Goodbye Europe


How time flies…

Back in Paris, at La Sancerre, my ‘usual’ spot in Montmartre.

I have wrapped up six lovely weeks in Normandy and I leave with reluctance. Only the morning frost, and therefore the coming of winter tell me it’s time to go.

The time in Putange was well spent. I spent four weeks at the top of the property, working on the cattery.

This entailed converting a 3 room concrete building into something warm and comfortable. Jeremy was a huge help, spenting days and days drilling into concrete and affixing wooden beams with bolts. Then I followed as the sheetrock installer, cutting, fitting and screwing in, after installing the insulation. To date, I have failed to mention that when I say the top of the property, this entails hefting each and every beam, plank of plywood and piece of sheetrock from the main house, up a woodsy trail probably 4 stories above the main house. It was sure nice have a lot of helpers around the the sheetrock lifting party. (27 sheets in all).argentan-14-6.jpg<argentan-5-8.jpg

As this is a prefab building, it wasn’t really designed to be walled up and I don’t think there is a truly flat sheet or 90 degree corner in the whole place. After that, including the ultra-fun ceiling, held up in part with plastic ties, the other helpers were gone. I built a sub-floor and insulated the floors and then installed plywood and drainage. Cemented in some blocks to hold up counter top we bought.
Cut openings in the metal doors to take the cat doors and painted them. Installed a couple pieces of new glass. Painted the outside with this thick, textured paint.
So now it is pretty well ready for our hosts to tile the floors and walls.


Repainted a sign.


I spent my last week building a bridge. It was made out of 4×4 oak beams and some plastic treads. A simple project, i took some planning to make it level in all directions, solid, float above the cat tunnel and hook up nicely with the metal steps they had bought. Poured a concrete slab to level out the steps. In the end, everyone involved was quite pleased with the results.

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My hosts were fantastic: a loving family, gracious to their helpers and now good friends. I was well fed. Too well, sadly but c’est la vie. We ate out of the garden and the helpers each cook once a week, so there were chances to taste other styles. Got to meet their daughter and was charmed by the granddaughter. I have an invitation to come visit them in Zurich when I am next in the area.


The last three weeks were pretty quiet after the other helpers left, but it gave me some quiet time and opportunity to work on some writing jobs I picked up.

I got to see Mont St. Michel, St. Malo and the Bayeux Tapestry, all within an easy drive of the house.

When I got here, it was summer for sure. As I leave it’s quite cold and winter is approaching.

Well, i didn’t subscribe to this new lifestyle to shovel snow, so it is off to SouthEast Asia in 2 days. I will headquarter in Bangkok for a couple of months while I volunteer around the area. It should be nice and warm! I have 2 weeks set up at a resort/spa on the Thai coast 2 hours out of Bangkok. After that, I don’t know. Might tourist a bit. There are far fewer hosts in that end of the world, so we will see what I can drum up. Might meet a friend in Shanghai in January and another in Vietnam later that month. After that, I might head down to New Zealand whilst it is their summer.

But first, France is in the midst of turmoil. There are widespread and sporadic strikes throughout the country. I managed to make it to Paris on the train today. A nation-wide strike is rumored for Thursday, the day I fly, so we will see how things go. Fingers crossed.

Expect more reports from Thailand as it is a new country on the list for me!

‘Till next time.

1 comment

  1. Great pictures Don. Your trip sounds amazing.