Lac d’Arvouin

A great day was spent in the mountains with warm sun melting the ice and snow that was otherwise hiding in the shade. The road takes you up under the Telecabin at Chapelle to the start of a 30min flat walk to the lake.

Don’t forget to click the photos to see the full versions.

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On the edge

I returned just for a couple of nights following a meeting in Geneva. Mike Briggs and I spent the morning working on the verge. We stripped the rough cut tiles and then fixed them all with screws. We then marked out a straight line and cut the tiles to create a clean edge over the pan flashing. We then finished off by screwing the copper caps that protect the barge boards. All done. It now looks nice and tidy.

We then set off to Bernex to walk up to Dent d’Orche and had quite an afternoon ….

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at last

With a realistic chance of finishing the tiling, I started work at around 9am. In the cool of the morning I tiled a bit before setting about finishing the battens. I needed to sort out exactly what was to happen at the top of the rake and at the verge. So, I battened to the edge and ran tiles out and set up a model with a bit of the barge board. It all looked fine, a bit of adjustment and the tiles would fall exactly to the edge. I did need to run the skill saw along the edge of the T&G to make sure it was straight. 8 meters up from the ground is not a great place to work a power saw left handed.

The battens were completed, and after lunch I continued tiling. Some cutting and messing around was necessary, but progress was apparent. I needed Monika’s help to pass tiles out of the Velux. I need some 20+ packs; it’s amazing how little cover you get from a big pile of tiles.

As the sun went behind the hill I fitted the last few tiles. Just 100 small jobs before leaving. Fitting some copper caps, plastic sheeting battened over the gap upstairs, rubbish to tidy, nail on temporary tin ridge, put power tools away, etc. etc.

We left Bonnevaux at 10pm. That’s twice we’ve done that after 12 hrs on the roof. We drove until around 2am before we searched out a cheap motel. We discovered that a central part of France is totally empty, not a street light or village for miles. We were forced to continue. By 4am we stopped in Challon and found a Premiere Inn for 38 Euros. Just a bit up market from Formula 1.

Next morning we completed the drive to the Chunnel, then the long, long, long M25/M3/A303 home.

All done.

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Sting in the tail

I came down off the roof in the cool evening at around 7:30pm. It was a disappointment that I couldn’t finish today, but it was too big a task. The disappointment was matched by pain as I filled a glass with juice and put it to my lips without noticing the wasp. It’s cheaper that collagen treatment and probably no more painful. I’m sure the swelling will go down soon, but I’m not planning on having the lower lip done to match; The wasp paid the price …

Today was Velux day. It was a clear morning, blue skies all around. I unpacked the window and worked through the instructions. Very clear. Not a written word, just pictures, yet still understandable. On the roof, I set out the battens, checked and recheck the measurements. As the wind freshened, I fetched the jigsaw ready to do the deed. At that moment the first spots of rain hit the hot tiles and evaporated. It’s true, you can control the weather with Sod’s law.

I decided that I should paint on the bitumen primer for the flashband before cutting the hole. Putting down the jigsaw, the rain stopped and I duly painted everything. The skies cleared and the hot sun returned. I cut the hole and fitted the Velux frame. I spent the next hour or two carefully cutting flashband and moulding it around the battens and window frame as per the instructions. It was tricky as the heat melted the flashband which stuck to everything, including me, and refused to come off. In the end I was happy that it cannot leak. No water should get to the flash band anyway as the Velux flashing kit should carry it all away. The flash band is just a seal and is watertight for good measure.

After lunch I continued tiling and added the missing battens at the top of the roof. I filled the final gap in the Homertherm on the ridge and added the last strips of T&G. By the end I was exhausted and could only tile out a few rows. Looks like tomorrow before we can leave. Monika and the boys are disappointed.

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Dormer Done

Another hot, hot day. The temperature on the ground is over 30. I don’t know what it is on the roof, but I can’t touch the tiles for too long. I can manage about 40 minute in a session, then I need a break. It is preferable to the rain.

I made good progress today. I start tiling up toward the finished part of the roof. I was shocked to discover that when I reached the existing tiles the bond was wrong. I needed to be half a tile over? I was sure I had checked everything when starting tiling at the bottom. The feeling of doubt in being able to get anything right was compounded by the horror of the whole roof being wrong. How could I have got this so wrong? I contemplated cutting half tiles, but a prototype soon proved this hopeless. Monika came out and I tried to explain. As usual, explaining the problem to someone else help. It wasn’t my fault! I had kept my vertical lines of tiles straight. The “pros” who tiles the other side had not. Looking down the roof I could see the lines wander over to the left by at least half a tile.

After some swearing, and some thought, I stripped two lines of my tiles and shifted over by 15mm on each row. Over the next three rows, up to the existing tiles, I made up the remaining millimetres. Phew…. It all looks fine. The shifting lines don’t catch the eye. You need to know to find the horizontal shift in the bond.

With the problem solved, I turned to the dormer. I fixed up the gutters and started the tiling in the full heat. It was clear I needed more tiles, so I started moving packs up. By mid afternoon, the dormer was finished. At last.

I need to sort out the Velux in the morning.

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So Slow

Missed the blog yesterday. Somehow it seems that nothing much happened, although I spent the whole of yesterday on the roof. In fact a lot has been completed. I soldered the cap on the valleys. A bit of a bodge up but it will work. Some slight concern over how the solder joints might hold over the full temperature range (that would be between -20 ad +40 ! ). Time will tell.

I spent the day tiling my way up the roof, cutting tiles at each end for the valley and the rake. I’m using Buster’s technique; Roughly cut to fit, then flick a chalk string line and make a final clean cut in situ.

It was difficult to make progress in the heat. It felt like India. The black tiles soak up the heat and bathe your roofer in a warm air layer as the sun beats down from above. I had to work in shifts separated by a long drink and a change of shirt. It would be easier to work in the evening, but for the load noise of the tile cutter.

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The dormer sarking board and the T&G were completed. It rained last night, so we needed sheeting on the floor. Now it’s sealed again, the clouds have departed. I also put the copper valley in place, last thing. A few battens in the morning and it plain sailing (until the first problem).

Whilst on the dormer last night. I stood on one of the vent tiles and brook it. That 25 Euros wasted. I felt bad, but only until I went up to the the big house by the church which is being renovated. I noticed they’d broken one of their new double glazed unit! Music, Music, Music …. (Peter will understand).

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Up on the roof …

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Copper & Jam

I spent the day working under the dormer eve. I cut the tiles to fit up tight to the wall. I panelled the little triangle wall formed by the dormer and the main roof. I made lead soakers and folded them around the tiles.

The main job, which took too much time, was to make the copper tray which brings the water up from the valley on to the roof’s surface. I still don’t have a clear way to fashion this tray, but followed the pattern from the other side. It’s not great to look at, but of course can’t be seen.

Monika made jars of plum jam.

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BBQ Summer

Alone today, after a lie in until 9, I started on the things that are stopping me from tiling; Gutters. I watched the locals who were out in force today, digging up their potatoes. I completed a few jobs on the dormer then set to work with gutter clips and the spirit level. It took a bit of getting right, but with a string set I was able to screw the clips along the fascia board and then set to work soldering two lengths of copper together. Meanwhile Monika cut the grass with help from the boys.

The other concern was the pan flashing. Would a heavy rain fall cause so much water to run down the flashing, as to splash out over the gutter? I fashioned a bob-sled run style corner at the bottom and soldered it up. A washing up bowl of water was used to test it, and after a bit of fine tuning it worked a treat. I’ll  be out in the rain, up a ladder, at some point to see it in action.

With all the bits and pieces complete, the big moment came. I repositioned the last batten to get the tile over the gutter, then was able to start tiling!

Another beautiful day. The plums have been turning red and are falling, so Monika hopes to make some jam. Sai Lo has been trying out his cooking skills also.

Onwards, and upwards tomorrow.

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