Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

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

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?


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.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The scary bit, driving onboard the Ferry

I'm travelling over to Brittany with Brittany Ferries, Portsmouth to St Malo, so only an hour's drive to the Gite on the French side.

This is the bit that Liz doesn't like, driving up the ramp onto the ferry:

Off to France for a week of holiday DIY

I'm off to our Brittany Gite for a week of holiday DIY.

Should have gone in September and then October but too much work on and so its ended up mid November by the time I've been able to get away.

And its still not great time for work so suspect I will end up making a few conference calls from France during my week "off" :-(

As its just me going (Liz is at home and the boys are at school and college) I've taken the opportunity to take as much stuff as I can do.

In the very full car are two new single bed matresses, a dishwasher, washing machine, swimming pool sand filter, 12m of swimming pool pipes, lots of pipe joints, a shower tray, shower screen, boxes of tiles, tile cutter, and quite a lot of tools and bits and pieces.

Plan for the week is to put a new shower cubicle in, fit an extractor fan to the bathroom and plumb in a new swimming pool.

Hopefully I will get some rest !

Monday, April 04, 2016

Boiler servicing

Some things are sometimes more of a challenge than they need to be.

About 5 years ago we had a new oil boiler installed at the Gite that runs the hot water and central heating.

All was fine until we accidentally ran out of oil and the muck in the bottom of the oil tank got pulled through into the boiler and it spat some black smoke out as a result.

The plumber who installed the boiler advised me of a local company in Rohan who could service it and so I logged a 'please contact me to come and clean the boiler' request on their website for when I was next coming to France.

They never phoned nor emailed me so the following time I came over to France I tried again via the website, but again no response.

This time when we arrived at the Gite I noticed that there the boiler was blowing out more black sooty smoke that was deposited all up the outside wall.

This time I avoided the electronic 'contact me' and drove over to their shop to book an engineer visit.
Yes I was told, would be probably Thursday, but the technician would phone to confirm.

By the end of Wednesday after having had no phone call I went back to the shop to confirm the appointment.

No, not Thursday, but would be Friday at 2pm. Definitely.

And here he is, the technician arrived as promised on Friday, the boiler was very thoroughly cleaned out, a new nozzle fitted and it's all running perfectly.

What a hassle though.