Tag Archives: upright

Tuesday 2nd July 2013 – *@ç#%§µ ¤£&€ù+§ cheap flaming useless tools!!!

damaged arbour sds dtill les guis virlet puy de dome franceThat’s the arbour off the core drill kit that I bought (and spent a lot of money on) 18 months or so ago. The drill end is totally burnt out.

What’s been happening here is that the arbour has not been a precise fit in the chuck of the SDS drill. With the 4 hours of constant pounding that it received yesterday, the percussion effect of the play slowly but surely enlarged the groove in the arbour until it burnt through.

Mind you, as I said yesterday, the impressive thing about this is that everything else – the inverter, the batteries, the wiring, even the LIDL drill, stood up to everything that I could throw at it.

I expected loads of other things to burn out before the arbour would give way.

And it took me hours to dismantle the SDS drill too before I could extract the arbour, and I can tell you absolutely everything about how an SDS drill works now because I’ve seen it first-hand.

Anyway, once I’d freed the arbour I cleaned and greased everything and then reassembled it.

I’m not sure how the automotive circlip will stand up to the pounding but then that would be hammered to death in the con-rods and pistons anyway with much more force than an SDS drill so it should be okay.

rail cascading off verandah roof les guis virlet puy de dome franceTook hours, as I said, and it didn’t make any difference to my work programme because I couldn’t have drilled anything anyway.

Look at the rain cascading off the verandah roof. We had the most amazing tropical thunderstorm, as you can see.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen rain like we had this afternoon although believe me, we have had some here for sure in the past as you know.

Not much good for working in but impressive all the same. And for a while there was no solar energy getting through at all. No chance of doing any drilling today of course, but there is still plenty of work to be going in with.

Later on in the afternoon I did manage to get into the shower room. I started cutting and shaping the horizontal supports for the stud wall between the shower room and the bedroom.

I cut and shaped four of them before I ran out of demi-chevron (and I wasn’t going outside for another one in that weather) and I managed to screw one of them in place before the batteries in the Ryobi Plus One drill and screwdriver went flat.

It just wasnt my day at all.

Mind you, it was 19:40 when I finished off so I suppose it was time enough. But I need to get cracking tomorrow.

I’m wasting far too much time and I don’t have too much to spare.

Friday 5th February 2010 – Well, we’ve done it now!

This afternoon we signed the compromis for these houses in Montaigut. Mind you, it’s not all plain sailing as you might imagine with anything involving me. Firstly the houses are situated in a historic area (in fact,just round the corner is the blacksmith’s where Joan of Arc had her spurs made) and so the town has the right to match any offer made on any property in that area. Mind you the town is flat broke so that’s unlikely to happen but I bet they’ll soon find the money if they get to hear that there might be a possibility that I might be moving in there.

Secondly the properties have already been sold elsewhere. However the guy can’t get a loan (and looking at them, it’s no surprise) and so he has renounced his offer, but nevertheless he needs to give his formal agreement.

Nothing is ever straightforward, is it?

Completion is set to be the end of April so the major plan currently is
1) finish Terry and Liz’s kitchen on rainy days
2) point the outside wall of their house on dry days
3) change my barn roof
4) go to Brussels and have a blitz on my apartment in Jette and put it on the market.
5) come back and start on these houses

So that’s the plan for the next three months anyway. You can see what I mean about being busy.

les guis virlet puy de dome franceTalking of being busy though, I’ve finished insulating this cupboard space, put the horizontals in and now I’ve started to plasterboard it. It won’t take at all long to finish now and when I’ve done that I can put some shelves in there to store anything that needs to be kept clean and tidy.

And whule we are on the subject, Terry and I have been discussing my lighting. Terry is refusing to get involved in my electricity ( well, he is an electrician and he does have his professional pride) and he is quite impressed with these 12-volt LEDs that I’m using (and they had a few more on sale in LIDL today). So much so that he agrees with me that a mains (230-volt) lighting circuit is pretty redundant. So what am I now going to do with all these light bulbs that I’ve been collecting? But I’m not all that bothered. It’s saved me a lot of work and it is rather unnecessary.

And who was Joan of Arc? Why of course, she was the wife of Noah.

Thursday 21st January 2010 – I’ve finished the verticals for the studded wall…

upright stud wall first floor les guis virlet puy de dome france… between the bedroom and the rest of the first floor. And you can get some kind of idea how the bathroom is going to look.

The end three verticals are going to be for the bathroom bit, and the gap between the third and the fourth (ie the first from the left) will be the door into the bedroom. From the third vertical across to the vertical by the shower base – that will be the door into the bathroom and the shower base will be between there and the wall. You can just about make out the sink – that will be on the diagonal in the angle in the bathroom and there will be another sink in the angle in the bedroom. The toilet is in the far corner underneath the window.

This afternoon Terry Liz and I went to see some houses. We’d heard of three cottages for sale at €27,000 for the three in a village near St Maurice and it was worth a look. Money in the bank is fetching nothing right now and three cottages in a small village have the potential to be three income-generating holiday homes. We don’t mind the hard work in repairing them and so on and realistically for the price we weren’t expecting much, but these three were right at the limit of what was achievable. Furthermore there was no land to go with them – not an inch – and there was no view. They really were right in the middle of a village.

The estate agent took advantage of our presence to show us a few more houses and there is one of them that has got us talking, but we’re going a-hunting over the next few days to see what else we can turn up. It’s all about income generation at the moment and cash in the bank with almost-negative interest rates and inflation at 3% isn’t working right now.

Friday 15th January 2010 – Liz rang me up this morning for a chat.

intermarche pionst puy de dome franceThe new Intermarche at Pionsat opened its doors on Wednesday and yesterday Liz went there for a look round. She was ever so excited – they had some kind of prize draw there, and she had won a flight in a helicopter!

Anyway, I reckoned that seeing as how I had to go into Pionsat yesterday anyway, I’d go and have a nosey around in there. First thing I did was have a go at the prize draw but of course my usual luck held out and I won b*gg*r all.

Never mind, I went for a wander around and I was quite impressed. They are clearly “mindful” of the large “Alternative” community that exists round here. Tons of pulses, dried herbs, infusions, all that kind of thing (and at a price too, though, it has to be said) and a really good “bio” selection. They are also just as clearly “mindful” of the large British community living round here. Heinz Baked Beans and Typhoo tea bags were just two of the dozens of traditional British products on sale. They even had Hartley’s Jelly, something that I have never ever seen anywhere this side of the Channel.

And of course that reminds me. I worked in Brussels for several years and one day one of my Belgian colleagues came up to me. “What do you call that dessert that you Brits eat and it goes ‘brrrrrrrr’ when a lorry drives past?

Another exciting thing about the Intermarche was some publicity from the local taxi company offfering some kind of limited stage carriage service from the local area into Pionsat and from Pionsat to Clermont Ferrand and Montlucon. They even advertised a shopping service – you phone up the shop and place your order, they go round and pick it up and bring it to you, for €5:00. It’s not quite “Tesco at Home” but it’s still some kind of gesture to the 21st Century.

And seeing that advert prompted me to do something that I vowed that I would never ever do even if I was dying of hunger and the bailiffs were hammering at the door, having spent 25 years of my life doing it. I went round to the taxi company’s office and, mindful of the fact that they were advertising a whole host of new services, I suggested to them that they might feel the need to engage extra drivers and if so I was available on an occasional basis. So I now have to fill in a CV and a letter of motivation and we’ll see what happens.

I must be off my head.

But the most exciting thing occurred as I was wandering around the Intermarche. The woman from Luxembourg who lives up the road a way from here and uses my e-mail address when she needs to order anything – she was in there and she came over to me saying “here – have this!” And it was A RIDE IN A HELICOPTER. She had won it and she had absolutely no intention of doing anything that involved taking more than one foot off the ground. All in favour of terra firma – the more firma, the less terra. I was ever so impressed, and ever so grateful.

And I’m still in great demand here. Apart from Liz on the phone I had one of these cold calling canvassers. By the time we finished our call I had the latter cursing and swearing at me down the telephone. Serve them right – I hate them. And not only that I had a visit from the mayor’s office. Firstly about the census and would I like to participate by filling in a form. And secondly it was a fact-finding mission as there appears to be some confusion about the land that I want to buy from the commune. One of the councillors wanted to see precisely what it was that I was wanting.

With all of that, I haven’t done much here. I have an “outside wall” in the stairwell where I wasn’t able to put any insulation to stop the heat leaving the attic. I found some thick corrugated cardboard boxes and flattened them out to use. If homeless people can live in them then they must be some good at insulating and it does seem to work. It’s quite cosy in here even without the heating on.

But I did fit the vertical that I cut yesterday. I also trimmed it to take the horizontal battens that will support the plasterboards. And I’ve made a start on the next one. While I was looking for a suitable chevron I came across some stuff such as guitar leads that I’d been looking for for a while.

All in all, on balance I’ve had a really good day today.

Thursday January 14th 2010 – I notice that the weather is now back to normal.

Yes, dark grey skies, miserable windy wet rainy weather and not a trace of the sun anywhere. It’s just like old times.

So this morning, even though I had an early night I don’t know how I managed to sleep through both alarm clocks and it was 09:40 when I woke up. And you can tell that the weather has changed as it was warmer in here. And also a full 9.5 degrees warmer than downstairs so this insulating lark is definitely working. In fact, even as I write, there’s no heating on in this room.

This morning I fitted another vertical on the first floor. That’s the last of the free-standing ones. The afternoon saw me commence the first one of the ones that will be up against the wall. That needs to be planned carefully as the fitted wardrobe in the bedroom will start here.

But I didn’t get much done as once again I was held in conversation on the phone, firstly by the guy who is sorting out my webhosting and secondly by a guy with a 30 year-old Ford Transit. I noticed it on the car park at Brico Depot the other day and happened to see that its tyres were somewhat the worse for wear. The Luton Transit is the same model as his, and I have two almost-new spare tyres that would be worth a fair bit of dosh for someone, as well as all of the other bits when I start to break it. So I left a note under his windscreen wipers with my telephone number. He’s interested in the tyres and a few other bits and he might come round on Sunday.

It was almost pitch-black by 17:00 and so I knocked off early and came upstairs. If I’m going to have the light on I may as well have the light on up here in comfort.

Friday 8th January 2010 – today was the day …

heavy snow les guis virlet puy de dome france…when my morale, which has been slowly ebbing away for this last couple of weeks, finally disappeared.

I didn’t wake up until the alarm went off (just for a change) and there was no way I was going to get out of bed early. And, as usual, despite the clear starry skies last night, today was clouded over – a heavy hanging cloud was clinging to the side of the mountain.

We’d had snow too, so that involved a shin up onto the roof and a clearing of the solar panels – not that I needed to bother because I’ve had the impressive total of 1.1 amp-hours today!

But none of that is what has done in my morale though. And I can cope with frozen tea towels and frozen ordinary towels and frozen washing-up water and frozen water butts and even frozen lettuce – what did it for me firstly was going into the fridge (that has been switched off for over a month) and finding that my lunchtine tomato was frozen solid. That was bad enough but then while making the coffee there must have been some ice under the seal in the coffee percolator because halfway through the coffee routine the steam pressure blew the coffee all over the verandah. With the ice melted I could tighten up the seal but of course with it being warm it went up too tight and as I tried to undo it later I broke the handle on the machine. One of the reasons that Napoleon’s onslaught on Russia failed was that the severe winter caused all of the items made of tin to become brittle – and I can see what they mean now.

But I also spilt some coffee while I was doing all of this and when I turned my attention back to the spill, it had frozen solid. Today is the first day since I have been keeping records that the temperature in the verandah has not risen above zero all day.

This morning I carried on doing a few odd jobs and then started to measure up another vertical for the first floor and cut the let in the floor beam. I dunno where the morning went but that was all I did. This afternoon with my heart no longer in anything I started to put some insulation under the floor of the attic to help keep in the warmth. But it was flaming freezing and everywhere had gone dark and there was stuff all over the floor and I didn’t feel like tidying up so at 16:30 I packed up and came in – and crashed out again for an hour.

 heavy snowfall les guis virlet auvergne puy de dome franceI rang the baker too – she comes to deliver to me on Tuesdays and Wednesdays but she also has a round on Saturday so I wanted to order some bread as I’ve no intention of going anywhere anytime soon. “It depends if I can make it with this weather” she said – which totally puzzled me as the postie had been this morning. But when I went downstairs to make tea later (some tinned stuff – I wasn’t going to hang around down there in THAT weather) I saw what she meant. In the few hours that I had been upstairs it had snowed like hell and was still chucking it down. There’s about a foot of snow now, so I suppose I won’t get my bread tomorrow either.

Thursday 7th January 2010 – I have been taken to task …

… about my use of the term “cattleyouths” the other day. I have been reminded that there is no such thing and I ought to be referring to “chronologically-challenged cattlepersons”. Ahhh well!

For the second day running I was awake at 06:30 and I’ve no idea why. It must be my guilty conscience. Mind you, it was absolutely taters and it took me all of my effort to heave myself out of my stinking pit when the alarm went off.

This morning I occupied myself with some tasks that I had been meaning to do for a while. As you might remember, a few years ago I experimented with 12-volt MR16 LEDs but with not much success. A few months ago LIDL had a range on sale and I bought a dozen or so to try them out. This has been much more successful and I’ve lit up the house at 1.2 watts a throw. So today I took out the 7-watt flourescents that were in the verandah where I cook and in the lean-to and I’ve installed 2xLEDs in the verandah and just one in the lean-to. I reckon that this little lot will save me about 2 amp-hours per day, which is not to be sneezed at.

The lighting effect is staggering! The verandah is lit up like broad daylight and the lean-to is just as bright as before. So I resurrected my 12-volt daylight sensor from a few years ago and I’ve fitted a LED outside that automatically comes on at dusk – to stop my visitors tripping over trailers and the like, Terry. I’ve fitted a master-switch that overrides it so it’s only on when I want it on.

After that I repaired the chest of drawers that I bought from the Virlet brocante. It wasn’t broken until I tried to fit far too many clothes into it – but now I’ve reinforced the drawers with some wooden struts.

stud wall bedroom shower room les guis virlet puy de dome franceThis afternoon I’ve fitted another vertical in the first-floor partition between the bedroom and the bit where the bathroom will be. Just three more to do now and that will be finished. It seems that I’ve forgotten about the kitchen for a while and I’m doing the 1st floor instead. Still, why not?

But it’s perishing cold and showing no signs of warming up. Next week the weather promises more of the same. There are vague hints of sunny weather too but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Tuesday 5th January 2010 – All this fuss and hype …

… about minus 11 – when I went downstairs at 21:30 to cook tea it was only minus 5. Mind you it was minus 3 in the verandah and freezing point in the lean-to where I eat, so I didn’t hang about long. A handful or two of pasta and a tin of beans and that was tea. And then back up here in the relative warmth.

Mind you, I say relative warmth because when I came up here after work it was a balmy 3.4 degrees in here. Having a foot of snow on the windows hasn’t helped. That of course meant that I’ve been up on the roof a few times today clearing snow off the panels – but still it keeps me fit.

I started off the morning working on my plans for the kitchen and how I’m going to fit the stairs in properly overhead – and I have a few ideas on this. But I couldn’t get into the swing of it what with the cold and so I ended up cutting pillars for upstairs and trying to finish off the studding for the bedroom wall. I’ve one more vertical fitted and another one almost cut and ready but the battery went flat in the drill that I use for marking the lets in the beams, there wasn’t another battery charged, it was getting dark and I was cold and so at 17:10 I called it a day.

One thing about all of this snow is that I get to wash in warm water after work. I just love the fresh snow and so I collect a saucepan full and warm it up so that it melts and I wash in that. It’s the freshest water you can have. So after a warm wash I came up here and … er… crashed out.

In other news, one of the things that I go on about on a regular basis is “Dig For Victory”. During World War II when the UK was threatened with starvation during the U-boat menace all kinds of open areas were turned over to vegetable plots in the “Dig For Victory” campaign so that more food should be grown to ease the risk of starvation. My contention has been that seeing as the west is now fighting an oil war, then everyone should be “Digging For Victory” by growing oil crops to ease the dependency on fossil-fuel oils. Anyway the UK Government hasn’t quite caught up with me yet but it has launched its own “Dig For Victory” campaign. It’s even proposing cookery lessons, so all we need now is for Vera Lynn to sing “Whale Meat Again” and it’ll be just like old times.

Saturday 19th December 2009 – Sometimes I wonder …

… how far I might have made it in the world if I had had the ability to think straight!

This morning I woke up in the freezing cold and still more snow so the first thing that I did was to brush off the solar panels, or as far as I could reach anyway. As the snow continued to fall I had to do it a couple of times and although I was getting a charge off the first bank that I was keeping clear, the second bank had too much snow on it to register and so I was pretty much regretting the waste of energy when suddenly it hit me! So I rushed downstairs and sorted out the chimney sweeping brush, and then back upstairs and onto the roof.

sun clear sky les guis virlet puy de dome franceIt’s not very good and it’s difficult to wield but it’s better than nothing and it was just as well that I had a go because at about 16:00 that golden thing came out and hung around for half an hour or so – and we struggled up to 25 amp-hours of charge, the most I’ve had for a while.

I should have gone shopping today as it is Saturday but the snow put paid to that idea. There’s no point going out in this kind of weather if you can manage as you are. I was also supposed to go to a birthday party tonight and I was really looking forward to going, but there isn’t just the snow to contend with, the temperature had dropped to minus 6 while it was still daylight and it was still snowing! God knows what it will be like at midnight coming home. But it’s so cold that the kettles, that I filled from the water butt after smashing the ice, froze to the concrete floor and the tin of peas and carrots that I opened yesterday and put the rest in a container for tonight – they were frozen solid.

fitting stairs upright stud wall les guis virlet puy de dome franceSo today in between keeping the solar panels clear I carried on with the Stairway to Heaven. I’ve fitted two more uprights as you can see – this is where the turn in the stairs will be. I’ve started to fit the rails that carry the treads and if the weather is too bad to go to this Carol concert tomorrow I’ll be finishing them off and hunting down some scrap wood to use as the treads. It won’t be long now until it’s finished.

And once that’s done I’ll be fitting the stairs in to the ground floor. There’s two that I need to fit that I’ve already cut, and I have a cheap builders’ staircase that I’ll use for the rest. That shouldn’t take much longer either and my plan to have them in for Christmas may well come to pass.

Friday 18th December 2009 – I wondered why it was dark this morning …

snow december 2009 les guis virlet puy de dome france… when the alarm woke me up. The skylights in the roof had about 3cms of snow all over them.

And so after breakfast I went for a wander around and a bit of a photography session. You can see how much snow fell during the night, and it was still chucking it down as I was a-wandering.

After my little perambulation I rang up Liz and spoke to her about the proposed group meal. We had a good chat for half an hour or so. They had had the snowplough down their lane at 10:00 and by 11:00 it had all snowed over again.

heavy snow 2009 les guis virlet puy de domeI was having charging issues in this weather so I shinned out of the side window with the yard brush up onto the roof and brushed the snow off the solar panels where I could reach. That generated something and I had to do it a couple of times during the day. I’m going to have to work out a remote way of doing that in due course. Heated trace wire seems to be one possibility.

I went to brush the snow off the panels that are on the roof of the Luton Transit and which power the barn but I couldn’t find the ladder – half of the old wooden green one. it was there last winter and I do remember lying it down but it seems to have disappeared. I wonder if I lent it to someone. I had to improvise a ladder to get up there and brush things down.

caliburn heavy snow 2009 les guis virlet puy de dome franceI started to fit the turn-round step in the Stairway to Heaven but I’ve hit upon a major design fault. Not that this is any surprise – I was wondering how it was that I have managed to avoid that fate so far. I haven’t allowed for the height of the extra beam that I fitted. It’s not a major issue and I can work round it by having several angled turn-round steps in the corner that will drop me nicely underneath it. It just means that I could have better-managed my staircase. Ahh well.

And at 14:00 precisely that strange golden thing appeared again – and loitered around for about 10 minutes before it started snowing again.

This afternoon Bill rang me up and invited me to his house for Boxing Day. He’ll be having some friends round. That was nice of him. He was telling me about the over-60s dinner that his village organised and to which he was invited. He said that never mind the hairdos, most of the women had had a good shave. It wasn’t the “blue-rinse brigade” that I used to deal with when I worked at Shearings but the “blue chin brigade”. I blame it on all of the hormones that they pump into the cattle round here.

Claude came round for a chat too and he was here a while. We heard the snow-plough arrive and dashed out just in time to see it disappearing back up the lane. It had managed to get within 50 yards of me before it pliddled off, leaving me still snowed-in. But then again it’s much closer than he got last year when I was left snowed-in for four days.

But all of that explains why I haven’t done too much today. I cut another vertical and cut a couple of lets into the beams to take it. And much to my surprise it fitted absolutely perfectly and went into tension without even being screwed in. Now I call that an achievement! If it goes light tomorrow I’ll screw it in. It will be nice to see what I am doing.

Meanwhile, it’s now 28 days since we had a day without any kind of precipitation at all. Today was enough snow for the equivalent of 5cms of rain. And apart from that one morning last week it’s now been 22 days since I’ve had a decent amount of solar energy and 6 days since we had any temperature above freezing point. It’s starting to get on my nerves.

Thursday 17th December 2009 – "In the bleak midwinter frosty winds made moan ….

severe winter 2009 les guis virlet puy de dome france…. earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone”
You know, I had no idea that Christina Rossetti lived here in the Combrailles. Last night the temperature outside dropped to -7.1 and in the heat exchanger it plummeted to -10. Consequently in order to get through the ice in my water butts so that I could have some water, I went in search of the pickaxe.

Now that a wind has sprung up blowing the snow everywhere the temperature has warmed up to a balmy -1.5. It might even struggle up above freezing point tomorrow if we are lucky – the first time since Sunday afternoon.

This morning I actually managed to hear the alarm and so I was up and about comparatively early. I went straight into St Eloy to purchase my Christmas present at LIDL and luckily they still had some in stock. Of course I can’t tell you what it is as I don’t open my presents until Christmas morning. On my way to St Eloy that weird golden thing put in an appearance for 10 or 15 minutes and then it was back to the snow again.

From there I went round to Pionsat to speak to the new owners of the “Queue de Milan” where our group meets on the first Monday of every month. It turns out that the previous owners had forgotten to mention us to him.
“Do you eat here then?” he asked
so I explained to him about our group and how, as it happens, he might be able to do something for us for our Christmas meal.
The conversation then turned to other matters and one of the subjects we discussed was the football and how they were discouraged by the previous owners. With the ground being right next to the hotel I reckoned he should do his best to talk to them.
“Will they eat here after the match then?”
Ahhhhh – right. Not a hotelier, not a bar keeper, just a restauranteur.
Pionsat is a typical small Auvergnat town of maybe 1200 people if it’s lucky. It’s true that there’s no other restaurant for a good few miles but then again the place is hardly heaving with people. A place like the “Queue de Milan” should be the focal point of the area with its hotel, its bar, its little salle de fetes and, yes, its restaurant. It should be all of those things. The previous owners tried to run it as just a restaurant, closing down the bar as the football ground turfed out and things like that, but that of course went tits-up. So if the new owners are trying to follow the pattern then it will end in its own logical conclusion.

Which of course reminds me – the “Queue de Milan” being the hotel-restaurant for the area. Many people are now getting into the detailed planning for Christmas and looking for places to eat out over the festive season. Many ex-pats such as myself live in deplorable circumstances in the middle of house renovations and the like. This is the time that family and friends like to be together and if you don’t have the facilities to lodge your guests you stick ’em up in the local hotel.

So it’s no surprise to anyone for me to tell you that the “Queue de Milan” is closing down tomorrow and reopening on the 4th January once the festive season has ended. And they complain that the business isn’t paying. It beggars belief.

After that I went round to Claude’s. He’s finished with my acrows (he’s only had them for 8 years) and he’s also found the rotavator attachment for my brushcutter, the three-wheeled lawnmower and a few other things. So Caliburn and I went round to pick them up. And what a surprise! He’s been tidying up and found in the pigsty his reserve stock of metal window shutters. They are now surplus to requirements and so he heaved them into the back of Caliburn. That was really nice of him!

So having got the morning out of the way this afternoon I fitted the vertical that I was trying to fit in the dark yesterday – it’s amazing just how easy everything is in the daylight when you can see what you are doing. I followed that by cutting and shaping another vertical which I then installed. And that then split up the vertical length by a good foot. Luckily it’s split outward from the joint so that the weight is still being taken by the unsplit part. I drilled and screwed it to keep it together but I’m fed up of this awful crappy wood from Brico Depot. This is the second one that’s split on me. Someone ought to take the quality control manager outside and shoot him.

Tomorrow I’ll be cutting and fitting the three last beams and once they are in position I can do the remainder of the stairs. I also have some floor to fix as well – I narrowed the stairwells as you might remember so the part between the old beam and the new beam needs to be floored over. That has to be done before I fit the second half of the stairs.

And I also have to go to Glastonbury in the very near future. Someone had seriously annoyed me and they and their entourage are going to be on the receiving end of a really good kicking.

Wednesday 16th December 2009 – The Stairway to Heaven …

stairway to heaven stairs to attic first floor les guis virlet pionsat puy de dome france… now has five steps in it! I started this morning to fit the second upright and much to my surprise and amazement it was in in about 15 minutes. It didn’t need much shaping at all.

That made me feel so much better than I was yesterday – even more so after I’d fitted the rails for the two extra steps, and once the treads were in then it was better still.

I’ve made a start on fitting one of the uprights for the final row – the one where the turn will be in the staircase – but once again I ran out of light. If I hadn’t missed my aim when employing Ashley (my rather large wooden mallet) to fasten one of the beams and I’d have hit the beam that I was aiming for, I might have had some electric light. Guaranteed for 40,000 hours, these LED lightbulbs, but I’m sure the guarantee must exclude being wallopped to smithereens by a wooden mallet.

And I suppose that had I heard the alarm at 08:00 this morning instead of sleeping through until 10:00 I might have fitted the new uprights long before it went dark.

Mind you, a strange thing happened today. Round about 13:30 this weird golden object appeared in the sky. It only stayed around for about 15 minutes and then it started snowing again. I wonder what it was. I have vague memories of seeing something similar but it was so long ago that I can’t remember what it was.

In other news, have you seen the latest headlines? NATO has gone cap-in-hand to the Russkies to beg them to lend some helicopters to use in Afghanistan to crush the Taliban.

Of course, back in the old days those of you with long memories will recall that NATO armed the Mujahadeen (which was what the Taliban was called in those days) to attack the Russians and drive them out of Afghanistan after the Russkies had invaded that country. And now NATO, having invaded Afghanistan in its turn, is begging the Russkies to come and help them fight against the Mujahadeen (or Taliban) that is armed with the weapons that NATO gave them all those years ago.

NATO’s humiliation must now be complete. Are there any further depths that the west can plumb in this disgraceful and obscene invasion?

Tuesday 8th December 2009 – I’ve put all four verticals …

bedroom stud wall upright living room les guis virlet puy de dome france… for the head of the stairs now, as you can see.

I’ve also taken out one of the original uprights so that the doorway upstairs is now totally resting on my two uprights.

You can see to the right of the photo a roll of this space-age insulation stuff. Tomorrow’s task is to line the stairwell with that stuff so that I can complete the head of the stairs on both levels.

I had a strange phone call today.
“Congratulations, Mr Hall. You have won a major prize.”
“Very good. You have my address. Post it to me”.
“Well, actually, you have to come to our meeting at Evaux to collect it”
“Not at all – you have my address. Just post it to me. I don’t understand why you are waiting.”
“We have to verify that you are retired and in receipt of a pension. That is your case, isn’t it?”
“That’s a bit forward of you. You don’t ask questions like that to someone you hardly know. When we’ve met each other a few times and we are about to get engaged then you can ask me these questions”
I can keep that up all night – but it’s sad, isn’t it? I actually look forward to the junk phone calls just so I can have someone to talk to.

In other news, 2 items have caught my eye today.

Firstly, Al-Qaida is being blamed for a bomb attack in Baghdad. That’s extremely exciting, for when Saddam Hussein was in power he refused to tolerate Al-Qaida and had expelled from Iraq anyone offering them any kind of support. It seems that the Anglo-American aggressor/invader/oppressor has allowed them back into the country.

The second bit of news is that the country that has supplied the most refugees to the EU is … err …. Iraq. 22% of all refugees in the EU last year were Iraqis. Now unless I have missed something obvious, I understood that one of the reasons for the Anglo-American aggressor/invader/oppressor invading Iraq was to promote a regime change to get rid of a tyrant/oppressor so that all of the Iraqis could live in peace and security. So now that Saddam has been gone for a few years and we have a western-style democracy, why is everyone fleeing the country? Shouldn’t they all be happy now with their Saddam-less democracy? Or is this something else that the Anglo-American aggressor/invader/oppressor has totally ballsed up?

And in other other news, I also keep statistics on visits to my website and yesterday I had over 100 more visitors that the usual daily average. I’ll have to wait til later to see what page it was that they were all visiting but it’s certainly exciting all of this.

Wednesday 2nd December 2009 – If you look very carefully …

bedroom new floor beam stud wall les guis virlet puy de dome… at today’s image you will see the horizontal beam that I fitted yesterday. That will give you some kind of indication as to how wide the stairs up to the first floor will be. They will be fitted between that beam and the wall in the background – although there will need to be an allowance for the width of some insulation and plasterboard.

You can also see that I’ve fitted an upright into position in the new beam. This is level with the door into my attic on the floor above, and is where the head of the stairs will be for the floor below. To the right of the upright is where the bathroom is to be fitted – you can see the window that will be incorporated into there.

Yes, I’ve fitted one upright. And that will be the only upright that I’ll be fitting for a while too. The uprights are called chevrons – 63mm x 75mm and they need to be at least 4m long. Although the height between floors is only about 2m90, the chevrons need to project some way below the level of the floor so that I can secure the head of the stairs to them. And search as I have done all of the afternoon, I cannot find anywhere my stock of 4m chevrons. I’ve found the 3m and 3.5m ones, but not a single 4m one and that’s a perishing nuisance. I’ll have to wait until I go to Brico Depot at the weekend.

Mind you, while I was searching for the chevrons I discovered my missing beam. It was in the barn in the stack with all of the other new, unused wood. What a silly place to put it! Who on earth put it there?

Tomorrow I’ll be fitting the beam against the wall (if I can find my anchor bolts) and cutting the lets into it to take the verticals (whenever it may be that I will find them). I’ll have to think of something else to do on Friday which is a shame – I was hoping to have all of the verticals in place for this weekend so I could make a start on the stairs on Monday.

But then again it isn’t as if I don’t have anything else to do round here, is it?