Sunday 21 June – The Longest Day

To begin, my apologies for not posting a blog for the last 2 Sundays.  Not completely my fault.

The first Sunday (7 June) I did decide not to write a blog as the progress we had made in Priory didn’t make for great photos.  Last Sunday we were without phone and internet at home – again!!  The line went dead the previous Friday and didn’t come back on until Monday morning – suggests there wasn’t much happening over the weekend?!

So I have had to think carefully about what we have achieved in the last 3 weeks that I can write about.  I can’t think of a time when we haven’t been doing something, and we have spent as much time in Priory as we can, but it may not be as advanced as you’d expect!  I do keep trying to convince myself that we are at that late stage when everything comes together very quickly but my deadline of the end of June may be a little ambitious!

Looking back, the last blog which showed any pictures of the work we have done in Priory was as long ago as 17th May.  There has been progress but, so as not to spoil the surprise, we will ration the number of pictures I include on these blogs for the next few weeks until it is finished completely.

The last blog I posted said that we had found a new plumber who was willing to come and take on the task and he began his work at the start of June.  It is always a major challenge asking someone to come and pick up a job which had been started by someone else, and it took our new guy a bit of time to trace the pipework that had already been installed.

Inevitably the new plumber’s way of working differed from the old plumber and he didn’t use the same system of attaching the corners, T-pieces and terminals to the pipework.  What he did do, I think, was rather better, and certainly quicker, but it did mean we had to go and buy lots more attachments that he could use.

With no discredit to the new plumber, the job took a bit longer than I’d hope and he had to pop back a couple of times to fix a number of leaks that emerged after the water had been turned on.  In fact it was only yesterday that he made his last visit and we now have a watertight system which drains properly! Our thanks to him for all his work.

This of course now means that all the work that needed to be done by other people is complete, and it is now down to us, mostly me as Dave is back at work, to get it finished.

I have been working throughout and, as the plumber finished in various areas I was able to do the finishing tasks or whatever was required for the next bit.  This has included boxing in the new chauffe-eau and starting to box in the pipework; tiling the en-suite shower so he could install the taps, and installing the kitchen sink so the taps could be fitted.

The last task listed became the classic ‘one job leads to another’ scenario as, having installed the sink and work top, I saw a small area of loose paint above which started to scrape off.  The walls are rendered on the inside and it looks like they had then been painted with regular emulsion, which evidently hadn’t adhered too well so, having started to peel some off, it led to me having to strip a far larger area of wall than I’d anticipated.

Thankfully, the sink is now installed and plumbed in, the splash back is tiled and grouted, and I have used a special sous-couche on the wall in preparation for re-painting.

I have tried my hand to a bit of basic carpentry and created wooden window shelves in the dining area which I will photograph when they are sanded and stained; and have spent time painting and cleaning the mezzanine level.  Now I have been able to dismantle the scaffolding you can get a much better appreciation of the changes we have made – we love it.

Having concreted the end garage bay, while the plumber was working in Priory, I took the opportunity to stain and paint the interior.  We had always intended to do this, and will do so to the entire garage hopefully this summer, but I wanted to do it now, as with the new concrete floor, we could move some furniture into the bay and many thanks to our 2 friends who came across this afternoon to provide us some ‘muscle’ to assist us.

One of them was a large Breton style sideboard that was in Priory but wouldn’t fit into the new décor, the other was my large fish tank that we brought across from our flat in London.  We had tried to sell both through various websites without success.  There are hundreds of old pieces of Breton furniture available so they don’t sell for much, and no one wants it anymore and they are generally too large for modern houses; and the fish tank too is very large and again would need a lot of space so they are now both ‘stored’ in the garage.

Taking the tank out of our lounge has made a huge difference to the room (once the 5 year accumulation of dust and cobwebs had been cleaned) but it may not last long as David has already found a piece of furniture he’d like to replace it with!

The concrete floor has also proved really and meant that I have been able to use that bay as a workshop area in the last week when the weather has been very wet – and I can sweep up the sawdust!

With the COVID confinement rules relaxing further, it has been a bit of a sociable week too.  Belinda and Andrew managed to make it back to France to open up their campsite on the shore of the Lac du Drennec and they held a BBQ on Thursday night which was fun, and Mercedes, who was also locked own in the UK, also made it here and opened the restaurant for the first time last night so we popped down for dinner.

Finally, my last couple blogs had been complaining that the spring had been so dry and all of the plants we’d put in were getting stressed.  Thankfully, most of last week has been very wet again which was welcome relief and has meant all our waterbutts are overflowing and everything is looking vibrant and green again, as it should this time of year!

Next week – Priory, Priory, Priory – and we finally welcome our first guests of 2020 on Friday.  Fantastic.