Thursday, May 24, 2012

Attic project nears end

We are told they will be done today. They are making a lot of noise up there today, installing the floor.  This is the first time we’ve heard hammering and banging. They brought in more wall board yesterday, which baffled us.  Maybe they will use it to level the floor?  They also brought in pressed board, which I assume is for the subflooring.
Here are some pictures.
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The wall board is all finished now. We are going to paint it ourselves.
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The new window.
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How the window looks from outside.  I had kind of liked the old brown window,
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which I asked them to leave for us,
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but it was in pretty rough condition, especially on the outside. And it was pretty drafty. I have some plans for it.  Stay tuned.  [link to picture of window project]
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I asked Jim to stand in the dormer space to show how tall it is.
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Now for the floor and to answer anyone who might ask why didn’t we just use the floor that was there.  First of all it didn’t cover the entire space, as you can see above.
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Then it had some bad spots.
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But mainly there was this rod going across the middle of the room just waiting to trip someone.
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The rod is several inches above the floor at the outside, but close to the floor near the door.
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And here is what I have been working on the past few days.  I finished the border on the rosemaled panel I did, and we hung it in the fireplace. Again this is covering a very ugly, unusable fireplace.
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This is hole 6 on the Golf course at Laval which Jim played and I walked yesterday. It hasn’t been nice enough to get out on the weekends, so Jim worked half days last weekend and took off yesterday afternoon to play golf in the sunshine.  In this photo you can see the green and part of the fairway. The valley that you can’t see goes way down and the tee is way down below the plateau you see in the distance.  This was quite a hole. It was a pretty golf course, though with beautiful views in all directions and a few holes going along the Mayenne river.
Okay, leave me comments to let me know you are reading this. It’s not really worth my time if no one reads it or lets me know what they think.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Attic project update

Day 3 progress pictures.

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It appears they are squaring things up.  We may have some right angles up here, which we don’t have below. And we are losing some space.

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They use these metal studs instead of wood.  They take up less space and are easier to carry up the narrow stairway as they stack together.

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Close-up of the western wall.

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Looking down at the floor on the eastern wall.

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The ceiling.


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Most of the wall board is up now.

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They just have this east wall to finish. They insulated this wall as well, though on the other side is the neighbor’s house, not the outdoors.

So that’s how the project stood for the long weekend.

Here are the new pictures from yesterday.

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One guy was here doing the taping and mudding. He also added more drywall on the front wall.  We won’t be able to see the original walls, but they weren’t great looking.

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I guess he ran out before he could finish the last corner.  He brought in one more half sheet today.  I think they did a good job estimating how much they would need, though.

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Today they have removed the old window and are installing the new one.  I guess the surgery was postponed.  I didn’t hear an explanation.

I asked them to leave the window in the garage.  I have some ideas for it as a decoration.  We’ll see how well that works out.

Friday, May 18, 2012


This small village is said to be one of the most beautiful villages of France.  It’s about an hour from here, so we decided to go see it for ourselves.

It had been rainy in the morning, but as we pulled into Saint Céneri we saw people putting down their umbrellas. The weather stayed dry while we were there.

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This village was visited in 1855 by artist Jean-Baptiste Corot, who is said to have fallen in love with it. More artists followed him and the village has attracted artists ever since. As can be seen from the banner above the street this month will see another meeting of artists here.

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This view of the stone bridge over the Sarthe is a popular one with artists and photographers.

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Here is the church in the village.

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On the wall at the back of the church we found this plaque.

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Roughly translated it says: “In 898 Charles III, (the Simple) sent his army to resist the Normans who protested against his reign. The soldiers, based not far from St. Céneri, conducted themselves disrespectfully around the church and the tomb of it’s founder. Some bees attacked those who performed this sacrilege. Frightened and not knowing where to flee, they ran over the edge of the cliff and fell to their deaths. Since that time bees have continued to protect the church.”

We saw bees coming and going from that hole next to the plaque.

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The nave of the church contains some modern metal sculptures representing the stations of the cross.

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The walls of the choir are covered in frescoes, which originally date to the 12th to 14th centuries, but were restored in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. 

Next we walked to a small chapel situated in the bend of the river.

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The door to this chapel is quite small—about 6 feet high.

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Looking back toward the church in the village.

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A pathway along the river took us back to the village.

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We stopped in a restaurant for a cup of tea and delicious Tarte Tatin, which I would describe as “apple upside-down cake.”  It was served with crème fraiche.

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Then we walked down to the stone bridge.

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And here are a couple more picturesque buildings in the town.

attic-st-cereri 064_18_1 On our way home we stopped at the church where St. Fraimbault is said to be buried at St. Fraimbault-de-Lassay, and then visited the castle of Lassay-les-Châteaux. But I already have lots of photos in this post, so I’ll save those for another day.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Attic renovation Day 2 update

The work progresses.  Wednesday May 16, 2012.

The second skylight is installed.

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And here is the wallboard ready to install.

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It is labeled 1200 mm, which, I guess is the width: 1.2 meters or 47 inches. In other words almost 4 ft. They look to be about 8 ft. long. I can’t find that measurement printed on them. Are you wondering yet how they got those up here? What with the narrow enclosed stairway.


I wanted to see how they would do it, but I needed to go to the grocery store.  Jim stayed here, but he almost missed it because he wasn’t paying attention.  He was writing.  I think he had his priorities confused. So he didn’t get pictures, but he was able to tell me that they brought in a crane and lifted the wallboard up to the third floor and loaded it through the window.  He said it was all done very quickly. I imagine they had to block the street while doing it, so wanted to get that crane in and out quickly. I wish I hadn’t had to go to the store just then.

Anyway here are some photos of the walls now.

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Here is the window the boards came through. It is just a few inches taller than 4 feet. You can now walk right up to that window without ducking under the beam that used to be there.

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Here is the second skylight.

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And this is the first one, showing the insulation in place. This should cut down the heating bills for the house and keep the attic cooler in summer as well.

By now they have metal studs in place for the end walls and ceiling. They have put up the wall board on the wall next to the bathroom. They say that here in France all construction like this must be done with metal studs. They don’t like the wooden studs that were used for the bathroom.

Tomorrow is a bank holiday—Ascension day?  And I guess Friday is too—just because. Monday the head contractor is having some kind of knee surgery.  He said something about coming in on Tuesday afternoon, but I don’t think that’s a good idea.  I think he expects to be here Wednesday. It’s not a knee replacement. It’s some laser surgery. So we’re not sure when the work will get going again after today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 1–- suite

Here are a couple photos taken at the end of the day yesterday.

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They are tucking insulation behind the metal bars they put up.

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Here’s the view out the skylight. I think I climbed up on the lower rung of the ladder to take this. You can see what a nice day it was yesterday. We had some rain this morning, but the sun is out now.

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I spent some time in the garden yesterday. It was quite cool in the shade, but quite warm in the sun.  I got overheated after a short time working in the sun.  Here are a few shots from the garden.

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A few of the pots that Alice planted on the corner near the house.

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I think there’s something charming about the profusion of forget-me-nots in front of the old outhouse door.  The picture would have come out better on an overcast day, but we seem to have sunshine or rain.

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I snapped this photo of a bird at the feeder that Alice put up. I think this is a Rouge Gorge familier, or a European Robin.

And finally the drapes that I ordered from Country Curtains and brought over. They are just a bit long, so we still have to figure out what to do about that.

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The workmen carried two more skylights upstairs this morning.  I don’t know what they are going to do with 2 more.