Monday, January 18, 2010

Blogging is Wonderful

As I was reading all my favourite blogs over the weekend I checked out one of more recent additions Are We Nearly There Yet? and she was talking about Haiti and gave this great link. If you would like to help this is a small but hopefully effective effort.

When I popped by on Saturday to donate they hadn't quite reached their initial goal of 1 Shelter Pack. I just checked the site, and they now have enough for SIX packs. I know it seems like a drop in the ocean but every little helps and maybe these will actually reach someone, rather than be stuck in the bottle neck that is currently Port Au Prince airport.

It's these wonderful efforts, experiences and people that have made blogging a truly rewarding journey for me. I am so glad I started reading them, and then joining them, more than two years ago now, and I don't intend to stop anytime soon, even though some of my absolute favourite ones have decided to do so.

Friday, January 15, 2010


France seems a long way away right now, both in distance and time. But we did have a very productive week managing to organize quotes on various jobs which it would be great if we could get underway before we return, hopefully in late March. So the beams were done, the guy turned up right on time just as we were trying to seal up all the doors etc to avoid as much mess as possible. We could have saved ourselves the time and effort, believe me the mess and dust goes everywhere, was on every surface.
These are the beams in their original condition when we first saw the house, covered in a thick nasty varnish, but they are a beautiful shape, curved in the shape of the tree from which they were cut.
This is the mess you are left with once the sand blasting guy leaves. This stuff is copper slag, they don't actually use sand as it contains silica, which is believed to be a carcinogen. It was 2 to 3 inches deep across the entire room.
We didn't bother to cover up stuff in the kitchen believing the door and the taping would contain the dust. But no, if you click on the picture for a closer view you can see every item has had a dusting. No amount of wiping or mopping quite did the trick. We went out the next day and bought a vacuum cleaner and another industrial mop and things finally started to feel clean.

However we are very pleased with the result. We were worried that there had been some woodworm in the past but everyone we mention that to says its solid oak, try hammering a nail in! So I guess we don't have to worry. We are getting a devis to put insulation in, and board and plaster between the beams. They are about 7-8 inches deep at the moment and that will leave about 4+ inches exposed once the work is done. We have a definite feeling that things are moving on. We also spoke to a carpenter about making and installing a staircase again in oak. It is planned that the staircase will go from the door in the left hand picture above towards the left wall and then turn for three more steps and through to upstairs. The devis arrived this week and it is not far off what we expected considering he also has to open up the ceiling and do some work to cut and support the present beams.

Meanwhile back here in the real world, I am doing a real estate course designed to help me get business by referral rather than prospecting around to find clients. It is interesting but it is taking me outside my comfort zone.

Oh by the way........ if you are thinking of buying or selling a home, or you know of a friend or family member who is, just give me a call with their name and number and I will be happy to follow up. :)

Till next time....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

We Survived!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and is feeling hopeful and positive about the coming year.

Our trip to France was very successful, not least in the fact that we managed to avoid snow on both the way into and out of the UK on our way to the house. We flew into Heathrow and were picked up by friends who live close by and where we leave our van between visits. Good friends obviously. They cooked up a full English for us while we sat around and chatted and caught up with each other, loaded our van full of kindling and firelighters they had found for us, and saw us on our way to Dover to catch the midday ferry to Boulogne.

Feeling shattered after the overnight flight, we managed to doze for most of the ferry crossing and re-charge our batteries for the next step of the journey, to get south of Paris before stopping for the night.

We have to admit to a certain trepidation about our trip at this point, just how cold and damp and uncomfortable was our little piece of France going to be for a week in December? After an early start on the Monday morning, we set off south, stopped for an hour to pick up some supplies in Leclerc, an electric fire, tools for the fireplace, gas/petrol for the chain saw, wine etc. and we made it to the house around 1pm. You could see your breath on the air and that was inside the house. However, hubby got to work with his chain saw and soon we had the woodburner roaring, electric fires cranked up, bedding hanging around to air and a hot cup of tea to cheer us up.
See how cosy - wouldn't you love to be greeted by this after a 9hr journey?

By the time our son and friend, who drove all the way from Tignes in the Alps (9 hours), arrived around 9pm, the place was very cosy. We cooked up dinner on the barbecue, finished off a few bottles of wine and had a good long chat with him. It was great to see him, he was pleased with his new Christmas/Birthday laptop and to see all his snowboarding gear. Unfortunately due to his and his friend's work schedule, they had to get up early the very next morning and head back to the mountains!

We needed an early start ourselves that morning anyway as the sand blasting was scheduled to start at 9am and we had to clear the room and seal all doors etc.