Archive | Apartments RSS feed for this section

The story of the overloaded trailer

10 Jul

After a three week break in the UK, we returned to The Peace Factory on Sunday. We wondered what had been going on whilst we’d been away! A lot, as it happens.

A volunteer had demolished a couple of walls on the second floor. He’d removed the rubble, a bucket at a time, in the lift and had loaded it into 1.5 tonne ‘big bags’ until they were full. On the trailer. Until the trailer was full!

So now we had about 6 tonnes of rubble on a trailer with a gross weight of 1,500 kgs! Being towed by a Fiat Tempra!

So we had to remove at least two thirds of the rubble by hand.

20130710-223939.jpg Here’s me falling over after attempting to pull half a tonne of rubble down the ramp!

And when we eventually got to the council dump, three of us had to move the rubble by hand. I wore out a new pair of gloves and it took over an hour!

A lesson learnt? I hope so. Closer volunteer supervision required! At least we now know that making Trish responsible for the volunteers is a good idea – except when she goes on holiday!

Many hands make light work

24 May

Come lunchtime, everyone pitches in to prepare the meal. This is our kitchen; full of volunteers!


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!


Electrical problems solved

19 Feb

I’m pleased to report that we have solved the problem with the electrics. The main switch was cutting out each night, which meant traipsing down to the ground floor to turn it back on.

Eventually we realised that the supply in France is pre-determined by the tariff you are on. If you’re load exceeds the maximum power allowed then the switch trips. We were on 15kVA and clearly this wasn’t enough for eight electric radiators, two water heaters, two dish washers, a washing machine, lighting and a lift!

So raising the supply to 28 kVA has solved the problem. It meant ensuring an EDF engineer visited to change the switch, but that’s another story!

We will miss our nightly stroll down two flights of steps and back up again!

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.

Is there an electrician in the house?

27 Jan

In the Peace Factory we have 3-phase supply but we don’t have any equipment that uses 3-phase.

For some reason the supply trips out and we have to go the box by the meter to reset the switch. This is directly where the supply comes in from the grid.

The loading is 2 water heaters, 6 electric radiators, lights for 6 rooms and occasionally a dishwasher and a washing machine.

Clearly the installation is capable of handling much bigger loads (it used to have a foundry on the ground floor!).

So my question is: what could be causing it to trip? Could the trip be faulty? Could the problem be on the supply side? Do we have some faulty wiring?

Any advice would be appreciated before we call in an electrician.