February 28, 2013

Tomorrow, definitely X-Air!

I keep telling myself the same thing but something else always crops up that is more urgent. I’ve spent the last two days cleaning right through my house – I had to because although I’ve done a ‘bit of light dusting’ in the meantime, the dust created by my fireplace work was still everywhere that I looked. But it has been worth it. I’ve still got a little bit to do in the kitchen, but the rest of the place now looks clean the way it should, and I’ve got nice shiny polished wooden surfaces again 😀

So although I’ll probably be phoning to register with one of the doctors in Rouffignac so I can get the signed certificate I need for my French licence, I really am going to get cracking on the X-Air work tomorrow as well. We’ve got fantastic weather forecast for several days, dry and sunny and a temperature of 17 degrees Celsius on Monday, so I must take advantage of it as I’ll be able to work uninterrupted outside. This is more like it 😉

February 26, 2013

Getting serious now!

I picked up another bargain today. After my experience slopping through all the mud outside my house this Winter I decided that I need to put a path in as soon as possible really. After all, we can get heavy storms just as easily during the Summer and the result would be just the same – a small river and an expanse of mud outside my door. So I’ve been keeping my eye open for a cement mixer on the small ads web site. I didn’t want one that would be too small, only able to mix 100 litres or so at a time, because there’s nothing more frustrating when you’re laying concrete to have the bed you’ve laid going off while you’re doing another mix. Ideally you don’t want to have joins showing. On the other hand, there would be no point my having a mixer capable of producing industrial volumes of concrete as I only want to lay a couple of paths, build a couple of sets of low steps and lay a base to park the car on. I was thinking that one with a ‘cuve’ of around 160 litres would be about right.

Several have come and gone over recent weeks with, as usual, none in the immediate vicinity which always seems to be the case. Nothing I’m interested in ever seems to be in Aquitaine – it’s always miles and miles away! But on Sunday I saw a new ad for a 160 litre electric mixer, in good condition from the pics shown, and at a price of only 60€, which is about a quarter of the new price! So I phoned up immediately and after a couple of questions said I’d like to buy it. Yesterday there was too much snow left on the ground so we re-arranged our ‘rendez-vous’ for today at 1300 hrs at Layrac, just south of Agen. I’d left some sand in my trailer which I decided I’d take out as it accounted for quite a bit of weight and I didn’t want to overload my little trailer, so I was out at about 10.00am this morning bagging it up. As the temperature was around -2 degrees Celsius, it turned out that the sand was frozen almost as hard as concrete and I ended up breaking it up with a club hammer and cold chisel, but managed nevertheless to be away by around 10.30am as I’d planned.

As seems to be the usual whenever I look forward to a drive through a picturesque part of France, for most of the journey south I could hardly see a thing. It was around -2 degrees Celsius almost the whole way and there was a lot of standing snow around and the trees were all covered in frost. This was very pretty except that it caused a lot of mist which became quite thick as I ascended into the hills of the Lot and Garonne. It didn’t slow me down at all but it did prevent me seeing the sights and views that were any distance away, which was a bit frustrating. I arrived at Layrac at the agreed time and my seller met me outside his house. He was a very genuine guy and said that after me he’d received hundreds of calls about the mixer, which I said didn’t surprise me. He showed me it working, helped me to load it onto my trailer and he then returned to work and I headed off back home.

The journey back was a lot different to the one down because although at the southern end, it still didn’t quite get above freezing, the mist began to clear. As I approached the Dordogne the temperature rose to 5 or 6 degrees Celsius and I was treated to the most glorious clear blue sky and some of the most breathtaking views imaginable of chateaux, ancient villages perched on rocky hillsides and fertile farmland hemmed in by tree-covered hills. It’s one of the reasons why I love it here. I was home without incident by about 4.00pm and when I unloaded the mixer from my trailer, it came off a bit quickly catching me unawares and scratched one of the lenses of my glasses, which I always hang on the neck of my jumper. Very annoying – there always has to be something to bring you back down to earth again, doesn’t there 😐

February 19, 2013

And now for the X-Air!

We’ve had a glorious past couple of days. Today I saw 15 degrees Centigrade on my car temperature gauge and although it’s forecast to get a bit cooler by the week-end, I’ve got a sneaky feeling that Winter really is almost behind us. On Sunday I saw my first butterfly of the season and bees were buzzing around the end wall of my house that had been warmed up by the sun. Yesterday I saw one of Benjamin and Aurelie’s cats playing with a small animal of some sort. It turned out to be one of the lizards that hang on my house walls sunning themselves when it’s hot. Evidently this one had been tempted out by the sunshine but was moving a bit slowly as the temperature is still a bit low for it and became easy prey for the cat. When I put it back on the wall it quickly scuttled away and disappeared.

The fine weather has also helped me by allowing work to proceed far more quickly on my fireplace. I’m now really pleased to be able to say that I finally completed the job early this evening. By completed, I mean the building work. Now I intend to let it stand, dry out and cure for a short while before treating the new tiles to make them water-repellant and shiny. Once that’s been done, I’ll be able to begin to tie things up by installing my new wood-burner. I can’t wait for that, believe me 🙂

I’m pleased with how the job’s come out. Here are a couple of pics showing ‘before’ and ‘after’, the latter taken just after I’d finished off grouting today. I tried to make it as ‘French’ as I reasonably could and in keeping with the style of my house and I think I’ve succeeded, although time will tell when visitors are able to tell me what they think.

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I’m feeling pretty tired just at the moment after completing the work, some of which has been quite heavy, so I’m looking forward to being able to take it a bit more easy for a day or so. It’ll now give me a chance to turn my attention to X-Air stuff and I’ll be thinking about the coming flying season, what lies ahead and what needs to be done. And about time too 😀

February 16, 2013

Beautiful Spring day!

After a trip to the shop, I spent the rest of yesterday just trimming tiles. My plan was to be ready for today, when I hoped to quickly go outside and use my polishing machine to curve the edges of the ten tiles that will be on the front of the wood-burner platform and then spend the rest of the day tiling. My hope was that I’d then be able to finish off all my tiling tomorrow so I could begin to turn my attention next week to the X-Air. As Wim pointed out when he came over on Thursday, the weather is already quickly improving and it won’t be long before the real flying season starts, so I need to get it ready and also sort out my French licence.

And he was right, because after a frosty start, today has turned into the most gorgeous Spring day that you could imagine! The sky is clear and blue, there’s no wind, visibility is perfect and the temperature has been around 13 degrees C. As a result it was impossible to get started on my plan! Instead, after taking Toddie for a couple of walks over on the field opposite I decided to fit the mudguards that I’ve had for several weeks, to my trailer. And bloomin’ good they look too! And as a bonus, while I was working on them outside, Claire, a neighbour who I’d not met before and was walking past, came and introduced herself. She is a charming lady, French of course, and I was reminded again just how lucky I’ve been to end up with such lovely neighbours. Here are a couple of shots I’ve just taken at 4.45pm, looking eastwards over the field. In the second one on the horizon just in from the right you can see the cement works at Le Lardin that I’ve mentioned before, that is 9 miles away as the crow flies!

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But I must get myself back under control tomorrow because time is passing and as Wim said, the weather is now picking up quite rapidly. Next week is forecast to be clear and dry and although there will be the odd chilly night, daytime temperatures will be on a rising trend in the 15 Degrees C bracket. We’re getting into flying weather so I have to get my fireplace work completed so I can get the X-Air and myself prepared for what’s to come 😀

February 12, 2013

Getting on with things

The weather is just about chucking everything at us at the moment and just as you think you can sniff a bit of Spring in the air, Winter comes back again. But I guess it shouldn’t be unexpected at this time of the year, as I said in a previous post. But I’m pleased to say that today I don’t care for reasons I’ll come back to shortly 😀

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I wanted to polish my floor tiles yesterday using the polishing machine I’d got off Ebay but to do so I’d have to go outside because of the amount of spray it throws out. But the day was horrible and it looked as though the rain would never stop. I tried to start a couple of times in brief breaks in the downpour but as I had to use my spray bottle rather than connect the machine to my water tap, my attempts were not very successful. The machine came with only a very short connection tube which meant that to use it I’d have to be very close to the tap out in the open and I didn’t much fancy that with the possibility that the rain could start pelting down again at any moment. But suddenly the sky cleared and the sun came out! I took the chance to move close to the tap and connect up the machine properly. It then worked like a charm and made the job considerably faster. I would have liked to spend more time making the tiles really glossy but I was very pleased with the finish I achieved and I had the added bonus of being able to get everything cleared away before the rain started again.

So today I don’t have to worry about the weather outside! I’ll be indoors engaged in what I think will be the most satisfying part of the job so far, getting the tiles laid. This morning I laid them out to get an idea of how they’ll look compared to the existing ones and the results are shown below.

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I’m pleased with how they looked. The first two batches are now soaking in my sink so I’m off to change my togs and get started. I just hope the finished result comes out as well 😉

February 10, 2013

Gone but not forgotten

I didn’t get a whole lot done on Friday but what I did do was useful. I cleaned off all the hard adhesive residue left from when the old tiles were removed, something that’s very important in order for the new ones to bed down nice and level with the tiles that surround them. I’ll also have to use one of the tile samples that I bought in some time ago, from a factory at Millau, which is quite a bit thicker than all of the others that I’ll be using, so I got out my angle grinder, put on my mask, went outside and just ground away at it until it was down to the required thickness.

Saturday morning dawned dull but dry, but shortly after I’d taken Toddie out it began to lightly slow. I had visions of deja vu and more time about to be lost, so decided to jump in the car and drive to Brico Depot in Perigueux to buy another bag of concrete (I already have one) for filling the hole on my living room floor and a couple of bags of adhesive for the new floor tiles. By the time I left it was snowing pretty hard but nothing was settling and as I drove down into Plazac it almost stopped. However, on the way to and from Perigueux the snow became quite heavy so it became pretty obvious that I wouldn’t get any more real work done that day. I didn’t mind too much though, as I wanted to watch the Rugby Six Nations, anyway 😉

There was a bit of snow left lying here and there this morning but it soon cleared away and it began to rain. As I was dead set on not missing the England-Ireland match this afternoon, I knew I had to press on regardless if I wanted to get the hole in my lounge floor concreted in today so I would have the opportunity of making more progress tomorrow. I’ll not say that the rain was relentless but it hardly stopped all day and I got pretty wet mixing up and walking buckets of concrete into my living room through the back door. I thought that two bags of ready-to-use concrete might be a bit tight to finish the job off and decided to stretch them a bit by adding some extra sand and cement. The extra fines would also help me to get a reasonable surface finish as well. And it was lucky I did, because even with the added sand, I only just had enough concrete to finish the job. See below for how it came out.

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So at last the hole in my living room floor is gone, but I’ll not forget it in a hurry. It was a total pain in the back-side. As well as falling into it a couple of times and well-nigh breaking my ankle, it also collected all the muck and dirt going and was just a horrible unhygienic pit. How anyone could have lived with it I do not know, even using it as an open hearth, and I can’t believe that it existed for all the years that it did. So I’ll not miss it, as I won’t the ruddy rain that’s now dripping non-stop down the chimney into sundry tin cans and other containers that I’ve had to lay out to collect it. Rain, rain, go-away for goodness sake 😡

February 7, 2013

I just can’t compromise

I mentioned the two perfectly good tiles that I nicked the edges of yesterday and how I was going to repair them. Well I’m not. I decided that I couldn’t leave them as they were and they had to come out. There was also another tile that has always got my goat because it had a large chunk taken out of its surface. It has always been like that but was an eyesore and always would have been if I’d left it. So today they all had to come out. I tried just using a bolster but damaged yet another adjacent good tile so there was nothing for it but to get my angle grinder out again and cut all of them out. It was taking a risk because I would only have just enough floor tiles to do the original job plus these and if I’d caused any further damage I’d have been in real trouble. But luckily I didn’t. I didn’t bother with the big tarpaulin so once again the whole house got smothered in dust all over again, but there wasn’t a lot I could do about that. I’ve cleaned up most of the living room now but still have the kitchen to do and I might just leave that until tomorrow as I’m tired. But I don’t like compromises, never have done and I think it was worth it.

February 6, 2013

Nightmarish!

Today has been absolutely horrific. I always knew that it was going to be but in reality it turned out to be even worse than I’d expected, by an order of magnitude. Today was the day when I cut out the damaged floor tiles in front of my fireplace in my living room.

I knew that it was going to be awful because of the amount of dust that I knew would be generated and I knew that try as I might, there was no way that I’d be able to stop it. I tried to make an enclosure over the area I’d be working on using my big black tarpaulin that I bought to make covers for the X-Air from, but it was impossible to seal all the gaps up. And when I started grinding the joints away around the damaged tiles the amount of dust that was generated was tremendous. That wouldn’t have been a problem if the house had been empty, but it wasn’t, and there wasn’t even the option of moving stuff temporarily outside because of the incessant rain storms that kept passing through today.

I thought that I might reduce the dust level by using a thinner blade rather than the edge of the grinding wheel that my ‘meuleuse d’angle’ came with so I stopped work immediately and nipped down to ‘Les Briconautes’ in Montignac to get one. I also bought some protective goggles but when I went to use them, I found they were useless as I had to wear a dust mask and when I breathed, my breath came out of the top of that and immediately steamed up the goggles. Although the dust level was lower with the thinner wheel, it didn’t seem to be by much so in the end I just had to bite the bullet and carry on regardless, having covered as much of my stuff up with every bit of suitable spare cloth that I could find.

But before continuing, I’ll back-track a little because I was unable to post yesterday due to an Internet outage as a result of a huge storm that went through in the afternoon. I managed to complete the rendering on my wood-burner platform as planned and was very pleased with the results which are shown below.

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I achieved just what I’d hoped for – level surfaces, a nice sharp straight front edge and a vertical front face – things that will make it easier to tile and get the sort of finished job I’m looking for. But now back to today. Here are some pics of the horror story that was my living room today.

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When I emerged from under the tarpaulin, I found that even though I’d opened the doors and windows on both sides of the house, the place was full of thick clouds of dust. It got everywhere. Even things I’d covered up were plastered with it when I removed the covers, especially if there had been any chink in them, through which the dust had penetrated with ease. Everything in my kitchen was covered with the stuff and although I’ve already done a bit of a clean-up, it’ll take ages to get rid of it all. I’d left my bathroom door open and it had even managed to double-back on itself and get in there. It’s got a gritty kind of texture to it and seems to stick to anything. I left one of my mobile phones out on a ledge between the living room and the kitchen and when I picked it up, not only was it plastered with dust on the front but it was also covered on its back. I could hardly believe it 😐

But at the end of the day, the job is done, well the bulk of it anyway. There’s still some tidying up to do before I can press on, concrete the floor and tile it, but at least the bit that I knew would be awful is now behind me. Here are a couple more pics of how the floor now looks.

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Because of the poor conditions I was working under and lack of visibility, I have nicked the edges of a couple of the good tiles that were next to damaged ones. I think that I’ll be able to repair them using some ‘terre cuite’ paste that I’ve now got quite a lot of in my tile cutting machine. But after the event, I wonder whether I really should have followed the advice I received to cut away the joints surrounding the damaged tiles as I did. That’s what created all the dust and led to me nicking the edges of two good tiles and I suspect that I could have done just as well if I’d just taken a bolster to the damaged tiles and lifted them without cutting away the joints around them. It’s always worked for me in the past but it’s too late now and I just have to plough on and try to get the job finished as soon as possible. Then I’ll be able to get back to some sort of normality 😉

February 5, 2013

Mud

There’s nothing wrong with mud. It has its place in the order of things, I suppose, and I’m sure it must have lots of uses. But I can’t think of any that might be relevant to me. It’ll take a while before I can lay a proper path along the front of my house and for the life of me, I cannot fathom how previous occupiers managed all the years that they did without one. Until then I’ve got to make do as they obviously did for all that time. Maybe I’m a bit less patient than them, but I can’t see how every time it rains heavily, you can be happy staggering along slipping and sliding in a slop of mud and when you get to the kitchen door, then walking a couple of bootfuls in with you every time, that you then have to clear up.

It has been very wet here but I can’t believe that the same thing doesn’t happen every Winter when it rains. I only have to take the dog out for a couple of minutes and when we come back in, the mud comes with us. It dried up a bit yesterday afternoon but then it began to drizzle again and it must have continued for much of last night. So what have we got again? Yup, mud, loads of it. To say I’m fed up with the stuff is an understatement 😐

February 4, 2013

Good week end

I managed to make some good progress and find time to watch all of the rugby 6 Nations matches. For starters, it was good to see England win their opening match against Scotland. After watching France, who were the pre-tournament favourites, go down to Italy, it looks as though 2013 isn’t going to be their year. They weren’t convincing at all and never really seemed to be in touch. I think that Ireland were the most impressive this first week-end. There was something missing about the England performance – they deserved to win but there was something mechanical about their game and somehow they seemed to be ‘playing by numbers’. Ireland, on the other hand, were playing by instinct so it’ll be interesting to see how the tournament unfolds over the coming weeks.

I also managed to get some good work done on my fireplace which I continued with today. I might appear to be making a big thing about this work but as I see it, I’ve got just the one chance to do it right. I have to create something that will not only be decorative but must also be extremely effective. My wood-burner is bloomin’ heavy and its weight, of course, is concentrated on four small feet which are therefore each exerting a very large downward pressure. The platform must therefore not only support the weight but if there’s any surface weakness where the feet will be positioned, then things will start to crumble or move, tiles will start to crack and that will be it. So I have to do a proper job and not only that, when it’s done it should hopefully be a permanent feature of my ‘sejour’ for many years to come.

So my next task was to apply a good strong coat of rendering onto the platform’s top surface. This will need to not only take the load of the wood-burner but will also have to spread the load that might otherwise be too much for the lightweight concrete blocks that I used in the structure, through the tiles that will be fixed to the rendered surface. I made up a length of shuttering using the wood that the wood-burner was packed in actually. The shuttering not only gave me the depth of rendering that I wanted but by stepping it out at the front, when the rendering had cured and the shuttering was removed, it also gave me a hard edge to work to when I came to render the front of the platform. Here are a couple of pics with the shuttering in place taken just after I’d finished rendering the platform top.

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That was where I got to on Sunday and today, despite the intermittent rain that we’ve got back again, I was able to press on with rendering the front. The depth of material that I have to apply is too much to do in one go, mainly because of the deep depressions in the faces of the concrete blocks that I used to make the bottom layer of the platform, so today I wanted just to get an initial coat on that will be cured enough for me to finish the job tomorrow. And that’s what I managed to do as the following pics show.

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So tomorrow, all being well, I’ll have the platform in a state that’s ready for tiling. I also fired up the new ‘coupe carreaux’ over the week-end and got cracking trimming some tiles down. It’s turned out to be a great piece of kit and well worth the 60€ plus petrol that it cost me because in no time at all, I’d got over 2/3 of my tiles cut to size and ready for use. But they’ll have to wait for a while before that happens, because once I’ve finished rendering the platform, it’ll be time to start on the floor. And it’ll be a messy job because cutting the unwanted old tiles out will create clouds of dust. I haven’t yet worked out what I can do about that – maybe I’ll be able to make some kind of tent arrangement over the fireplace that I’ll be able to work in, with a mask that I have already, to keep the dust from spreading into the rest of the room. I’ll have to think about it a bit more before I get going with that job 🙂

February 1, 2013

An interesting week

To say the least! It’s been helped by a period of spring-like weather which I’m sure has made everyone feel so much better compared to when we had day after day of almost continuous rain. There are buds on lots of the trees and shoots from the daffodils and other spring plants have emerged into the daylight and are growing visibly bigger by the day. Obviously we must expect for there to be a few more cold snaps and even some more snow during the next few weeks, but there’s a tangible feeling that Spring is in the air and that maybe we’ve turned the corner and are heading away from the gloom of Winter.

With the progress I’ve made on my fireplace, I still only had vague plans on how I might decorate and finish-off the platform on which my wood-burner will stand, so on Monday I decided to bite the bullet and make another long car journey, north into the Vendee to another tile factory that I’d found on the Internet. The factory is in Aizenay and I knew that the drive there and back would take me a whole day. I left Plazac in bright sunny weather and although I hit roads that were wet after recent rain storms as I headed north-west towards the coast, I didn’t actually end up driving through any heavy rain the whole day. What was noticeable though, was how the whole of the south-west of France has been thoroughly drenched over recent weeks with many of the fields and other land at the sides of the roads having the appearance of mangrove swamps with trees and bushes growing up out of what were quite substantial lakes in many places.

We tend to take technology for granted these days, but I’m still amazed how I can feed an address into my satnav and end up right outside it after a few hours driving. It makes the journey so much more enjoyable than in the old days when we had to rely on maps and constantly keep our eyes peeled in case we missed vital signposts. So a few hours after leaving Plazac, I was turning into the car park of Les Terres Cuites d’Aizenay. I spotted the factory immediately as I began to cross over the main road that I’d just left, with its massive piles of scrap wood and its old stone kilns burning away with smoke coming out of the tops. I was soon greeted by a chap wearing an old jumper and with holes in the knees of his jeans and it turned out that he ran the whole place and was the great great grandson of the gentleman who originally started the business. I explained what I was there for and he took the opportunity to practice his English, which he said he hadn’t been able to use in some time, and over the next couple of hours, our conversation continued in an interesting mixture of English and French.

After a few minutes he said that he was firing up a kiln (cooking it, he said) and would I like to come and watch? We walked across the yard and descended into a shallow pit at the back of what was obviously the original building on the site housing the kilns. Two iron doors were open with fires blazing away inside with several large lengths of wood hanging out of them with their ends on the floor. The heat coming out of the open doors was quite intense, so I stood back a bit, but my new friend seemed quite unperturbed. It turned out that the reason why the wood was protruding in such a way was because the lengths of the scrap wood that the factory buys up, whenever it is available from the look of the enormous stacks on the land across the yard, are too long to go straight into the kiln fire boxes, so he just shoves in what he can and allows the fires to burn and break them. Then he just pushes in the bits that are hanging out and adds some more, even talking away animatedly on his portable phone if he needs to while doing so.

I would love to have seen what was going on in the factory itself as it uses only traditional materials and traditional manufacturing methods, but unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time. So we headed off to look at some of the stock stacked on pallets outside to see what I could use. The tiles (‘carreaux’) that I thought I’d be interested in turned out not to be suitable, which was a bit of a blow as the photographs I’d seen on their web site had looked so promising. However, I’d spotted some other ‘carreaux’ in the small showroom which had given me another idea. These were half the size of the ones I already have on my floor and available with or without a lovely decorative motif in the form of a white fleur de lys and I worked out a new design for my fireplace there and then based on the measurements that I’d brought with me. I then found that actually the tiles were slightly bigger than I really wanted – 16cm square rather than 15cm – but I loved them so much that I decided that I’d just have to find a way of trimming them down

So we loaded them up into the back of my car and sat down for my bill to be calculated. Wowee! Unfortunately I’d not checked the prices before loading up the car and it turned out that the ‘carreaux’ with the motif were 7€ each! But maybe it was for the best, because if I’d known that I either wouldn’t have bought them or would have settled for a compromise. As it is, I know that they will be perfect for what I’m trying to achieve and the cost will end up being worth it.

Toddie and I arrived home pretty late on Monday night so we both took it a bit easy on Tuesday. I dealt with a couple of domestic issues (I have a dispute with EDF who are trying to over-charge me for the electricity I used due to a faulty meter from when I arrived here until they replaced it in December, and also with an English company who supplied me with boots of the wrong size and can’t be bothered refunding me) and spent some time thinking about how I should go about trimming down the ‘carreaux’ I’d bought. I checked the web sites of companies who supply tile cutters and found that although you can buy smaller models for ‘domestic’ users from as little as 40€, the heavier ‘professional’ table-mounted versions that I would need for my kind of job ran out at about 200€. I couldn’t run to that after investing as much as I had in my ‘terres cuites’ so on Wednesday I decided to have a look at the small ads on Le Bon Coin. Unbelievably, a table-mounted tile cutter, used once it said, had been put up for sale only about an hour or so before, at a price of only 60€! It seemed to me that fate had taken a hand, so I called up the seller and after asking a couple of questions, agreed to buy it 🙂

And so it was that yesterday Toddie and I found ourselves heading off north-west yet again to Saintes. We left Plazac in mist and drizzle but as we drove the weather gradually brightened. We drove through Perigueux, Angouleme and then Cognac, past field after field of vines and the distilleries of companies like Courvoisier, Reynac and many more smaller ones with puffs of steam rising above them. Then as the sun broke through, there was the most magnificent view across the rolling land of the Charente that by itself made the drive worth it. It’s why I don’t mind doing it – each journey as well as having a purpose is an enjoyable experience in itself, a small window into France and French life that I find so rewarding.

The seller of the tile cutting machine (‘coupe carreaux’) spotted me looking for his house, which was dead lucky because he had just left home when I arrived, to return to work. We quickly did the deal, loaded it into my car and Toddie and I turned round and headed for home. The machine was still in its original box so later on in the evening I unpacked it and checked it over and here are a couple of pics I took of it.

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Everything worked fine but I found that the original owner had obviously just been cutting tiles by eye and had lost the adjustable guide that clamps to the ruler. It would have been useful if I’d had it because I have lots of similar cuts to do, but it isn’t essential and I can do my job without it. In the meantime, I may see if I can buy a replacement as a ‘spare part’ – I probably will be able to because the machine was made by Peugeot and is only two years old.

I’ve also shown the tiles I bought standing on the machine’s cutting table. They aren’t actually different colours – the plain one had been stacked outside in the rain so was wet while the decorated one came from the showroom, so was dry. Anyway, I’ve now got all the tools and materials I need to finish the job, so I’m rarin’ to go and can’t wait to get cracking again 😀

I just came back to say that earlier this afternoon I fired up my new ‘coupe carreaux’ and trimmed a couple of tiles. Here is a pic of the finished articles next to two originals.

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Trimming the edges was a piece of cake and only took a few moments in each case. The new edges are great and the trimmed-down tiles both look excellent. I can’t wait now to get the job done 😉