Une belle aventure

Our new life in 'Les Vosges'

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When we’re not wrecking stuff…Well we’re restoring it

We took a short break from wrecking the bathroom and started decorated one of the bedrooms. This one will end up as Rhys’ room, although the kids will probably have to share it for a little while when we move in to the house later on in the year (hopefully!).
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The tar from the chimney had leaked through the plaster. We had to dig and refill, replaster and sand.
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Prep the walls and started wallpapering. The kids came back from school at lunch time (it was a wednesday) and things stalled a little while they helped us. lol
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A coat of varnish on the wood.

We’re learning and planned our electrics before wallpapering. 😉
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We sanded the windows down outside and inside. We’ll do the shutters later… We painted the frames on the inside. Again we’ll do the outside later on.
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Matt re-puttied the windows, with the help of Flint.

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We tackled some pretty old and groovy electrics. We didn’t want to just trash it all as there’s some fairly new stuff along with some old and ancient stuff. Matt spent some time making sense of the whole colour code and apart from one switch, got everything working. We were stuck. Fortunately, our neighbour’s brother-in-law, who is an electrician, came to our rescue and shaded some light on the circuit we couldn’t fix.
You’ve got to love this ‘helping each other’ attitude and this makes life so much easier.
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Less is more! 😉

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Testing to see if it is still live…..

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A little update for the plug.
Second coat on the door for a black chalk board. (to remind Rhys to get up in the morning. lol!)
I never thought a single room would require so much work! I have cleaned the floor a couple of times, sanded the skirting boards (ready for painting) and sanded the water stains on the floor.
I will give the floor a good clean with a mix of turpentine and linseed oil. We’ll see if that does the trick to give it a new life.
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So, minus a couple of finishing touches, we’re pretty much there with our first bedroom.
Here are some ‘Before and After’ photographs.
It actually doesn’t look that much different in comparison with some other rooms. So I am glad that I have taken some photographs every step of the way as there was actually quite a lot a background work involved.
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Wreck-It Randle has been….wrecking stuff again

We deliberated a lot about the bathroom and if we were going to keep the bath first of all. Although I am desperate to have a good bath, that one was quite damaged and actually fairly small.
So out with the bath. Rhys did help (for a tiny bit).

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And a couple more trips to the ‘Decheterie’. The guys there are always happy to see us and we have a good chat with them,. Nice to keep on good terms, especially as they’re more than happy to keep a look out and put stuff aside for us! 😉 (don’t tell anyone) (Notice those bags are just amazing and come in handy time and time again)
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The shower: the wall needed re-building, the pipes needed changing, we also needed to check the drain. The plan was that only the base would then remain and building around it seemed a lot more difficult than getting a new shower unit. Although shower units are fairly pricey. To our rescue, comes our local DIY store and an ex-display shower delivered for under 300€ : Deal.
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Shall we keep the wall? Nah, it’s pretty rotten and damp so out with the wall as well.
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Matt took the ‘horrific’ toilet out. Yay! And we’ll put the hot water tank in that cupboard.

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Matt dug the drain for the new toilet.
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Cutting the old drain. And our friendly builders are back so I asked if they wouldn’t mind concreting our drain, which they are doing now. Awesome!
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So we finally have a decent toilet in the house, with a manual flush! 😉

And here is Wreck-It Randle in action: :)) Enjoy

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Miscellanous & Random from the last couple of months

Since Halloween, I had been looking at that pumpkin every time I opened my window. So it was only fair to immortalise it in a gif.


When it was cold, it was seriously cold:

Even Charlie & Buster felt cold:

Matt found it hilarious that he can actually ride in the house:

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Yep! That’s the look he is going for. A few people are now calling him ‘Matt Guyver’ so he thought he might as well sport the same hair style!
Vegetarians look away Now.
Random, I know but how often do you cook rabbit in one pot and deer in another…
Saf likes to make her Chef’s salads and drawing horses….
Horses! I really don’t understand the obsession about horses!?
And again random but when we went to the swimming pool in Vittel, Saffron cut her knee.
As they are not able to provide any treatment, they called the ‘pompiers’ who took her to Vittel hospital to have her knee glued.
I had Rhys and a couple of friends so we met her there. She couldn’t put her legging back on so they made her a skirt! lol
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And see kids are resourceful. Rhys really wanted to play mine craft but as the house is now a garage, he couldn’t find a chair…neverminds, I’ll use this instead.

And I was going to forget: We are back on our bikes. However the first outing was fairly painful (kids moaned well too much….) Next time will be better. 😉
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Building: The ‘French Way’

Firstly we had all the material delivered. There was quite a lot of it.
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Quite a few bags. We were hoping to re-use them, unfortunately they just slash the bottoms to get the materials out. Shame. Point P bin bags could have worked. 😉

So within a couple of hours, the two brothers had half of the beams out. Incredible!
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It looked pretty strange when all the beams were out.
So they started building…
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It’s pretty interesting to learn how floors can be built. We also found out the usual way (by them not turning up.lol) that it needs at least 21 days to set.
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A helping hand from our neighbour ‘Benjamin’ with his tractor.
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And so it was left to dry for 21 days….
But hang on, on a nice sunny day, they came back to tackle the cracks on the outside walls and
re-render the large chimney….and off they went again. ’til next time.

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A couple of weeks later, I did give them a call to enquire as to when they thought they would be back. They told me they were working outside so they would be back on the next rainy day to carry out the work inside. And the following morning, it was pouring down with rain and our friendly chaps were back. We needed the doorways to be higher.
Our nice new floor has taken a few knocks already. 😉
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So the brothers worked hard, as always, and then you guessed it, they just disappeared. I might start calling them ‘Scarlette’ and ‘Pimprenelle’. Lol
But they should be back next week as it has been a month since the floor was finished. We’ll see. 😉

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Wrecking-it on a bigger scale

The builders ‘The Cornite Brothers’ were due to start in the New Year, once the carpenters had finished their work. So we had no time to waste and had to clear the garage completely and Matt had to take all the wooden floor boards out.
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In true ‘Matt & Mu’ style we still had loads of stuff to move when the builders turned up. In our defense, in true ‘French Builders’ style they never really told us the exact date they will start. “if you see us in the morning then that means we’re working here’. lol It reminds me of all those restoration abroad type TV programs. Just as well we don’t have a tight schedule. We’ve learned to adapt and make the most of the sunshine some days….
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Not bad for someone who is scared of heights! 😉
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We shall be re-using them, as they are ‘oak beams’ and pretty strong. For the moment, let’s just store them….over there.

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Taking one part of the ceiling out : The making of Wreck-it Randle

The only way to get to one of the beam, above one of the bedroom, was to take the ceiling out.
Matt started doing it very gently as we kind of hoped we could salvage some of it.

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After a couple of hours… Well the whole taking off gently didn’t quite work out and Matt just cut it off with the chainsaw in the end! So we can’t really re-use it but it makes great kindling. 😉
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The carpenters changed the beam, then Matt put some chicken wire up there as you do!(to stop little furry animals nesting into our lush ‘laine de verre’. And we started re-decorating the room. Perfect school holiday activity: tearing down wallpaper. They actually love it. Only when it comes down nice and easy. Not when it is properly glued on and you have to scrape it off. (Who likes that anyway?)
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Even Flint helped us out.
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We then decided to put some ‘laine de verre’ to insulate the gap. Glad we had running water when we did that as we literally needed to jump in the shower straight afterwards. Well we thought we could squeeze it behind the beam… What a job!! Itchy-scratchy!
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We decided to put some lighter wood to break it off and make the room lighter.
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Used the left overs on the door. (much better than a cardboard piece). Another repurposing success! 😉
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A new light and we were ready for painting and wallpapering.