Month: July 2019

The renovation has started!!!

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Finally the ‘real’ work is beginning: I have my ideas about how it should become, but is it possible? 
At this very moment there is only one toilet upstairs and one bathroom, on the ground floor, with a shower, but no toilet! 
The new bathroom will be in the room next to where the the toilet now is, the wall will be removed: so this will be a huge bathroom with shower, toilet and a roll top bath! 
But if we start there, we will have to do without a toilet for a while and if we start in the bathroom downstairs, we will have no shower. That could be a big problem while there will be 8 of us, man and women…
We, my friends and I, discuss the situation with the builder… and then he found the best solution: make a toilet in the downstairs bathroom and start working on the first floor with the new bathrooms! 

And then the big work starts: the drilling and demolition and suddenly there are holes in the wall and ceiling.
Not just little ones but very, very big holes…
Also the excitement is getting bigger and bigger, because we don ‘t know what kind of trouble will be revealed.
For instance, the septic tank: where exactly is it and is it working? Where are all those tubes going to? Or the toilet flushing: where is it going to? It should go to the septic tank, but is it really going there? Or will this be the first big problem?

Outside the chateau some of the drains are broken or seem to be there without any purpose. The question is: if the toilet is flushed where does it go to…? There are too many lids of tanks we cannot explain. 
After some digging and following the old toilet drain, it seems the drain is broken because it was blocked and the toilet water flushes into the wall and in the room underneath…
This room is already very badly damaged by termites and the floor is for 95% gone. This is how we discovered the room at our first visit. So it is obvious that the problem has a longer history! 
This room underneath was original the library but we call it now the “TERRIBLE” room.

An other problem is the electricity: there is not enough power for all supplies. Instead, there is a mash of cables, sometimes tight together, sometimes in old pipes and there are strange plugs for very small connectors.
If you put on the big water boiler you can’t use the washing machine at the same time. The electric fuses have been in deep trouble because of shortcuts or worse….?
To reset the system you have to go to another building 45 meters away. It is not a pleasant trip to make on your own during the night. That was exactly what happened in February, just an hour after Rutger and my sons had left for Holland. I couldn’t avoid a slight panic attack because I was all alone and it was freezing cold. Then armed with a key and a torch the problem seemed less difficult than I thought.

Most problems I encounter are not so easy to solve unfortunately…
For instant when we were deconstructing the ceiling of the old toiletroom we discovered that the termites had damaged the beams there as well. Of course I expected this would be the case but one can always hope that there is an exception.
For this probleem we had to find a solution: to reinforce the beams we need to put new beams on both sides and let them rest on the thick chateau walls. So we had to search for very large beams, size: 480 x 28 x 8 cm.
Will this mean the end of my budget? We are all worrying, beams are terrible expensive! 
But first we have to find a company which can provide those beams.
Surprise, surprise: there is a timber company near Neuvic, 5 minutes from the chateau!
A wonderful company with an impressive stout woman in charge.
We wanted oak beams but that wasn’t easy. Delivery time 4 weeks. We can’t afford such a delay. The woman in charge suggested Douglas beams instead.
I was rather nervous about the price of those beams. If it is more than 1000,- euro, I have to scrap something else out of my plan…! No way I couldn’t afford my roll top bath!

Fortunately it’s much cheaper than we expected, or is this figure she mentioned for just one beam? No, it is for all 4! I am very relieved and happy again. When will they be ready?
‘ La semaine prochaine (I will give you a phone call next week)’ , the woman tells us.
Let’s hope it will be okay and the delivery will be in time.
Next problem: We have to get those beams to the chateau and probably an even bigger problem, how will they get to the first floor?