Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Bought a new frame swimming pool

Popped over to Cambridge today to collect a new swimming pool for our French Gite.

When we first bought our holiday home we thought about putting in a swimming pool but were concerned about the £10,000-20,000 installation cost, annual maintenance and cleaning requirements, and by the rigorous French swimming pool regulations that require all in-ground pools to be fenced in and alarmed.

After the first year of renovation we found a more cost-effective solution in one of the French supermarkets with an "easy-up" pool. Basically these are like giant kids paddling pools - you blow up the white outer ring, then fill the pool with water. As it fills up the sides rise up and it holds its shape pretty good.

These 'easy up' pools are much cheaper than the in-ground systems (roughly £100-200), can be drained and put away at the end of the season, and the swimming pool regulations don't apply as they are not permanent.

For 2005 we had the pool up on the East side of the Gite and both our kids and the guests we had staying absolutely loved it.

Last year we put the pool up on the opposite side by the new patio and barn where it's warmer in the evenings and you can sit on the patio and watch the kids playing. Unfortunately when I'd put the pool away in 2005 I'd obviously caught the pool on something as there were 3 holes in the pool side-wall and one in the white inflatable ring - none of which we discovered until we tried putting the pool up so I had to partially drain the pool, go out and buy some bicycle repair patches to stick over the holes, then re-fill the pool again. This worked OK with the side-wall holes but I was never successful with repairing the hole in the white inflatable ring (which was right on the seam) so it kept on going down after a few weeks of use.

Since packing away the pool last year we've been trying to think of a way of repairing the hole in the white ring. In the end we decided to give up and buy a complete new pool.

The new pool is larger than the easy-up pool, both in width (15 foot diameter vs. 12 foot for the easy-up) and depth (1m vs. 80cm). It's also a frame pool so will be a bit sturdier than the easy-up, and comes with a ladder to get in and out with.

Currently our garage is now full of swimming pool and all it's associated poles, chemicals, ladder, pump, hoses, cleaning net, cover, etc. I'll be glad when Easter comes and we can take it over there - although probably not as glad as the kids will be when we put it up and they can play in it. Last year we had trouble keeping them out, even when it was dinner or bedtime!

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