18/06/2012

Hmm, I haven’t made any blog posts for the last few days. This is because I’ve been busy getting the website up and running (as you may now have noticed). Now you can click the menu buttons on the left to browse the site.

On Saturday LSS painted the pantry with a white all-purpose undercoat. Everything was painted except the floor. (Even the roof-beams got a coat – after having been cleaned of 30 years’ worth of grime first). LSS was so thorough, that when she stood still, she blended perfectly with the background.

While she was doing this, I removed the kitchen window entirely, enlarged the opening slightly at the top and bottom with a hammer and chisel, and fitted the new pvc window. Actually, I used more than a hammer and chisel. The bottom of the window opening had been cast in concrete; of the same sort they used to build the nuclear fallout shelters during the cold war. Hard? You have no idea. I finally resorted to my ultimate weapon – my trusty DeWalt angle grinder. But this was no ordinary angle grinder. In my armoury was a diamond-studded mortar raking wheel (which I bought many years ago to chase a channel into a wall). This did the job in record time. However, when I switched off and turned around, the house was a)quiet and b)invisible. LSS was standing outside in the garden with eyes as big as saucers. I could only just see her through the dust. And of course one of the first things we did when we moved in was to remove the interior door separating the kitchen from the lounge. Oh dear. Dust covered everything. Oops.

Still, at last the opening was big enough for the window. However, as I had made the wooden uprights for the frame on both sides out of scrap timber, the sides were not of uniform thickness, which meant they had to be removed again and run through the DeWalt radial arm saw to even them up. But the window was finally in place, and makes a big difference to the level of light entering the kitchen.

Yesterday we re-measured the pantry with the view to covering all of the wall space with shelving. My idea was to mount steel uprights on each wall, and then have shelving brackets supporting 18mm MDF shelves. However, when we costed this out, the total came to over €500! As LSS pointed out, this was not in keeping with our motto of doing things as cheaply as possible. But short of re-using a pile of old bricks, and scrounging lots of old pallets which could be cut up for shelving, we were a bit stuck.

However, LSS spotted some plastic garage shelf units in the Castorama catalogue, priced at €40. Each shelf is capable of supporting 80kg in weight – and the sizes were just what we needed. But as we had planned to visit BricoDepot in Saint-Germain-du-Puy today anyway, we thought we’d see if they had anything similar. And they did! So we bought three shelf units, and I stocked up with sundry items like wood screws and fischer plugs, and the total came to €159. Now that was more like it! (Hey, if there was any scrap wood lying around we would have used it, but it’s all infested with woodworm. And aside from that, the pantry is quite damp, so plastic shelving is just the ticket for this sort of environment).

Yesterday I also took advantage of the brazier bin being full of rubbish from the loft, and made another barrel of charcoal. Also, Friend L popped in to see us. She was suitably impressed with our efforts to date, being no slouch when it comes to DIY. She even makes her own kayaks.

LSS’s home-made elderflower cordial was tested and approved, as was our home-brewed cider from last year.

Wildlife diary: Mrs Jemima Puddle-Duck is still in residence on her nest.

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