Sunday, November 28, 2010

Snow and Icicles

Our shed doesn't have much of a watertight roof yet and there's some pretty impressive icicles forming just in front of the door (through one of the holes in the roof). I've come close to impaling myself several times already today! I'm going to leave them to see how long they get...
Meanwhile, the snow on our roof is getting quite high, at least where it's slipped of the dormers - luckily the roofers are coming later this week to add snow stickers (technical term) to the roof. I cleaned this off with a big brush - it makes quite a whump when a huge snowball rolls off the roof and lands 10 meters below.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Winter has arrived!

Winter has finally arrived and we have a nice dusting of snow in the garden and some pretty cool stalactites on the dormers! Hopefully more snow will come later this weekend and we'll be able to make a snowman.
Our cool roofing company (Ferblanterie Gessienne) have just called to say they'd had a look on our roof and would like to add snow stoppers (the technical term) on the dormers to stop the snow slipping off and making a pile on the tiles in front of the window. How good is that!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Not much more to say really. GrDF finally arrived as promised and our fab heating engineer had everything ready for the moment it was connected!

This was on Thursday evening - we've been too busy running taps since to post anything.

The new system works really well and we're pretty happy.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What we've all been waiting for...

This 6-and-a-half month length of pipe is what we've been waiting for. Our heating engineer is just connecting our pipe to the box, and hopefully someone will arrive sometime soon to add the meter. Ooohhhh, it's like Pipemania out there (for those that a old enough to remember).

I guess someone will arrive sometime later to fill in the road, but somehow, I don't really care.

When one flush just isn't enough...

The big water tank is now in place, the excitingly named Rotex Sanicube, although I can't help but point out that it's not really a cube.

In other news, a well-dressed engineer type was spotted in the hole in the road doing something this morning, so hopefully we're now almost connected - though we need to wait for yet another man to connect the two pipes together that are inside the gas box (with a meter).

It seems that every joint in the pipe is handled by a different company, with another one involved to dig up the road! It's close though...

Our poor heating engineers are finishing off down in the heating room, which, thanks to our dodgy plumbing, isn't always the nicest place to be (careful observers will spot the main waste pipe exiting the house under the boiler). This leads to a terrible dilemma .. how many flushes do you need to get your poops definitively out of the house? It's a tricky one, particularly given that everyone seem to have the gastro.. I mean, is one enough? Two? Or maybe two positions the poop right in the wrong place... and flushing six or seven times just makes it look suspicious.

Luckily there are no photos this time...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hole in the road

I'm now very happy to say that we have a large trench in the road, pointing in the direction of the gas main! Everyone arrived this morning and they've been digging all morning - it looks almost done.

There are traffic lights and everything. This morning, as the man was setting up the traffic lights on a completely clear road, some poor guy in a car obediently stopped at the lights and stayed there for about 5 minutes until he realised that the road ahead was completely clear and the lights weren't going to change.

There are big diggers and dumper trucks too. It's amazing how much rubble comes out of a little trench.

Meanwhile the heating system proceeds in the cave - the water tank is going in just now to get all connected up.


All our men have left.

But there are more road-signs, barriers, a big road-surface chopper(*), a pneumatic drill and a 500-litre water tank waiting.

We remain hopeful.

(*) and I thought my angle-grinder was big.

Tool of the week?

This week's nominations for "tool of the week" (steaaddddy.....) are 1: my trusty sledgehammer axe, that saw some action yesterday as well. We're knocking down a bit of old, solidly built kitchen unit made of concrete blocks and plaster. Fantastic - I may have to make demolition a new career choice.

The next nomination is 2: the Bosch PBH 3000-2 FRE Rotary Hammer (an "SDS drill" to me) which is another monster and the general winner of the last few weeks' ToTW competition that goes on in my head (if nowhere else). It cuts through concrete like drilling into wood. It's fantastic.

I'm drilling through the measure the relative levels of the floors since the one on this side needs to be insulated, piped up and concreted to extend the underfloor heating into this room. Kerry is concerned about the holes I've cut in the plasterboard. I'm not sure why I needed two... hmm...

But the 3rd nomination, and I think this week's winner, has to be a 16-inch antique metal kebab skewer that went through the hole and cut a small hole on the other side of the plasterboard in the kitchen (the drill was too short). Job done.

Out with the old...

Our heating man arrived yesterday to rip out the old boiler and put in the new shiny one. We're doing this in advance of the gas arriving since it's a definitely definitive date this time.

After much ripping and sawing and cutting, and a poop-filled cold-water interruption, the shiny new boiler is in, although the new water tank is not yet there.

The new boiler is a 40 kW Rotex A1 gas monster. It looks better without the insulation (kinda skeletal), but I suppose it needs it's coat for the winter.

In other news, a man arrived in a bright yellow GrDF van insisting that he wasn't from GrDF, but anyway dropped off some road signs promising "on attaque demain". And as I type this, another man has appeared with more signs and looks like he's about to close the road!

Our heating man has also appeared and has dropped off a large water tank (and has rushed off again).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To make up for today's earlier image...

here's one that is much more cute and fluffy! Look, they even have a picture of a cat on their cushion!
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Number Two Number Three

We've been without water for less than one hour and I have had to deal with three poopies - and only two of my children are at home. I've naturally given up trying to prepare tonight's meal.

The water is off because our chauffagiste is HERE, chez nous, dismantling our boiler to make way for a new one. The road is due to be dug up on Thursday, although no-one is holding their breaths that this will actually happen. But since our boiler provides neither heat, nor hot water, and hasn't done for the past 6 weeks, we decided there was no point in waiting to start the work any longer.

And I'm also threatening to leave if I don't get a shower soon...
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Spot the difference

Gas box carefully positioned on the wall
There's been an exciting new development in the ni-heating-ni-hot-water situation here at twentyfourandthedoor:

The gas box has moved!

Yes, an engineer from the gas company arrived unannounced and re-drilled the holes, moving the box a few centimeters to the right, and then went away. It now lines up much better with the marked lines and generally looks more aesthetically pleasing.

It still has no gas connected to it, but we take comfort with the knowledge that when the gas does arrive, it will arrive in the right place. Rumour has it that this may happen on the 18th of this month, so watch this space...
Gas box carefully positioned on the wall

Roof done!

Our new roof is pretty much done! There's a bit of paneling under the eaves still to do, but other than that we're done.

The copper's still a bit bright and shiny... but should go matt over the winter to match the tiles more.

Just in time too.. the autumn rain seems to have arrived and it's been hammering down for the last few days.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ooh La La!

While I was discussing our heating/hot water (or rather lack of it) with our vet this morning, he asked who was installing our new boiler.  When I told him, his response was, "Ooh-la-la!" accompanied by the French hand shaking thing that always goes with ooh-la-la.  Turns out it was a good ooh-la-la.  The poor vet is also without heating, but I think his job is not considered big enough for our mutual chauffagiste to take on.  Ours is, quite frankly, huge...and scheduled for the 18th.  Not that I'm counting the hours or anything...