November 28, 2015

First bike ride

In France, that is. I used to have a bike back in Kent and enjoyed taking it out for a spin every now and again. I began to ride it less and less, though, because an old knee injury began to give me more and more pain and discomfort, until I could hardly get in and out of the car, let alone ride a bike.

I kept it, though, until I had keyhole surgery on my knee, and thinking that caution should be exercised in case I damaged my ‘repaired’ knee causing it to flare up again, that was when the bike and I parted company.

But the area where I now live is so suited to bike riding. That’s if you ignore the steep hills, which the pros and keen amateurs absolutely love but that would kill me nowadays if I tried riding up a few of them. However, there are lots of lovely flat areas in between with gorgeous views, on the tops of the hills and in the valleys, and the place is swarming with cyclists of all ages and both sexes throughout the whole of the tourist season.

And I’ve had a hankering for several months, despite my old knee injury, to join them. I happened to mention this to Wim a few weeks ago during one of our regular weekly ‘aperitif’ sessions and he said that he had just the thing that I needed. A bike carrier that I could pop on the back of my car and take my bike to wherever I wanted to that was flat and where I wouldn’t have to over-tax my knee by climbing too many hills.

He insisted on giving it to me there and then, so that meant I had to go out and buy a bike and stop just keep talking about it. And that’s how I ended up buying the old Peugeot bike that I now have in my new garden tool store.

Wim dropped in as usual this morning with the dogs for our usual coffee and chin-wag and after he’d gone I didn’t feel like taking on one of my list of projects. No, as it was bright and dry, albeit with a rather chilly northerly wind, I thought that instead I’d go for a bike ride.

I wrapped up well, hopped onto my bike and turned left out of my drive-way to head north, ‘direction Thenon’. I thought that that would be a good idea as then I’d have the wind on my back during the return journey, which did indeed turn out to be a good plan.

I only went as far as the cross-roads (ahead for Thenon, turn right for Fanlac) which I thought would be good enough for an initial foray as it was soon obvious just how much I need the exercise despite the manual work I’ve been involved in, so I was back just inside 45 minutes. When I started off, I could feel my right knee just complaining a little bit so made sure that I made my left one take most of the strain. And I arrived back none the worse for wear.

So the job’s a good ‘un, as we say in English, and I’m looking forward to getting out and about quite a bit more on my bike. And who knows, I might even get further than a couple of miles next time 😉

November 27, 2015

Life goes on

I’m now resigned to having lost the data on my computer’s old hard drive and have ordered a 3To (French abbreviation for terabyte) replacement so I can reinstate my main computer. It seems that Toshiba and Hitachi, both Japanese, are now the only independent hard disk manufacturers with the others having been bought up by Seagate and Western Digital. Both have good internet reputations for quality and reliability so I’ve ordered a Toshiba, which should arrive soon.

Although it’s bolting the stable door a bit after the event, I’m also awaiting delivery of a Samsung 2To external USB drive which I’ll use for backups from now on. This will probably mean that from now until Kingdom Come I’ll never get another hard drive crash (this is the first one ever when I’ve actually lost data) but with a modern USB drive that doesn’t need a separate power supply and software that only updates your backup with new data and updates of the old, keeping a running backup is, in all honesty, no hardship and I fully admit that I should have been doing so.

The other thing I did yesterday was order a new video editing suite on line. I’ve stuck with Corel VideoStudio Pro as although I lost the installer of the software that I’d bought (via download) and installed, I was entitled to a 50% off upgrade as an existing user. This was worth a reasonable amount of money and made it not economically worthwhile to purchase a different package, the more so as I’m quite happy with the Corel product. The ironic thing is that I still had a backup copy of the installer that I originally purchased but not of the upgrade that I’d replaced it with.

So now with my new garden tool store in a state whereby it is fully usable, it’s time to turn my attention to other matters. Next week is forecast as being a period of high pressure during which there should be no rain until the latter part of the week and reasonably high daytime temperatures, possibly as high as 14 degrees Celsius. So it’ll be a good time to repair the bedroom window that I broke getting back into my house when my car and house keys became locked in my car, and get some new wood delivered to heat the house over the next few weeks.

With that in mind, I’d wanted to clear the decks of the last of the wood that my friend and old next-door neighbour Benjamin, who I miss along with Aurélie and their little son Samuel, gave me when he moved, so while it was warm(ish) and dry this afternoon, I split and stacked it up in my wood store. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I still had and if I buy in 4 stères of good dry oak from M. Dumas, the wood stocks I’ll then be holding should see me well into the winter.

There are two other jobs that I need to do, namely putting one of the cupboards that I’ve had for the past couple of years, temporarily up onto the kitchen wall and installing a new oven, for which an under-counter place has been available to be filled for a similar amount of time. These are both required for when my family arrive for Christmas and will become more of a priority with each passing day, so I must fit those in too as soon as possible.

There’s no rest for the retired… 😉

November 25, 2015

Still on the laptop

My hopes of recovering the data on my computer’s hard drive have sadly been dashed. After replacing the controller board on the drive in question, I initially tried it on an external drive mount that I have, attached to my laptop. I could hear that the drive was powering up, but it never got beyond just going ‘tunk….tunk….tunk…’ just the same as it did before I sent the board off for repair, and failed to connect.

So I wasn’t optimistic when I replaced the drive in my computer and tried to boot it up. Sure enough, it did the same thing and was just the same as before. So that’s it. I’ll take another look on the internet for any other data recovery options but I don’t think that there are any, not ones that are economically feasible anyway. So I’m now resigned to the fact that all of the stuff on the drive has been lost, which is both disappointing and upsetting.

I have never lost irreplaceable data before and have cheap old Maxtor hard drives that are still going strong after being kicked around for many years. The drive that has failed, a Seagate, was less than a couple of years old and I thought that by paying a bit more, my data would be more secure. Evidently not. I’ll never touch another Seagate product with a barge pole.

November 25, 2015

Strange inevitability

I’ve been becoming more and more impatient waiting for my ‘repaired’ disk drive controller board to arrive back from Canada so it was somehow inevitable that it would arrive today just as I was banging the last nail into my new tool store. So no distractions there, then, to take me away from the job until it was totally finished.

And here are the pics to prove it.

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And here’s what it was all about, getting the stuff out that was filling up my wood store so I can at last get on and order some more wood for the winter.

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So what’s happened to the stuff that was in that space? Here it is.

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As I mentioned in my last post, there are still a couple of tasks to do, namely to fill up the gaps along the top and sides of the roof with mastic and then to treat all of the wood with weather-proofing, but it will need dry weather to do both of those. So that is probably it until the spring – and I can’t say that I’m sorry to see the back of it.

November 24, 2015

Ruddy weather!

Try as I might, I just can’t get the bloomin’ tool store finished! And it’s all down to the weather, which is constantly holding me back. This morning we had frost and freezing fog, so hardly the best conditions to be working outside in. And I’ve also found in the past that it’s in conditions like those that you often have accidents when using power tools.

We then had a light flurry of snow and by the time that had stopped, it was gone 2.00pm by the time I was able to start work. So not enough time to finish the whole project as making and fitting the corner trim pieces is all fabrication work, which I’ve found all the way through takes much more time than I originally thought that it would.

But anyway, I got two of the four completed and fitted and was pleased with the results as the pictures that I took before it got too dark show.

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So just the two back ones to do tomorrow if the weather plays ball and then all that I’ll be able to do this side of the new year I think, unless we suddenly enter a longish warm, dry spell, is fill all the gaps with mastic. That will then only leave painting the building with weatherproofing liquid to do, and I can’t say that I’ll be sorry 😉

November 23, 2015

Wasted day?

Almost. But not quite. The snow early on disrupted my intention to get outside today and finish off the tool store. But I had to write an important letter and get it off to England, so I did that instead and then went off to Montignac to post it.

After I’d been into the post office, as I returned to my car in the car park opposite I noticed that the sun was catching the old part of Montignac on the other side of the Vézère in quite an attractive way. So for no other reason, I shot a few pics on my mobile phone and here are a couple of them.

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Only 4 more weeks and the nights will start drawing out again. I can’t wait…

November 23, 2015

There’s a surprise!

We expected another cold start this morning after sub-zero night-time temperatures but there was certainly no forecast of precipitation. So you can imagine my surprise early on when I looked out of the window and was greeted by the following sight.

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Snow! It seems that we’re enjoying temperatures two or three degrees below those in the south of England at the moment, which is quite unusual. And I don’t recall our getting snow this early in the year either in the 3½ years since I’ve lived in the Dordogne.

It’s just gone midday as I type this and although it’s still chilly outside, the snow has now all melted away. But I hope that it’s not a sign of things to come! Here’s a final, somewhat wintry shot of the Weedhopper under its cover in my back garden.

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November 22, 2015

A bright, dry, cold day

Would have been perfect for flying, well wrapped up of course, but I had to take the opportunity to get back out and work towards finishing my tool store. And I came within a whisker of doing it!

I won’t get it completely finished this side of the new year I doubt, because it probably won’t stay dry enough for me to paint it with the solution that waterproofs and protects the wood. But who knows, we’ll have to see. The main tasks today were to fit the guttering and the roof edge trim pieces, and I achieved both of those. First some shots showing off the roof trim.

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Now here’s a shot of the guttering. The outlet for the down-pipe is at the other end. I’ve not yet fitted the down-pipe but I’ve decided that it will discharge straight onto the ground, which slopes away from the building, at half a meter or so away from it so the water is taken away from the foundations.

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Here’s a final shot showing the roof edge trim a little bit closer up.

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So now all I’ve got to do is add the corner trims and apart from a few small bits-and-bobs the building will be finished. That means that I’ll be able to move more stuff into it, freeing up space for more wood in my wood store, which will be a relief as I will be glad to get a few stères in while there’s still some good dry oak to be had.

November 19, 2015

Smartphone blues

The sad saga of my messed up smartphone continues. I have tried deleting every possible file from it that I’ve installed using normal means without success and the problems have persisted, so much so that I’ve ‘rooted’ the phone, a process that gives access to the ‘deeper’ operating system files. This gives much more power to delete files that would otherwise be inaccessible and do other things that I’m not interested in but, in the process, also voids any warranty that might have applied.

This allowed me to get rid of the obvious offenders but still the phone kept intermittently hanging and then throwing up an ad for, for example, some weird game or other. In my desperation to delete ‘suspicious’ files I’ve also succeeded in deleting some innocent ones that I thought would be recoverable by doing a ‘factory reset’ but weren’t, with the result that the phone has now lost some of its useful features eg one-touch wake-up, so I now have even more reason to be annoyed.

Another side-effect of the malware is that it seems to have had an impact on the phone’s digital connection, probably because it’s grabbing the connection for its own use to download ads etc. But for whatever reason, the system has slowed to a snail’s pace and I’ve even found it impossible, for example, to download and reinstall the apps that were deleted by ‘factory resetting’ from the Google apps store.

And still the intermittent hanging and ad display have continued, so it appears that whoever dropped the malware onto the phone has probably used a technique called ‘ghosting’ that uses an Android vulnerability and allows the perpetrator to access the system’s read only memory (ROM), which the ordinary user (ie me) cannot access in order to remove the offending code. Or there’s another possibility.

Maybe the phone was shipped from China with the malware already installed and programmed to ‘wake up’ after a certain period of time. If so, there’s probably no way of knowing for sure and speculation is useless.

So it appears that the malware is within the system’s ROM, which leaves only one option, or two if you include binning the phone, which naturally I don’t want to do. This is to ‘flash’ the phone’s ROM with a new operating system.

This is a process that’s fraught with danger and it’s not unusual to end up with a ‘bricked’ phone that’s only good enough to use as a doorstop. So as I’m locked into a 2-year contract with the French network operator Free and wanted the phone for its data connection in the first place, I reluctantly ordered a replacement this afternoon from a different supplier in the hope that lightening won’t strike twice in the same place.

The replacement is also a dual-sim unit but will come with a 6″ screen this time, which I rejected last time as I thought it would be a bit too large to carry around. However, I don’t think that the size will make a great deal of difference while being carried in a belt pouch and I have found the 5″ screen a bit small for viewing photographs and videos.

So what of my existing ‘messed up’ phone? As today was a rather damp and bleak ‘stay indoors day’, not only have I spent the day researching and learning about all this stuff, which is totally new to me, but I’ve also downloaded the software necessary to back up, flash and restore Android phone ROMs. But I’ll hold fire on doing it for the time being while the phone is still functioning, and probably until the replacement arrives.

Then will be the time to flash its ROM with the hopeful result that it will in effect become a new, different phone with a clean operating system. If that is the case I’ll then have the choice of keeping it as a ‘spare’ or, better still, selling it, because as Victor said at dinner last night, there aren’t that many unlocked dual sim phones around, and what there are are pretty expensive.

I’ll have to wait and see, but I’ve just noticed that the download of the replacement ‘customised ROM’ has just completed. Now I’ll have to be patient.

November 18, 2015

Kudos Carrefour!

Wim very kindly agreed to take me and my battery down to Carrefour Sarlat, where I’d bought it from, this morning so I was out in the dim early morning light and thick mist at about 8.00am to take it out of the Kia. Not at all a nice day to be doing things outside.

I’d left it on charge overnight but it still had nowhere near enough charge in it to turn the car’s engine over, let alone start it, so that was confirmation enough to me that it was shot. While I was removing it, it began to rain quite hard and I and my tools, that I’d left open beside me, got a good soaking before I managed to get indoors gain.

It was still drizzling when we drew into the Carrefour car park so I was not in the most positive frame of mind. But anyway, in we went to the Welcome desk just inside the door where a middle-aged lady was on the phone.

When she got off I explained to her that the battery that I’d bought there just over six months before and which had been working fine up to one day ago had suddenly died. I also explained that I couldn’t find the till receipt but that I’d got proof of purchase on a card statement, which I showed her.

She made a very quick phone call after which she told me that I should leave the old battery there behind her counter and get another one from off the shelf. Just like that, no drama no crisis.

Credit to both her and Carrefour, because this has been far from my experience to date whenever I’ve had to return or exchange a faulty item. Usually you get looked at as though you’re either mad or some sort of criminal who’s trying to defraud the store – the French, as I’ve often said before, still have much to lean about customer service. But not Carrefour it seems, so well done both to them and also to the courteous, well-trained lady who dealt so effectively with my problem!

November 17, 2015

Can you believe this?

I thought I was having a bad enough time with the all of the problems to do with my new mobile phone but what happened today really took the biscuit!

It was misty, cold and damp again this morning but I was quite happy to be working outside putting up the ‘underlap’ roofing felt securing boards on the tool store. It was quite slow work once again because I’m using the cut pieces of board that I have left over that would otherwise go to scrap, and as well as having to cut them to length I also have to strip the edges to remove the tongue and groove.

I finished off the back of the roof and decided to stop for lunch before starting on the front and was very pleased with how things had gone as the end result was very acceptable, as these shots taken at the end of the afternoon show.

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After I’d had a bite to eat, I was looking out of the window before resuming work and was surprised to see that it had started to drizzle, as no rain had been forecast for today even though it was overcast. So I had no choice but to get my ride-on mower back undercover and abandon the idea of working outside for the day.

I thought that I might as well get changed and take a drive up to Bricojem in Rouffignac to see if they had a hook and eye that matched the one that I’d got from Brico Depot, so having cleared up and put everything away, got into my car and went to start it.

I was shocked and amazed to find that the engine wouldn’t even turn over and that the battery was practically dead, because I’d only bought it from Carrefour in Sarlat in early May and it was therefore only just over six months old. I thought that I’d try putting the charger on it, so then jumped out of the car to get it and my long extension lead.

What I didn’t realise was that as the battery level falls, the automatic door locks activate and when I got back, I couldn’t get into the car and, yup, there were my car and house keys hanging inside still in the ignition. My house was all locked up, so what to do?

There was no point trying to get in through either door as even if I’d broken a pane of glass in one, there were no keys within reach to open them with. So that just left a window, and I decided that the best idea would be to get my ladder out of the tool store and try to take a pane of glass out of my bedroom window without breaking it. This would then allow me to reach the handle and climb into the house.

The plan worked but it was impossible to do without breaking the glass, and the window is now temporarily boarded up until my car is mobile again.

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So now as well as having to sort out my phone, get yet another new battery for my car and, most likely, have a bit of set-to with Carrefour when I try to get a refund or credit (I can’t find the till receipt anywhere but I do have the relevant entry on one of my card statements), I also now have to put a new pane of glass into my bedroom window. It’s incredible the way that things can turn on you just when you least expect it 😐

November 16, 2015

Really angry!

Nothing to do with my new tool store, although work on that did progress more slowly than I expected, mainly because of the weather. I’ll come back to what’s got my back up in a moment after updating my tool store project.

Every morning is starting off cool and misty and today was colder than most of late. The conditions make getting started more difficult and are not nice if you have to be outside, not just because of its being wet and chilly but also because the ground is becoming heavier, stickier and more messy by the day when it sticks to your shoes.

Nevertheless, I did manage to get the doors hung and with most of their fittings in place, the exception being a hook-and-eye on the right hand door, because one of the pair that I picked up from the wretched Brico Depot didn’t have an eye with it. So to match the one I have fitted, that’ll mean another journey all the way over to Trelissac to pick up another.

I had to pick-axe the ground away in front and to either side of the doors to get them to open fully and before it got too dark, I also dropped some paving slabs down to drive my ride-on mower over. Here are some shots that I took at the end of the day.

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Here are a couple of shots with the doors open, the second of which showing a few of the things I’m just chucking in every night before I pack up and go indoors.

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The last shot shows why I needed to build the tool store – no space for wood in my wood store! Admittedly, the stuff in the foreground consists mainly of materials etc that I’ve been using for the tool store, but you can see that half of the wood store, more probably, is being taken up by my cement mixer and other items, which thankfully will soon disappear 😉

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So what is it that’s made me so angry? It’s to do with my new phone. The night before last I was holding it and I noticed that it had begun to download an ‘update’ to an app called Caller ID. What made me suspicious was that I have no such app on my phone and also the download was accompanied by a string of Chinese characters. There’s no way that I know of to stop an app update download, so I just switched the phone off.

This morning it began to behave very strangely and kept rebooting several times and later on it began to display an unending series of ads for goodness knows what, including a whole lot of porn web sites.

Now Android isn’t like your PC operating system, because as I understand it, the only way that Malware can find its way onto your system is via an app that you’ve downloaded and installed. Well goodness knows where this one came from, because the only apps I’ve installed came from ‘respectable’ sources. With one exception. Because the Google App Store no longer has Quick Office, I got it from a third-party site. But that was weeks ago – can its payload have been lying dormant all this time?

But that’s not the worst bit. I cleared everything suspicious off my SD card and will end up having to reinstall the apps that I need for flying, like Memory Map, Metam, things like that. I also deinstalled all of the apps on the ‘installed’ list that I didn’t recognise, but to my horror, that hasn’t fixed the problem.

As soon as I rebooted the phone, the whole nightmare scenario started off all over again. It appears that whoever was responsible for this mayhem has exploited a ‘vulnerability’ in Android and installed the ‘master’ malware as a system app. That means that even when you do a ‘master’ or ‘factory’ reset you can’t get rid of it.

The final result is that unless I can ‘root’ my phone and manually seek out the malware responsible, my phone has more or less had it. That’s unless I’m happy to walk around with a home screen showing a list of porn web site links or with an unending stream of links to useless ‘apps’ that I neither want nor need every time I fire up the screen, or lists of yet more porn web sites.

What on earth do people waste their time doing this sort of thing for and how, for Heaven’s sake, is it possible in the first place for an innocent user’s phone to be ‘reprogrammed’ without their consent? Google have some explaining to do, I think. Is this why people go for i-Phones rather than Android ones?

November 15, 2015

Still pressing on

I bought an old bike yesterday. I knew on the way back home with it that I shouldn’t have, because although it’s all there and works, quite honestly it’s a bit scruffy. I don’t need a bike immediately at this very moment and I should really have waited until a better one costing a bit more came along, but in my defence all I can say is that I felt a bit sorry for the English couple selling it.

After 12 years in France, they’re returning to the UK and selling up as much as they can before leaving in order to help fund the move. I won’t say any more, except from the look of things, every little will help, including getting rid of their old bikes, but anyway, enough of that and what’s done is done.

First thing this morning I tightened a couple of nuts on it that were loose, pumped the tyres up and did a few circuits up and down the road. It was good fun but I’ll talk a bit more about what I have in mind in another posting. Then it was time to crack on with the tool store.

Cleaning it out was well overdue and the first job was to get rid of what had become a fairly large accumulation of sawdust and wood shavings. Then it was time to get going on the doors, starting with the door frame. The job involved a heck of a lot of cutting and I was surprised how long it took to make the doors up and how tiring it was.

By the time dusk fell, I’d assembled both doors. There wasn’t enough time to hang them, and in any case, that’s a job to do in daylight, but at least it was possible to use them to close up the tool store’s entrance for the first time.

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There will be plenty of time to hang them tomorrow and, who knows, there might even be enough time for me to make up and fit the building’s corner and roof trims. I’ll have to wait and see 😉

November 13, 2015

Another miserable day

I awoke to another very misty morning after rather a poor night’s sleep (due to eating cheese before bedtime) so I wasn’t in the best of moods. I decided that it wasn’t worthwhile trying to do anything on the tool store today because everything outside was just so dripping wet.

As there are no doors on it yet (it’s the next job that I want to do) I park my ride-on mower inside overnight with a cover over it and my chop saw that I leave in there ready for action on my Workmate bench, and even that was wet this morning. So as I needed to do some shopping, I thought that I’d also drop into les Briconautes for some slightly larger screws than I bought the other day from Brico Depot, to use for making up the doors when I can eventually get cracking on them.

My mood wasn’t improved when, as I descended the hill towards Thonac, the wet fog that I had back at home that was preventing me working turned into a light mist as I exited the cloud line and it didn’t improve either when I was admonished by Patrick (his name badge said) in Intermarché for using the ’10 items or less’ queue when I had considerably more in my basket.

I won’t say what my reply was, but as everyone knows, I do like to spread a little happiness wherever I go 😀

November 12, 2015

Bad weather stopped play

Mist actually, and very heavy too when I went out first thing this morning to continue work on the tool store. And it made it quite horrible because working close to the trees, every time I touched one I got showered on. But I made good progress nevertheless and got the roof to a point where it can now be left almost indefinitely until the conditions are better in order to finish it off.

Yesterday was a holiday in France and most shops were closed. Leroy Merlin was open though, and I decided to take a run across there in the afternoon to get the wood that I need for the roof trims and the guttering. I also decided that I’d pick up a staple gun to see if it would speed up my roof work and it turned out to be one of my more inspired ideas because after trimming the roofing felt off all round, it enabled me to tack it quickly and easily into place. The final result is a very tidy job, as the following pictures show. First, a couple of shots from the front and side.

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Here’s a shot showing what the roof looks like from above. An expert roofer would have avoided the black adhesive lines but after applying adhesive between the sheet surfaces, I then painted the joints externally with it to make sure that they will be waterproof as I’m more concerned with performance than appearance 🙂

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Now a couple of shots showing how I’ve finished the front and back of the roof. The wrap-unders will be covered and held securely in place by boards screwed through from underneath as I did on my wood store, a method that has worked extremely well and looks good too.

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The blocks that are visible under he roof in the second of the shots are for me to mount the gutter to. Once I’ve added board side trims, all of the roof sheeting will be securely attached and, hopefully, totally weatherproof, and that’ll be it. The next job is the doors, which shouldn’t take too long to fabricate as I now have my chop saw that will make cutting all of the boards to length a doddle compared to last time.

However, there’s no point starting on them today as although there was a tiny glimpse of sun through the mist a short time ago, it’s now disappeared completely and it’s looking quite miserable out there. And besides, I’m off to Wim’s for a drink in a little while 😉

November 10, 2015

I hate roofing work

In fact I loathe and detest it, especially working with bituminous roofing felt. It’s heavy and tiring work, up and down ladders carrying heavy rolls of the stuff, and at the end of the day you end up covered with the horrible thick black adhesive that it uses no matter how careful you are.

But after my cock-up of a couple of days ago, at the end of today not only did I get all of the ‘skirts’ in around the base of the tool store, so the walls are all now completely solid, but I also got all of the roofing strips in position and stuck and nailed down. All that I need to do tomorrow is finish off the overhangs at the back and front and fit the side trims and the roof will be more or less done.

So the finish line for the tool store is beginning to hove into view. And not before time because I’m now beginning to feel quite tired and, quite frankly, a bit fed up with it too. Maybe I’ll begin to feel a bit better tomorrow when I start on the doors, which I rather enjoyed making last year for my wood store. I’ll have to wait and see…

Once again, no pictures today because by the time I’d finished and cleaned my tools and myself up, it was pitch black. But a least I confirmed that the headlights on my ride-on mower work when I put it away 😉

November 8, 2015

My first big cock-up

My dad who was an expert carpenter and joiner, used to always say, ‘Measure twice, cut once’, when I was watching and learning from him over the years while I was young. And he was dead right, of course. Today I forgot that simple lesson and paid the price – literally.

From memory, the most expensive single item that I’ve bought for my new garden tool store has been the roof covering. Two rolls of roofing felt from Leroy Merlin came to 105€, high quality but not cheap, therefore. I had calculated that I’d get two strips from each roll to cover the roof with a little bit left over from each, so what possessed me this afternoon I do not know.

Without thinking too much about it, before I’d realised what I’d done, I’d cut two lengths of 271 cms from the first roll when the measurement should have been 371 cms. By then it was too late and now the only choice that I have is to go and buy another roll. So that’s 52.50€ down the drain and an expensive lesson re-learnt. That’s unless someone needs two lengths of roofing felt, each piece 271 cms long – good quality, no rubbish 😉

November 6, 2015

Tool store progress

Another lovely warm, calm day but I didn’t manage to get as much done as I’d have liked. The reason was that I ran out of nails and instead of just nipping down to les Briconautes to pick up some more, I thought that I might as well make the trip to Brico Depot, pick some up there and also get all of the fittings and fixings that I will need to make up the doors in due course.

It turned out to be a bit of a bad move because although I did get several items that I will need when I do eventually get around to making up the doors, Brico Depot didn’t have the nails that I needed. Also, their hinges and door bolts were a lot cheaper than the ones at les Briconautes but much inferior, so because I needed the nails anyway so I could keep working, I ended up going there as well.

However, I did manage to complete all of the basic boarding and here are some shots that I took before it became too dark after I’d cleaned up and tied down the waterproof roof covering.

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The next shot shows the small opening window that Wim gave me. It was an old single-glazed one that he took out when he went over to triple glazing.

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Here are a couple of shots of the interior. The window will be quite handy and as it’s south-facing, being an opening one, it’ll also be a good way to get a breeze into the interior if I’m doing any work in there during the summer.

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And here’s an interior shot in the other direction.

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The tool store is a good size, larger actually than it appears in the photographs, and will make a good workshop when I’ve put in light and power. I do have one problem, however. For some reason the last batch of concrete that I laid along the window end has turned out to be of very poor quality. It’s almost as though there was hardly any cement in the mix, which wasn’t the case of course, and the surface is breaking up just with a hard brushing using a stiff broom.

It won’t be too hard to fix – I’ll just need to give it a good scouring with something like a wire brush to remove the unstable surface layer and then lay a sand-cement screed on top to make it wear-resistant and match the rest of the floor. It’ll just be one extra job…

November 5, 2015

Quietly beavering away

Although a few days have gone by without my posting anything here on My Trike it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing very much. In fact I’ve been taking advantage of a period of still, settled weather that we’ve been enjoying for the best part of a week now and pressing on with my new garden tool store.

In between I’ve also rubbed down and sprayed MYRO’s old trailing links and they are now ready to be fitted onto 28AAD as soon as the opportunity arises, although right now I don’t know when that will be as my priority is the work I have to get done on the tool store and my kitchen before family members arrive for December.

We’ve been getting temperatures up to the low 20 degrees Celsius and with no rain forecast until next week at the earliest, it’s been a great time to press on with my construction work, which has been made easier by not having to put the roof covering in place at the end of the day. I had to this evening though, because a few spots began falling as I was finishing off even though no rain had been forecast, but as much of the building is now boarded, it was easy enough just to throw a small cover over the roof as the large one that I was using previously is now no longer required.

I’ve not been able to take any pictures showing the progress I’ve made because I keep finishing work at around 6.00 pm by which time it’s too dark, so I must remember to take some earlier tomorrow while there’s still enough light. One side and the back of the building are now fully boarded and the front is partially.

I didn’t get as much done today as I wanted to because I had to drop tools twice and go to Rouffignac to pick up some more screws and Montignac when I found that I needed a bit more wood. I’d hoped to get an opening window that Wim gave me some time ago into the other side and that side fully boarded but due to the delays, only managed to get the window in and the boarding done down to just below the window level.

Regarding ULMs, MYRO is definitely now no more. Wim took the remains of the fuselage off my hands to harvest the fittings that remained on it for a project that he’s just starting on. He returned the undercarriage and tanks to me that he will have no use for yesterday evening and I’ll be keeping those in dry storage until I have the time to do something with them. I’ll also be letting Wim have a few more bits that are of no use to me now but which he might find useful.

I think that that brings things more or less up to date. My phone and internet were restored much to my surprise on Monday. It appeared that a line had come down when I went out in the morning which must have been quite an easy fix. So it’s all systems go and full steam ahead, to use a couple of well-worn old cliches 😉