Sunday 25 April – What a Load of Rubbish

I ended last week’s blog saying that this week would be about concreting and “some other things”.  Despite being busy most of the week I haven’t made the great leaps forward with some of the major tasks I’d wanted. Thankfully we did do THE major task, concreting the end garage bay although frustratingly we weren’t very pleased with the job!

I spent a bit of time on Monday making sure that we would be completely ready to go on Tuesday.  As I knew the concreting would be easier with both of us doing it, although David wasn’t looking forward to it, Tuesday was going to be ‘C’ day.

And what a tiring day it was.  I had probably prepared this floor better than I had the other end and I made sure I had excavated to at least 7 cms deep.  When I did the north bay in May 2020 I was perhaps a little less conscientious about making the depth uniform throughout, neither being structurally important.

Last time, we needed 3 tonnes of material to make the base having used an online calculator for the volume we needed for the amount of concrete required.  This time, which was same surface area, we didn’t look at the previous volumes and evidently used a different calculator, as we bought over 4 tonnes of material and it wasn’t quite enough.

I think, because I had been more diligent in making sure the depth was 7 cms it was actually probably slightly more in places and it kept swallowing barrow after barrow of cement.  Sadly, although I didn’t think of this as the reason at the time, when we tamped the concrete down using the levelling batons I had put either side, there wasn’t enough concrete in some areas so they didn’t tamp very effectively and some of the gravel was loose when it dried.

A couple of days after we laid it, in an effort to make the surface smoother, I made a fluid mix of sand and cement and poured it in some of the worse parts – you can see the patches as a slightly different colour.  It has made some difference but I am a little disappointed, especially as I could have resolved it better when it was still wet but didn’t think through the problem effectively.  However, rather than spend more time, and money, on some self-levelling compound, I have resolved myself to the fact that it is just a garage floor and is perfectly adequate for that!

Southern garage bay concreted – poorly!

We did fill the foundation to build the mini-wall between Priory and Granary, thankfully before we started the garage bay, but I have not yet started the build.  Tomorrow’s task and should be fairly quick once begun.

Foundation for the wall between Priory and Granary

That was my only significant task and everything else has been very ‘bitty’.  I have bought yet more material for other projects that I hoped to have started but should be able to do next week.

I did manage to do some preparation for another job which has been on our list for a couple of years as we continue to give some love to Hayloft.

The exterior paint of Hayloft has started to look tired and has faded from the original blue.  We have not repainted these since being here and always intended to do so to make them our shade of ‘Kergudon blue’.  Before I start there is probably a few hours of sanding and preparation.  Another for next week.

One project I thought would be forced on me was to change our bin store that I had made in July 2018 with the bins we had at the time.  A couple of week’s ago we received a letter from the authorities telling us that they were changing the way rubbish and recycling were being collected.

Previously, all general waste was collected weekly and households were asked to take recyclable items to communal bins next to the Salle des Fêtes.  The new system is for general waste to be collected every other week with recycling collected in the intermediate weeks from new bins that would be provided.

Knowing that our two 240 litre bins get filled within a week when busy, we were concerned that we wouldn’t be provided with sufficient capacity for a fortnightly collection for either rubbish or recycling.  In negotiation with the environmental team, we managed to dissuade them from giving us huge industrial style skips, but it does mean we have LOTS of new wheelie bins.  Ideally, we would have had four 240 litre bins for waste and the same for recycling – double capacity for half as many collections.  However, rules being rules, meant while we could have four 240 litre recycling bins, we were only entitled to three for general waste – and another 120 litre ‘baby’ bin!

New rubbish collection system in place

Happily however, when they were delivered it was as if they were made to measure for my bin store as they fit perfectly so no major rebuild required.  I just needed to create a couple of new slates and we have 1½ ‘spare’ bins in case the others fill up.

Much of the reminder of the week was spent in the garden as the weather has been fantastic albeit far too dry!  The wisteria we planted a couple of years ago to train across the front of Priory is really starting to look good, possibly because I think I now know exactly how and when to prune it!  Thankfully the flowers appear not to have been affected by the frosts a couple of weeks ago and it should look fantastic next week, we are especially pleased that it has started to grow across the doors.

Another tree that always looks good at this time of year, and also has survived the frost, is our crab apple.  It has grown rather lopsided – we think due to the wind – but we gave it a bit of prune this year so hopefully it will grow in a more balanced way!

Crab apple blossom April 2021

Lots to do next week (as there always is) with a wall to build and Hayloft to paint and, if time allows, more love for Hayloft’s terrace.