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  • Writer's pictureCatherine

Everything is Closed in August

August has come and gone, the weather cooled down and warmed up again while the works on the house by others took a pause while we took over for a bit. It’s a French tradition to basically not work in France during August with many shops and restaurants being closed, even our bakery is closed for three weeks, something we’re going to have to work on for when we start welcoming guests in the summer.

The only work really done by the contractors in August was the installation of the insulation in the attic. We prepared the day before by taking loads of photos of where all the beams are so we can find where they are to walk safely in the future as well as adding wooden boards to make it slightly easier and beams to strengthen the light fixtures. When the workers arrived in the morning, they realised they only had half of the insulation needed and so they asked us to drive in their van to Château-Gontier to go to the supplier to pick them up. Magali didn’t like the idea of driving their van so I did, when we arrived at the supplier, they said to call our guy urgently so we did. When Magali spoke to him, he was just asking us to go to Segré after we picked up the insulation and drop off some keys for him! Somehow we’d become his assistants even though we were paying him! We did it anyway as we just wanted our insulation installed and it was all fine eventually. It’s called Ouate de Cellulose, it’s made out of recycled newspaper and it’s blown onto all the ceiling for 40cm and it kinda looks like snow. We’re happy it’s finally done and it’s already making the house cooler, especially on hotter days.

We finished installing the floor from the toilet and bathroom into the whole hall, it looks really great and we’re very proud of our work. We also managed to do most of the installation of the tiles in the bathroom, we just need to finish a few more bits in the bath and the grouting. I think we’re even more proud of our work than for the floor, it was super hard and took much longer than we thought but the result is pretty great. We’ve removed a lot of the protection in the kitchen, dining room and living room so we can see what it’s going to look like as well as installing lights, bringing in the fridge etc. We even had our first meal in the house! It’s really starting to feel like a home and not so much a worksite which is a huge relief.

Christophe came to look at my bees as I’d noticed that they were evacuating the larvae from the hive so I knew something was wrong. He thinks they’ve got a bacterial disease so I’m trying a few essential oil treatments to try and help, hopefully it works as if it doesn’t the whole hive will die which isn’t the best news for my first try at beekeeping. Fingers crossed it will all be ok!

We harvested our potatoes from the bute experiments and they were really successful. We got a full wheelbarrow of harvest which included some monster potatoes, which weigh half a kilo each! We’ve been trying our hands at pickling cornichons since they don’t taste great straight from the plant, we’re yet to taste them so we’ll let you know our recipe if it’s good (we won’t if it’s not!). We’ve also had some monster courgettes which make us a few days meals each and we’re constantly eating strawberries as they continue to give us a harvest. We’re also still getting our beans and we’ve had our first tomatoes and our first carrot! Magali made our first dinner that consisted fully of vegetables we’d grown! It makes me so happy to be able to say that! Next step is to get a yield that can sustain us like that every day of the year.

We've also had our plans through for the Tiny House, we're so happy with the design we've accepted everything so we will be working with Baluchon very soon to see it all come together! If you'd like to see the plans, please let us know as we'd be happy to show you but they're confidential at the moment so we can't share on here.

We took a trip to the seaside with Magali’s parents, it wasn’t the sunniest of days but the village we went to was super cute. We had a yummy lunch followed by a great walk along the rocks where Magali ate oysters straight off the rock. We had the wedding of our friends, Anthony and Solène, in Issé. It was a great two days, we performed a song, ate amazing food, drank delicious wine and danced until the morning. We slept at the hall so as to avoid the long drive home and it meant we could both indulge in the wine, unfortunately for us, the airbed we took to sleep on had a lovely big hole in it and even though we tried to patch it up, it still kept deflating. Magali managed to keep it airy for a while by putting her hand over the puncture for a while but by the light of day, we were sleeping on the floor, at least we didn’t have to let out the air when we were packing up!

We’re now entering the final days of the works, the plumbers arrive this week to install all the taps and sinks etc. so the water will be connected and the woodworkers are coming to make the cabin for our compostable toilet. All that will be left will be the final finishings on the windows, the sanding of the wooden floors, the installation of the shutters and the connection of the gas! Almost there. On our side though we still have a lot to do, some painting and sanding as well as finishing the tiles but once that’s done we can hopefully move in! I’m counting down the days!


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