24 January 2015


First, the fosse.  Despite unfriendly weather and plenty of delays, Fred the contractor managed to get the fosse ready for inspection by Satese on the 20th and it passed.  Tant mieux !!

The holes in the ground can now be filled in and then the new drive installed.  By all accounts the courtyard and garden are one huge mess and advice is that we should stay away for a while longer.

There is still no sign of the new boiler.


Second, back in the UK we have found out the hard way how important it is to have the kitchen fitted properly – and potentially how much better the job might be by doing it ourselves, or at least with the help of people we know and trust to do a good job.


Not long ago I noticed that one of the wall units seemed to be leaning at a slightly jaunty angle.  We came to the conclusion that this was a recent occurrence and decided to investigate.


Once the contents of the cupboard were removed, Nick took it apart and discovered the reason.  The bracket that should have three screws holding it up had only got one screwed to the wall!

No wonder the cupboard had slid forwards, full of our crockery and other stuff.

brocante4  brocante6

Further investigation revealed that the next cabinet along was just the same. 

When we bought the house one of the things that made us decide on this one was that the kitchen, along with the rest of the interior, was brand new.  The house had been recently renovated and had a completely new interior, including the kitchen, bathroom, electrics – everything.  It was like buying a brand new house in an old shell – all the character of a 1930’s house but with modern fittings.

Little did we know that there were numerous nasty surprises lurking behind the brand new interior.

So far we have fixed the leak under the kitchen sink, the leak under the cloakroom sink, the alignment of the downpipe from the bath – discovered when we noticed the bath water running down the drive onto the road! Also we have had to refit the built-in dishwasher so that the door opens properly – it was mounted too high in the unit and the door would not open completely.  Last but not least we have replaced electric sockets that didn’t work.

Hanging anything on the walls is near impossible.  The bricks are hard as iron and the plasterboard cladding over them is very soft.  We have tried every fixing screw known to man and in some places none of them work.  Hence presumably the reason the cupboards were hung so badly – whoever fitted the wall cabinets probably gave up, left them hanging on one just one screw and hoped nobody would find out.

We can grumble all we like about the standard of workmanship and how nobody takes any pride in doing a job properly any more, but this experience serves to convince us that we are doing the right thing in fitting our French kitchen ourselves. Or rather helping people we know and trust to fit it for us.  It might take a bit longer to get it finished but at least we’ll know it will be done right.

Design 3 Design 4 

Latest design images from the kitchen company have arrived and we’re very excited!  There’s still some tweaking to be done before the final order but so far it’s looking good.

daisy5 daisy6 

Thirdly, little Daisy had her operation this week.  No more risk of kittens for her (or us).

On collecting her from the vet we were told she had had to be fitted with one of those lampshade collars to deter her from licking her stitches – and that we should keep her quiet for the evening.

There was no chance of that!  As soon as we let her out of the cage she hurtled everywhere, crashing into everything because of the collar and that didn’t last long either!   It took her all of five minutes to wriggle out of it.  We refitted it and five minutes late she had extricated herself again.


She was ravenously hungry and having given her the vet’s recommended light diet of scramble egg she continued to beg for food and tucked in to a hearty dinner.  This cat is fearless, clever and utterly adorable !!


Finally, after a moderate snow fall on Wednesday we looked out of the bedroom window to see a strange pattern of tracks and footprints centred around the bird table.  There were plenty of bird prints and a noticeable pathway of something else – leading from under the decking.

What do you reckon?  We fear the worst.

Bon Dimanche !!


  1. I think the kitchen looks lovely
    I enjoy hearing about Daisy.
    The paw prints are most likely aardvarks.

    1. Spo, I had no idea aardvarks venture this far north!

  2. I think you might have engineering bricks underneath... or something like that.
    We had those in Leeds...
    hammer drills do not work...
    drills for ceramic surfaces do!
    I have a set... from Lidl... where else...
    but they only do things like that occasionally!
    But most good DIY stores sell drills for ceramic/ tile / glass...
    I started using one of those drills for mirrors...
    it worked, but awful slow!!
    Then Lidl had a set of the real thing...
    BUT they must not be used on hammer...
    and are still really slow....
    you have to grind your way in...

    And, I think you have a rat...
    or, possibly, more! Sorry...

    1. Tim, a rat (or several rats) was our conclusion. We have experience of rats from our previous house so Nick has already put down some poison.
      Luckily Daisy is a permanently indoor cat so there's no risk to her from the poison and Lulu hasn't been venturing out into the garden much due to the wet weather.

  3. The kitchen does look very nice. And as for fitting it yourselves, as my mother always said when we children complained about anything she had done, "If you want it done right, do it yourself!"

    1. Ken, my mother used to say exactly the same thing, although usually as a complaint about the way we had set the table, or washed up!

    2. What my mother was teaching us was self-reliance.

    3. Self reliance is a good thing to learn, a rare attribute these days I think, in a time when everything seems to be someone else's responsibility, and especially someone else's fault if it goes wrong.

  4. Hello Jean,

    Oh dear, the trials and tribulations of house ownership. Sometimes it does just seem like the Forth Bridge.......one never comes to the end of what needs doing.

    But, it is all so exciting and seeing the plans of your new kitchen must have given you a thrill. It will be great when it is done. When.....Patience is a virtue we are told!

  5. No droppings to confirm or at least steer ID of the mammalian bird feeder visitor? Mind you, I've no idea what aardvark droppings look like.

    The more I hear of kitchen fitters the less I like them. I think you are doing absolutely the right thing.

    1. "aardvark droppings look like".....
      squashed ants!

    2. And DIY kitchen fitting results in aardvark!!

  6. Daisy seems to be the 'kindred spirit' of my sister's cat :-D She hated the collar too!

    (The beads you asked about are carved shell beads. I had them from Etsy ages ago.)

  7. You need a wildlife camera from Aldi to comfirm it is Raty!!

    1. Nick had one last year for his birthday, but unfortunately, as ever, it's in the wrong country!

  8. I would definitely suspect Daisy is keeping a close eye on the bird table! We found all kinds of bodges in our house after we moved in too; there are some right numpties around, I agree about the importance of getting good people in!

    1. Sue, we have kept Daisy indoors since we got here five weeks ago, worried that she might not cope with the busy road outside.
      She does spend a lot of time checking out the birds in the garden, either through the kitchen patio doors or from the bedroom windowsill, frequently making a funny little clucking noise.
      As for bodging, I really don't understand why people do it. My mother always said "if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing right".
      That was usually after she said "if you want anything doing right, do it yourself"!

    2. Do you think people do "bodging" on purpose? We don't use that word. A job is "botched" but I don't think anybody would say it was done on purpose. It's the result of carelessness, which is part of human nature.

    3. Ken, in this case I think it was bodged on purpose.
      Doing it properly took a lot of time and effort so I think the people that renovated the house decided to bodge it knowing they were selling the house and would therefore never have to live with it themselves and the money would safely in the bank by the time the new owners (us) had to deal with it.
      I think most bodging is done through lack of skills, lack of time, or lack of money, and people just put up with a poor job because they don't really mind enough to put it right.

    4. I guess this is another linguistic difference. U.S. botch means done carelessly, incompetently. It's not malicious. Brit. bodge seems to have a different meaning. I'd say the cabinet installers rigged everything up to trick potential buyers into believing that the house was all neat and in fine shape. The defects might have been deliberately concealed. If so, the job was not botched but sabotaged. Shoddy workmanship. Sorry you were the victims.

    5. I just found this on s Wiki site:

      "In contemporary British English slang, bodging can also refer to a job done of necessity using whatever tools and materials come to hand and which, whilst not necessarily elegant, is nevertheless serviceable. Bodged should not be confused with a "botched" job: a poor, incompetent or shoddy example of work, deriving from the mediaeval word "botch" – a bruise or carbuncle, typically in the field of DIY, though often in fashion magazines to describe poorly executed cosmetic surgery. A "bodge", like its cognates kludge and fudge, is serviceable: a "botched" job most certainly is not – but a total failure."

    6. "...separated by a common language..."

  9. Kitchen looks lovely!
    Is Daisy worrying the stitches? This is our real concern re Tinky. A collar would last her all of 5 seconds. Last summer she got a scrape on her side and made it worse by continuously licking it -- we made her a 'tube dress' out of an old sock. It lasted for a while ... but it took 5 more 'dresses' before the scrape finally healed. Lord knows where the discarded socks are!

    1. Antoinette, she wriggled out of the collar several times before we gave up on it. She was obviously quite distressed and disorientated because of it.
      We put on a tube elastic bandadge overnight and that seemed to work. After that we did see her licking and chewing at the stitches, but they had good knots in them!
      Luckily the wound stayed clean enough and healed ok. She had her stitches removed at the vet's today.
      I bet some of those discarded socks will turn up, sooner or later!

  10. Your kitchen plans look great and you're so right about fitting it yourself and making sure everything is as it should be. Sorry you're finding all these snags with your new UK house. :(