At 2 am this morning, we finished the kitchen after exactly 3 months. Jean Michel has done a splendid job but we are both exhausted! The tiles on the left of the window are the 18th century tiles we bought in Portugal last September.
The rest of this week will be spent getting the house ready for the paying guests who are coming while we are on holiday. In fact, our favourite guests, Sandy and Bill, who are coming to stay for the 4th year in a row, will get to try out the new kitchen before we do. I want to apply a special protective coating to the grouting between the tiles and I need the grouting to dry for 3 days and then for the protective coating to dry 36 hours which takes us to our departure on Sunday.
Our first stop is Lake Garda for at least 3 days, cycling along the eastern side, then we’ll work our way across Italy – we’ve never been to Padua – through Slovenia and then Croatia (Zaghreb) and maybe onto Bucharest or Budapest to continue cycling along the Danube. We will be guided by the weather and possible cycling areas. I will be drawing inspiration from all Anda’s posts on Romania in her wonderful travel blog Travel Notes and Beyond.
Until we leave, you may not hear from me again but once we get going, I’ll probably be posting every second day. While Jean Michel writes up the travel journal, I write my posts.
Jean Michel’s first retirement project is finished. All five doors on the front façade of Closerie Falaiseau now have glass panels instead of three glass and two solid wood doors. The difference in light is amazing!
The first step in November is to order the new glass. The next step, in December, is to block up the ground floor doorway with glass wool insulation while the first door is being converted. It’s winter after all!
To replace the solid panels with glass, the surrounds have to be removed. Jean Michel is hoping to be able to use them again but he soon realises that it won’t be possible. He’ll have to make new ones.
After the surrounds and solid panels have been removed, the glass panels are fitted and work on the new surrounds begins. This door is quite tricky because the top is curved to go under the arch. The glass has a straight edge of course but there isn’t a lot of leeway because it’s regulation double glazing and very thick.
The first door is now finished and ready to be hung. I’m just about to help Jean Michel carry it across the courtyard when our helpful neighbour Alain walks past and lends a welcome hand.
The door’s up and looking good. All that has to be done now is to remove the glass fibre insulation outside for the light to come streaming through into the office.
The final step is to make the wooden shutter that will protect us from burglary and keep out the cold at night in winter. It obviously has to be identical to all the others in the house.
Once he has finished making it and put on the first coat of varnish, Jean Michel brings it into the kitchen to dry as the temperatures are going down fast.
Various events get in the way – my flu,Granada, etc. – before he is able to start the second door. Initially it goes much faster because he has already gained experience. He knows he won’t be able to re-use the surrounds so doesn’t have to take such care removing them.
However, it’s February and it’s much colder outside so the even the varnish on the door has to be done in the kitchen or it won’t dry. It’s also very cold in the garage where Jean Michel is working.
This time, since the door has to be carried upstairs, he makes an apointment with Alain to come by rather than trust to luck.
We’re delighted with the result of course, but we’re surprised to see that the door looks narrower than it did before.
Inside, you can see the locks and bolts better.
Because of the position of the lock, two shutters are needed this time. But as I explained in an earlier post, a little problem arises when Jean Michel is using the plunge router to make the profile on the edge of the surrounds. A screw comes loose and causes a bigger hollow than he intends. Fortunately, though, after a short rest, he’s able to rectify matters.
I volunteer to help with the varnishing this time but it’s a technique I’ve never used before (very different from painting) and I’m afraid I’ll make a mess of it so I leave it to Jean Michel who has a lot more practice.
Initially we’re not used to having the glass panels and the corresponding light and we keep thinking we’ve left the door open! Now in the morning when we have breakfast in the upstairs living room, we don’t turn our chairs in the direction of the fireplace as we do at night, but towards the door and the countryside beyond. More light at last!