestone for my parking areas the guy at the yard asked “”if that yellow truck would be able to deliver in my village” pointing to a yellow tipper!

Il ne marche pas!

Il ne marche pas!

I had decided to take advantage of the fact the digger hire company could pick up until Thursday, effectively giving me a free day, try to surface the parking areas in limestone.

All went well, with the delivery arranged for midday and right on time the yellow lorry trundled into Le Port. After reversing in and crushing one of my treepits, it all went wrong!

This time not for me! But for the driver. Loaded with twelve tonnes, his tipper mechanism would not work. He huffed and puffed but it would not work and worse still 12.30pm came a went and he could not stop for his 1 ½ hour lunch.

It does now!

It does now!

At 1.00pm his colleague arrived and with out a word they drove off. I suspected the lure of lunch had got the better of them and to hell with the English guy, but I was wrong. Less than hour later he returned, tipper fixed. No lunch for Bruno today!

All spread and using a  Mercedes as a roller

All spread and using a
Mercedes as a roller

The afternoon was spent with Sam on the digger and me on the shovel and 12 tonnes was spread evenly. We could have done with a roller but with the price of hire in France the weather will have to that job!

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Like all visits to Frelon Cottage, nothing ever goes to plan and this time I had never expected to make such an impression on the landscaping!

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Le Pelle

I did not come into town yesterday, so did not blog, so this is two days worth!

Yesterday started well, I picked up the materials needs for the bathroom and Sam uncapped the chimney (now free of Frelons!). I then knocked down the wall to the shower room and then the plumber arrived.

The wall comes down 2

The wall comes down 2

After drawing air through his teeth, he declared that that all the trenching , holes in the wall and locating of wastes should have been done as he had not quoted for this. He then left.

I then left Sam on the shower room and went out to dig holes. At this point as if someone was looking down, it then started to rain.

Fed up and wet I went in search of a digger. My neighbour was very helpful and directed me to the only place in Riberac to hire a digger. After a quick look on Google Translate I headed off to test my French. Only 40 minutes later I returned with a 1.5 tonne digger booked for the next day.

In my absence, Sam completed the new wall and installed the door frame, so good progress.

The evening was cold, so with my chimney uncapped, I lit the fire only to find the draw on the chimney to be lacking so filled the kitchen with smoke. This smoke remained for the evening even with the doors open, some what defeating the object of lighting the fire in the first place!

My first fire!

My first fire!

This morning dead on time and in bright sunshine the digger arrived.  Sam jumped on and proved his worth as digger driver, but not a patch on Paul Marshall!

As the temperature rose to the low twenties the trenches went in, wastes were found and holes through the walls made. By luchtime, all the work for the plumber was done so in the afternoon we trenched for the electricity from the big barn to the house (our meter is in the barn not the house) and for power to the small barn. This done we turned our attention to the landscaping.

Le Pelle!

Le Pelle!

Sam scraped the parking areas ready for limestone and dug the tree pits (my neighbour, a landscaper was right about treepits in France, you do need a digger as there is solid chalk about 300mmm down). We also raised the level of the proposed planting areas and the new dining terrace.

With the digger running and a plan in my hand, it was a bit of a busman’s holiday this afternoon, but an enjoyable one at that!

Raising the level for the new terrace

Raising the level for the new terrace

This will now be posted two days late as I have been thrown out of Café de Collones! Not for being abusive or anything! Apparently they close at 7.00pm in the winter!

Digging trenches to find the wastes

Digging trenches to find the wastes

Autumn at Frelon Cottage

It’s the last week in October and I am back at Frelon Cottage. This is the first Autumn in Riberac for me although it seems we have owned the cottage for much longer than 6 months.

I am getting good at the drive down now! I even had time to stop off at Brico Depot in Angouleme, to pick up my shower and taps! And was still here by 7.00pm.

 

Our First proper bed at Frelon Cottage. This will be Percy's.

Our first proper bed at Frelon Cottage. This will be Percy’s, but for now it’s mine!!

This leads me onto the purpose of this visit. Last time we plastered the bedroom and installed the first fix electrics. This time I am installing a shower room, new toilet and basin and I have a plumber with me to  replumb the house. The plan is to have electrics on, hot water and the shower and the bedrooms complete by next summer.

Today has been a day of tidying and preparation for the plumber. I have strimmed the grass, cleaned out the Piggery and dug a channel for the wet room floor tray.

 

The Cleanest Piggery in Riberac.

The Cleanest Piggery in Riberac.

Why, you ask, clean out the Piggery! Well, this is where the plumbing for the upstairs bathroom will be concealed and last visit I pushed all the detritus from the attic through a hole in the ceiling and the floor straight down into the Piggery. This contained a large amount of pooh from a family of Pine Martens in the attic and the smell was percolating back up into the house.

 

Hard to believe this will be a wet room by the end of the week.

Hard to believe this will be a wet room by the end of the week.

Tonight the storm of the century, is passing south western France on its way to the UK so I will have batten down the hatches!