Sunday 20th May – Rock Solid

As last week, we feel like we are making really good progress on a number of tasks and charging (relatively!) through the list of jobs to do and are ticking them off.  This has been helped in no small part by the AMAZING weather we have enjoyed for the last 3 weeks which, as long as I don’t jinx it, looks like it will continue well into this coming week.

We always believed that when Grange was structurally complete and I could focus on the finishing then it would be fairly simple to progress at a good pace.  This has turned out to be the case and on Monday I managed to build the remainder of the sofas that we had bought. Having taken ages to put the first together because of the appalling assembly instructions, the remainder were much faster.

We did receive most parts of the ‘major addition’ that I spoke about last week but not all and so we haven’t managed to install it.  As it isn’t installed I will keep that secret until next week’s blog …

But, furniture built, I was able to pick up on another job that I had started a couple of week’s ago – building a(nother) slate wall, this time between where the new man shed will be and the Grange.  We have built a number of slate walls since living here (to create a flower bed in front of Hayloft; to make a smart gateway at the back driveway; rebuilding the tropical bed) for a number of reasons.  This is partly because we believe they look good and should last a long time; partly because I quite enjoy doing it but mostly because we have so much slate that we need to use!

Much of this slate came from the small wood shed we demolished to build Grange but a lot has just come from digging around the garden – there is so much about and lots of it great for building.  Having manually dug all around Grange so that I can get a wheelbarrow easily round, it meant that the new ground level was approximately a meter below the new concrete pad we laid where we are going to enlarge the man shed.  As the soil was unattractive and not likely to be very solid, I thought I’d build a wall (again!)

While it has taken all week, on and off with other tasks and because it has been so hot, we think it looks great and really finishes off that area.  I have used the concrete lintel we took out of the old jungle bed (waste not, want not!) and some railway sleepers to create the steps up to where the man shed door will be.  Eventually, when we order the gravel for the drive, this too will all be gravelled and should be easy to maintain.

ManShed Steps

ManShed Wall complete








Another point of this work was also to make a tidy rubbish and recycling area under the games room stairs.  However, now that we think it looks so good as you walk down the drive, we think the bins are really unsightly so will, eventually, put them on the other end of the garage – also means that they won’t smell out the games room on hot days.

ManShed Steps fm front

While the wall was the major task complete we have managed to do various bits of tidying and clearing.  This included finally storing some wood we had delivered probably a couple of years ago which had sat under black plastic near the back gate as I didn’t have the time or equipment to split it before.  Now done and the area cleared.

The next big space to clear is what will be the petanque pitch which, because of where it is, immediately in front of Grange, really became my building yard for the construction.  Looking at what is there it shouldn’t take too long.  The weeding will be the hardest part, but it would be good to get that cleared and a petanque pitch created before we gravel the drive.  Next week’s major task.

Petanque Pitch to be!

The amazing weather has meant that we have managed, at last, to have our first BBQ of the year – I love cooking outside and don’t know why we left it so long.  Thankfully, it wasn’t the first time this year we have used our chiminea – what I think might be my absolute favourite possession – and enjoy the fantastically clear skies and starry nights.  Beautiful.  To make up for the late start we are doing the same again tonight – and maybe tomorrow as it is another public holiday in France so Dave doesn’t have to go to work.

First BBQ of the year