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Thread: A VERY long-term building project...in France

  1. #51
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    I’ve always wanted to go rooting in some of these old barns in the middle of nowhere. This weird old ‘car’ appeared out of the barn opposite last week. No idea what it is and the guy towing it, our local Mayor, hasn’t been past since so as we can have the hand waving loud slow voiced chat. I’ll find out next time.




    That’s it for now. Got to pack for the Manx GP. Busy busy busy.
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  2. #52
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    That looks like a Ligier JS4 Microcar/Quadricycle. An old 'Vehicle sans permit', which anyone over the age of 14 can/could jump in and drive. I used to marvel at them as a child on family holidays.



    http://www.autohistories.org/ligier/index.html
    Last edited by Neil Mac; 23-08-2018 at 05:39 PM.
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  3. #53
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    Brilliant, cheers for that
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  4. #54
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    I found some evidence of my obsession... I took this photo in Sarlat in about 1983/84:

    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, Turbo, Actuator, Banjo Connector, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, Wideband sensor, 57-51mm silicone reducing elbow and a Copper Banjo Washer." - Nige

  5. #55
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    P.S. Holiday home is looking great!
    "Fortunately, I'd taken a spare Gearbox, Turbo, Actuator, Banjo Connector, Steering Rack, Driveshafts, ECU, Wideband sensor, 57-51mm silicone reducing elbow and a Copper Banjo Washer." - Nige

  6. #56
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    Just found this thread - absolutely mega Dave Seriouos commitment and effort - well done.

    Helps put my house build (which I am not doing ANY of it myself - and for good reason) into context

  7. #57
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    Small update.

    We went back out in mid October for 3 weeks and had 2 weeks of stunning Autumn weather. Only 17-20c if you looked at the actual forecast but ignore the shade temperature, we had to retreat inside a few times for an hour or two at about 2pm as it was too hot in the sun.
    We spent the time finishing a retaining wall of sorts and attaching a form of fence to it.









    The fence that was going to be our flooring but it didn’t work out that way. Justine spent days up in the back of the land...I can’t really use the word ‘garden’ just yet. I started on a fence running up the side of the land adjacent to our neighbours (English) who have spent 3 nights in their house this year. They lived here for about 7 years but with the arrival of some new grandkids they moved back to Hampshire and don’t seem too bothered about the place. (Last Winter they paid 1000 euros for heating oil to heat an empty house until the tank ran dry and the house remained unheated for 2 mths...and a big bill for a heating engineer) Anyhow, we had a very minor dispute over land borders 10 years ago so I have been itching to get a fence up and stop their brambles and bracken from encroaching...it’s bloody hard work watching Justine sweat trying to sort the weeds out every year I can tell you!

    I ran out of fence posts but found some mega cheap at a local ‘we sell everything you can think of and do house clearances too’ sport of place so that’s a job for Spring.
    Justine doing a natural fence...way better than mine I must confess.



    I got the wall to a height I was happy with and put most of the cap stones on. A new 9” angle grinder doesn’t seem to like froggie electric so I couldn’t do the only corner, another job for 2019.



    Managed to find a pair of 3.5 m aluminium gates on offer with 70% off...just need to find some hinges now.



    I needed to replace a piece of timber at the very edge of the roof, 6m and 75mm x 63mm so fairly heavy and a bit ungainly. Managed without too much pain.



    On a Glorious Sunday I managed to drag her out on the bike. A lovely 150 mile bimble along deserted lanes with Autumn colours. I didn’t take any photos but you can imagine what it was like.



    The last of the 3 weeks was spent fitting a few doors (Christ, they take ages to do) and a few window surrounds and generally tidying stuff up, connecting some electrics etc etc. it also included a trip to a carpet place about 30 miles away. The French don’t really do fitted carpets so an English feller has filled a niche and employs a driver who travels to the South Coast ports to collect whatever carpets customers have ordered. We need 4 bedrooms and 2 stairs doing. Looking at UK prices and adding a bit we reckoned £3k would get us decent quality carpets fitted. Der, mong thinking. When a salesman starts with ‘It’s really expensive running a business in France, what with tax for...blah blah’ you know he’s going to come in with a high quote. Yup. very average carpets for 3 bedrooms and just an average one for ours and it had suddenly gone North of £4500. We’ll have a think about it……
    I posted a ‘wanted-carpet fitter’ ad on a Facebook group and within an hour got two recommendations. I got in touch with one chap and asked if he did a day rate or a per sq metre rate. He told me that if I wanted a cheap job I’d better use my builder, he was a proper good carpet fitter. OK. Get f####d then. Oddly, his sidekick sent us an official quote..1300 euros to fit. 2nd guy said he’d pay me a visit, price it up and take it from there. He sent me some magic google map pin thingy that opened to show me where he lived...about 5 miles from us...and that he was from Wakefield and had we heard of #### ? He turned up the next day. He was actually a geordie but I didn’t hold that against him. He got back to us a day later with a proper quote that was half what f###wit had quoted. (On our way back home yesterday we called at the carpet place he recommended in Wakefield...they’ll get us a locally made wool carpet and everything we need and store it until we need to collect it and that plus the fitting is less than half the first total quote...happy days)


    Mid November saw us loaded to the gunwhales again and our final trip of the year.



    We met the Gilet Jaunes 4 times at Rouen, Evreux, Dreux and Chateauroux delaying us about 2 hours. It didn’t half look like a good craic tho. 40 or 50 normal looking people with a barbeque going and a few boxes of beer and wine. Two Gendarmes stood 50 yards away but had nowt to do. (For the first time in 20 years we fill up in the UK as fuel has gone up dramatically in the last year...as have most other prices) The guy leaning into the car spoke as much English as I speak French and apologised profusely for delaying us. It seemed to be a car or truck was let through every minute. The trucks hooting their air horns weren’t hacked off...just showing support (Certainly where we were)



    Unload and a quick trip to collect Mick the plasterer from the airport.
    5 days of solid graft got us to just over halfway through plastering the downstairs.













    Blending the plaster he’d done in April with the fresh stuff was hard work but with a bit of sanding it’ll not be noticeable






    The old feller needed a day or two off so we pottered about an old chateau on Saturday and drove across to watch Clermont Auvergne blitz Lyon on the Sunday.



    [/url]

    The Chateau had a load of shite modern art like Hockney does and crap photos on display, we spent our time more gainfully by looking at the old building techniques and lime plastering...much to the amusement of the staff



    Monday and we’re back at it, me mixing the plaster and doing some painting and odds and sods and Mick plastering. He’d used up the 32 bags by Friday morning and completed, bar the downstairs loo which we’ve decided to tile.

    It was great being a bloke outnumbering the only woman...having spent 52 years outnumbered and forced to tow the like re bog seats...we deliberately left all 3 of them up with a bike magazine next to each. Little pleasures.








    Saturday was spent ambling about a huge motorbike dealers in Limoges and pottering about a local town that’s on the trail to Santiago de Compostella.
    Sunday and we dropped Mick off at the airport and drove to Calais, completing the trip the next morning. (Sunday nights hotel in Calais had about 6 guests plus about 60 CRS cops..the most feared of French cops..the ones who fire tear gas and beat folk up. We sat and had breakfast with them. Tracky bottoms, T shirts and flip flops and to a man were polite and erm...normal folk (as normal as the French can be I suppose))

    We were due back in late January but Silverstone has cropped up so it’ll be mid February with a van full of flooring and a roofrack laden with carpets. About 8 weeks should see the inside complete. I’ll have to be coy about the location as I reckon Sim will plague the area buying up every classic collectable in a 50 mile radius….probably.
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  8. #58
    "Small update"??
    Great update Dave, and outstanding work!!
    The gaff & grounds look to be taking shape very nicely!
    I love the fact that you're doing the bulk of the work yerselves (I'd be the same)...
    Chapeau Sir, chapeau.

    * P.S. - kindly pass on my best wishes to Justine & the Mongos.

  9. #59
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    That looks great. Keep the updates coming.

    For the bare plaster you know that screwfix do a bare plaster paint which I used in my build. Much better and easier to apply than watering down standard emulsion and saved me loads of time too!
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  10. #60
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    Really enjoy reading these updates. Good work the 2/3 of you, Dave
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  11. #61
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    It's getting there looking great.

    I can just imagine the conversation with the carpet guy when you can tell they are going to come back with a stupid quote

  12. #62
    Great update Dave
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  13. #63
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    Ahh, plaster boarding - it just takes far longer than you can imagine, especially with the fiddly bits.

    Load of work done there, well done!
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  14. #64
    Great work Dave, looks like it's coming together nicely.

    That 'shite modern art' you refer to is known as Contemporary

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    Quote Originally Posted by autohabit View Post

    That 'shite modern art' you refer to is known as Contemporary
    Not in our house it isn't...

    And a bottle of Benny (and hot) went down a treat as the cold nights drew in.
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  16. #66
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    Cracking update and read Dave!
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    A good bit of work done and dusted there, Dave. As an aside, it would seem reasonable to refer to " .... and a quick trip to collect Mick the plasterer from the airport.... in the vernacular i.e. "Mick the spread"
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    Equally, love and hate this thread. It makes me want to do another build and wish I'd done more on ours (not possible due to lack of skills and time - quickly worked out if I was doing stuff then 4-5 builders were watching me and laughing :D - I did try a bit of everything other than the roofing). Great to see it taking shape, you're going to miss it when it's done :D. Thanks for sharing!
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    Never heard that term Chris....fairly obvious I suppose but my mate the 'plasterer' has never heard of it either.

    Oli
    I had it easy, there was no one to watch me making hundreds of cock ups and after speaking with the 'builders' who came to quote us, I knew early on I'd be doing most myself so just cracked on with it. ( I'm one of those who hates traffic jams, I'd rather take my chances driving across country, even if I end up further back in the long term...analogy as I could have left the building as we bought it and in 2015 paid someone to do the lot.)
    The plumber (He is actually a tiler but now does mainly plumbing work) has been there this last week tiling the kitchen/entrance and we've been shopping so we've a table and 6 chairs for there and two sofas for the lounge (which I'll be flooring in February/March) It really is weird to think it is nearly done...although I have 40 odd m2 of drive to lay and another 50 odd m2 of patio/path.....and post completion ?
    Bike trips of course. Desperate to do the States and Canada (a feller I know is organising a 3 week National Park tour of Cal/Utah/Nevada in 2020, I expressed interest until he sent me rough idea of cost...£9k for 3 weeks for two of us is out of my comfort zone) when I can do a month tour of Spain and Portugal, staying in very nice place for a third of that.





    Last edited by Dave B; 07-01-2019 at 04:00 PM.
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

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    We had an enforced break over Christmas and the New Year and then a couple of things cropped up that meant we couldn’t return to crack on until mid February. We’d ordered 100m of carpet and got some really good quality 80-20 wool mix for £15 a metre. They cut it into the 6 sizes the fitter had specced and double wrapped it as they knew it needed to go on the roof rack. We spent the days after Christmas shopping for a table and chairs and a couple of sofas. The table and chairs arrived so were squeezed in with 50m of flooring, 50 l of paint blah blah (I had to take 8 packs of the flooring out as I was obviously way overweight)
    7am at the carpet place and his helper lad had drawn the short straw to get up early and sort out a customer. 6 rolls just fitted on the roof and seemed pretty heavy (64oz a m2 carpet)
    Uneventful drive and we unloaded the next morning. Very pleased with the tiling we’d had done (really cheap tiles but quality tiler seemed to work well)









    We then got cracking with fitting some skirting and architrave and then painting...walls, skirting and architraves, window reveals, more walls etc. We had about 19 days before the carpet fitter did his stuff.
    Weather was great so we had a day off and went out on the bike for tea and cakes in a cafe in the Dordogne.
    We finished what we needed with a day to spare so I made a start on the flooring. Without skirting and other clutter it’s really straight forward but I aren’t happy with how it ‘walks on’. Too much give in a few places so I’ll be taking it up and using a bit of self levelling compound to get it spot on (It would always bug me as not being 100%)










    I battled with the carpets to get them upstairs and just thought ‘I’m getting old, this feels bloody heavy’. Carpet fitter came and got going. After an hour or three he came downstairs and asked if I was certain I had the right carpets in the right rooms….you know that feeling of having properly cocked up ? A very expensive cock up ? Well, off he went and measured them all and the carpet shop, as opposed to what they’d said they’d do with extra 20m2 on the 120m2 roll...sell it on, had simply added a bit to each of my 6 pieces...so we had loads spare basically. Phew (I’m having a carpeted garage but shhh, she thinks its for a summer house)
    2 days of proper hard work, I’d always thought carpet fitting must be a pink and fluffy job, soft furnishings and all that, but he worked bloody hard and a few quid lighter we had 4 bedrooms, a dressing room and 2 flights of stairs looking amazing. It cost us just less than half what we’d been quoted for fully synthetic carpets fitting by an English guy 30 miles from us in France. Really pleased with the saving and moreso the quality of carpet and fitting.









    The last day was spent tidying up, promising the mayor that I was going to finish the edge of the drive and visiting the tip (where the staff are like a swarm of ants and help you unload and get stuff in the right skip/receptacle)

    I did a bit of door fitting and made a couple of coat hook boards to fix to the wall in a small cloakroom.








    (It does now have a handle fitted)

    And after our hassle with the incorrect larder doors, managed to get them fitted together with the plinths and side panels etc.

    Fitted the outside lights and connected a few rooms lights. I’d reckoned on £5k for wiring and electrics but reckon it’ll come in at half that as I’m not using the sparkie that much...why pay for someone to do stuff you can do yourself.









    Back out in a fortnight for anything between 2 and 6 weeks...hopefully the latter but dependent on what the Doc says on 25th March.
    Stuff to do include Mrs B painting some of the upstairs walls different colours to their current whitewash. Level the ‘music room’ with screed before flooring. Putting in a ceiling in the garage/flooring to make a storage room in the roof void. This will pretty much clear all the building stuff in the garage and music room. More wiring, more painting…
    BUT we reckon we can finish the house if we get 4+ weeks there.

    After that it’s the driveway and patio/path which will no doubt take me all summer (TT and Manx will split our time there obviously!)
    It feels weird. Really weird. I read in a homebuilding magazine a sentence by a serial self builder which struck a cord. You spend ages doing stuff that never gets seen, stuff that ensures the next few stages of the build work properly and then all of a sudden you appear to be making real progress. This is exactly how it’s been. Years, literally years of hard work with little to actually show and then in the space of just a few weeks, when all added up, the stuff you see is done and we have a house.

    We really enjoyed being there in the depths of Winter (tree and plant life wise). We saw landscapes we’d not seen before, buildings we didn’t know existed because of foliage etc.
    Happy days.
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  21. #71
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    Superbe, magnifique, etc.
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  23. #73
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    That looks incredible. You must be really pleased.
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  24. #74
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    Looking great Dave

    I used to do carpet fitting as a student Saturday / holiday job, it's hard work!
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    Looks brilliant Dave! Are you 60% can't wait to just enjoy it and 40% wondering about the next project yet?
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  26. #76
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    Brilliant. Nearly there

    4 bedrooms you say . NL housewarming trip
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  27. #77
    Brilliant Dave. I really enjoy reading these updates. When you finish this one can you start another one please, else I'll have less stuff to read
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  28. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
    I read in a homebuilding magazine a sentence by a serial self builder which struck a cord. You spend ages doing stuff that never gets seen, stuff that ensures the next few stages of the build work properly and then all of a sudden you appear to be making real progress. This is exactly how it’s been. Years, literally years of hard work with little to actually show and then in the space of just a few weeks, when all added up, the stuff you see is done and we have a house.
    The phrase we received most was "Ìt`ll be nice when it`s finished..."

    Never seen the door holding thingy. I usually wedge it between my legs or in the end of a tatty old workmate. That looks so simple but effective

    Great progress.

  29. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian H View Post
    Looking great Dave

    I used to do carpet fitting as a student Saturday / holiday job, it's hard work!
    I did natter with the fitter about how I'd never really twigged just how physical it was. 'Not a job for puffs' may have been uttered. I got a look, 'you do know I'm gay don't you?' Ooops

    Quote Originally Posted by Brando View Post
    Looks brilliant Dave! Are you 60% can't wait to just enjoy it and 40% wondering about the next project yet?
    Oddly I've been looking at stuff but must resist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon View Post
    Brilliant. Nearly there

    4 bedrooms you say . NL housewarming trip


    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Kinghorn View Post
    Brilliant Dave. I really enjoy reading these updates. When you finish this one can you start another one please, else I'll have less stuff to read
    See above...but seriously doubt it

    Quote Originally Posted by Nige View Post
    The phrase we received most was "Ìt`ll be nice when it`s finished..."

    Never seen the door holding thingy. I usually wedge it between my legs or in the end of a tatty old workmate. That looks so simple but effective

    Great progress.
    Mate who's a joiner uses them, superbly simple but effective thing. They come as a pair (£40) but I bought the single version (£25). It still works fine. Makes it way easier when you have 10 doors/30 hinges to do

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  30. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nige View Post
    in the end of a tatty old workmate.
    I presume a workmate is not an abbreviation of work colleague?
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  31. #81
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    Love the build, looks fantastic
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  32. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by sparrow View Post
    I presume a workmate is not an abbreviation of work colleague?

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    So, we managed to get back out for 6 weeks and got stuff done outside rather than in. A bit back to front but as we have a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and TV room done, the finishing touches can wait and we can do the physical stuff when it’s 10-20c rather than 35c.

    First thing was to put a slope onto the side of the concrete drive. The mayor (a local farmer) had driven by last Autumn and mentioned it. 2m od 1” rebar and a few mixes of concrete and it looked OK. They do sell ready formed ones at one of the local suppliers but as it is cast concrete weighing about 400kg, I could get it fork lifted into the van but I’d be stuffed getting it out and in place.

    The next few days saw crap weather so we did a few inside jobs, last bits of wiring, lay a floor and she started to paint the utility room but hates painting so much, she went outside to move our pet rocks one more time. (I’d estimate 12-15 tonnes and they’ve now been moved 4 times...all by her fair hands)









    I also put in a ceiling/floor in the garage. We now have a usable storage area of about 12ft x 12ft which takes most of the usual garage crap out of the garage and in to the space above. Happy days.





    I wanted sufficient parking outside the house for 3 cars rather than having to put any visitors out on the grass verge. It needed a fair bit of levelling and altho we could have rented a man with a digger, it would have meant us working like loonies as digger man piled tonnes of earth here and there. We started at one end and slowly dug out while I also laid some edging for concreting a ‘binding’ layer to cement some tiles to for the terrace/patio/sitting about in the sun area.



    We could also have ordered 3 or 4 or 5 cubic m of concrete to be delivered but again, it’d be dropped pretty quickly and half of it would go off before we could move it to where we needed it...so I drove with the trailer for half a cubic metre of sand and gravel...8 times...mixed it and laid it. Worked out OK. I also had to build a low wall for around the patio part (to be skimmed and have topping put on)



    I bought a new wacker plate a couple of years ago. It’ll only have had 2 hours use by the time I flog it but well worth having (and I should get my money back as they cost a fortune over there)









    Then had to knock up some rough and ready planters for Mrs ‘Greenfingers’ B which we filled as we progressed along the front.







    The last week was spent with me taking up some flooring I laid a few months back and wasn’t happy with, applying a few bags of self levelling compound then relaying the floor…’Ah, that’s way better’.

    We had a good tidy up. Met some local Gendarmes and donated 90 euros to their Christmas party fund...bloody STOP lines. Frustratingly I always seemed to be the only car to actually stop at them and the week before, my good wife asked why I stopped at lines literally in the middle of nowhere where there was nowhere for Cops to sneakily park…...F### F### F###’. On a brighter note, the cop was really switched on. Really knew his stuff, was polite and spoke pretty good English. (And whenever I think of how much the French dislike the Gendarmes, I think of Lt Col Arnaud Beltrame - so 90 euros...pah)

    Back later this year when I’ll hopefully take some more ‘garage’ photos. These garages are all over the place. Local folk think nothing of driving their 40 and 50 year old cars as dailys...it is what they bought them for...40 or 50 years ago by the look of the drivers.

    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  34. #84
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    Love the planters, did you put some membrane or something on the inside to stop rotting at all? Possibly not as big of a deal as here in the uk but thought i'd ask.
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    Great updates Dave! It's looking fantastic!

    I did chuckle at your "live dangerously" slip & slide...

    @ThrottleSteerer - Ex-Official Northloop Brat Custodian

    Forever in debt to the famous NL Brat relay Team.
    Kent to Aberdeen (the scenic route) - December 2016

  36. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev_G View Post
    Love the planters, did you put some membrane or something on the inside to stop rotting at all? Possibly not as big of a deal as here in the uk but thought i'd ask.
    No Kev, coat of quality stain and thats it. It's 2" thick Douglas Fir so will see me out I imagine

    Quote Originally Posted by findlay View Post
    Great updates Dave! It's looking fantastic!

    I did chuckle at your "live dangerously" slip & slide...

    I don't go up there for fear of altitude sickness...she does though so I live in hope of a dangerus slip and freedom....

    Hey, I'm up your way next week; Corran Bunkhouse, Poolewe and then 2 nights in the Cairngorms, you free for a posh coffee on Monday 20th?
    If a man speaks his mind in a forest and no woman hears him...is he still wrong ?

  37. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Mac View Post
    That looks like a Ligier JS4 Microcar/Quadricycle. An old 'Vehicle sans permit', which anyone over the age of 14 can/could jump in and drive.


    http://www.autohistories.org/ligier/index.html
    They are for driving home, post pastis!

    https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35210572

  38. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
    Hey, I'm up your way next week; Corran Bunkhouse, Poolewe and then 2 nights in the Cairngorms, you free for a posh coffee on Monday 20th?
    Yes.



    Oh.



    Bollocks. Sorry mate. Next time.
    @ThrottleSteerer - Ex-Official Northloop Brat Custodian

    Forever in debt to the famous NL Brat relay Team.
    Kent to Aberdeen (the scenic route) - December 2016

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