Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Completed new shower cubicle

White silicone around the edges of the shower tray, transparent silicone around the outside edges of the frame (so if water gets behind the frame edges it will run back into the shower area), check adjustment of the doors, put the shower bar and shower outlet back up, and we’re there.

One lovely new shower cubicle.

I’m really pleased with this, compared to the previous shower cubicle which was showing its age, this is much more spacious to use and looks really smart, modern and is perfect.

From start to finish took 3 days to install.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Fitting the new shower cubicle

“Fitting the new shower cubicle”,  sounds innocuous doesn’t it.   I mean, how hard can it be to fit a new shower cubicle, its just a matter of carefully following the instructions and assembling everything isn’t it?

As I mentioned earlier, I’d bought the new shower cubicle from an eBay seller, nothing wrong with that in terms of quality of what I’d bought, but when it came to installing the cubicle I think this particular seller had bought the instructions from China and quite possibly the Chinaman had never seen the cubicle he was drawing the plans for!!

Of all the work I did on the shower following the instructions proved to be the most difficult part. I like to be logical,  lay the parts out, identify what is what, and then start at step 1.

IKEA must love me as a customer. Laid all the parts out, compared the parts to the pictures, and they don’t match.

Yes I have mostly the same number of parts as in the plans, but some of them bear no resemblance to the installation instructions.
The uprights in particular have a completely different profile and I spend perhaps 3 hours dry assembling various parts of the shower trying to work out whether I have a door part, a glass surround part, or a frame part !

Eventually I conclude mhy deliberations and can actually assemble the cubicle in situ.  I then find that I’m missing some of the self tapping screws and silver screw cover caps - not enough to seriously jeopardise the installation, but enough to mean that some corners of the cubicle have to be screwed together with my own screws that will need replacement parts from the eBay seller. Take photo of offending missing parts, and carry on ...



Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tiled and grouted the remainder of the shower cubicle

Tiling the rest of the shower cubicle was a fairly straight forward job.   Checking all the time that the tiles were level and true, it was made easier by the choice of large wall tiles and 10mm right angle tile trim to finish the edges off neatly.


I originally planned to just tile the shower cubicle area, but having seen how quickly it took me to tile this section and how much better it looked with tiles on the wall I decided to continue tiling along the wall up to the doorway.

Waited a couple of hours for the adhesive to dry,  then cleaned any adhesive off the tile surfaces and from the cracks (found that if you leave this job to the next morning then the adhesive sets rock solid and is a lot harder to do),  and then grouted the lot.
Top tip, buy a proper rubber grout float and use power-mix grout. The ready-mix may be easier to use but its too lumpy and with the powder mix you can get a much better grout result.


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

New shower tray and starting to tile the shower

Having stripped out the old shower, next job was to start fitting the new shower tray.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the original shower tray and cubicle was quite restrictive as it was a standard 800mm square size.  Measuring carefully I worked out that I could fit a 900mm deep tray with enough clearance before the existing wall radiator, and looking around I could get 1200mm wide tray, so 1200x900mm wide it was.

Slight aside, I have discovered that you can buy most bathroom things like shower trays, glass screens, toilets, sinks and bathroom cupboards at very reasonable prices on eBay. Plenty of suppliers so the prices are keen and the quality is fine.  So eBay it was for this shower tray and cubicle and I brought it all over to France in Liz's Ford Galaxy.

As a result of putting in a larger tray this meant that the floor tiles had to be cut back to accommodate the new tray size, so out with the angle grinder - made a lot of dust in the process !

Of course the trap on the new tray was in a different position to the old one, so more cutting with the angle grinder and chiselling out with my big SDS hammer drill. And yet more dust.

I made several dry runs at assembling the waste and trap before applying pipe solvent glue to the pipework. The trap was then screwed on, a bed of mortar under the tray, and silicone around the trap to seal it to the tray. Fitted the tray and left it all overnight to set.

Then I started on tiling the walls. The tiles again came from the UK, B&Q in fact, as I had some left over from tiling our utility room at home! I did have buy several boxes more and bring them over to France, but as we liked them already it was easier to keep with this style.

One challenge I had was the shower bar that was in the middle of the wall. Unlike in the UK, French regulations don't seem to require you to have shut-off valves before water outlets so I had to turn the whole house water off when I removed the shower bar. I didn't have any stop ends that would fit the pipe, so made an impromptu loop with a washing machine filler hose which did the job a treat!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Removing the old shower cubicle

Downstairs in the Gite is a large bathroom with toilet, washing machine and a not particularly large shower cubicle. In fact when I looked round the Gite prior to buying it, the previous owners had stored their daughter's toys in the cubicle,  and whilst it has been used a lot more than the previous owners did,  the shower cubicle was starting to show its age and so I planned to replace it with something bigger. The old cubicle prior to starting work:  First job was to strip out the old cubicle, tiles and tray.  Smashing fun !


Monday, April 10, 2017

Another little repair job to the patio door blind

On arriving at the Gite I found that unfortunately the roller blind above the doors onto the patio had been broken at some point.  These blinds work really well but they are quite heavy and if you let them drop down at high speed they can get damaged which results in the blind coming apart.
It is a bit of a pain to fix this as I have to take the cover off the roller blind on the inside, unscrew the bottom weight,  and then manually feed the rolled blind back up through the slot at the top into the house,  then when the blind is all inside,  have to slide each blind slat out sideways and then you can slide them all back together. As I said, a bit of a pain.  At least it gave the opportunity to wash all the blind slats as I put it back together again.  


Sunday, April 09, 2017

Back to France for Easter week

I'm currently sitting on the harbourside at Dover, waiting for the 10:40 DFDS ferry to Calais.

Just me going for Easter week. Toby is off to grandparents and Jack is, well Jack. So Mum at home to keep Jack in check and feed the pets.

Good drive down to the port although I could see it will be hazy on the channel.   Yesterday I flew my microlight to Damyns Hall near Dartford Crossing and it was very hazy until late afternoon so I expect the same today - not much fun flying when you can't see much in front of you.   I'm sure the ferry captain will have GPS and Radar to ensure we don't run into anything on the way.

Despite thinking that there is not much to take to France the car is completely full !
Bringing over a new freezer,  flatscreen TV,  a big pile of laminate flooring and more tiles and trim to complete tiling the downstairs bathroom.

Not a quiet week ahead of me then ...
PS: Thanks for the free wifi Dover harbour, much appreciated

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Brittany folded baguette

Just read an amusing article on the Daily Mail website announcing that a Brittany bakery has invented the folded baguette that fits easier into your shopping bag.  

What do you think, clever idea or not?


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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Port of St Malo

Arriving in at the port of St Malo.  Slept on the floor of the recling chair lounge as there was more room than being in a reclining chair (that I paid £5 for the privilege of having), but actually slept quite well.   Croissants and coffee for breakfast and now I'm here in France.

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