Monday, 25 August 2014


We had set the alarm for 7.30am but we must have been tired as I kept on hitting the snooze button and we finally got up about 8.30am.

It had been raining heavily in the night and was raining still and Max wasn't keen on going out!

Max not too keen on going out in the rain
Chris took the opportunity to go upstairs in the farmhouse to check for leaks. He noted some in the loft above the workshop.

We headed for the Mairie in the hope of getting the water connected. The secretary there was very helpful. We sat down in her office and she took our details. We struggled a bit with our French but managed to get by. After checking some paperwork, she advised us that there wasn't a stopcock in the road at our house. So therefore the water wouldn't have been turned off in the first place. We should be able to turn it on in the house or at the meter (le compteur). She said if we had any problems then to come back. She then gave us the water bill. We were all prepared with our bank details to set up a standing order and had cash to make the first payment. However she said it would be best to come back and pay by cheque. That was fine. We didn't have our cheque book yet but were due to pick it up from the bank next week. 

The secretary also dug out some paperwork about our septic tank. We were hoping she might be able to shed some light on where it was located. Unfortunately she only had the same report which guesstimated where it was.

We then filled up with water at the service point at Scaër aire, recycled some glass into the bottle bank and went to LeClercs for supplies. 

It was still tipping with rain.

By the time we got home, we found a small river making it's way across the barn floor with the rain getting heavier by the minute.

We had a nice lunch of bread, cheese, sausage washed down with a bottle of Breton cider. It was raining so hard outside. I didn't think we'd be getting much work done this afternoon!

Whilst I had been preparing lunch, Chris had created a dam with concrete blocks to stop water from entering the barn. He also devised a way of diverting some of the water that was pouring off the house roof by way of a piece of guttering we had found lying around. 

Concrete block dam and guttering
We knew there was a gravel soak away/gully that ran down the back of the house but it was overgrown. After lunch, I suggested we clear some of this to let the rain water reach the drain at the end. So we did this as quickly as we could using a rake and a spade. Soon the pools of water were dissipating from the barn....

....and running down the gully to the drain at the end.

It looks like a hideous task to be doing in the pouring rain but it was actually quite satisfying especially when we could see the water flowing in the right direction!

Whilst we were doing all this, a van marked 'Commune' pulled up outside. 

A man in overalls and the secretary from the Mairie appeared out of the van. I immediately thought, 'Oh no, what have we done wrong?!' But we hadn't done anything wrong....the secretary had come to tell us that the water did have to be turned on at the road after all. The man found the cover near the road and, using a metal rod, turned on the stopcock. He then turned the tap on at the meter. I thought, 'Great, we have water!'

Unfortunately as soon as the man turned the tap, water started gushing out of a pipe outside by the side wall of the cottage. The pipe had been cut so there was no water in the house. The secretary said (nicely) that it would be ours to repair. I asked her if she knew of anyone that could do the work. She mentioned a name and said to pop by the Mairie tomorrow and she would give us the details. 

The van drove off but we thought it was very kind of them to come around to help us in such torrential rain and at lunchtime too! In fact everyone we had met so far had been so friendly and helpful.

So with the water turned off again and hence no running water,  I decided to clean some of the mud from the cottage floor with the rain water we had collected in buckets. Might as well use it!!

Muddy cottage floor
Looking a bit cleaner, not great, but better.
To ease our water situation, Chris decided to connect a hose to the cut off water pipe so we would at least have some water until it was fixed. He succeeded but when he turned on the water, a tap under the kitchen sink started spurting out water. So we have water in the house after all. We still haven't worked this one out. 

The good thing is that we don't have to travel to Scaër or Gourin to fill up with water anymore. I am so longing for water to come out of the cottage kitchen taps and to flush the toilet without using a bucket! Simple things!

Blurry image of bat in the barn
Before we turned in for the night, Chris spotted some bats flying round the barn. 

We certainly aren't short of wildlife here! 

Snakes, lizards, frogs, bats, beetles so far.....when's Halloween?!

Thanks for visiting!

Maggie xx


  1. That picture of Max is sooooo sweet!
    I'm so glad for you you have harvey j. to stay warm and dry... You are such hard workers!
    Love from Mirjam.

  2. Bats=less bugs; YAY for bats! (And water!)

  3. Wow, this sounds like a great adventure :) I'm amazed that you actually took Max with you, I never thought cats would be great travellers but it looks like he's absolutely enjoying France!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Love, Uta

  4. I guess patience is really a virtue when you are refurbishing! LOL! I should know...I have fixed up quite a few myself but none as rustic as yours. That's what I want though! You'll get 2 are hardworking and determined....qualities I truly admire! Good job on rerouting the rain water too!


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