Sunday 02 February – Plaster bored

Despite mentioning the start of the Six Nations in last week’s blog, having watched the England / France match I won’t be mentioning too much about the game …

The week has, inevitably, been focussed on the Priory refurbishment and we have had both our builder and our electrician with us for most of the week.  My hope at the end of last week was that the re-wiring would be near completion and we would be able to start re-building rather than demolishing.  Thankfully, this has proven to be the case but this may not be the longest blog.

I remain amazed at how many metres of cable and wiring are required to re-wire the gîte to abide by French regulations.   I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that, because we are giving Priory its own independent power supply, we are required to have an inspection before it will be connected to the grid.  As such, our electrician, Pascal, is required to install all sorts of things that we wouldn’t otherwise need, including sockets for internet access despite them not being required as our internet is provided wirelessly.

French rules state that major appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, have their own dedicated circuits connected directly to the fuseboard leading to additional cables.  Also, because we expect to add more electrical ‘things’ in the gîte, and guests now travel with more electrical items such as mobiles, tablets etc., we have decided to add far more sockets than we had before which again add to the cabling.

You can see from this image where many of these will go in the new kitchen and, where it appears that large mice have burrowed along the walls, Pascal has drilled and channelled the walls for the sockets to be installed.

It has therefore proven advantageous that we have stripped off the lambris on the mezzanine level, and had planned to install some contemporary panelling in the living area, as this will allow us to hide much of the cabling, and the new heating system pipes, behind the new plasterboard.

The lounge looks the most different at the end of the week, although photos are difficult as there is no power in the lounge anymore and with all the furniture stacked in the centre it’s difficult to get a good view.  We are conscious that, because of the age of the building the living area can be a little dark during the day.  While the slate walls are attractive and the original 17th century structure, as there is so much of it we can hide some and add to the charm rather than detract from it and add some additional lighting.

We have taken the opportunity to add a little bit of insulation behind the new wall, as much to assist with the sound of the stud wall as much as improve the heat retention but every little helps!  Next stage for these walls is to add the wood to create the panels which we may do next week.

We have started in the en-suite shower-room too, although have not made the same progress.  Knowing that the room will not be the most generously sized, although ideal for a shower room, we have decided, in order to gain as many centimetres as we can, to remove all of the old lambris and move the soil pipe for the toilets.  Something else where every little helps!  The slate walls here are also very attractive but sadly we will hide these again behind plasterboard and tiles.

Mouse gave us a bit of a scare during the week as she had been decidedly off-colour and not behaving in her usual active way.  We’re not sure what was making her unwell but, with a magic tablet and some time she is making a steady recovery to her normal self.

With the changes to the lounge and starting to replace things that have been removed, I am beginning to get the feeling that we are moving in the right direction.  Next week hopefully we will continue to build more than we demolish and will have more to share on Sunday – and a better rugby result!

À bientôt.