New to finisterre (and to log burners!)

This is our first post on the forum since we bought our lovely little 200 year old cottage near Huelgoat where we hope to spend 49.999% of our time! Moving in was easy as we also bought all the furniture and most of the other contents from the previous owner. As the décor was very much to our liking, it was just a question of unpacking our clothes, making the bed and opening a bottle or two!

We took possession on 30th June and have so far spent about 8 weeks in situ as we have commitments back in the UK, so our proposed 49.999% will probably be missed in our first year. I have some work commitments back here in Dorset and Julie (our very much better half) is Chairman of the Purbeck U3A (University of the Third Age) which is very demanding of her time.

We could do with a little advice from members local to our area as we wish to change our volets which were designed by the previous owners of the cottage and are heavy and not user friendly. Has anyone experience of having volets persiennes fitted and can recommend suppliers and or fitters?

Also, we need to buy more logs for our wood burner (we are novices in using this device) so could anyone recommend suppliers who will deliver? Would a trailer be advisable so that we collect?

As a final paragraph to this post, as England has been knocked out of the Rugby World Cup, do you reckon we should be supporting France?


Bob (and Julie)

I don't, John. Too old, too decrepit and although I could do with losing a bit of weight, I'd rather not do it by chopping bits off myself!

My wife has heard too many stories of accidents with chainsaws and in my very senior years, she won't let me. We will buy our logs cut to size to suit our Godin. Pity you don't live a little closer as we could do with some help from strong young neighbors!

If you do intend using a chainsaw yourself it’s well worthwhile getting somebody to show you how to sharpen the chain. 10 minutes maintenance every now and again certainly cuts down on cutting time.

Have you much experience with a chainsaw, cos they can be tricky little beggars, when the blade is new and sharp they pretty much go where you want them to apart from when you hit a knot but the minute they start to lose their edge it becomes very difficult and extremely tiring. My other half used to cut all the wood alone after I had to stop using one and he'd be out there for hours. Now I pay the chap that delivers it to cut it and he has a 1 metre blade. He can cut 5 stere in an hour, I was gobsmacked and my OH is in awe of his machine and he only charged 15 euros plus the cost of the wood which we get for 47 euros a stere and it's a good mix. All that was left was to stack it and that is hard work,since the kids moved back to the UK he has to do it himself until I saw my neighbours kids and realised they'd got quite big and were playing rugby I gave them 20 euros and told them it would help with strengthening their muscles and they picked it all up, stacked it what used to take days was done and dusted in an afternoon. Sometimes shelling out a little extra can make life so much easier :)

It was interesting, wasn’t it, though it did get a bit overheated and I’m pleased that duelling as practised in previous centuries is no longer permitted in France!

We have a Godin, too, but not certain of its size compared to others. Our ground floor is open plan with thick walls and we hope that the heat generated will rise into the upper floor and warm the two bedrooms and bathroom. If not, we have electric radiators in all rooms. If that’s not enough, its going to be thick sweaters and long coms! We hope that the temperature in Brittany will not drop to the extremes as experienced in the southern and eastern regions of France. As for the sizes of logs we need, (we have a chain saw that was left by the previous owners but I have been warned against using it!), a local timber supplier is coming over to the cottage to see what size we need.

Our insurance company is aware that the house may be empty for more than thirty days at a time and the policy cover is for a second home which allows this.

Our volets are fine apart from the difficulty of opening and closing them as they are so big and heavy. The previous owner was security conscious and overdid the thickness of the timber and the number of bolts fitted. They look good though! This is only important at the commencement of our stays in France and securing them when we return to England as we are not likely to be away overnight whilst there. We would like the narrow metal bi or threefold ones that fit inside the window recess of the thick walls. We shall visit one or two suppliers in the area when we are over shortly.

Thanks for your advice, Jan and for "bumping" this discussion. I was thinking about ending it as I was sure that everyone was getting bored with the content!

Keep well and warm


Hello Bob,

That was an interesting discussion, back to the subject of wood burners I have 2 on on the ground floor. My Godin is probably one of my best buys here in France, I get through approx. 15 steres of wood going up to 20 stere during a very hard winter. When the wood is delivered usually in 5 stere loads it is stacked and then my other half gets to work with the chainsaw and cuts them into three. These logs are then stacked up in the shed he's built at the end of the house which will hold about 10 steres so it's easier for me to get the wood I need on a daily basis. Remember when using your stove 40mm might be recommended for length but always allow for the base of your fire which should be at least 50 to 75mm deep of very hot embers to keep continuous heat going. There's nothing worse than chucking in a log that's just a little too large so you can't shut the lid so you have to pull it out by which time it's probably alight and you are choking on the smoke. As for volet's we have the original bi fold wooden ones thatlock into the windows and they really do help hold in the heat. Just one more thing check with you house insurance that you are covered if you are away more than Thirty days, french insurance companies do love their small print clauses. Best wishes for the future.

Agreed. If your mobile phone won't pick up a signal then mobile wi-fi won't. Mine works best in the bathroom.........

I used to use my German mobile while on holiday in France. It always picked up the same network in and around my house so when I got a French mobile I used that provider.

Before you commit to any mobile network internet service - do make sure you have the network coverage in your location. I know it seems obvious but you’d be surprised…

Two possible solutions for your internet problem:

1. An English Three dongle (mobile wi-fi) - works in France, for free. Mine has a 5 GB per month allowance. Approx £8-£13 a month depending on contract. You can, of course, use it in England when away from home, and more than one device can be connected at once.

2. SIM from SFR for a tablet or phone. 9.90 euros for the SIM. 10 euros for 2Gb which lasts 7 days, and other packages

Both these options are cheaper for me than home broadband in France. I still have my Orange home broadband set up in France, but suspended. It was 23 euros a month. You can turn it on and off like your phone line, but they need 15 days notice to reconnect and it's for a month minimum. (You can turn your phone line on and off too, but that only takes 2 hours, and there isn't a minimum period, though I think there is a maximum number of times you can do it each year).

Hope this helps.

We are a little nearer the you think that will make a difference Helen ?!!!!!

Oh dear. That's what some people down here in the Limousin have been saying too, I think partly based on when the grues decided to congregate and head south. Hopefully they're simply repeating the annually regurgitated Express headline.

sorry to say the locals here in Normandy (so not too far) are forcasting a long cold snowy winter Bob. As others have said it's amazing how much wood you'll get through. I now zlways order in to have min 1 stere more than we think we'll use, just in case.

Simon - please stop 'stirring' - adding a smiley face after your comments doesn't buy you a "get out of jail free" card :)

I know Dolores…so that’s a ‘Yes’ then…:slight_smile:

You're not paying much attention Simon!.........I did actually reply to Bobs post earlier, regarding the logs!........

That's lovely Dolores but can you help with info or advice on shutters and logs - or did you just want to join the witch hunt? :-)

Well said John..........I'm so pleased to read your comment..........I echo your words.

Simon and I have now made peace! All is calm on our little part of SFN!