Ben’s Brittany Holiday Cottages Blog
28th January 2018 Blog
As I wrote last week’s blog, I was getting frustrated at the laminate flooring that we had bought to lay in the storeroom of Grange. As I mentioned, we had purposely chosen the cheapest laminate available so we weren’t expecting anything of exceptional quality – although I was expecting it to be able to be laid as a laminate floor.
All of Monday, and a small part of Tuesday, was spent completing this floor. I eventually fathomed the difficulty was because a few of the boxes of planks had either curved along their length or had not been cut accurately. The result was that I could connect them tightly at either end but there was a gap in the centre. Being the cheapest we knew that it wouldn’t be the most robust but we would expect it to be able to do its job otherwise it is just throwing money away! Had it mattered greatly I would have taken some back but, with the judicious use of a couple of expansion joints I am happy enough with the finish.
Our electrician also came round in the week so the storeroom is now complete in every respect (other than being connected to power itself!) and ready to store things – yay!
The remainder of the week I have done a couple of smaller jobs and started on a(nother) project that we have wanted to do for a year.
The smaller jobs were adapting (upcycling?) one of the cabinets we had bought on French Gumtree to reduce it in size so that it fitted better into our own living room and replaced an old, very 1980s looking, TV cabinet; and starting to refurbish the lamp we bought with the Games Room pool table which is in a bit of a sorry state and needs some new fibre glass to repair. I really enjoy these little challenges bringing old things back into use – although I haven’t yet done anything terribly complex – perhaps I may do more when all of our other projects are done …
We popped into Quimper on Friday, principally for David to buy some fabric to create additional blinds for Priory and for me to buy the (dreaded) white plastic lambris (tongue and groove) for the garage bay ceilings. However, when in the supermarket we ended up buying a new dishwasher for Priory too so an expensive day became an even more expensive one!
At the weekend I started to put the lambris up but unfortunately didn’t get very far. I had hoped to pin it using the same panel pins as the wooden lambris but, as it is so fragile, any movement and the pins pull through. My stapler isn’t quite suited to staple the accessible bits so I need to go back to the DIY store (my toy shop as David refers to it) to buy some more appropriate nails – with larger heads. Despite only completing a few rows it gives an impression and I don’t think that it will look too bad when done!
As I couldn’t progress with that, and as the weather seems to have settled a bit, I started the project that we have wanted to do for a year – the tropical / jungle bed. This is the name that we have given to the flower bed at the end of the entrance drive as it had some attractive tropical type plants – and we have bought additional architectural plants to add. However, over the last couple of years it has become more of a jungle as it was too overgrown and we had let the grass grow on the drive in front.
We have a small window when it is possible to do anything with the bed, generally in the winter before the Lilly of the Valley starts to grow and when it isn’t too wet. Last year Grange took all of our time but this year, with the old adage ‘first impressions count’, we thought it needed to be tackled.
Our plan is to expand the bed slightly, remove the plants we don’t want and add our new ones. Hopefully, about a week’s worth of work in total. Today was spent focussed on clearing the weeds in front of the bed and it already looks better – it will be amazing when finished.
David has taken on a new challenge too which may mean you see some small changes to our website.
A few weeks ago we asked a number of people to quote to do some SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) on our website. As there are so many gîtes and holiday companies it is a real science trying to get any website on the hallowed first page of Google searches. One person came back with an, unusually honest, answer that, unless we could spend LOTS of money for a professional over the course of months it wasn’t worth doing and he recommended more effective ways to spend our money. As a result we have decided not to use any professional SEO companies (you have to admire anyone who gives you an answer which results in you not paying for their services) and Dave is becoming an SEO guru himself and doing the work.
Next week, hopefully, I will be able to complete the jungle bed and maybe some white plastic lambris.