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  1. Any competition and choice on the Portsmouth to Caen/Le Havre crossing is to be encouraged. However the single daily sailing is very restricitve. Due to shift working we normally travel on the Tuesday afternoon sailing returning on Thursday morning 9 days later. This crossing at the end of November is £174 on BF but the nearest crossing on LD is overnight so less time in France and costs £283. If LD are looking for the regular traveller they need to introduce a discount scheme and further crossings. For the price difference I will put up with the happy little faces! and boring menus on BF. Regards Peter
  2. Suggest you make friends with your French neighbours, a couple of meals each visit and a few aperro sessions will see you inundated with the veg in season. Regards Peter 72'
  3. Try a lime render about 3:1, damp the wall first and it will stick like the proverbial to a blanket then plaster over that. Worked for me. For stains through plaster try "Stain Block" spray and then paint over it. Regards Peter
  4. Build up in the flue pipe is probably caused by the fire not having enough air to burn all the volatiles off. These come out of the top of the chimney as a thick smoke and form tarry deposits when they condense out on the relatively cool flue pipe or form soot at the warmer parts and if allowed to build up can eventually catch fire and cause a chimney fire. You can brush off these deposits which is what sweeping the chimney does. You can minimise the soot build up by firing correctly, use enough air to allow the fuel to combust fully and burn off the smoke, a decent wood burner should return the smoke to the fire to allow this, and set the stack (chimney) damper to control the ammount of draw on the fire and hence the output. Wet or resinous wood will make the problem worse. Villager recommend that you run the fire at a high setting often, ie daily, to burn off these deposits but I would not recommend this with a dirty flue as the soot, which is nearly pure carbon, will burn in the flue which is bad news. If your flue pipe suddenly starts to glow and you only have a small fire then it will probably be on fire this can usually be put out with a fine water spray up the flue from a stirrup pump to sufficate the fire, beware of scaulding. Regards Peter
  5. Thanks for the replies. However I should have given more detail of what I want. Lutece 3000 comes(came) in two versions, C or court and L or Long for the working times and I use it for skimming plasterboard. Lutece 2000 comes in the same two versions. The 2000 however is designed for thick coat ie 12 to 20mm while the 3000 was designed for thin ie 3mm coats. I have tried the 2000 and it is suitable only as a filler/base coat. It appears that the French system is to fill the joints and screwholes on plasterboard and paint over it, a far inferior finish to skimming. What are my options for a thin coat finish plaster. I normally buy from Resau Pro or Point P.   Regards Peter  
  6. No not that kind of dating. Does anyone know how to date our very old house in France? My voisan suggests that roof pitches can be used as a clue. Any ideas? Regards Peter
  7. Does anyone know why Lutece 3000 is no longer available? I have had a different tale from each Builders Merchant that I have visited ranging from "the product spec is being changed" to " the factory that makes it blew up" can anyone recommend a suitable alternative for board finish? Regards Peter
  8. Dave/Olive, I have got a nice new stirrup pump, brass and black plastic you are welcome to borrow it, I will even deliver if I can watch you painting the bedroom ceiling with it!! Regards Peter
  9. Reading all the discussions about hard and soft solders is making me loose the will to live. Surely the difference in the two when used on normal plumbing at up to 6 bar is academic and I do not follow the argument about frost resistance. If a pipe freezes the water expands and something has to give to relieve it. If this is not a joint then it will be the pipe. It is a lot easier to repair a sprung fitting than cut out a length of split pipe and replace it. With this in mind I was advised many years ago by a plumber to fit a compression joint somewhere in a susceptable run which will merely pull off the pipe and can be refitted. Altenatively fit section isolating valves and permanent drain valve (not cocks)run to the outside so that you can drain the system easily before leaving, works for me. The point about soldering wet pipes, either bung a piece of bread up them to stop the drip or better still use a compression fitting for the last connection to an existing wet system. As for resoldering already fitted joints, just open another bottle of wine and forget it. Regards PG
  10. We have a Villager wood burner with back boiler running our CH in France. It is a normal vented system with header tank and works really well. Since we do not live in France permanently we consider it a novelty having to load it with wood every few hours, cut the wood, store it until it dries etc, and it is a lot more interesting to watch than French TV. However when we return home to Wales it is also nice to have fully automatic gas CH. If you do go for wood take care to design the system to fail safe with sufficient heaters sited to absorb the heat output of the boiler if the electricity should fail and a cold water make up with ball valve. The thing to remember about heating systems installed in the type of houses generally bought for refurbishment is that they were installed by people with a great deal of inginuity but limited funds with little or no regard for any standards. Regards Peter
  11. 1M SDS drill - Screwfix. But if your walls are like ours then you only need to drill the first 100mm or so and then pick the rest out with a bit of re-bar. How about extending the 3/4 bsp tapping on the bottom of the CE upwards with suitable pipe and then mounting the GdS at the end of the pipe, the cold feed connected to this extension. Since the GdS will be directly connected to the CE without any valves between it will act in the same way as if it were screwed directly to the CE tapping and dump excess pressure, very little water is normally involved. You can then run the overflow outunder the eaves into the rainwater gutter. Regards Peter
  12. Has anyone done anything with a home made solar heating system? Suggestions for collectors - copper pipe, what diameter?, black plastic pipe, old radiators etc., what sort of pum - body material, speed control, temperature control etc. I am not really interested in ready made systems but more in experementing. Peter
  13. John, If the wood is dry and decent quality, we use oak or chestnut, then there is plenty of heat available, wet wood will use up to 80% of the clorific value just to boil off the water before it starts to heat your toes. The one thing I have found invaluable for use with a wood fired CH system is a wife who enjoys stoking the fire, on a really cold day she will get through about a barrowfull in 24 hours, but we have to wear very little cothes since it gets so hot. A comment about the system that has an open pipe at the top, as someone said the pump is really a circulator and to be able to pump water out of the top of the pipe it will need to find water from somewhere, the harder it pumps the harder it sucks and so runs balanced. You could upset this by fitting a head tank in the wrong place and giving it extra water to pump out as you would on a badly designed UK system, this is called 'priming'. I hope anyone fitting a sealed system and using wood (or coal) fits a safety valve somewhere, an exploding boiler is not a pretty sight. At least with a vented system if the pump fails (rcd trips in a storm!)the head tank makeup will keep some water in the boiler and stop it destroying itself, provided the pipework had been designed correctly. Keep up the good tips. Regards Peter
  14. The AB SLC500 was meant as a joke (I have a couple of second hand ones waiting for a suitable project to turn up, sledge hammer maybe but cheap!!) but how about the Vellman 6501 kit for 60 eur from http://www.selectronic.fr/recherche_abecedaire.asp?recherche_lettre=V&page=2. p.s. how do you insert hyperlinks into these replies. Peter
  15. VJ Have you seen the latest little remote control gaget in the RS cat 505-6610, sends an SMS when a contact makes and you can reply by text to get it to operate two relays. Nice but not cheap. Now for the auto wood burner, something based on an Allen Braddley slc500 should do the trick, lighting should be simple enough with a small propane burner and a spark generator, air operated rams for the stack dampers, doors and air controls. Wood could be fed in either from an inclined ramp at the front or from a hopper with a chain conveyor. I assume that you would be able to empty the ash manually since ours only need emptying about once a week even when used flat out. It should also be simple enough to set up a webcam so that you can enjoy fire-gazing while sitting in the ferry. Now getting the wife to accept the gagetry in the lounge - that's the challenge, probably best to use our system called Nicole! Regards Peter
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