Crane arrival

Hi all, this is my 1st publication so here goes. We haven’t posted anything lately but Wednesday the crane arrived on site.  It’s huge but won’t be operational until 3- phase electricity is installed. Fingers crossed this won’t take too long. I spent a ‘happy’ afternoon yesterday discussing our requirement with the electricity supplier. No mean feat I should mention!! This week should see our (unwanted) cave closed off,  thus enabling the ground to be levelled in the vicinity.  Then it will be all systems go!!

So here are the latest photos.



2022. The Last Post!

Hi Everyone.
Well this is the last post of 2022, with not much to report except that just before Christmas the walls started going up, which is real progress. A couple of photos attached.
The builders are closed this week between Christmas & New Year, but will be cracking on next week.
Bank holidays here (or jours fériés in French) are quite different. They are predetermined by date & are taken on the day they fall. And so this year they fall on Sunday & that’s it. When we first came here Christmas wasn’t celebrated in the same way. It was very low key, with New Year more prominent, but with the dreaded globalisation/Americanisation of the world & the power of supermarkets, it’s now the same here as everywhere else. A few years ago Christmas Eve & Boxing Day were ordinary working days & the builders would have been working this week.
There are some upsides though because if the jour férié falls on a Monday or Friday then it’s a long weekend & if it falls on a Tuesday or Thursday then lots of people “faire le pont” or bridge the gap to make it a really long weekend.
Anyway, hope that you enjoyed your Christmas & we wish you a very happy & very peaceful New Year.
See you in 2023.

And then the fun really started!

For the foundations the architects & builder wanted solid rock & so the JCB/pile driver started. They went to different depths & had about finished when Louise & I turned up on site for our regular visits to find the digger driver somewhat unnerved!
Although we’d had a site survey done before we bought the site & the architects engineers had done a thorough survey again whilst planning the founds, the pile driver had suddenly disappeared into a large fault in the rock which turned out to be the entrance to a natural underground cave.
Vaour is well known for its caves – there are some from the post office next to our old house which went into the park next door & also up to the Commanderie on top of the hill. There’s one from the back of the church which goes down under the gendarmerie etc. But this one was completely unknown to the spéléologues/cavers around here.
Luckily we know a local caver & he turned up over that weekend with a plan of the other caves + a team from Albi & down they went. They mapped it out, measured it & tried to connect up with other caves. There’s fresh air but all the tunnels have been blocked over the years with debris, but they’re sure that they could get through in time. Talk about being excited! Them rather than us!!!!
The whole village has been to admire, laugh & commiserate with us!
It drops about 10 m & then branches out under the house but deep enough not to be a problem. The real problem is what to do with it–no more suggestions thanks, we’ve heard them all.
It’s at the very extreme corner of the garage & the garage is fundamental to the access & flow of the house. It can’t be moved.
We’re getting close to a solution but it’s Christmas & New Year now & the builders & architects are taking this week in between as holiday.
It looks as though we will sink a circular concrete drainage pipe down into the entrance, fill in around it & then cap it so that it can be accessed if necessary. The problem is stabilising this without impacting on the build. The other problem is additional cost, but we have no choice.
We’ve attached some photos of the entrance, some from inside (we really love the formation which looks like ray fins) & some plans. Millions of years evolution here!!!
The cavers are still busy at it before we start the work.

Early Works.

Once we knew that the house sale was completed (Jan 2022) we had the site cleared of it’s completely overgrown hedges etc & gained lots of square metres.
Then in autumn we had a small wall built to close off the corner as you arrive at the site. It’s a very busy little corner during the school terms!
Then the site hut was delivered & the site “secured”.
After that the heavy machinery arrived & the fun started! We had visited all of the neighbours to warn them that we were starting the building & that access beyond us might at times be difficult. It’s a very narrow road going nowhere but to a few houses & the forest. Obviously we already know them & they were fine.
However, we’ve had an incredibly long & hot summer & autumn, with no storms & no rain & of course it started pouring down for days on end. Suddenly the site looked like a scene from the films Warhorse or 1917. The road was a complete mess, & will be for a while more yet, but it’s drier again now.


Hi Everyone.
What at the time we felt was a great play on words for our trip to India (Indoulou) isn’t really appropriate for a new house building blog. And so the title VADOULOU, courtesy of Theo, was born.
The project started some years ago, involving buying some land, which here in Vaour was a real challenge in itself, selling our house, our architect pal Brian designing a new single storey house just before his family significantly expanded, which meant we had to hand over to different architects just as Covid & the war in Ukraine pushed prices through the roof.
Thankfully it’s coincided with me recovered from my heart issues & having a new hip.
Time to start a real adventure. Starting with a view of the site, just behind the school,the village lavoir & close to the church.