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19.04.15 - 25.04.15 - Barn: First Fix Plumbing, an Artiste Commissioned, A Larger Lounge in Seconds

It has been a very good week with lots of progress and still being able to keep Summer entertained and happy whilst off school on her holidays!

Below - Scott chopping out runs in the concrete floor for first fix plumbing to lay in before insulation and concrete levelling are laid on top next week. Exciting! :o)

Think Scott needs to sort out his drug habit! ;o)

Pipe runs going in. That big trench running through the centre of the barn which was once used as a slurry shoot for cows has come in very handy!

Although we are not fitting all the planned bathrooms before the summer, all the runs are being installed now ready for later. The red and blue flexi pipes are hot and cold pressure feeds and the large grey pipes are wastepipes.

After many issues with obtaining the right connections for the plumbing in the gite and it being a bit of a nightmare to fit with no trickles (the system for French fittings is different from UK), Scott has decided to use a crimping kit for the connections this time. Money well spent - much more straight forward, effective, quicker and easier to fit. The fittings are also a lot cheaper this way with the screw fittings in France being about twice the price of that in UK!

The plumber at work

Plans are actually visible now in real life with markings for walls and doors now marked on the floor. Here is what will be the curvy wall for our little study - exciting!! :o)

Deciding how the downstairs toilet will be laid out so pipes can be fitted now. My €5 glass basin will be installed into the table.

I have finally managed to get rid of the nasty brambles winding their way into our ancient grape vine (which is in serious need of support!) and move those tiles which were in piles from the roof replacement last year and we learnt the snakes like very much to hide under in the hot weather - huuuurgh!! :o/ (For tips and advice on snakes, please see below)

Waste what want not - the key rule here - most things can be re-used elsewhere and the tiles I have moved will now be contributing to the levelling of the floor.

The facelift! My chosen colour I mixed after loosing the one I bought and lost last year! Almost the same! It'll do!

After! What do you think?:

Another artist at work! Summer has created a masterpiece to hang on the wall in the barn totally by herself while I was on the vegetable patch. I LOVE it! :o)

My little garden helper! :o)

This week, we have planted our corgettes, sweetcorn, parsnips, the second lot of beetroot, rocket salad and batavia lettuce, carrots, garlic and onions. We have started to introduce our tomatoes outside ready to plant out next week. I would say I am still quite a novice gardener, but am learning all the time and enjoy it, especially when Summer gets involved!

Watering the potager and all the borders and plants I have planted now takes about an hour. I do this in the evenings and find it is actually quite therapeutic and helps me to think.

Top Tip on Snakes!: There are two types of common snake in our area of France - The "Couleuvre" (grass snake - may bite if taken by surprise, but no harmful venom) and the "Viper" (a member of the adder family who are more of a concern as their venom is poisonous and harmful. If you are bitten by a Viper, you need to get to a hospital within the hour to be treated. These snakes are territorial. Couleuvre (grass snakes) are protected in France and if you have them, it is a very strong indicator that you are unlikely to have Vipers.

The two types of snake can be identified by their markings, shapes of there heads, the way they move (couleuvre - forwards, vipers - sideways) and - if you are brave enough to get close enough - the shape of their pupils! Below is a very helpful link in English which will help you identify. We were able to identify that we have grass snakes by the markings on some skin we found that had been shed.

Snakes like long grass and stone walls. Keeping your grass short is a must in the summer and if walking in long grass - wear protective shoes!

You can buy snake repellent on most garden or hardware shops, but I have not tried this as I do not wish to encourage any other varieties of snake and wish to hang onto the grass snakes if any!

We have come across a few snakes whilst we were working on the roof and when we had long grass and piles of tiles. We found them to be very docile and found that if we stood a distance away from them and clapped our hands, they would move away. If you see a snake, stay calm and do not approach as you may startle it and it could bite as a defence mechanism.

Unfortunately with so much going on at the moment, there is not enough time at the moment to cover the historical posts on the gite progress aswell, so I will come back to this at a later date.

Enjoy the rest of your weekends!


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