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The French Blatting Company


The Barn Conversion

31st August - 6th September 2008

Having a weeks holiday with our friends from the North, Robert and Linda.

On the Monday (1st September) Robert volunteers (get it!) to cut the grass. He likes driving the tractor and does the whole farm between 11:00 and 18:00.

This is Robert enjoying himself, whilst I......




Build the new wood store.....


to put this oak in when we cut it up.


I will replace the curly tin with floor boarding and make it look much nicer when I've finished the project and can see how much floor boarding I've left after selling off what's left of the 104 square metres I have "in stock".

On the Tuesday a Lotus 7 club member, Peter comes over for lunch with his wife, 2 lovely children and his in-laws. We have a nice lunch dodging in and out between showers. They are very nice people and we feel privileged to have met them.

Wednesday sees us off to Angers for the day. We drop Lynne and Linda off in the center for them to walk around the shops. How do women get enjoyment walking around shops? Robert and I visit Leroy Merlin and Brico Depot looking at shower screens, copper pipes, boilers and wood things. Oh, and toilets. Thsi is NOT the same as girlie shopping as these things are essential and mens stuff.

Thursday I take the girls to Chateaubriant to look round the shops whilst I get some bags of sand for the sand blaster. 5 x 40 kgs bags - they are really heavy! Well 40 kgs to be exact. Lynne buys a new hand bag so it was a good afternoon out.

We have a day off on Friday and play Trivial Pursuit most of day as it's raining.

We take them back to Nantes Airport on Saturday and I drop Lynne off at Ikea in order to get in the queue for a consultant to reprice the kitchen. Some of the prices have gone up and som down. I drop Robert & Linda at the airport and get back to Ikea and make for the restaraunt as agreed. Lynne isn't there so I make my way back to the kitchen area and find her walking about looking at the kitchens. At last she's getting the picture of what we're doing. They have a new 2 draw fridge and she thinks it's a great idea. So we change the upright fridge for the smaller one and add the draw unit. This adds to the table top cost and we're now well over 10,000! However, after we discuss the coffee machine (MY coffee machine) and decide to take it off the list as they have confirmed it's not plumbed in and will need refilling. This will save 60cm of space, the cost of the cabinet and, of course, the machine itself. The space has become important as the new fridge is 80cm wide and it's getting a bit tight down one side of the "U". We also look at wardrobes and change our minds on that. But when we get home and I work out the sizes we go back to the original. The one we opted for is "L" shaped but the short leg of the "L" will be 1,98 metres across the open side of the bedroom, the balcony that looks over the lounge.

7th September 2008

I downlaod the Ikea room planner and spend some time doing a 3D picture of the kitchen and bedroom. I also get back to doing some work and remove all the stuff lying around the barn and spend 3 hours sweeping up.

8th September 2008

Start by getting the first of the milking divisions out. This is the difficult one as I can only get to one side and it's a bit blocked in by the gantry and ladders. It comes out with a huge struggle and is very heavy and I'm struggling to move it out. At this point, about 12:00 our friends Norman & Joy arrive for lunch. Norman was a builder and I spend an hour picking his brains. We have a nice lunch which finishes at 18:00 and a couple bottles of wine later. No further work today then.

9th September 2008

Lynne gives me a hand and we get the wooden division out by turning it end-over-end. Some of the stack of plaster boards are slightly damaged but it isn't too bad. At this point I decide to clear the barn of everything so remove the gantry and ladders. I then bring the old SAAB round and use it to drag the divisions out. By lunchtime they're all out and stacked up by the wood store. I was going to use them for wall decoration but it's only the posts that are oak, the boarding is a softwood and very rotten at the bottoms. After lunch I clean up again and then back the compressor into the barn. I refit the battery, which has been on charge for about aweek and check the oil and fuel. Nothing showing on the dipstick at all so I pour 3 lires of oil in and get it up to level. The fuel tank is almost full. OK, press the starter and it churns over a few seconds at which point the battery seems to be giving up. I try this several times and it fires. But then cuts out. Several more starts and cut outs and I decide to get the thing level (It's leaning over a bit as the floor isn't level due to the "crown"). Lynne helps by driving the SAAB and we get it onto the top of the "crown". It's still cutting out so I try opening the air valve. Success! it runs up and is fine. OK, shut it down and connect the pipe to the blaster. last year I had put the only rubber seal I have on the ledge in the kitchen with strict instructions that it was not to be moved. Guess what - it's been moved. Counting to ten I ask Lynne where she's put the bit of rubber that was in the kitchen, fully expecting a "It's not mine, I haven't touched it, it's all your fault" However, I'm wrong. She goes to my desk draw and produces the seal like a genie out of as bottle. I fit it and the pipe is sealed and airtight. The nozzle isn't blowing much air but I'll sort that out in the morning as I can hear the bar calling so get showered and go for a quiet drink.

I have some photos, but I've left the camera in the barn and, as it's dark now, I'm not going to get it so they'll have to wait for tomorrow.

It's now tomorrow so here are the pictures:

I knew the Bulk Buy jack would come in handy one day.



All out, probably the first time this side has been clear in 200 years.




And these are the divisions, dragged outside by the trusty Saab. There are 4 in total. should keep the fire going for a monh or so.


The compressor in position on the top of the "crown". The pipe is connected at the bottom right and the oil can is on the floor on the left.



The compressor connected to the blaster and the hood on the floor between them. The 40kg bags of sand are on the floor in the middle of the picture.

10th September 2008

As it's raining I decide not to open the sand as, if it gets damp, it will clog up in the pipe. So I start to demolish the plinth instead. Wish I hadn't! It's solid concrete with a bit of brick and stone mixed in. After an hour I leave it.

11th September 2008

I decide to have a day off as it's raining

12th September 2008

Sun is shining and I decide it'll be nice to spend the day outside treating the terracotta tiles to a good coat of Linseed oil. In the afternoon Tom phones and I agree to pop round to his house in the morning to dig out the space for his new patio.


You firstly pack the tiles face up.....



,,, and then brush the dust off....




... and lastly apply the linseed oil

13th September 2008

We have guests arriving this week and also next week so I won't be doing much for the next 2 weeks.

I pop round to Tom and we spend the day digging out the ground where his new patio is going. Well, we get half of it done.

14th September 2008

Finish the other half of Toms patio.

all work on the barn is now suspended until after 25th and all the guests have left. See you then.