16 April 2023

RAIN STOPPED WORK and other news.

I visited my first brocante the other weekend and just like last year it was bitterly cold.  In fact the weather during all of April has been pretty disappointing.  Easter weekend was nice - warm and sunny on Easter Sunday - but either side of then we have had a lot of rain, hail, and cold northerly winds.

At that brocante I bought just two items; the watercolour painting of the bay at Morbihan and a nice pot.  The pot is the one in the middle and as soon as I saw it I knew where I would put it - on the well.

Our well is very deep, 35m, and has its own room.  When we bought the house the previous owners always referred to the place as the "well room" which we thought sounded a bit daft but as we haven't come up with a different idea the name has stuck.

I expect that when it was first dug the well was outside the house then at some point an occupant of the house built a roof over it.   Hence the room.  Looking at the walls that was probably a few hundred years ago.   It’s a useful storage space although difficult to access because the well itself blocks much of the entrance.  For the last few years we have used it to store all the wood from our walnut tree which we had to have cut down to make way for the septic tank pipework.  

The builder who repaired our outside walls a few years ago said the massive stone at the top of the well was the biggest he had ever seen.  We modified the wooden lid when we first got Daisy as we didn’t want her to go snooping under the gap and fall in.  Now the lid is a temporary home for some rustic pots, to which I added the latest acquisition.  I say temporary because building work on the roof of the well room is about to start (hopefully) and the contents will have to be moved out for a while.  We seem to have spent an awful lot of the time we have had this house moving stuff from one part of it to another to allow for work to be done!

There is a window at what would have been the end wall of the house which overlooks the well room.  I'm not sure when that was put in as originally, when we think the house was probably two dwellings plus a bread oven, it was presumably just an outside wall.  This picture is the view of the living room from inside the well room.

Above the well room is the roof terrace.  There will be more to tell about this as major work is about to start on repairing it.  The main problem is that the beams are not strong enough to support the terrace, it bounces when you walk on it, cracks have occurred and it leaks.  The beams and base of the terrace are rotting away.  Nick made a good attempt at repairing and sealing it a few years ago but it didn't last because the basic structure is not sound.

We have more or less ignored it for the last few years but last summer we stepped out onto it, looked at the view and thought that we really should get it fixed and enjoy using it.

The builder and his team came this week to finish the gates and start work on the roof terrace but the weather has been so foul that it all came to a halt.  All we have so far is some scaffolding and the beginnings of a rather nice wall (it fills the gap where the side gate used to be).

The weather was much better at Easter weekend, being about ten degrees warmer, for the brocante at Angles-sur-L'Anglin which is always a good one.  There I bought this nice green dish.  

In "other news":  we had a rare visitor on one of the few sunny mornings lately.  A hoopoe was parading around the garden, pecking at the grass.  They are funny looking birds and we have only seen one chez nous once before.

And internet update:  with our new 4G connection we have gone from the dismal 0.8MB on the livebox to 16.5MB on the flybox.  It has made an enormous difference, making it possible to do all the things we want to do with the internet.  We still await and look forward to the connection of fibre!

The quote from Leroy Merlin for the air conditioning was a little over half the amount from the local person, yet the units to be used are good quality Mitsubishi kit.  Needless to say we snapped their hands off (as we would say in the UK) and the work is booked for late in May.  Hopefully before the inevitable summer heat waves.

We have collected our "new" car and are practising our driving on the wrong side of it.  We are getting to grips with the gear stick being at our right hand instead of the left and the number of occasions that we get into the car on the wrong side and try to change gear with the door handle is definitely diminishing.  Of course,,..having two virtually identical cars where one is LH drive and the other RH drive is not really helping our brains to slip into the right  correct mode!


  1. Work on these old houses never stops.......
    Our internet has improved in leaps and bounds though. From 0.5MB we have gone to 300.0MB they installed fibre suddenly out of the blue at the end of last year, a huge surprise that was very welcome!

    Have a good week,cheers Diane

    1. Sadly I don't think our fibre will arrive for quite some time, even though the wires run right past our gate!
      You're right about old houses. The process of patching up, correcting previous bodges, and simply keeping on top of the maintenance is a never ending task.

    2. There is a French website where you can check when fibre is likely to be available. There are four categories ranging from green (available now) through orange (imminent) yellow (some time in the near future) to red (no date as yet). Red is where we fall so there is no plan for it at the moment. Sadly.

  2. We’ve finally seen an uplift in the weather this week, so hopefully you will have done so too and your work can start in full - puts my efforts to decorate a bedroom and stairwell to shame!

    1. I would never have believed we would still be up to our necks in projects after all these years but hopefully, this year will see everything we need to do completed. After that it will just be the ongoing maintenance of a crumbling old house!
      .....we have yet to tackle the decorating of the other bedrooms and stairwell, as it happens!

    2. Possible well name: The Absolute Pits.

      Reading this post I'm reminded of all the work that went into keeping our modest terrace house in Drefféac (Loire Atlantique) fit for human habitation. We were told - very vaguely - that it was over a hundred years old but in some respects it was almost Mediaeval. The walls, almost 75 cm thick, were made of large-ish rounded pebbles held together by a minimum of mortar. The visual effect being that of a sweetmeat - possibly now defunct - called Peanut Brittle. Non-edible in this case.

      I couldn't help thinking that the wiring pre-dated the introduction of domestic electricity, though that would have been perverse even by extreme French standards. I had done re-wiring in the UK but I didn't fancy tackling this appalling bird's nest and "got a chap in". This led to disappointment on his part when I refused his offer to install a va et vient between floors, the house wasn't big enough to justify this.

      One area of wiring had to be left "as was" given it had been hidden by an impenetrable lambris (my first encounter with this charming word) which the electrician said defeated him. Defeated me too.

      And then there was the débarras which I adored as a perfect example of the French practice of taking what were $5 words in English and turning them into linguistic commonplaces in l'Hexagone. One of the reasons I am still besotted with the country and will - God and the NHS willing - be returning to this July in the form of a rented villa in the Languedoc.

      My favourite (untranslated) French novel: Gros-calin, by Romain Gary. Hilarious yet austere. Only a French author could have managed that combination.