We've been raking out the old mortar from the bathroom wall and rendering it with a lime mortar mix. The Lime or Chaux is a traditional material and was used a lot in the UK. It's mainly only used on historic renovations in England now but is still very popular for everything in France. Anyway the basic technique is to rake out the old mortar and clay, leaving the stone exposed to a depth of a few inches. Then the mortar is applied. I've been trying the French 'flick' method which involves flicking the mortar at the wall with a trowel. Sounds a bit mad but it really gets into the cracks and crevices more effectively then trowelling straight on to the surface. Also because the surface is so uneven trowelling directly on to it is heavy going. The mortar is then spread evenly over the surface and allowed to dry for a day or two. After that a wire brush is applied to the render in order to expose the stone. The lovely thing about chaux is all the stuff that ends up on the floor can be put back in the concrete mixer and reused. Good or what? We're about a third of the way through wire brushing.
Same thing in the kitchen. All the walls have been raked and are ready for the render. That'll be tomorrow. In the meantime we felt that the windows were a tad too high, making the kitchen a bit gloomy. We thought that the new window that we'd installed a few weeks ago (in pic 1) was a more appropriate height. To that effect we had to take about 20 centimetres off the level of the sills. That meant hammering through the new sand and cement stone work our mate had built as well as removing an original sand and cement sill from the other window. Not a barrel of laughs but now it's done. Ideally I would have liked to have continued the outside brick columns that stop at the original sill levels, but they were supported by huge stones which went deep into the wall so I didn't want to mess with them. So we've added brickwork where possible to match the exisiting column. It should look okay when we've finished, but that'll be next week.
The electric installation is going a pace but it's visually not the most exciting thing to see at the moment, just twice as much conduit and wires as last week. I'll get more pics of that when we start adding more stud work and wiring up. In the meantime here's some pics of the wildflower meadow just opposite our builder's merchants. It's stuff like that that reminds us why were here.