LES GUIS - 2009
First project for 2009 was nothing to do with me - in fact it took me somewhat by surprise. Having seen the mayor's electoral promise to put hardstanding down to everyone's house, I duly deposited my demand for the making-up of the road at the back of my house - and, because I've heard about a great many promises from a great many politicians before, promptly forgot about it.
The mayor didn't, though, and a couple of months later, this was what I discovered when I returned home one afternoon.
I have to say that I'm well-impressed. This opens up all new avenues for me as I have a couple of little plots of land right by this little lane and if I put my mind to it, I can convert them into a parking space, and finally put all of my possessions chez moi.
I was back in the garden too during 2009.
As you can see, considering that this is only a temporary solution here, I was putting my back into it. I doubt if I will ever be self-sufficient in vegetables, but there's nothing lost in doing my best. And it isn't looking too bad at all. However, this was before I was considerably distracted by other far more important matters.
Far more important matters in fact.
I'd met Terry and Liz a year or so ago and they were slightly more advanced on their house than I was, but nevertheless they had roofing issues, as did Yours Truly. Consequently we bought a second-hand scaffolding between us and took turn and turn-about to deal with the aforementioned issues.
Even though I was keen to do all of the work on my house myself, I wasn't going to miss out on this opportunity, and we had the old tiles off my place in just a couple of hours.
Here's the finished product - a brand-new roof fitted with Aspire recycled plastic slates. Totally indistinguishable from the real thing at this sort of distance of course.
We also have our 6 Kyocera 135-watt solar panels on the roof too. In princliple, about 65 amps of current or about 0.78 of a kilowatt, which is impressive in anyone's currency. All I need now of course is some sun.
Having started in earnest on the house and fitted the solar panels on the roof, I needed to sort out the electricity. I'd dug out the floor ages ago and this is where I intend to fit the batteries for the system. If you think that they are standing proud of the surface, don't worry because in the fullness of tile I'll be fitting a suspended wooden floor, and that will take care of that.
Not only is there a temporary control panel there now, you'll see that I've unblocked the front door. I'll fit a temporary door there for now so that access will be easier while I'm working.
This is the scene inside the attic right now. You can see the "space blanket" insulation that I've fitted from the outside while we were up on the roof. I'm going to fill it with insulation from the inside, dry-line the walls and fill the gap with insulation, fit a floor and build new stairs.
I need to get a move-on too. It's now late August, I'm not the quickest worker, and I want to be in here long before the end of the year. This will be my Christmas present to myself.
So here we are - early November and the attic is as finished as it will be for a while. A new little woodstove, a new bed-settee and a new coffee table too - all the comforts of home. And make the most of how tidy it looks, because it wont ever look this tidy again.
Double-glazed windows all round, a new stud wall at the head of the stairs and a glazed door into the room, 12-volt LED lighting, it's exactly as I hoped that it would be and I could settle in here for the duration.
I am totally impressed with this.
I hdn't forgotten the newt stairs that I had promised either. There were still a couple of weeks to go before the Christmas break and so I set to work on doing that. I wasn't all that happy about climbing up a whole series of ladders, I had to admit.
These are the stairs up to the attic from the first floor. They are a kind-of spiral stairs to save space. There will be a nice little storage cupboard behind them. Storage space is always a premium wherever I'm to be found.
And now I can knock off work and wish myself a Merry Christmas - and I'll be comfortable for the first-ever time here in the Auvergne, I hope.
You can keep up-to-date with my antics on a more-or-less daily basis by reading my blog
See more photos from 2009 in the photo gallery.