Saturday, 31 October 2015

Apple Pressing

Sadly our apples weren’t good this year. Trees that haven’t been pruned in years plus a dry summer didn’t help, but it didn’t stop us enjoying a day pressing apples with our neighbours, Solonge and Patou. We drove to L'association Doré de Gâtine in Secondigny where we meet other members of their family. The company has been in business for over 30 years and helps over 600 families a year press apples from their gardens. After popping on wellies and an apron, around 1000 kilos of apples went into production with everyone helping out. They were sorted, washed, sent through a chopper, loaded into the press and bottles were lined up for filling and capping. 500 litres of cloudy apple juice came out the other end, all sterilized with not an additive in sight. Delicious.

 Apple Pressing 1

Onto the conveyor belt, where any bad ones are discarded.

Apple Pressing 6

Having a good wash.

Apple Pressing 4

After chopping, the apples are loaded into the pressing trays.

Apple Pressing 8

Being squeezed.

 Apple Pressing 11

Bottles being washed and sterilized.

Apple Pressing 10

Being filled and capped.

Apple Pressing 5

Tidying up afterwards.

Apple Pressing 9

The waste apple is used for compost and animal feed.

Apple Pressing 7

Sparkling apple juice.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Problems with our Water Works

Just as we were going to start back on the kitchen, a letter popped into the box from the water board saying we had high water consumption. That got us thinking, are we using too much? There’s no pool, we water the garden from the well and we have water butts. OK, we’ve had visitors over the year which uses extra water but not much, we’ve used extra water for some building work plus the normal washing loads and a dishwasher. But nothing major that would warrant a letter. Our last bill was estimated, so we have no idea when the problem started. So we switched everything off in the house, checked the meter and it was still turning, ahhhh, we have a problem. Next, we switched off the main stopcock near the meter and it stopped. Our deduction was a leak somewhere between the house and the meter, but where in a 40 meter pipe. So Roger started digging to check the 2 outside taps, nothing leaked. Next we capped off the water tap nearest the house to isolate the house, the meter was still going round. Sounds odd, but that was a relief because if it was a leak in the house it could have meant digging up floors, which we didn’t fancy at all. The next tap was capped and the meter stopped, so our leak was under the drive. Now the repair. Because the water pipe runs alongside the electric cable, about a meter down, we’ve decided not to repair it, but dig a new trench and install a new pipe. Temporarily, Roger is going to install the new pipe and leave it above ground until our man with a digger arrives to dig the new trench.

 Water Leak 5

Outside tap No 1 showing electric cable alongside.

Water Leak 2

Digging to reveal outside tap No 2.

Water Leak 6

Outside tap No 2 revealed.

Water Leak 4

Showing the distance between the holes, approx 40 meters. The leak is under there somewhere.

 Water Leak 3

We tried to dig up the drive. Fruitless as 1 meter down and full of rocks. Digger required.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Lunch at Le Réjallant

We have Rogers parents visiting us for a week and they treated us to a lovely lunch at Le Réjallant. Situated on the Charente river near Condac, the restaurant mixes the old and the new. There is a lovely terrace right next to the old water mill where you can eat and watch the world go by, but it was a bit chilly for us to sit outside that day. There are various priced menus to choose from and we chose a menu with 3 courses, which was delicious. The courses included beetroot soup and mini pork meatballs for starters, veal liver kebabs and ray for mains plus Mirabelle panna cotta and mango clafoutis for puds. All very yummy and very filling. Very close to the restaurant is a kayaking centre plus loads of picnic areas, so it would make a great day out on a summers day.

 Rejallant 1
Rejallant 7
Rejallant 4
Rejallant 6
Rejallant 8
Rejallant 3

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Love this Gadget

OK it’s not new, but its new to me. It hasn’t got the latest micro chips or a super fast engine but it’s inventor needs a medal. I’d seen them on Amazon and in the shops, but had been sceptical about how good they actually were, but after seeing one in action, and with buckets of apples to deal with, I knew I had to buy one. You just pop your apple on the spike and turn, with it peeling, coring  and slicing as it goes. No more sore thumbs for me, the apples are done in flash, bagged and popped into the freezer. Brilliant.

Apple 1
Apple 2
Apple 3

Thursday, 8 October 2015

1 Step forward and what felt like a Zillion Steps Back

I was so excited on Tuesday, the fitter came to fit the worktops, yippee. Everything went well during the day, lots of measuring and cutting in, but time was pressing and at 7.30pm he finished for the day. No problem, he would be back in the morning to finish off. So we went back to the kitchen to have a quick tidy as the dust was everywhere and it was only then, when Roger was wiping over the worktops, that he discovered a small crack. Then on closer inspection we discovered crack No 2 on another piece of worktop. As you can imagine the air was blue, I had to retreat to the lounge as I was so upset. We never once thought it was the fitters fault, worktops don’t break easily and on measuring where the cracks were, they were the same distance in on both pieces, so we think they were damaged in the warehouse. When we bought them we didn't check them, which was a big mistake and because they were so nicely wrapped, we didn’t expect anything to be wrong. So another trip to Niort to buy 2 new worktops which were examined under a microscope, but now we have to wait until the fitter can visit us again.

In the meantime we still have loads to do, gardening, painting doors and frames and making a hearth for the wood burner. Our hall is quite dark so we decided to paint the doors to brighten things up, plus they were in a bit of a mess after the sandblasting.

Worktops 1

Worktop fitting.

Worktops 2

Worktop fitting.

  Door 2

Doors after the hinge straps had been removed.

Door 1

Undercoat going on.

Hearth

Plinth tiles drying, just needs the upstand fitting and grouting done.