I knew when I said a couple of weeks ago that it was unusual to have more time than we needed to complete a gîte that the words would come back and bite us – and not just Garratt nipping when he is playing!
Early in the week the balance of time was spent more playing with Garratt and Mouse than making major changes to Granary – although we continued to achieve smaller, albeit significant, things that are required to complete the whole project.
One challenge we faced is where we were going to house Mouse. Not expecting to own a kitten we weren’t at all prepared initially and, owing to Dave’s allergies to cats it was never the case that she would live with us in Kergudon. For the first couple of nights we emptied one of the eaves bedrooms in Granary to make it a safe place for Mouse to live with no chance of her escaping however it was only a temporary measure.
Mouse’s arrival gave us another reason to empty one of the outbuildings, which will eventually be the boot / drying room, but had become (yet another) dumping store. A neighbour was kind enough to allow us to use his trailer to take most of it to the decheterie – and we filled both the trailer and his car – but it revealed a lovely old cobbled floor of the original agricultural building. Having scrapped off the years of mud inside the building I continued outside and revealed a similar cobbled threshold that had been covered under the gravel.
Having sealed a couple of possible escape routes it made the perfect Mouse house – until she found a way out! I’m still not sure how she managed it other than scaling a 2 metre slate wall and jumped out the gap beneath the eaves – a feat of escapology to rival Houdini. Ever since we have allowed her out in the day to explore in the hope she would hone her vermin-catching skills. However, I am suspecting she is not the natural, ruthless killer we had hoped for as, while watching her eat breakfast this morning, a field mouse ran across the floor of the Mouse House which didn’t register at all with our would-be killer! Perhaps a little too young still.
Having said last week that we wouldn’t initially consider ourselves ‘cat people’, it seems that Mouse is a ‘people cat’. Having been desperate to explore outside her house, since being allowed out she is reluctant to move more than a couple of meters away from us.
She is at least a little more tolerant of the increasingly playful and boisterous approaches of a Garratt growing in confidence. He continues to be fun to be around and, for the most part, very well behaved. We have, inevitably, had a couple of accidents which is all part of the learning process but he appears to recognise his name and come (mostly) when called. He met another future friend, Doodoo, during the week who is an Old English Sheepdog – so the contrast between little and large was huge!
What we are not good at (as you will see from this blog) is taking lots of pictures of both of them – more next week – promise.
We have also made progress in Granary and principally been preparing all the rooms for painting which will be the final, quick(ish), task. As such we have done lots of filling, sanding and undercoating. I have replaced some of the lambris in the master bedroom; we have installed the shower cubicle and toilet in the en-suite and built the frame for the washstand and, the last major task, tiled the kitchen to be grouted tomorrow.
Next week we will see some significant changes and real progress. It looks daunting but we remain confident that we can get it completed and we are looking forward to our first Fête Nationale on Tuesday. We’re not yet sure what activities generally take place but we have seen that the French don’t need much excuse for a bit of a party (and a day (or more) off work 🙂 ).