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since 01 January 2008

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2012 was another disappointment. This little two-day per week seasonal tourism project developed into three days per week - for still the same amount of pay (i.e. ZERO), and I went to Canada again for 6 weeks in late Spring.

Even though there were no distractions in Brussels, I still didn't manage to put in the effort that I was hoping to make on the house and garden. But at least one long-outstanding task was finished as the year came in with a bang.

roof aspire recycled plastic slates lean-to les guis virlet puy de dome france

Incredible as it might sound, the first 10 days of January were astonishing. It might have been freezing cold in the morning but we had bright blue skies and late Spring daytime temperatures, and not a sign of a change was forecast until the middle of the month.

This was what I had been waiting for. Although the lean-to was far-from-finished, the sides were in position and completed, so if I were to throw a couple of long beams across, I could install the roof, and build up the wall to fill in underneath the front beam at my leisure.

So it's now or never, I reckon.

And two days after I finished, we had the snow.


garden vegetable plot potager les guis virlet puy de dome france

We finally arrived at, what for now, will be the definitive version of the vegetable garden. It won't go any farther down the hill past the long oblong plot, which will be where the soft fruilt bushes will be planted.

Apart from erecting the greenhouse, I'll be just widening the garden so that it will be three plots wide instead of two. But that's for another year.


pointing north wall lean-to les guis virlet puy de dome france

I'd been building up the stonework of the lean-to from the inside and having done so much work on it, it was looking like a dreadful pachwork quilt from outside. And not only that, there were a couple of really bad cracks in the wall that made a great deal of urgency of some kind of attention.

By this time I was well into pointing of course, and so with the kind permission of the farmer who owns the field behind my house, I spent a week or so giving that wall the works. It looks quite impressive now, much better than it did before I started on the pointing.


new bathroom floor les guis virlet puy de dome france

When I moved the old stairs from where I want to install the shower room, I didn't lay a floor. I simply put a few boards down so that I could walk over them and store stuff on them.

But having nearly broken my neck twice when the boards canted over under my weight, I decided that enough was enough. I pulled up what was left of the original floor and laid a completely new wooden floor in there.

There was a slight problem in that the floorboards are not of equal height, despite being in the same pack. This caused something of a rethink, more of which anon.


rebuilt stone wall pointing les guis virlet puy de dome france

What is significant about this photo is that it's the first time for over 10 years that there has been no scaffolding on this particular plot. When the wall collapsed, I started to rebuild it and had a small scaffolding here, but then of course I was well-overtaken by events.

This year though, I've finally managed to finish it and in a sense I'm glad that it's taken me so long to get around to it because I've learned an awful lot on the way to here and I've been able to put it all into practice.

This place now looks as though there isn't simply someone squatting here, there's someone living here and actually taking care of it too.


You can keep up-to-date with my antics on a more-or-less daily basis by reading my blog


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