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Slow progress

February 10, 2012

Just as I posted the last entry the weather changed dramatically. Temperatures dropped well below freezing, we had ice in the mornings and very dull cold days. The flowers have severely wilted, it’s way too cold to be outside gardening and the house got noticeably colder.







Marc appeared on Monday armed with fiberglass insulation, aluminium backed insulation and foam tubes for lagging pipes. He spent two days stuffing this into various places and it has made a difference. He also cut a trap into the attic to investigate the insulation level up there – it’s not too bad but we do need more and the way to do it is the “blown-in” stuff. But the guy for this had vanished as well 😦









Our experience at the neighbours house led us to investigate putting in a fireplace insert so we started the process of getting quotes. Marc has a brother-in-law who does this stuff  but he’s travelling all over the place and can’t be found. Then we discovered he had a colleague so we contacted him, sent dimensions and pictures and got a quote of just over €6000 !! This was way too much to spend at this stage in the project; too many unknowns involved for that kind of commitment. A telephone conversation with an Englishman living in France who installs woodburners was very educational – he said he spent half his life taking inserts out and replacing them with woodburners. He told us we could find a decent woodburner for less than €1000 and to just put it in the fireplace – a full professional installation could be done later. So off we went to the various places selling woodburners only too find that none of them were less than €1000 and none of them would work in our fireplace – it’s wide but not very high. We did get two more quotes on inserts €3200 and €4500 but no-one can come before April – this is really getting old. Quick trip to the local garden centre and we found a fireguard and as we have some wood in the basement we lit a fire – it worked really rather well. I think this will do for a while.








Marc disappeared again; he is supposed to be back this coming Monday with the electrician and plumber. Some years ago we discovered the collective noun for contractors – a ‘dearth’ and it’s coming true again – Peter Mayle did not invent this stuff. However June & I are losing patience with these delays so some online research has found some alternatives, time will tell if we need them and if they are any good. The real problem is that nothing is completely finished and so we can’t really start on decorating etc until all the construction is done. The insulation guy will need to drill holes in walls as will the electrician. I need the plumber to advise on changing the radiator thermostats so I can regulate them and also remove them without having to drain the system down.

There have been some pretty low moments in all of this, not being able to fully occupy ourselves is part of the problem but the frustration of not being in control and getting things finished is very wearing. Having said that, we are clearly better off than many we know. The UK and the rest of Europe are under snow and ice, this corner of Brittany is cold but that’s it, no snow or hail or rain or freezing fog.  California house prices have dropped significantly since we left, we have better healthcare here than anywhere we have been recently and we live pretty well. We just need to get it finished before the summer arrives.

We await developments ………

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2012 15:22

    Your title could be our title as well – slowly, slowly we go.
    Yes, you are much better off than many and this too shall pass.
    Cheers Jo and Brian

    ps Hope June is OK now

  2. February 10, 2012 15:33

    June is much better now thanks Jo

    Can’t wait for it to warm up next week!

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