This morning we went to the local quarry (15km away) with the trailer, and came back with 700kg of 8/16 gravel. I used half of it as hardcore for the floor of one of the little rooms next to the workshop; this room will be used for storage, but we need a solid floor first. The layer of compacted gravel will be covered with a thin layer of lime, then a membrane, and then finally a lime concrete floor. Unfortunately it’s not warm enough yet to pour concrete, so the tractor-powered concrete mixer is still in the aged FIL’s barn; we’ll bring it to La Darnoire once the weather warms up.

I am currently filling up the thermal store in stages. It is now three-quarters full, but unfortunately I have noticed a leak where the topmost copper coil exits the cylinder, so I had to drain some of the water off again. Once the connection has dried out tomorrow, I will see what remedial action can be carried out – probably by using silicone sealant.

This afternoon I continued working on the ST1100; the wheels have now been reinstalled and the new stainless steel brake lines fitted. Whilst the front wheel was off I changed the coolant, using propylene glycol instead of the less ecological ethylene glycol. Now I just need to bleed the front brakes and put the body panels back on.

LSS took advantage of the sunshine to use the rotavator on the garden, ploughing in the rabbit-dropping compost. I suspect the first plants will soon be sown.

I sprayed the four peach trees with a copper sulphate solution this afternoon as the buds were about to break, and last year they suffered badly from peach leaf curl. As long as we don’t get any unseasonal frost this year we may even get some fruit – unlike last year when we didn’t get a single peach, pear or apple!

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