Just to make sure that we really do appreciate all the good things here, life occasionally stands up and gives us a slap on the face!
I have already mentioned that the Mazda is currently unusable, with major clutch problems. We had a visit from a Belgian motor mechanic who has looked at it and will do the job for us – but not until the 22nd May. So that one is out of action for a while.
Mr Rotavator is still not starting properly after the winter. We shall get someone to look at that later – if we can get it to Montluçon I think it should be fixed under guarantee.
The mechanic who looked at the Mazda also cast an eye over the ride-on mower. That also needs to go back to Montluçon for some warranty work. His initial opinion, without opening the engine (which would, of course, invalidate the warranty) is that the big end bearing shell has died.
On Friday, Rik needed us to move the Astra, so he could get his trailer out to buy more sand. The Astra refused to start (only the second time ever) – flat battery. We put the battery on charge, got it up to power, reinstalled it and the car started OK. Interestingly, or perhaps scarily, as soon as we reconnected the battery the alarm sounded.
Yesterday, Saturday, we were set to do some shopping. The Astra refused to start (only the third time ever) – flat battery. We put the battery on charge, got it up to power, reinstalled it and the car started OK. As soon as we reconnected the battery the alarm sounded.
Stopped the car, went inside to do a few things, thirty minutes later – the Astra refused to start (only the fourth time ever) – flat battery. You know the rest.
We also noticed a brand spanking new crack in the windscreen – right in the middle of the driver’s field of vision, running from the top of the screen to within a couple of centimetres of the bottom. No sign of any impact there, although there is what we think to be a new chip about 25 or 30cm inboard of it.
And it needs two new front tyres.
So far, although don’t uncross anything yet, the strimmer is OK, as are the electrical things.
So – no Astra, no Mazda, no ride-on mower, no rotavator. Let’s just hope the bicycles are still OK!
I guess you could call that mechanically challenged.
On a brighter note, Rik, Casper and Christian (Belgian, Dutch and French) pretty well finished the concrete work on the decking area. Here is what it looks like now.
The next jobs are to place a waterproof membrane on top of the concrete and place the support beams and final decking timber. Christian is expecting to come on Thursday to fabricate the trapdoor openings to give access to the septic tank covers. We should then have the decking.
Rik also needs to extend the steps down into the garden and around the corner so you land parallel with the building. The steps are 120cms wide at the top but, in order to allow anchoring to the building on the lower parts, they will end up 180cms wide. It will then ony remain for us to fabricate handrails to go around the decking and down the stairs.
So far, practically all of the work we have had done has been completed for the exact price estimated, except where we have requested minor changes to the original specification (like splitting off the dressing from the bathroom, requiring an additional wall and door and extra lighting) . We are, however, expecting a substantial cost overrun on the decking for two reasons:
- the foundations needed to be deeper and more extensive than was originally estimated, after tests showed the ground to be less stable than had been thought (it’s relatively new ground, having been backfilled after the tanks were installed) and
- the cost of exotic timber has shot up due to much increased global demand, notably from China.
Oh yes – the material to make fly screens for all the windows has arrived.
That’s it for now.
À la prochaine