EEC 27, 16th November 2005

I forgot to mention, early October was the village fete. This gentleman gave free rides to the children in his cart, and towed the teenagers round on a sort of grass surfboard. His dog spent the whole of the time I was there, about a couple of hours, standing on the horse's back. I think he had more fun than the kids.

Meanwhile the adults were checking out more serious pursuits. The village street was closed to traffic for the local skittles championships. I didn't really get the hang of the rules, the scoring is weird, but I did notice that the chunks of wood the 2 guys are hiding are thrown at the skittles.

The walls had now reached the top level of the doors, so we carried one over and tried it for size. Oops! Well, fortunately it was only a minor oops, but was close to being major. I have no idea how it happened, I was checking with a plumbline all the time, but one side of one doorway leaned in about 2 cms. At the top there was only about 2 mm (about 1/16") each side of the door which is a bit tight. I managed to cut some blocks back, now there's 5 mm each side. Still a little close but better. I have to render all the blockwork when I have finished, to make it more waterproof and to make it look better. The rendering with be thin at that point......... The height of the doorway was OK though.

Next job was the lintels over the doorways. The local method is to prop U shaped blocks above the doorway,

and drop some reinforcing like this down in the U

Then you fill with concrete. So that cats can sit in safety.

And the next day she's there again.

Eleanor and Johann came for the weekend. Well, they came on the overnight train from Paris Friday night complete with kitten, left me to babysit the kitten while they went to an all night party in Toulouse on Saturday, then spent most of Sunday bicycling around the area. Still, really great to see them again.

Back to building.

With help of course. I'm now at a different corner.

Remember all those photos of Little Cat #1 travelling in the van? I guess I could do a series on Little Cat #2 helping with the building work.

A balloonist from the UK, Ken Chapple, who is thinking to move to France, called at the weekend. Saturday night for our dinner I tried out my new raclette grill which worked well. Raclette is method of melting special cheese and eating with boiled potatoes and special cold meats. Chance had it that there was a village Remembrance Day lunch on Sunday which was great fun. I didn't know I knew so many people in the village, then there were many people saying, oh yes it's you who flies the balloon. We dragged ourselves away about 4 pm. (I don't know if Remembrance Day is, well, remembered, in the US. It's to remember those who fell in the first, and second, world wars.)

It was now 15 days since I made the concrete lintel so it was safe to remove the supports. Little Cat has just tried it out.

She's now checking out the gable end.

And the other end.........

Here's the garage (and cat) with the blockwork finished. (Weyhey!)

The concrete mixer is pulled back so that I can make a final check that the space for the door is still the right size for the door. It is. Phew. I'd almost been losing sleep that I had maybe made another mistake!

See the night watchman, keeping a bright couple of eyes on things?

Next is the roof. I've bought some of the timbers today. The main beams are 6 metres long, measuring 10 x 22 cms (4x9") which appear quite substantial.

But it rained again. It seems to be raining all the time. It's not but it seems like the ground is wet all the time. I thought it was dry down here in the south of France. And sometimes it's cold! Some days only but I don't like cold. I came here because I thought it would be warm. I bought heaters but I didn't think I would need them. The forecast for next Friday is -2C in the morning. That's MINUS TWO DEGREES CENTIGRADE!!! (And about 29F for any Americans who don't understand Centigrade). Andre says it's exceptional but I didn't expect to find temperatures below freezing in November. Maybe Texas has something going for it after all.............Guess I'll have to amend my travel plans. Canada is still OK for next summer, but maybe I'll have to think about further south for next winter. Africa perhaps?

Hey, the world is my oyster.

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