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We’ve been ever so busy

7 Jun

Apologies for not having blogged for a while. We have been ever so busy. Most of Richard’s time has been spent working for his two clients in the UK and in project managing the building of the accommodation at the Peace Factory.

In the meantime, Trish has been heavily involved in managing the volunteers and in looking after the garden.

How time flies when you’re having fun!

20140607-211939-76779746.jpg Here Trish is discussing the next project with one of the volunteers.

20140607-212112-76872913.jpgDamien has constructed a screen which will hide one end of the garden office.

20140607-212244-76964635.jpg Richard’s sister Sally visited us for a week with her husband Gordon.

We also had a visit from Irene, who spent a long weekend with us.

So it’s all hands to the pump here at the Peace Factory! We will be visiting relatives in Manchester and Essex and friends in Kent from 18 to 30 June. We hope to see some of you then.

What a difference a builder can make

14 Sep


Thanks to Andy (a volunteer who is spending two months here at The Peace Factory) the steps leading up to the Little House have been repaired. We had been concerned about these for ages. Some steps had crumbled away and getting to and from the Little House was quite difficult, especially at night. Andy arrived and within a few days had started work. Fortunately we had a cement mixer, sand and cement still on site. It took him just three days to totally refurbish the steps. Andy is a professional builder from the UK, taking a two month sabbatical. But he has decided to do what he loves doing best – building!

Flushed with success, Andy then teamed up with Nadage, Alex, Sarah and Damien (four more volunteers) to completely re-work the garden between the factory and the Little House.


Without volunteers, progress would be very slow here. In return for their labour, volunteers receive free accommodation in the Little House. This has six small bedrooms (single bed, table, light and cupboard), plus storage space for suitcases and other possessions. They share the kitchen, living room, bathroom and toilet. Living communally generates a great team spirit. And you get to learn about other people’s cultures (and languages).

We’ve ordered the new wash basin for our bathroom

11 May

We’ve just ordered the washbasin for our toilet from the DIY shed in Carcassonne called Weldom. It was on special offer – washbasin, cupboard and mirror all for €109. It’s such a good bargain that they’ve run out of stock.

20130511-140227.jpg. The taps and sink plug are extra and we will chose those when we go to collect the unit.

Then we will call Phil our plumber to fit it and the new toilet which he’s purchased for us.

Phil was here on Tuesday to sort out the showers in our apartment. The drains had been smelling a bit! He found that neither shower had U-bends. The French system is to fit a water trap in the outlet pipe, accessible from the shower (so it can be cleaned). One shower had none and the other had a hole in it! No wonder they whiffed!

20130511-152640.jpg Everything smells sweet now!

Our new home is finally sorted

9 Mar

We moved here on 24 January this year and this week we are celebrating the fact that we have now sorted our apartment!

Last week we purchased three items of furniture for the kitchen.


Our lounge is also looking good. During the day the sun pours into here.


And the sun also wakes us up in the morning – we have no curtains!


New Furniture

15 Feb

Yesterday, late afternoon, about 6pm, our new furniture was delivered. And we are delighted with our two new settees.

It was by chance that we discovered the showroom of Mr Dupand in Carcassonne. We had just left the organic supermarket Tourne Sol when we spotted his furniture shop. We popped in to have a look and really liked the look of a kitchen dresser in new oak. Until we heard the price, that is! Obviously a place selling good quality and locally made furniture but probably beyond our price range.

Then Trish spotted a couple of leather settees. I sat down on one, as my legs were quite painful that day. Then Trish sat on the other and discovered that the seats were not so deep as to keep her little legs sticking out! In fact it was very comfortable.

We discussed it with the owner. It turned out he and his wife had only recently started the business as he had been working for someone else and that store had closed. He couldn’t have been more helpful in explaining things to us. We discussed the merits of leather versus fabric when living with a hairy dog!

He made us an offer. He had reduced the price down from €2,500 to €1,900 and offered to deliver them in that price. We went away to think about it as it was a big investment. However Trish’s settlement with her last employer had unexpectedly included an extra month’s salary, so we decided to shell out some of that on this. We went back a few days later and handed over our cash. Literally, as we are still waiting for our Certicodes to arrive which would allow us to make online payments ((but that’s another story)!

He turned up himself with his delivery drivers and managed the manoeuvre of getting two settees up to the first floor, via lift for one but he other was just too big and had to go up the outside steps. When they’d finished we showed hem round the appartment; they were impressed by the size of the place and one thought we could host indoor sports in the main training area.

Now our living room is looking great and we can’t wait to invite friends to come and join us there!




12 Feb

Today we went to Toulouse to take Louise to the airport. She’s flying to Thailand to visit her son for a month.

As we were there, we decided to go to IKEA and seek ideas for our new kitchen. In the event, we decided not to buy new and this week we are going to visit the sales rooms in Carcassonne, to see if there any old kitchen dressers, cupboards and tables for sale. The new stuff just looked, err, too new!

But we didn’t come away empty handed, which is, after all, the objective of IKEA’s forced route march around their store! We found some lights for the study area, some throws for the settees, an indoor drying rack, and a few other bits and bobs. We also took away leaflets on book racks and cupboards, having learnt from previous experience to never buy from IKEA on impulse! Now at least we have some measurements and we can now work out whether they will fit before we buy!

Toulouse old town is a delight. Narrow, cobbled streets with very tight parking spaces. Bikes have priority and cyclists come at you from all directions.

And Toulouse airport is also a delight. It’s big enough to cope and small enough to care. Although it’s a major hub in south west France, it never seems that busy.