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The French Blatting Company


The Barn Conversion


15th August

Done a few days removing stone from the barn and will start in ernest tomorrow morning.

However, in the meantime we have another 8 ducklings

Two days old they do everything mum says.

16th/17th August

DISASTER! During the night the ducks were attacked by what we assume was a fox. 3 adults dead, one had been decapitated. 2 of the 5 day old ducklings died during the day, from exhaustion rather than injury. However 11 ducks are missing, 8 adults and 3 "teenagers".

18th August to 21st August

Spent Wednesday to Saturday flat out removing the broken out stone and then the rubble left behind and then breaking up the bottom of the plinth and removing all the rubble which resulted from such back breaking activity. It's now Saturday morning 10:00 and I've emptied last night stone and rubble from the Saab. I'm having a cuppa and then I'll drive the Saab back into the barn and start loading the rubble from the rest of the plinth (that part of the plinth that has already been broken out - there's a further 2 meters to be broken out)


The rubble from the floor under where the plinth was.

The pile of stone and rubble so far removed. This picture was taken on Thursday 19th

Caught! having a break with a cuppa. It's taken me 30 seconds to get my weary arm to the point of picking up the cup. I then failed because I was too weak to lift it.

The picture you've all been waiting to see. The new 159 breaker. All clean and pristine and it works well. It's half the weight of a full size one so less chance of back injuries.

This is probably the most stone and rubble placed into the Saab. I had a real problem getting it out of the barn as the front wheels were hardly on the ground.

New mods to the Saab. Side entry doors.


August 22nd. Sunday @ 14:00.

A momentous day. The north side of the barn is completely broken up. Not fully moved all the stone and rubble out yet. But no more breaking on that side.

You may recall this:

        "Started early and got the floor completely broken up just after lunch. After lunch started on the plinth.

        Now, I really shouldn't have been using the 35kg kango to break up the plinth as it's far too heavy to be lifting on and off. As I go to lift it back on for "the umpteenth time I feel the muscles in the small of my back tear and a very sharp shooting pain go right up my back."

That was 17th April. Today is 22nd August. Not a really quick worker am I! However, of course, I had 4 months off with torn back muscles. There is now about 1/3rd left to dig out and I'm allowing 2 weeks. Just keep reminding me that I must be fully dug out by 3rd September.

The last little bit of plinth. There are two wooden stakes to get out but I'll drag them out with a rope and car.

Close up of last piece of plinth (on North side of course - there's still the south side to get out.) 

Semi naked fat bloke using his new tool.

Now he's showing off.

Who does he think he is? Stallone in a movie?

This is the floor stone in the driveway into the barn. This took 5 minutes to break out. On this basis I can have the whole drive out in an hour.

23rd August

Carried on digging out the driveway and the corner to the left of it. This will make it easier to get the car turned through 90 degrees to get the stone out from the North East corner. 



Ended the day like this.

24th August

Have a recurrence of my blood condition which makes me tired, listless and weak. I just couldn't lift the stone without taking frequent rests.  Struggled on for the morning and in the afternoon decided to clear out the front corner of the new garage/workshop so that my friend can park his Porsche in there a lot easier than he it is now in the present garage. He keeps scraping the door on the wall! We started at 14:45, filled the Peugeot with rubbish and got back from the decheterie (rubbish dump) at 17:30. However by the end of the day I had removed all the broken stone from the barn.

25th August. to 2nd September.

These days passed by in a blur of breaking stone, lifting it and then unloading it.

This was the pile of stone on the 23rtd August. The blue thing leaning up against the wall is the tail gate from the Saab.

Caught in the act of exhaustion. Not sure what the chains actually for.....

.... But this seems like a good idea.

So, there was some stone left in the ground from the plinth against the North wall. Shouldn't take long thinks I.... WRONG! This was what came out plus.....

... this lump that's so big I can't lift it. I'll roll it out later, or just leave it in the lounge as a feature.

And this is the trench left when all that stone was removed.


Now, some people have a prancing horse on their bonnet, some have some blokes initials with a big 7. Some have a serpent and others have two "R"s. Well, this is what I have on my bonnet....


It helps to counter balance the weight in the back.


It is now the morning of September 2nd and this is the last piece of plinth left.

Not very much and only 2 days behind target.


And this is what was left at 18:00. Lynne will clear up the small rubble and then I'll have to dig out the remaining lumps of stone beneath the ground. Dig out is the correct term as it's a pick job not a breaker.


I picked up a lump of stone at random. weighed it and measured it. Then extrapolated this data into the weight of the stone per square meter. I deducted 10% and haven't added on for the extra weight in the plinths. Answer is:




Compare this picture with that on the 25th August highlighting the Saab tailgate.

This completes the picture - the right hand side of the mountains of stone.


This continues on the September page.