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May 2007

April 2007

Fixing suspended ceilings

Plasterboard_007 It has been rather a busy time which has made blogging a little difficult to fit in.

Donna I have been plaster boarding this week using  a natty gadget called a Léve Plaque that allows to to elevate the board into place and fix it without doing oneself a mischief! (anyone who has fixed plaster board will understand immediately what I mean).

The problem for us was we have been fitting the work around other things and not really got a good run at it.

Three boards a day is not hugely productive so I had two friends help yesterday and we got the high section done - which means when I have to give the Léve Plaque back to Chausson the hard inaccessible are done and we can do the last row from the floor because of the sloping design of the lean too type roof.

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It is a busy time

Misc_049 There do not seem to be enough hours in the day at the moment.

Getting up at 6.30 am, picking up emails and checking out visitor stats for our two websites, researching and writing content for my Landscape Juice site, phone calls and general stuff until 11am then I have 4 hours or so of marketing work for the UK company that employs me and I am just about to start a paid blog for them too.

After a late lunch I am into the barn. At present I have just completed attaching about 200 galvanised metal clips which will hold galvanised rails that suspends and holds the plasterboard ceiling. I hope to have the plaster boarding done over the weekend.

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Hector - Update

Hector_returns I am so pleased to report that Hector is back in our family fold.

It has been a long 36 hours without him and to be honest during this afternoon as we worked in the barn to keep occupied there really seemed to be nothing to hope for.

We all thought the worst but hoped for the best.

Donna and I must have travelled 200 miles in the last two days visiting isolated house or farm, vet's and Police and the Mairie in the outside hope that someone had seen him or taken him in.

Today we suffered a cruel twist when travelling into Monflanquin to register our loss with the Police. I saw, across the fields, a black Labrador sitting in front of an old farmhouse.

Immediately, I shouted, there he is!

We turned down a small lane towards Château Roquefere  and then right into this little lane.

My heart was pounding as I drove towards the dog and I was convinced it was Hector. I walked as close to the nervous dog and I needed to get to 10 feet away to realise cruelly that it was not him. In fact it was a bitch.

When she moved the differences became obvious..

We both felt extremely deflated and it was then that we really felt that we may never see Hector again.

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Lost/Perdu Black Labrador

Hector_olympus Lost/Perdu - Black Labrador called Hector.

We are desperately seeking Hector our Black Labrador dog. He touched an electric fence yesterday morning at about 11am and we have not seen him since. He is obviously very frightened by the experience and probably very disoriented.

If you live in the area of Monflanquin/Piis or have passed this way on the date 17th/18th April and have seen a pure black Labrador we would appreciate a call.

00 33 0553 01 26 14 philip.voice@tiscali.fr.

It is so out of character for him to leave the property and we feel sure that he would have had to walk/run at least a mile in the direction he left to reach a road or property.
need him back.

We searched yesterday expecting to find him hiding in a barn or a dark corner as he often does if he thinks he has done wrong. Today we are just going to the Vets in Monflanquin and the police station.
Later we are printing out some leaflets to pin to trees and posts.

If anyone knows of his whereabouts please please call us.

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That blasted building!

Sand_blaster_001 Last Friday, after completing the second set of steps in the barn and what will be the access to the upper living area eventually I started to clean off the huge Poplar beams with a wire brush. Having spent at least an hour doing it I stopped to take in how much there was left to do!!

Hmmm! I thought, this is not going to be a five minute task and I decided with Donna to hire the sand blaster.
We used it before on the main house so we were very aware of its capabilities.

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French Unemployment

Unemployment in France has declined by one this morning as I have become gainfully employed again.

Well officially I was never un-employed because I had not signed on and I did not receive benefits.

Being Friday the 13th it might not be a good time to start my job (hee hee) luckily I am not too superstitious  but touch wood all will be fine.

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ADSL problems

I am delighted that we are now back on line with our ADSL but the whole process of getting assessed and being dealt with has been less than satisfactory.

I admit, my lack of understanding using the telephone helpline is a big part of the problem and if I spoke fluent French this maybe would not have dragged on so long.

But, and it is a big big but!!! Tiscali need to put in place some serious customer care pipeline progress facility.
I must have had to go through the same procedure on forty separate occasions just to tell them that this was an ongoing problem and not new.

They seemed intent on making sure the lights were illuminated on the router/modem when we had already established it was a different event.

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A lone Swallow

We have all heard the saying "one Swallow does not make a summer" but we all know when they start to arrive then summer is sure to follow soon after.

We have had a lone swallow here all week but today I noticed a second and a third arrive. It seems to have coincided with a dramatic change in the weather and we now have warm sunshine and clear skies.

Long may this last.

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nature!

Plants_002 The weather has not been brilliant recently and it appears that it is not going to be that good this week either.
But a Sunday after noon walk after a filling roast dinner is at its best in the gloom and rain to blow the cobwebs away.

Spring_flowers_013 The hedgerows and woodland  are bustling with flowers from Cowslips and even Perrywinkle (Vinca Major in this case). I can only assume that it was a rogue stem that got away somewhere because I am pretty sure it is not a native wild plant.

Plants_012One of the more extraordinary finds was this Sedum which I found growing in the rocks at the side of the Chemin. Along side of it was a large patch of wild Thyme.

I am wondering if there was a dwelling here some time back in the past? No signs of anything now except a flat area on the side of a small hill set in our bottom field.

Sedum is one of my favourites as it unfurls in the spring. It catches the water which looks like glass as it nestles, enveloped in the leaves. Alchemilla mollis is another one.

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Relaxing at the weekend.

Table_001Come Friday lunchtime, after I had poured the second step to the top barn I threw the towel in. Fairly tired and in need of a break I decided to knock some wood about.

Mark and I have a plan to do a car boot sale this summer so we will need some stock to sell. With this in mind I wanted to make a small table.

Normally I personally do not like contemporary that much but decided on this occasion to make something with straight lines and without paint to show off the grain.

Just a coat of clear wax.

I am rather pleased with the results but a long way to go to perfect even some of the basic skills.

Good fun never the less.

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