Le Derrière

The renovation of the utility room at the rear of our home in Daglan is now complet, it took a while but I am so happy with the result.

As you can see from the picture below the utility room was made of steel and fibreglass, a horrible sight which sunlight light was unable to enter even in the height of Summer, leaving the utility room dark and dismal.

This eyesore just had to go.

First came the new roof, also fibreglass and steel that needed replacing. Paul laid down wood and fitted shingles which were a surplus from a friends renovation work. Thank you Angus they work a treat, as the last couple of nights have proven, completely waterproof. In the above picture Paul was working in the extreme 40+ degrees centigrade heat of a hot Summers day so a little shade was needed (top right).

Then it was guttering and down pipe, seen here with the new wood cladding.

Starting to replace the fibreglass panels and voila, we have light.

What a difference it makes to be able to see in and out.

Almost finished, Paul also panelled the inside of the utility room.

Looking great, Our cat Cleo loves to sit on top of the tumble drier and watch the birds in the courtyard.

 

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The Lock in…

I had a very funny and interesting phone call from Paul a few days ago, it went like this, “Chris, I’m going to be late for lunch, I have been locked in the DIY store”.

There are many places that I would love to be locked into a chocolatier, patisserie, to name just two. The DIY store, never… because I do seem to loose the will to live after a few minutes of entering one. However, Paul has this kind of delight when he needs to go to the DIY store, so to be locked inside one was like a child being locked in a candy store.


How this happened was simple. Unlike England all of the stores in this area and in fact most areas of France close for lunch. Which means that you must leave by a certain time, the problem is that it is not the same time for each store. Some stores close at twelve others at twelve thirty, others at one. Then there is the problem of when the store re-opens in the afternoon, some stores have a two hour lunch, others two and a half hours and others three hours. The best bet I have found is to always be out of a store by twelve o’clock.

Unfortunately for Paul the staff had indeed closed for lunch. There he was busy looking at items when the lights went out. He did shout and wave at the monitors to no avail. So having found himself a comfortable sofa in a display area he sat and waited. Paul was lucky for the Manager came back after about an hour, spotted him and let him out.

After I had recounted the above to a friend of ours he said that he felt left out and would love to be included in a DIY lock in.
 

Interesting happenings in Daglan.
This was a first for me, I have never seen anyone power washing a roof
before, but what a good idea to clean away the build-up of moss.
 

Events :

 
 

Heart of gold – Our first year in Daglan

I was reminded by our son that it was one year ago today my husband, son and cats began the long drive to Daglan. I followed by plane a few days later and the year has just flown by so quickly with some ups and downs along the way, we made it here and eventually so did our furniture!

When we look back over the year and through our extensive photograph collection, the pictures that mean the most to us are our pictures of the people here in Daglan, they are truly “the heart of gold.” We have meet so many new and interesting people that it is those people that stand out the most in our lives. From the very start of our new life here a warm “Bonjour” made us welcome by the doctor, dentist, government officials, the plumber and chimney sweep, our new friends who gave us lavender plants and friends that we have known for a few years thank you so much, it has been a good year.

Before I start to shed a few tears here are some of our most memorable pictures from the past year.

Le La VertDaglan fête was a time of celebration at Le Thé Vert.

 

Daglan fêteThe parade with our Maire in the middle of the picture, wonderful.

 

Sunday market at DaglanThe view from our balcony over looking the Sunday market.

 

Train A Vapeur De MartelI so loved this steam train ride, fabulous.

 

SunflowersPeople here have asked me what the weather was like in Blackpool during the Summer. These are a few words that I jotted down before we left England.

July in England. Billowing wind that has whipped up the many seagulls from the coast and has now drifted inland across the house tops and buildings of Blackpool. Then the sharp, stinging drizzle fell growing in strength until the grey clouds were turned into black sheets of unforgiving rain.

In contrast.

July in Daglan. Summer gasped upon the village like the mouth of a great oven. Even in the shade of the canopy in our courtyard it was too hot for me to sit outside for long periods. This was the time of flowers, butterfly’s and moths which would glide and dance around our growing vine. We took our walk down the lane beside the river Céou to see the horses, dragon flies and lizards much earlier in the day than during the Spring time. The cries of the cicadas seemed to become more insistent with each hot day until they hit a crescendo. This was the time for barbecues, for visiting friends old and new and to sit back and enjoy our first year.

WelcomeWelcome to the village party, it does not get any better than this.
 

Our first year in DaglanWe have completed a lot of decorating, DIY and renovation work this year, from the completely new bathroom, to the corridor floor, to painting the window frames, shutters, balcony, and veranda and much more too tedious to tell. Our next project is to focus on the rear of the property, however, a rest is in order as our son is arriving from the UK this afternoon. On second thoughts a rest might not be the right word, for I am sure a Cro-Magnon cave or two will be visited, canoeing on the Dordogne and we will visit our favourite medieval town of Sarlat.

A final word, if your dream is to move to France but you are feeling a little trepidation, a new country, different culture and way of life. Do not let apprehension stop you, go for it, you will never look back. The French love life and so will you, Bon Courage.

 

 

Problems of the undulating floor and walls of our corridor.

Old property in France does seem to have the same problems, the undulating floors and walls that meander at irregular intervals. Personally I love the quirkiness of our home, it has character but not so much when you are putting down a new floor covering along the corridor which runs past the bathroom and the bedrooms.    Paul measured the floor, the walls, the distance between the walls, scratched his head, and said “there could be a problem”.  The corridor zigzags past the bathroom, turns left by the stairwell then right to the long stretch past the bedrooms, you guessed it, the corners are not right angles.

DSCN1606To work, the first problem was the carpet which seemed to be stuck down with super glue. But not to be deterred Paul battled on, a centimetre at a time.
The second problem was, as I stated earlier the floor which is not level but kind of slopes down to the bathroom and then undulates down the main corridor. After careful consideration and several failed attempts at laying the flooring Paul started from the centre of the corridor and then worked towards the walls.

 

DSCN1612A good plan but frustrating when you lay a piece of wood down which is straight at one end and is up at the other. Another plan cut the floor boards into smaller lengths then jigsaw them together, it worked. You can see from this photograph how the corridor goes from wide to narrow and back to wide as you go towards the door to the veranda.

 

French propertyAngel, always vigilant for a game decided to play hide and seek with the box.

I thought that it would take weeks to complete the corridor but Paul had it finished in a few days, bravo.

 

The event of the year in Daglan.
IMG_20160811_154309bWe have four days of sleepless nights to come, the speakers for the music are usually placed at the corner of our home so very, very loud but on a positive note we shall certainly enjoy the parade, fireworks and the bands that play. Just hoping for rock music and we shall be happy.

Enjoy

The ups and downs of renovation

We have been working particularly hard the last three weeks renovation our bathroom. The first job for me was to clean the antique mirror that we bought at the brocante in Daglan a few weeks ago. After various checks on the internet it was found that washing up liquid in a bucket of water was the best idea for cleaning old gilt, so armed with a soft toothbrush I set to work one sunny afternoon.

renovationTwo hours later I had completed the back of the mirror the difficult intricate detail on the front of the mirror was yet to come. After informing Paul that dinner would be a little late this evening I set to work once more.

Another three hours work and the mirror was finished.

 

DSCN1418The original mirror from the bathroom was taken down and placed onto our son’s bedroom wall. A wooden frame was built and varnished to match the wooden bed on the right hand side of the picture.
 

DSCN1419Unfortunately Paul realised that the partition walls upstairs were thinner than the length of the drill, he had drilled through to the next bedroom. This is one hole there are three others. Never mind, its just another job on our to do list.
 

We were only going to re-tile one wall but after completing the one wall with new the tiles, the old tiles looked even more terrible so another two walls needed work, another trip to Sarlat this time for more tiles. Paul took off the old tiles and you guessed it, the plaster came off too. Back to the DIY store for plaster which took four days to dry.

DSCN1421Here is half of one of the walls with the new tiles the other half of the wall took longer to tile due to the undulating nature of our walls.
 

Next came the wall at the back of the shower and toilet so Paul protected the shower and toilet with plywood and cardboard. One tile fell off, hit the cardboard corner first, cut it and the plywood like a knife through butter and the result can be seen in this picture.

DSCN1422I am glad to say that a new toilet was bought on the next visit to the DIY store and is now in place.
 

DSCN1432Finished with no further problems and looking great. The wash hand stand was purchased from a brocante shop in Daglan that Paul renovated. It has a gorgeous marble top that cleaned better than we expected and is in keeping with the period of the house.
 
 

Events:- Not to be missed- Daglan Art’Ceou Exposition which runs from the 19th June to the 3rd July

Also, Fête de la Musique – 21st June in Sarlat throughout the Medieval town, for jazz, blues and rock music.

Mason de Bleu

I did read a few years ago that there are only certain colours that are permitted on the outside of your home in any of the French villages throughout France.  Usually in the form of different shades of blue, which are determined by the Marie and the community.  With this in mind we spent a long time walking around Daglan looking at and making note of the colour scheme of the village houses. Armed with the knowledge that we could choose a variety of shades of blue not just one or two, we set off for a DIY store.

Which sounds like an easy task, however each DIY store in the area is between an hour to half a day’s drive away and each of the stores may or may not sell a good variety of paint and of course each store will close at twelve o’clock for two to three hours.  No problem, lunch out sounds great so our plan was to go to the nearest store in Sarlat first, which we did, only to find that they were experiencing a power cut.  Not a problem at all to French people who where happily walking around the DIY store choosing items by the light of their mobile phones. When in Rome do as the Romans do came to mind so armed with our phones we looked at and picked paint for the shutters and the window frames.

 

DSCN1192b

What a transformation, our mason de blue.

It could of gone disastrously wrong in the light of day but no we love the colour and so does our Marie, who gave my husband a smile and a “superb” when he saw the colour.

Mason de Bleu

With lavender and roses in the various planters downstairs and pansies on the balcony, the house is slowly feeling more like a home.

 

DSCN1227

Paul made the shutters for the office window, brilliant.

 

DSCN1229

The veranda is looking good in its new colours.

 

Events: – 7th May Belle Brocante in Sarlat from 8 o’clock to 4 o’clock, on the Avenue de la Dordogne.

On 21st and 22nd of May Daglan will be holding a Flea Market in and around the village hall.

Also, Le Thé Vert  in Daglan is now open for the season.  Check out their site on http://lethevert.fr/  We can highly recommend the food, wine and delicious Yorkshire tea. Not forgetting the excellent service and friendly atmosphere that greets you every time you go.

 

Paul’s DIY expertise

My modest husband will be the first to say that he is not so good at creating anything from wood, however I would strongly disagree. We needed several book cases due to the fact that we have about five hundred books between us. At first we looked to buy a few bookcases but we could not find anything that we liked, or the ones we did like were far too expensive, so Paul set to work.

First, a detailed list was in order due to the fact that if you run out of screws it is a half a days drive to the DIY store and then they may not stock what you need! The Perigord is improving for DIY stores since we first visited in 2010, but they do not have a wide selection of products and they are a distance apart. However, a morning or day out looking at the Perigord Noir gorgeous scenery on route is always a pleasure.

DSCN1003Paul, working on the veranda cutting the wood for a bookcase.

After that came the sanding down of the wood, a quick measure just in case of any problems, and then the assembly followed by a final sanding down before a tinting to match the rest of the furniture and applying several coats of varnish.

 

DSCN1011The finished bookcase, just need to make a few more!

 

DSCN1001This is the bedroom that I have always wanted.

New wardrobe, vintage chair with shelves (by Paul) that are used for my sweaters, t-shirts, hair drier etc.

DSCN1122Another bookcase.

The last one in the lounge to accommodate the last hundred or so books!