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Back to work!

July 14, 2012

We arrived back home on Tuesday after an uneventful crossing and a short drive from St Malo. A convenient SuperU allowed us to get the shopping done on the way. The house was freezing cold, felt damp and the garden was doing Jack-in-the-Beanstalk impressions. The crops the farmers planted just as we left were also sprouting like crazy. Wednesday was much too wet so the gardener couldn’t come; this place will be a jungle soon.







The next day or so was spent in sorting out washing, extra shopping and just relaxing a bit then I decided it was time to sort out my desktop computer. I stripped it all down, cleaning off all the thermal material from the processor and heat sink, fitting the new I/O board and reassembled it all with new Arctic5 thermal material on the heat sink. Powered on and now I have a power fault indicated 😦  At which point I decided enough was enough and took it to the repairers who did my laptop last year. Hopefully it’s just a power supply and nothing more serious.

 We spent Saturday morning cleaning out the workroom as that is one of the rooms scheduled for redecoration soon and will then become the first guest bedroom. We moved all Marc’s stuff down into the sous-sol and put all our decorating tools and supplies into the attic. After that little exercise we grabbed some lunch and went shopping for essential supplies. On return it hadn’t rained for a while so I decided to try and cut the grass. It was even longer than I thought and clogged up the mower repeatedly. I got the front grass done but then that was enough, five minutes later the rain returned. Settled down to watch the British GP F1 qualifying which I had recorded, only to discover the rain had delayed it and the recording ended as BBC decided to change the channel 😦 I hate it when they do that.

 Sunday was a relaxing day – watched the British Grand Prix andWimbledon– no rain at all so we may get some more grass cut.  A late evening phone call from the Fosse guys meant they are not arriving on Monday – weather delays plus a piece of bureaucracy still outstanding.

 Monday morning arrives and with it our friendly French plumber who almost immediately discovers a problem. The new valves won’t fit directly onto the old radiators or the pipes in the wall. The new valve has the thermostat at the top but the pipes come out of the wall at 45 degrees, also the adapters are too small so he has to use two to obtain the correct diameter. Off he went shopping for new adapters but even with those he still needed to cut the wall and modify the old pipes to suit. L  This is OK upstairs where we haven’t decorated yet but downstairs is another story. The solution involves using 45° couplings and raising the radiators about 1”. For some reason the boiler won’t function even for hot water as there is no pressure in the heating circuit – again more research is needed but David put it all back to working this afternoon, as we needed hot water and some heating as the weather is still cool and rainy.







The fosse guy called again late in the evening – all his guys are rain delayed and also the piece of paper that requires signing by the mayor won’t be done until Friday as the mayor is away – welcome to France! This document should have been part of the package prepared by the soil testers but somehow it got left out. We have rescheduled for next Monday which now is getting very busy indeed.

 I did manage to get the mower going but for some reason the grass bag wouldn’t lock closed – this hasn’t happened before so why now is a mystery. After much reading of the original documents it appears the grass chute, which is hinged to keep it closed when the grass bag isn’t there, was mounted too high. I lowered it to the correct setting and the bag locked closed immediately. However, now the lower edge of the grass chute hits the ground if there is a bump or a hollow for the wheels to fall into and this closes the chute and opens the grass bag. I contacted MTD France who told me to take it the local dealers. Contacted the local guys and they said they can do it but if  I want avoid paying the investigation fee MTD has to order them to do it – back to MTD! Finally got MTD to tell me the guarantee does not cover transporting it around – that I will have to pay for so now waiting for them to come.

 Wednesday brought David back to do some radiators downstairs – he started on the kitchen and immediately ran into problems – the thermostat is too wide to fit so he needed to modify the plumbing and move the radiator to the left. More problems! The wall kept breaking when he drilled for the mountings, eventually solved by moving the mountings over even further. Every radiator is full of cobwebs, dust and crap so we took them in turn outside and hosed them off. David did not want to refill the boiler on Wednesday night so we had no hot water or heating, it’s amazing how cool the place gets when it’s only about 16C outside. Summer shows no sign of arriving just yet 😦

 An email from the PC place tells me my desktop computer is ready for collection – I decided to go then & there. When I got there they told me they could not find anything wrong with it and only charged me €17 for the testing. Took it home, plugged it all in and off it went – no problems. Let’s hope it stays that way!

 David finished off late on Thursday evening but he still has to come back next week for a couple of smaller jobs and to remount three radiators which are not sitting right. The bedroom wall cracked when he mounted the radiator so that is going to require some repair work as is the dining room.

 The insulation consultants duly arrived and examined the place, first one is going to get back to us; the second provided a quote on the spot and it’s over €6000! On Friday morning the third guy arrived and his quote was much better (about €4500) and he showed a more professional approach. He also showed us how to obtain a substantial rebate as well as a credit against our income tax, should we ever have to pay any. We celebrated by having a nice lunch and doing a bit of shopping only to return and discover a couple of leaks – both on the parquet floor. A quick call to David and he arrived about 6:30 and checked it all out – the news is not good. The main radiator in the lounge may have a crack in it – we stopped it up with some underwater epoxy putty I happened to have around but it was still dripping on Saturday morning. I refixed it after a thorough cleaning and tightening, fingers crossed until next week.

And we have just learned the fosse guys will be arriving on Monday with materials and start digging on Tuesday. Watch this space!

David & June

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2012 12:58

    OMG! It is never ending for you two! Radiators are a pain and they take up valuable wall space so furniture placement is more challenging and restrictive . Yes, it doesn’t take long for the house to become cold when it is only 16, rainy, wind and wet outside. Even when we have had days of 25 the house stays cool but that is welcome. I read on the Expat forum about your weeds. Devils aren’ t they. Good luck with the fosse septic guys and pray for a dry week. Happy Bastille Day!

    • July 14, 2012 14:41

      I dream of 25 degrees – not since we left California 😦 I suppose summer will arrive one day

      • July 14, 2012 16:23

        We have had only a few sporadic days of 25 and really don’t miss the very hot weather but 3 warmish days in a row would be lovely. Prior to moving we had never experienced weather like this in France – it had always been perfect. We have rain almost everyday with high winds and if not we have clouds with some sunshine. Its the damn jet stream that has stalled. Holiday home neighbors from Dorset went back last week only to find out that the roads were closed to their house due to flooding and landslides and they had to stay at their son’s. Even Jax Fl had about 2 weeks of rain with flooding. I just hope summer comes to France before the fall 😉 Our dreams of bbqing and eating outside have vanished. When it is warm enough the flies drive us inside, so a screened gazebo is on our minds for next year – maybe with a heater lol.
        As an less expensive alternative to RoundUp try Glyphosate, mix per instructions. It is a concentrate so it goes about 6 times further and works very well.
        Stay warm and sane!
        A bientot

  2. July 14, 2012 16:39

    Hi Jo, Don’t miss the 100F days but the low 80’s were good. But it’s the rain – just constant and we can’t get outside for any length of time to do anything. Weedkilling is a waste of time because it needs a day of dry to work – fat chance! I’ll try the Glyphosate, thanks.

    Stay dry


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