Wednesday, 7 March 2018


Well, you may have gathered that I am not the world's best DIY-er.   It does not come naturally to me.  Is that because I am of the fairer sex (is that sexist)? It seems to me, from nothing but a gut feeling, that men are more inclined to understand the 'workings' of things than women. PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME!

Thousands of women are probably protesting that this is NOT TRUE, even as you (or they) read this.

Well. Let me be clear.  I am not talking  about

Image result for Painting and decorating

 or what I would loosely call Homemaking, I am talking about things  that are a little more technical. Things that have not come into my orbit, at least, before. But things that are not beyond my capabilities.  I can wield a screwdriver with the best of them and I can even hit a nail on the head, both figuratively and literally.

But recently I needed to change my front door lock and I didn't have a clue on how to do it.

Let me explain.  I live in France, so it will be no surprise to you that my front door is French. Bonjour, porte d'entrée.

...and behind the fancy ironwork...

Door handle and lock

...the lock is French too.

side view of door lock

No surprises there, then.

I was told by a friend that it was a simple job to change the lock barrel (that's the bit that the key fits into).  Apparently you just have to undo the little Torx screw (it's the 3rd one up)...

Torx (pronounced /tɔːrks/), developed in 1967 by Camcar Textron, is the trademark for a type of screw head characterized by a 6-point star-shaped pattern. A popular generic name for the drive is star, as in star screwdriver or star bits.

...and the barrel will simply slide out.

What he omitted to mention was that I had to take off all the fancy door furniture, and even then the barrel would not slide out, as the bit where the key slides in is bigger than the hole where the barrel goes through.


I re-assembled the lock plate (the flat bit you can see in the second picture), and screwed all the screws back in and screwed the door handles back on.


The screws that fixed the door handle plates together were  strange to me.  So that they could not be unscrewed from the outside, one 'screw' was a hollow tube, and the other screwed into that - but through the door, of course.

Are you following this? Or have I finally found a cure for your insomnia?

Anyway, the top fixing of the pair went together like a dream, but the bottom one refused to tighten up, no matter how much welly I used.  I eventually discovered that the hollow part of this fixing had some wood shavings in it and, once I had scraped these out (and checked that there were no more in the hole in the door) it went together OK.

So now I can close and lock the door.

But with the same old lock, of course, not the new one I was planning to install!

And now it is dark.  Tomorrow I plan to try again, with the help of a YouTube video I have found. 

Wish me well!

Monday, 5 March 2018

Rosemary for Remembrance...

 So - it's March already.  in 2018. How did that happen?

Time seems to slip through my fingers these days without my noticing.  Is that how we get old? Without really noticing?

I went back to England for a couple of weeks, to visit old friends.  I wanted to visit more people, but the time slipped away, as ever, and I was exhausted after seeing only five.

I went to see my daughter and the grandchildren and spent the half-term week there, which was lovely.  I see them so infrequently and yet, when I am back there, it seems as if I never left. They grow, of course, but that is no surprise as I  see them regularly on Skype and Facebook.. I am so thankful for digital media.

This time, I caught the ferry, and I was ridiculously early...

Waiting for the ferry...

But I got there finally.

The weather was good for the whole fortnight, although England had some really dreadful storms with rain and snow after I left. We had some bad weather here in France, too, but mostly just freezing cold.

But now it's March and we're hoping for Spring to show its face.  We had a few windy days and some rain too, but the garden doesn't mind that...

Surely Spring can’t be far away...

Surely Spring can’t be far away...

Surely Spring can’t be far away...

Surely Spring can’t be far away...

...and the Rosemary is in flower yet again.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Well - I know you're agog with excitement at the thought of a continuation of the Door Saga...

And quite right too!

So here's a picture of the door so far. And it probably won't get much better than this...


... apart from a tidy-up round the edges, a coat of paint and a  handle.  Then there's just a little matter of the differing room heights, which will require a step on the dépendence side, which will need to be built over the soil pipe coming along at the base of the party wall! Quite when that will be achieved I don't know, but at least I can get my wood in without going out in the rain now!

Thursday, 18 January 2018

When One Door Closes, Another Door opens...

Not that there has been any closing (of doors) yet - or any opening (of doors) even.

This is how it all started out...

dresser in 2008 when the kitchen was renovated and decorated.

The only part of the room that was never plasterboarded and insulated was the bit of wall behind this little dresser.

So this was the obvious place (not to mention the ONLY POSSIBLE place) to knock through to create a doorway into the dépendence on the other side which is like a little brick-built building/workshop on the end of the house.  Formerly used as a small cattleshed  many years ago and then as a workshop, it now houses all my DIY tools and my log store.

For 10 years I have walked around the house to reach the entrance to the dépendence to get logs, come rain or shine. And, as I only use the woodburner and the logs in the winter, that ends up being mostly rain and very little shine!

But a week or two ago I decided to finally have a door put in.  This is the space where the dresser was...

wall - first coat

And this is the beginning of the doorway opening-taken from the dépendence side...

And finally I will no longer have to walk round the house in the rain to bring in the wood...

It took two and a half days to make the opening and tidy it all up and I'm still waiting for the concrete poured into the frame to set, so it will be another week, I'm guessing, before it is anything like finished.

At the moment the door that will eventually go there is simply wedged into the opening to stop the draught which was blowing in like a force 3 gale, so it currently looks like this...

What’s behind the green door?

I am assured that the 'dirty' work is over, so I can start the clean-up. Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) is covered in a heavy layer of dust. It got everywhere.

Sunday, 29 October 2017


The clocks went back an hour today and I didn't realise until this afternoon. So I was up early!

I knew I had a lot of timepieces, but now that I've just changed them all, I realise that I have far too many. Two in the kitchen, two in the living room, three (!) in my craft room - tempus fugit in there - one in the spare bedroom, two in my bedroom plus my wristwatch and the two telephone handsets. That makes 13 - unlucky for some - namely the person who has to set them all back an hour!

Apart from that onerous and unexpected task, I've been occupied in the last few days with making some voodoo doll pincushions...

You remind me of a man...

I just love them - they're a free pattern from here.

Well it DOES seem that winter has started today - it's been cold and damp and I had to light the wood burner.  Of course the cat, who is tired out after a recent battle in which she was, at least, on the winning side...

Battle of the Bathroom...

...has claimed the warmest seat for herself.

The chair by the fire

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Summer's Back!

I know that because the mower's broken again.  Grrrr!!!!!!  Philippe came and picked it up this afternoon.  You will note that we are now on first name terms 😊

This time it's the new cable that they put in - it has pulled out of its fixing.  I hope they don't charge me for this, I'm getting a bit fed up with the mower saga.

I may write a book...

I've been dashing about today.  First I went to Jersey Laitiere again to take some butter pats to hang on the wall.   The lady (I must ask her name) was making mint choc chip ice cream...

Making mint choc chip ice cream

Making mint choc chip ice cream
Tomorrow they are making butter so I'm aiming to go again. 🙂

Then I went to the Confolens Intermarché for petrol and some bits of food, and on the way home, Janet phoned me with a suggestion that we meet for lunch.  So off I went to Bellac, where we discovered that the place we had in mind was closed!  But, heigh ho, we went round the corner and found a little place where they made us a 3 cheese pizza from scratch - and it was delicious!  then we had a look round Maximum (a charity shop) and Janet bought a gorgeous walnut wardrobe. Just have to arrange collection and delivery to her new house now. I wish I had taken a photo, it is really lovely.

It's a beautiful evening tonight, and the forecast for the rest of the week is good too, so I really think it may be summer again...

Saturday, 29 July 2017

I Need a Hero

The end of a relationship is always sad - a total eclipse of the heart in most cases. But, like Bonnie Tyler and Princess Fiona, I'm holding out for a hero...