Chestnuts and taxation

Chestnuts again? They are a big thing around these parts, the centre of Chalus has a metal sculpture of a chestnut in its casing about 2 metres across. Dournazac, nearby, has its annual Journées de la Châtaigne (days of the chestnut) late on the last weekend of October. It’s one of the biggest local fêtes with stalls spreading around many streets.  Anything you can think of and more involving chestnuts; raw, blanched, peeled, pureed, creamed, flour, roasted, in bread, cakes and sausages. As for the sausage stalls, there are sausages made of kangaroo, ostrich as well as local creatures such as boar, venison and, of course pig, lamb and beef plus fig, walnut and blood. Horse and donkey make an appearance too.


Donkey (Ane) sausage anyone?

Our camera club met for the visit to Dournazac and set ourselves the task of photographing shadows. We started out as a group of 6 and Delia and I gradually lost everyone until around lunchtime we decided to go home before we lost each other or Siena.

Chestnuts may be seasonal but so, it seems, are taxes. Income tax was earlier, in spring, and even though we didn’t earn enough last year to pay any, we still got a 35€ refund! That being said however, there are other taxes, 25% of everything we earn goes on social contributions and then there’s Taxe Foncieres (tax on the building), Taxe d’Habitation (tax on living in said building) and a new one CFE (tax on working in the same building).  These are flat rate amounts which total about 10% of our joint income (35% including social even when not earning enough to pay income tax).  An article in a French web site I read recently talked about the 50% of households not liable for income tax and being concerned about the economic inbalance this caused to the nation. Perhaps my French wasn’t up to it but perhaps they (Daily Mail – UK or Perth J style) missed the point that this meant that 50% of households didn’t earn enough! Ah well, it’s the price one pays for good cheap wine and the ready availability of fine chestnuts, I guess. In fairness, now I am 60 (not that I can believe it, being 60 that is) we won’t pay Taxe d’habitation again; and when I am 70, apparently I’ll get 100€ off Taxe Foncieres so there’s that to look forward to!  Also we currently enjoy some glorious weather, sunshine and temperatures up to 25°C

Fancy bonnets, cider and pigs!

This week Siena discovered that she isn’t the centre of all attention. At the puppy training class we went to last year she used to be the chased to the chasers – big dogs who just couldn’t keep up. We started going to a Thursday morning session for young dogs and this time they had mostly already forged doggy friendships and Siena couldn’t figure out why they weren’t all chasing her when she ran off. She still had fun though.


Delia’s dad (Bill) might be gratified to see that his work helping to dig out the patio extension area and step foundation wasn’t wasted. I had been looking around for place to deliver patio gravel and it had been suggested that I go to a material supplier in a nearby town Les Cars (linguistic aside… “à les” is never used in French is becomes “aux” and surprisingly this applies to Les Cars also, hence the quarry at Les Cars is “la carrière aux Cars”, I thought that weird). Anyway they could supply and deliver a tonne of gravel (nearly the right colour) for a third of the price I had been quoted elsewhere. It is a bit whiter than the existing gravel but another tonne when we’re ready and mixed in it should look fine


Late summer and autumn is the time for special festivals around here. We missed the Fête des Ânes (donkeys) in September but not the Fête du Cidre et Cochons (cider and pigs) this week. Some real fancy bonnets here!

Tomorrow we’re off to the Fête de Châtaignes (chestnuts). 1001 things to do with chestnuts!

Danger: Chestnuts and Chasseurs!

Back from a crazy, noisy and frenetic Rome holiday (of which more below) to find Autumn has arrived with the dropping of the chestnuts. The spiky casings carpet the floor of the chestnut groves and the roads they overhang. Even though Delia doesn’t like them much I find myself compelled to gather them. There is something about their dark brown shininess and the fact that there always might be a bigger one in the next casing… When I was a kid collecting horsechestnuts it was the same. There were only so many you could use to play conkers with (put string through a hole in it and then hit someone else’s, taking turns until it breaks). In French a horsechestnut is “marron d’inde” and a sweet (edible) chestnut is a “châtaigne” – except when a “marron glacé” which are candied sweet chestnuts (apparently the larger, higher quality and more easily peeled ones are the “marrons”). Usually the chestnuts form triplets within a single spiky casing. Use your feet either side of casing to prise them open (they REALLY are spiky!). Commonly the middle one is underdeveloped and sometimes just a sliver, to the advantage of the other two. Sometimes it is the central one theat has grown to the disadvantage of its outer siblings. In either of these cases, especially the latter, the nuts can be significantly larger. Each step I take and it seems I see ever larger and irrestible ones bursting out of their casing. The table top photo below show the chestnuts from “our” grove and the much smaller ones from a “wild” chestnut.

The danger? They can fall on your head and I can say from personal experience (as could Siena) that the bunches of, sometimes tennis ball-sized, spikily encased chestnuts pack quite a punch.

As well as Autumn, now is the time of “la chasse” and “les chasseurs” – the hunt! Deer of various sizes, wild boar, rabbits and the occasional rambler seem to be fair game for the “les chasseurs” during hunting season. Apparently they are supposed to wear hi-viz jackets to prevent them shooting each other (by accident at least). However those I have encountered seem to just wear camouflage jackets. Yesterday morning, Siena arrowed straight towards a group of four or five heavily armed (well each carrying long barrelled shotguns anyway, couldn’t see any RPGs or bazookas at least) with two dogs exiting a copse. Their dogs not being particularly interested in her, she soon decided to return, which she can do with remarkable speed, indeed I could see hunters pointing at Siena and clearly doing just that… remarking, that is. Saw another hunter this morning criss-crossing the field Siena usually bounds around in but this time I was prepared and she was kept on the lead.

As for Rome, Delia has already given her diary version so let me give you my highlights… We surprised Scott (whose 40th birthday treat it was to visit Rome and allegedly with us being a further surprise and “treat”). It is difficult to encapsulate all the experiences of Rome. Staying in the heart of a lively restaurant district was fab. A bar in a nearby square had a view of a lovely church St Maria which became a preferred place for an evening drink to enjoy the musicians and ignore the selfie stick hawkers. One more general highlight for me was the surprise at just how extensive the archaeological remains were and how the layer cake of two millennia was preserved for us to gawk at. Classic and clichéd sights like the Colisseum, the Pantheon and St Peters in the Vatican were must sees of course and highlights of our visit but it was often the smaller churches that surprised and amazed me. I’ve walked Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland (UK), Silchester in Berks, Stonehenge and many other sites but none had the depth of history that could be felt here. Yes there were a a lot of “series of small stone walls” as Scott quoted a definition of archaeology (all I can find is a website) but there was a lot of impressively well preserved gigantic monuments too.


Two gifts and a wedding

Sorry this is a bit late but its been a bit crazy busy.

The first gift was two weeks ago, the last day Delia’s dad Bill was with us… no, not because it was his last day, on the contrary, we had had a great two weeks with him. No… it was that we had a relaxed and relatively unplanned day, ending up at a delightful riverside spot.  We had tried to locate a chocalate workshop or somesuch for Bill but although we found one very close to Lascaux (a place I had always wanted to visit) it was really too far a drive so we decided on a couple of chocolatiers in St Junien. We had forgotten it was Monday. If a place opens at the weekend at all if is usually closed on Monday – I think its actually law, though there is also a law preventing all boulangers going on holiday at the same time (an interesting image where hundreds of bakers converge on a beach evading police detection… but no they actually have to apply to the local Mairie or town hall, the French take their baguettes seriously). Anyway most places were closed so we wander around looking for a non-existent glove factory outlet and looking despondently at shuttered chocolatier’s shop windows was all we could do.

We did however find a good patisserie (and boulangerie!) open and bought a mille feuilles (custard slice more or less), a huge chocolate éclair for Delia and a merveilleux for me. I had no idea what I had purchased – it was a 15cm ball covered in flakes of chocolate and turned out to be 2 meringues with a thick glue of chocolate butter cream. This held the wolf at bay since Delia had decided that we could only eat a picnic if we had proper plates and all. Apparently it stems from a trauma involving a bee; bare feet, a severe allergic reaction and I guess a picnic without plates.

So off we went to a place I had visited a few weeks previously with my photo group, called ‘Site Corot’. Around 1850 Camille Corot, an artist and sculptor formed an artists commune by the river near the site of a, now defunct, centre of industry – all water powered and now in picturesque ruins apart from one large building that seemed to be still active perhaps with a printing press banging away. There’s a very French nude bronze statue on the main roundabout in the centre of St Junien called La Muse de Corot. He apparently painted several ‘muses’ and I can’t for the moment find out if this is his work or a reproduction after one of his paintings. Anyway he chose a lovely spot, though it would not have been as idyllic back in 1850.



la glane for blog-2

The walk was tranquil with the only sound being the occasional rush of the small waterfalls in the River Glane.  Calm spots identified by picnic tables (apparently if I had mentioned these being present, the lack of plates might not have been a problem).

All in all a lovely way to wile away a few hours. The need for lunch having been delayed courtesy of huge patisseries we eventually returned home for bread and cheese (on plates) at about 3.30. Plenty of time for Bill to sort out his luggage before the next day when we drove him into Angouleme for the train to Paris.

the tower is the reception venue and to the right of it is the civic centre where the ceremony was held



The day Bill left was the same day the house sitter arrived. She was a quietly competent young woman who happily took bouncing Siena in her stride and we felt secure in leaving our doted upon pets to her care for the few days we would be away (cheaper than kennels and cattery, free in fact). So early the following day (Wednesday) off we drove to Limoges to fly to Bristol.  Collecting our car was a bit of a game, finding the shuttle to the off airport location. A fun little Fiat 500 with a tiny boot but it was enough for us. A few hours later, after a pub lunch of steak and chips, we arrived at our bed and breakfast. A lovely “studio apartment”  but without the kitchen, the landlady was helpful to a fault, breakfast was different every day and she even gave us containers for our left over pastries to eat later. We could almost see the venue for my son’s wedding from the b&b, well, at least from just a few metres down the road.

The next two days were spent speccing out the venue, the dress etc and, of course, the wedding and reception (click this to see the web site for photos). Saturday was spent looking at a house that Phil and Becca might be able to rent. A nicer area and cheaper as well.

Sunday was spent driving back to the airport (although our flight was early on the Monday, getting back early meant one less day car hire and some time in the hotel pool). The car hire people kindly shuttled us to the hotel instead of the airport and we relaxed for the rest of the day.

Early morning, first flight security queues notwithstanding, the flight home was uneventful. We had left in summer and it seemed we arrived back in Autumn! Much of the time since then has been spent sorting out the 500 photos Delia and I took. I must admit that I’d use Delia as a second camera any day, she took some real beauties and about half of the chosen shots are hers. I did find out how much better the low light functionality of my new compact was compared to my ancient (six years old 🙂 ) Sony Alpha DSLR but the lenses are better on the “old” one. Much less noise in the image on the compact.

Oh, I almost forgot, the second gift? The eary morning walks with Siena are tending to get a bit grey (later dawn and all that) but I was reminded of the hundreds of extra sunshine hours we get here (over the UK) when the other day after a blowy rainy morning walk, the afternoon walk was gorgeous, a few white clouds scudding across the otherwise pristine blue sky,Siena scampering fruitlessly after birds in the field… as I said… a gift.

L’Histoire de l’eMail

In Franglais this would seem to mean, an albeit somewhat short, story of email perhaps with a subsection on texting? But no, email (plural emaux) means enamel and, it transpires, is long associated with Limoges. For some reason playing second fiddle to porcelain or even gloves for which Limoges is principally famous. Apparently enamelled work has has a history back to at least the XIIth century in this area.

So what I hear you say? Well, Delia’s dad wanted to take some enamelled jewellery back to Aus so we’ve been researching enamel. We visited the Maison de l’Email in Limoges (no not a cybercafé) which had some beautiful works of art and jewellery – ranging from panels to pendants to modern artworks


A pendant in Maison d’email

much fancier arty piece












Delia had a much simpler piece I had bought for her at a local country fair so we went internauting (French for internet surfer is internaut – so much better) for local enamel workers I found two in a town not too far – no web sites but the directory said “visite sur rendez vous” so I rang them. ‘Are your Joel Taton?’… “Who wants to know?” (more or less) was the cagey answer but eventually he agreed for us to meet at his workshop. The second (”Chris”) turned out to be the actual artisan who had made Delia’s pendant and was happy to arrange a visit.

The day arrives and we three trundle off to Joel Taton’s workshop… actually his house through which we walk (greeting his wife and daughter on the way) into the garden and to his workshop. He had some wonderful work there including some small replicas inspired from an item made by him (and others) for the Limoges Musée des beaux arts.

Several artists contributed to this piece now in the Musée des beaux arts of Limoges








All in all a fascinating run through of many enamelling techniques (stretching my French understanding but I followed most and translated enough for Delia and her dad). He seemed genuinely grateful for our visit and when we asked, he had nothing for sale, all were works underway. He did tell us of a gallery in Limoges that stocked his jewellery which we later visited but his works were more than our budget would stand – high quality but up beyond 100€.

“Chris” on the other hand was much more commercially focussed and had his items for sale arrayed ready for our perusal and followed by an explanation of his skills in his workshop. We all bought some items – priced in tens rather than hundreds of euros – however the difference was marked – his jewellery was attractive whilst Joel Taton’s was art. Chris produced his by the dozen; though still involving up to ten firings, he was able to produce items at an affordable price. Tha being said he showed us some incredibly skilled and intricate panels, as well as his main love which apparently was enamelling model trolley buses and trams – of which he had working models in a model town!


Having guests (as we currently have Bill – Delia’s dad) means that we also become tourists and so we have visited and walked much more than usual. Including me and Bill on a 14km walk around the “sources of the river Dronne”; the three of us to two Beaux Villages, and to Chateau de Jumilhac.

Patio extension-1

Not that its all been touristic this fortnight… Bill helped with putting a cement mixer together and also digging out turf for gravel and a ditch for the foundation of the step/retaining wall for the patio extension. Sounds grand but its really just converting the grassy patch that gets slippery in winter to gravel matching the rest at the back of the house (also somewhere for me to tip the slurry at the end of each day of repointing – see the next few blog, bet you can’t wait for that?).


Rotisserie chicken and lime mortar

If you are following Deli’s blog you will know that we removed some of the panelling in the bathroom in the process of installing a new shower cubicle (to replace the old leaking one). Essentially we now know that our dream of cutesy stone walls in our bathroom is probably a fantasy since it seems to be clad to the ceiling in white tiles. I avoid the term ‘floor to ceiling’ since the lower few rows are a bit haphazard (see for some pictures). Anyway, not to repeat her blog I’ll continue here in that we are still awaiting a fix for the leaking factory fitted bit of the shower pan. Poor Bill (Delia’s dad) is unlikely to have a working shower upon his arrival. On Thursday by email Planêtebain who supplied the shower said something about a replacement drain unit being sent but I can’t determine if that’s from their supplier to me or via them. Also, as far as I can see the leaky thing is glued in and since they aren’t sending me the whole shower tray I am unsure what I will do to remove the old one.

I am currently trying out the rotisserie gizmo in our new oven (not massively innovative, since Delia says she had had one but never thought to use it). Its looking good at the moment though I needed Delia to figure out how to get it rotating by actually looking at the pictures on the oven door rather just than reading the manual. I guess that why men need wives… to point out the bleeding obvious? Oh and perhaps also to point out when we’re being d##kheads. I’m not too sure what the benefit to wives is because it certainly isn’t to receive a confident answer to their dreaded “does my bum look big in this?” question.

This is the following day no and the chicken was good, its going to be my go to way of roasting now though it does impede roasting potatoes since they either block the top element or the chicken rotation.

I’ve been preparing for the repointing project – finding the bits to rake the mortar don’t fit my machine and that the readymix recommended by our near neighbour contains cement which is a big no-no for lime mortar (it won’t breathe apparently). So looking at mixing it ourselves we decided to buy a low cost mixer and probably sell it after (along with the scaffolding) even so its still a lot less expensive than having it done though its also damned hard work (not a bad thing, although thanks to the hard work doing the kitchen I am already 4kg lighter than when our last visitors left – obviously we entertain our guests too well – either that or I eat all the leftovers).

So, tomorrow is Monday and hopefully the shower replacement part will arrive. In any case we will be off to Angouléme to pick up Bill from the station, hopefully he’ll have recovered from his Masters water polo tournament from which he is disappointed to have won bronze apparently. I hope he’s fit enough to assist with putting up the shower, some repointing and possibly some garden path laying. Come to think of it, I hope I am.

No picture this fortnight but here’s one I took earlier last month of the Millau Bridge, oops Ive already put this in before… here’s a shot I just took this morning … the lake nearby but from the opposite side (with the help of wellies)

the other side



Kitchen finished, now the shower leaks!

So the kitchen is finished? Some rehanging of doors, spray painting the doors so they are more stain proof, re-oiling the worktops but otherwise an opportunity to catch up on paperwork and actual work. The plan was a week of deskwork then up with the scaffolding and on with the re-pointing especially since it is cooler at the moment, and the mortar wouldn’t dry too fast… No such luck though, dripping through the kitchen ceiling gave us a new word – xxxxx for leak. It seems to be the shower drainage plumbing somewhere. The problem is that to get at that bit of the plumbing seems to require total dismantling of the shower cubicle and base. We had scheduled a revamp of the bathroom next year and we certainly don’t want to disable the bathroom just when Delia’s dad is due to spend a couple of weeks with us. So we are currently looking to divide the bathroom project so we replace the shower first (the existing cubicle is an upright coffin). I’d hoped to get on with the re-pointing but I guess it doesn’t have to be all done in one summer… It being August (when France is closed) getting hold of a shower cabinet at short notice is a bit difficult… Watch this space.

Siena has been being a bit adolescent lately, demanding we play with her more often than we do. Evenings, where we want to relax and read or watch tv, turn into arguments where dog brings toy and barks until we either play or shut her in the kitchen. She is also barking more at noises outside. She does look so cute when she drop her rope toy at your feet and cocks her head at you though. So we currently have an ultrasonic beeper to distract her when she barks. However this has coincided with a long planned intention of taking Siena for a run with our bikes, this intention finally crystallising yesterday just around the hamlet and today with a lovely 6km cycle to and along the Voie Verte (a re-purposed old railway – literally translated as Green Way). For the first three or so kilometres I had an engine of a dog pulling me up hills. The last 2km though she was flagging a bit and I had to slow down and sometimes just walk with her. The upshot of this was that she was pretty knackered for the rest of the day and so we’ve not really had a good try with the ultrasonic beeper.

This afternoon I had invited our neighbours in for coffee (and Delia’s delicious blueberry muffins) and to show them the new kitchen – and show them what all the noise had been about (or show it off) . Conversation with them has been getting a bit more relaxed as our French gradually improves. Siena was much calmer than she might have been too (being flaked out on her bed).

She was a bit low key this morning when I took her out on the bike again, guess I’ll let her recover a bit more.

So until next fortnight, that’s all folks.

No pictures from me this time so I thought I’d include the two Delia had framed recently ofr the local art group exhibition.






Disaster, kitchen and fireworks

Returning home after just a few days and the wheat field looked different, it took a while to realise that all the ears had dropped down so the surface was less “fuzzy”. That day it was harvested and the stalks rolled up to be turned into silage I guess. Being new things in the field, Siena was hackles up and unsure of them but being able to chase a huge bird of prey (taking advantage of the newly exposed mice I expect) soon resolved any nervousness on her part. I like to give Siena time off the lead since she loves to run and usually veers crazily in large circles until she tires. One morning however she suddenly stopped stared into the distance and streaked off. The poor jogger she eventually accosted was not enamoured by a dog who was convinced that since she loves everyone, everyone must love her. After a dance where I interposed myself between jogger and dog and circled several times I finally grapped the little pest (the dog that is). A further parameter in my choice for walks then… will the jogger be out. Other parameters include, horsefly locations, cows, gardeners in remote veggie patches, open doors in houses normally unoccupied which Sienna explores enthusiastically.

This past fortnight I have mostly been working on the kitchen. Some hiccups with the router being somewhat more vicious a tool than I’d intended but its mostly done, just a few final touches next week – a bit of wiring here and some upstands there – hopefully I’ve posted photo heres (below) showing our wonderful integrated oven(in which I can finally cook good roasties) and induction hob. A bit of a disaster with that, the electrician had replaced our fusebox and hard wired it in and I still had some aligning of the worktop into which it would be placed – to cut a long story short I dropped it and broke the glass top. Fortunately it was still on sale at half price so I got another one delivered and it ended up costing me about what it would outside the sale. I looked at getting just the replacement glass top and found it would cost me more than the actual hob even before shipping from the UK!


fyi here’s some before photos, before my lights, worktops etc and before delia’s door painting.

As well as these kitchen photos here’s some of a photo “field trip” from last Sunday – the object was to take some “misty” long exposures of running water. Plus some Bastille Day fireworks.


ISS meets my plumbing

I haven’t made a lot of progress on the kitchen this last fortnight, though I did make a partial model of the International Space Station and, whilst waiting for its solar panels, attached it to my new sink.

iss plumbingApart from the Blue Peter ISS project, my problems mostly revolved around my router, wrong size bits, not deep enough plunge, replacement router doesn’t fit the guide bush adapter plate, replacement router missing bits I need. Plus I find that the wall has a bulge I need to shape (either the worktop or the wall). Oh and the ISS doesn’t align with the outlet so a trip to the brico (diy store) for the requisite bits (no ISS solar panels unfortunately) but I did find that the only adaptor I could get was shiny metal as opposed to the white plastic so that’ll make my undersink-scape more interesting!

I had my car insurance renewal recently and I found I had signed up for the less than 8000km per annum option whilst I had driven 12000km – I thought that losing the commute would cut my driving down, it has but visits to the brico (70km) and tourism (1000km to Caen, and to Giverny) And just recently another 1200km on our Mediterranean break this last week. So, long discussion with insurance agent looking to confirm control technique (MOT) kilometrage (the garage put in my miles value not converted to kilometres (so last Feb it shows a 44000 instead of 69000) making my annual driving an even larger number – anyhoo, after all that, its only 25€ extra to go to unlimited mileage!

A propos of the Mediterranean trip… My brother and sister in law (R&L) invited us to join them for a few days in the dog-friendly apartment they had rented in Aigues Mortes.

aigues mortesAigues Mortes is a beautiful medieval walled town on the west of the Rhône estuary, originally built to be a major port but which silted up and ceased to be navigable. That’s why its so well-preserved… it was never valuable enough to be attacked.

millau bridge from arThe journey down was through beautiful countryside, climaxing at the Millau Bridge. We went to the street in Augues Mortes given as an address for the apartment. It was actually inside the walls but turned out to be a misdirection and the actual apartment was in a much less picturesque seventies 3 storey block. Nevertheless still with a nice view of the river and an easy walk for the town with all its restaurants and such.

Dave (R&L’s dog) and Siena (our’s) got on very well, spending most of the time in friendly tussles when not lying sparko on the cool stone tiles in the glorious heat that much of Western Europe seems to be still experiencing. Siena did actually do a bit of swimming at a dog beach we found but she got loose and scampered about just out of reach – locals on the beach called her “fou” which translates variously as crazy, mad, insane, crazed, maniac, demented… take your choice. The whole area is a part of the Carmargue marshes and consequently we were all dined upon by gourmand mosquitos.

The tower on the walls. Off right is the apartment that looked out onto this.

The tower on the walls. Off right is the apartment that looked out onto this.

There was a bit of an adventure with R&L’s car battery requiring several jump starts and a final visit to a garage in nearby Montpellier. I impressed R&L with my “mastery” of French but I expect the garage mechanic thought otherwise.

There were some lovely meals, wonderful wine (Sables de Sables Gris – a light rosé; being one of them and one which allowed L to lose her prejudice against rosé engendered by the terrible stuff one can get in England).

Millau Bridge from MillauAfter just 4 days we were back on our way home with a small detour for a different view of the Millau bridge and back home to mosquito free outings. Perhaps mosquito free, but not horsefly free unfortunately. Those evil creatures bite through trousers and don’t give up on swatting. The first thing one notices is a little pin prick, I had one near my groin (now then, now then!) and swatting just moved it a bit and got me another bite (to add to all the others)! We can’t walk the shady routes at the moment without full hazmat gear to brave the swarms. Sunny paths seem fine albeit hot.

I expect Delia will talk more of the Mediterranean break next week and in the meantime for my next blog I hope to show more progress on the kitchen project.

Swimming pool gets installed at last

Ok I lied about the swimming pool but we have got the new downstairs double glazing and the kitchen is underway.

I’ve been a bit lax with the blog of late, visitors, weddings, web sites and photography have all taken up my attention. Even this will be brief though hopefully better than nothing.

I managed to get Phil and Beccas’ wedding invites printed onto nice flecked paper and sent off to them for ‘distribution’. I have done a photo competition web site for a friend as well as for my own photo club. My friend’s one is for his local group of retirees who range from too frightened to submit to those with a multitude of suggestions as to how to improve the web site (read “this is how I would do it”). The usual for computer support really!

Been busy with Kitchen version 2.1 – done one worktop see below and busy oiling up the remaining 2. I’ve also painted the tiles – as an alternative to retiling or splashbacks it looks better than I’d thought. Revisiting the lighting, adding an extra wall cupboard as well as integrating an oven and new hob all underway and when its sufficiently photogenic (chaos-wise or finished) it will be shown here.


I had a plan for routing the worktop joining slots this weekend but found I had the wrong size bits for my router so I just jig sawed the hole for the new sink. Another trip to Limoges next week to collect some more cupboards, lighting and stuff.

lighting underway

oiling worktop and sink -hole-

back door and dog

Finally this week also our replacement double glazing has happened. There is now a working dog flap but Siena has yet to figure it out (she ate the instruction booklet so we’re waiting for her to digest the instructions  ).



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