June 7thAfter expecting a delayed start to the arrival of the kitchen fitting/building team - we received news that they could start the work a few days earlier than we thought. We managed to telephone our french neighbours and arrange for a key to be left - they arrived the morning we arrived in St Malo.
When we got to the house 4 hours later- remnants of kitchen furniture and appliances were already decorating the patio.
Ian the electrician and his stepson Aaron kitchen fitter are a powerhouse team of 2!
Unfortunately the stud wall that Scott the kitchen fitting boss ( from his previous assessment visit) had promised us would fall down when the gentlest of pressure was applied, turned out to be concrete!! Cue detailed investigation. Why was it concrete? Was it holding anything (ie upstairs) up? After a few spy holes it was decided thankfully No, this was not a load bearing wall.
Aaron the building allrounder had not been anticipating this and had not brought any heavy equipment.
However after much cursing before and after, a mammoth effort of brute strength and determination hammer wielding Aaron demolished the ******d wall in a day - all by himself - we observed in awe.
However that was not all .... Preparing to remove the window in readiness for the new one Aaron discovered that the wall was not supporting the lintel - the window was the support - so fearing the possibility of wall collapse when the window was removed - concrete supports were created either side of the window - creative but time delaying - adding another 2 days to the job.
Bizarrely the door frame was held up by a steel lintel seen above right - this was removed a day later when Rob the labouring reinforcement arrived with suitable heavy cutting equipment. This was proving to be not the simple small kitchen fitting job they/we anticipated.
Well truthfully what else could we have expected!
Things are beginning to take shape. Rails have been constructed ready for plasterboarding after the weekend. A ceiling has been made and electrics in place.
Graham has many projects to complete - building a cupboard to hide pipes, meters etc in the dining room. Also a cupboard in the "children's bedroom" - which can be locked to store any personal belongings if we do rent to holidaymakers.
We have had wonderful weather this week - in the 30's C some days however next week is forecast to be rainy - just as we have bought a BBQ - we're getting sick of salads!
Graham at work. OK, so not quite as demanding as a concrete wall, but important all the same.
Carol has been controlling the garden - which was overcome with many weeds. And usual catering and cleaning duties!
A bed post weeding.
Amazingly the pond and fish have thrived - the pond pump had failed as we left for home last time and we anticipated to see dead fish. Thankfully all fish alive and counted for, and after a clean and dry out the pump now works ... for now!
Saturday,Jacques an elderly deaf neighbour living in the house opposite, who we spoke to once in March when his car wouldn't start,sent his carer round with a bottle of bubbly. How kind. It looks not shop bought. Hmm. Was he, or is his son a viticulteur? We need a evening to find out....
Sunday - a rainy day makes a day painting and more diy not so bad.
Graham wallpapered a wall , replaced various electrical sockets and continued his quest to sound proof the down pipe from the upstairs bathroom - the macerator toilet sounds like a jet fighter flying by as the waste goes down the pipe situated in the dining area cupboard!
Tomorrow Ian and Aaron return to begin the kitchen transformation!
Tonight we had barbequed sausages for dinner - we bought a cheap discounted bbq - however still only with salad to accompany them ( oh how we dream of roasted vegetables). The sausages were delicious!