Life in the heart of France
23rd March 2012
We made a table! We have to give back to my brother the outdoor table & chairs we'd borrowed last year for the gite, and after trailing around the 'Troc' salerooms and not finding a second hand table we liked, we just bought a solid pine table top and a set of legs from Leroy Merlin, painted the top and voilą - we have a new table. We bought four chairs from the special offers at Leclerc and together they look ace.
Last summer we decided the gite interior needed repainting. We ordered the paint from a retailer in England and asked our kind friends to bring it when they were driving down. But then we acquired a tenant from September to January so we stored the £130-worth of paint in the barn, for using in the spring before the new season's guests. But when we opened the tins, we found the paint was ruined. It must have frozen solid in the February Freeze, and now resembled wet sand, all grainy and useless.
Plan B: we went to the Shed and bought a big, expensive tub of French white emulsion, and started on the big bedroom. It was rubbish. Even painting white on magnolia, the coverage was lamentable. After two frustrating and unsatisfying coats we declared 'that's enough' and adopted...
Plan C: we've ordered more of the good English paint in nice colours and the same lovely friends are bringing it down with them at Easter. We gave the gite a good spring clean, and after our Easter guests have gone we'll paint the other rooms with the new stuff. (memo to self: never buy French paint again!)
We knew the gite's small bedroom's single-glazed window was going to need replacing soon but when a chunk fell off the frame recently, it spurred us on to do it now. Tony took the old one out.... then discovered you can only get them on order, and you can't order them by internet or phone, you have to actually order it in the shop. Grrrr. So we closed the shutters and made the round trip of 120 km to Leroy Merlin in Limoges to order one, and again 10 days later to collect it.
With Colin's help the new window went in much more easily than the old one came out (having been nailed in from the side, somehow). Of course that meant replastering the wall around the window (of which I made an excellent job, if I do say so myself) and then painting the wall.
The frame got two coats of wood preserving treatment and a seal of mastic around the outside and the job's done. It's a massive improvement and has inspired us to do the same with another window ..but not till the autumn.
Before plastering & painting..