Logs, Bamboo, and Plans

[vc_row][vc_column][postgallery_grid id=”grid_20170203″ title=”Cleaning, Steaming, Cleaning” data_source=”data-4″ null=”” slidesetid=”SS_G6_20170203″ content_type=”image” columns=”6″ height=”200px” align=”aligncenter” lightbox=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Now we have hot water and heating we wanted to light the fire to be cosy in the evening. The fireplace is huge with a large occitane cross on the fire-back and a very particular arrangement which means that it can augment the central heating so save on oil. . The problem was getting logs as the local supplier had none left. We asked the trusty Jean-Luc and, as usual, he came up trumps. So on Monday ‘Ro Ro’ and his accomplice arrived in a small, beaten up Merx tipper truck. He asked us ” Sont-ils ok pour vous, pas trop gros, trop longue?”; well they were far too long since they were a metre each and the fireplace will only take half a metre. Despite replying that they were too long and should be cut in half they were deposited on the ground and remained one metre lengths. We had ordered “une brasse”, which is 4 stère (a stère being an old measure of firewood equivalent to 1 cubic metre), just over a cord in UK terms.This cost 240 euros which seems good value in terms of London prices, perhaps its equivalent to the cost in rural UK.

Margie saws the logs
Margie saws the logs

Having sorted the logs and stored under the external stairs Margie sawed a few in half so that we could light a fire. Quite hard work as they weren’t small in diameter and they are oak so quite hard wood. We had no idea if the fireplace would draw well, but it had been swept so should be safe. We carefully laid a fire hoping it would take. It did, splendidly. Since then we have had a fire all the time – not really needed during the day but lovely to sit beside in the evening after a bath. Now  we have a fire we have some serious sawing to keep it going; it seems if we saw 4 lengths to get 8 half metre logs that will last a day to a day and a half depending how we load the fire. Our biceps are growing by the day!

Meantime outside we  have been waging war on the bamboo. The eastern corner of the plot has a legion of bamboo beside the stream and that has encroached on the ‘garden’, it is also rampant the other bank on a plot that is very neglected as the property isn’t lived in. Liz cut down so much that her hands froze in the shape of the saw and her shoulder complained bitterly – hot bath and epsom salts called for. The good thing is we will never have to buy another garden cane – in fact Liz has some ideas about using some of it for furniture, Margie is dubious!.

We're sure it's supper-time
We’re sure it’s supper-time

Jean-Luc returned to discuss any changes to the plans we might want. All went well and he will return in two weeks with the elevations and rough costs. The one disappointment was that he doesn’t think we will start before September – the permissions will take two calendar months so that will probably be the end of April, then good artisans are usually booked 2 – 3 months ahead. Also Jean-Luc has a work-load that must be balanced. Perhaps we can start in July but then there’s the August holiday when France’shuts’.  Originally we thought the gîtes would be officially available in spring 2018, but that we may be able to invite friends and ‘tame’ guests to try them out in autumn of this year, possibly even for Xmas; this seems unlikely now but we will see as we start detailed planning. Despite this it is hugely exciting and we are very happy that Jean-Luc is proving extremely good.

A by-product of the bamboo war is that we have discovered that the horses like it and our research has shown it’s a good source of protein. Margie has been starting to discover the local paths and tracks and she and Caudi are having a lovely time exploring the area.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”How it all started” style=”custom” custom_background=”#deead0″ custom_text=”#666666″ link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tormantil.com%2F2017%2F01%2F10%2Fhow-it-all-started%2F|title:read%20how%20it%20all%20began…|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]