Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Off to France, new swimming pool sand filter coming soon

Car looking extremely full and low on its suspension, ready to go to France
I'm off to our Brittany Gite in a few hours time later this afternoon, driving down to Dover for an evening sailing, then drive through the night from Calais to Brittany, a quick bit of sleep, then 2 days at the Gite before I return back to the UK on Saturday evening.

So why such a short and anti-social trip?

Well two reasons, firstly the Gite's been quite well booked for Spring and early Summer, so this short 3 day gap is the only vacancy I have (other than the week of 9th to 16th June - available at a bargain price of £250 for the week - see our Gite availability calendar for more details), and secondly I do have a lot to take over to the Gite before we go over as a family in July.

The main reason for the visit is to take over and install a new sand filter and pump for the swimming pool. We've been using one of the little Intex pumps up to now, which is OK, but it takes ages to pump through the volume of water in our 15' swimming pool and I wanted something a bit more "beefy" to keep the water crystal clear. We bought a sand filter, pump and multi-port valve about 9 months ago on ebay but haven't had room in the car to take it over until I'm making this special trip. I've also had to buy a load of new pipework and pipework joints to plumb it all in - nearly £200 in total - ouch !

Also taken the opportunity to take over a number of other items from our garage that are destined for the Gite, so as well as the sand filter, pump, pipework, 5 bags of sand (for the filter), the car is crammed with a chest of drawers, a new fridge, tubs of swimming pool chemicals, some new wooden panels for the swing seat, new grills for the BBQ, a new upright hoover, plus loads of little bits and pieces to fill in all the nooks and crannies in the car. The furniture is intended for the second half of our Gite - my ongoing (slow) renovation project - so don't expect to see it in use in the Gite just yet awhile!

Wish me luck with the pump and filter. I'm armed with installation instructions courtesy of Google, but my nightmare scenario is that I'm missing one little widget to complete the job.

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  • I mentioned your car load of goodies to a friend with experience of swimming pools in UK and France, he thought that on the chemical side the French tubs are very much cheaper. However I take your point of having everything to hand for a job, as having to go shopping for the 'damned widget' can take an afternoon!

    By Anonymous Lesley, at May 31, 2012  

  • Hi Lesley

    I actually don't know whether the pool chemicals are cheaper in France or not. I buy them in the UK because I can buy in bulk from an online website and then that makes sure that I have enough for the season.
    When I bought the pool pipework from a local swimming pool store and told the man there what I was doing, he said that he had customers who were reporting that pool chemicals in France were much more expensive now than in the UK. Maybe I'll have to do some research?

    Yes I wanted to have everything to hand to be able to do the pool job in one go. We live in a very rural location so it can be quite a trek to go to a decent sized town to go and get the missing widget, and that assumes that I can find the right widget shop, that I understand the French for the widget, and that the shop isn't closed for lunch, Pentecost or whatever !

    In the past when a piece of glass was broken on one of the pictures in the Gite I eventually gave up trying to find a glaziers in France. I still don't know what the French word for someone who sells picture glass is, but I ended up taking the picture home to replace the glass in the UK. This means I have a constant stream of things to remember to take to and from France each time we go over and in the past I've left tools in the wrong country before now.

    By Blogger Geoffrey, at May 31, 2012  

  • Glass for window or pictureframe can often be got from Mr Bricolage, or a BricoBatiJardi, type place. There is an ( often un-manned) corner hatch where wood and glass can be cut. Sometimes it can all happen in 10 minutes other times it can stretch into two days!
    Now that May is over and loads of days of Jour Feries have been taken and 'bridged', I think it's the UKs turn for Bank Holidays Jubilee. Enjoy.

    By Anonymous Lesley, at June 01, 2012  

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