Saturday, 28 April 2012

Sweet spring and Happy Easter

I know long time no news from our side and our lovely Ugly Betty.
Well, it's just because it's going very slowly!

First Easter and the season at the B&B starting off galloping despite the terrible weather we've been having! 

My darling O has been filling in such big holes and lots of odds and ends and beams and and - as well as the glass door to the top floor giving us a room with a view!
And we also managed to find him someone to help him on site seeing that I am busy with the B&B and have only managed to pop in a few times the past month.

So here just a few pics - might not seem like progress but it is!

The roof episode has been epic - some misunderstandings - what is suppose to be a 'finished' roof for some is a basic structure with lots and lots of work for us - actually Olivier!

But, this too shall pass and hopefully the merry month of May will spur up the hopes and speed of the blooming of our Darling Ugly Betty

The plan of the central beam in the top room

Another friend from Espinasse popping in to see the progress


Philippe a friend from the village helping MrO with the central beam that will keep the roof together

The beautiful little river behind the house - l'Ancoutay

View towards the hamlet

So hopefully soon soon with more news!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A thin black veil.........

Our Ugly Betty is really 'a l'air du temps'! In stead of a hard hat, she got a thin black veil!!!!!

The eternal optimist that I am, I thought once you do the beams, quick quick the tiles will be on!

But no, our carpenters did such huge holes in the walls to pass the beams, that for a week now Mr O has been filling up holes - once again! (do see the a previous post on holes!) And it's not over! The wonderful weather we've been having is certainly helping and encouraging especially my darling who I cannot help a lot anymore seeing that the rooms is starting to fill again on this side of the valley.

Well, I suppose that's the name of the game and if there's anybody out there that want to get some working experience - you're on!!


Froggie hugs from another marvelous sunny day in workers paradise

Saturday, 10 March 2012


So it's March, almost spring, and all of a sudden everything comes alive!
And the team helping with Ugly Betty's roof arrived as well - along with the 'authorisation de travaux'!
This morning Mr O, Jean-Yves, Christophe and his father Olivier started uncovering poor UB and when I pitched up around 11h30 on my bicycle, NOTHING!! 
All gone - one singe beam left! I realised a tiny bit what it must be like to live in war stricken zones.

Oh my Word!!

Poor UB lost her old Hat!

But she'll be covered hopefully at the latest tomorrow! (wishfull thinking) At least she'll have new beams all set in place for the new tiles that has been patiently waiting in the courtyard since December!

This will be a new kick in the butt to get us going after our very cold miserable unproductive February!

Watch this space for more!
And hopefully i'll have the courage to cycle there again tomorrow (and back this time!!!), take more pics and let you have it all!!


Friday, 17 February 2012

Chilly Snowy February and French Bureaucracy

The Allier river frozen
I know you'll all think that either we've abandoned poor Ugly Betty or that I am giving up on blogging!
Neither the one nor the other!
Landscape towards our village

It is just that after a huge snowfall end january and then sub zero temperatures since, we've been having a 'forced' holiday. I did manage to finalise my 2011 accounting at least!

And it's not all - my darling O's most beautifully prepared plans in multiple copies with color charts and information on the windows etc for Ugly Betty's renovation accompanying a very simple 'demande de travaux' and not even a building permit - was rejected by the local very bureaucratic office. 
Colour chart for Ugly Betty

This means that we should not have asked this 'work authorisation' like most French people do. They just carry on and restore without asking anyone's permission. 

Probably another reason one sees such a lot of dilapidated houses in the countryside - Bureaucracy!

So the new, even simpler 'demande de travaux' has been handed in and we are waiting for the return of that and the return of warmer weather to carry on hammering away on our darling Ugly Betty.

Warm regards from a chilly Frogland

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Front door and adorable help!

The cement lintel
I think I have mentioned in one of my previous post that I am quite a 'strong' woman but boy oh boy, I am beginning to feel the years like everyone else AND especially when we have to move stone lintels down and up again, move cements lintels of uncertain weight up and down and and and!

So when after the window lintel we did early last week, we saw our friend and neighbor Jean-Yves, I jumped on the occasion to ask him to help O with the lintel above the front door.

Front door without the cement lintel

In the meantime one of our frequent guests, Alessandro, and his beautiful partner, Caroline, decided to come and see us the past weekend and on top he proposed his help for a couple of days - I JUMPED ON THAT OFFER!

Alé and Jean-Yves with the new stone lintel in place
After we've removed the cement lintel with Olivier in the week (and we had the firemen coming to put out a fire here Aux Jardins des Thevenets the evening of Olivier's birthday party and had to organise a plumber and the insurance), the

three boys went off to Ugly Betty on 
Sunday morning!

And came back just over and hour later and VOILA - the lintel in place above the door! 
I did not have to move a finger!! (Except cooking and organising etc as usual!)

And today I could 'relax' at home without rushing off to Ugly Betty as Alé is helping Olivier for a couple of days!
THE FRONT DOOR IN - Lintel resculpted by MR O!
So little by little, lintel by lintel, with little help from our friends, this is all coming together!

Nighty night!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Holes and more.......

The past 2 months flew past in a hub of work on Ugly Betty and receiving guests here Aux Jardins des Thevenets for Christmas and New Year.
Filling the holes

The last post showed you the beams being fitted by Olivier and Christophe and to do this, they did holes in the walls at 20 odd cm interval all along.

End of last week my Olivier started to refill these holes while I started to take out the grid from around the lintel stones of windows and the front door we have to move. Not one window or door is at 'conventional' heights and we have to change them all.

Then this week we decided it's going to be THE week of finishing some of the window's and hopefully the front door.

Lintel out
So the 2 of us moved a stone lintel of an uncertain weight onto the scaffolding and we reduced the sides of the window to the right size. Then we replaced the lintel and more or less fitted the window. Now I know it has not been a cold winter thus far, but

boy oh boy, did we drip with sweat!

From the inside looking out !

Lintel on right in place and now for the cement lintel on the left!
Yesterday morning we were all apprehensive to see if this installation made it through the night! 
It DID!!

The front door is quite advanced but you'll have to be patient to see the suite!

Always nice sharing with you all!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Incredible Adventure of the Beams !

So this is the NEW YEAR and Ugly Betty is ready for this New Year - with all the 'make up' and 'hair cutting' and 'blowing', she'll be the New Beauty on the Blog!

First part of beam out

Just after Christmas (actually the French do not know such a thing as boxing day) Olivier and another Olivier and his son Christophe attacked THE BEAMS! So this was about getting the old central beams out, putting in place two new 10 meter beams and all the other little ones that will hold the first floor! Without the roof falling in ..............
Roof being held together with almost nothing

AND they did this in 2 days!

I unfortunately saw very little of all of this as I was running around the guesthouse doing cooking and cleaning and and for the lovely guests we had over Christmas and NewYear.

New Beams IN!

Ceiling beams IN!

Now all's in place, Olivier is busy filling the holes bit by bit and this weekend half of the roof will be uncovered and new beams replaced!

I am back on site as well and you'll have more regular updates from Ugly Betty!

To you all, have a groovy 2012!

Christophe and his dad Olivier

Just a little postscript :

It is rare that one meets a young guy of 21 so passionate about his profession. Young Christophe is such a young man. Since a tender age he has been tagging along with his father whenever he was doing building jobs. His passion -  Carpentry.