New Bigger TV Screens

This year has been the year of TV upgrades at all our holiday properties.

First, Sandboys Dune got a new 24″ flat screen TV and an aerial to pick up French digital HD transmissions – so now you can choose whether you want to watch British satellite channels or the whole range of French TV channels!

New smart TV

The new 49″ smart TV in The Pines is connected to the internet!

Next, The Pines was re-equipped with a bigger and better, whopping 49″ smart TV.  Not only will this TV receive French digital channels and UK channels by Sky satellite, but you can also browse the internet, watch YouTube, and do loads of other clever stuff that we haven’t even got round to trying yet.  The Master Bedroom in The Pines also got a new TV with a slightly larger screen than the old one.

Finally, as promised earlier this year, The West Wing got its own new 32″ flat screen TV, which we’ve already found to be clearer, brighter, and with better sound than its predecessor.

All our holiday properties are provided with DVD players, too, of course, in case you want to bring your own favourite films, concerts, or TV programmes.

 

 

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Decor and equipment upgrades

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The West Wing apartment’s private garden. Ideal for lunch al fresco.

Spring is the time of year when our gites get their most detailed and critical inspection of the year, and an assessment of what needs to be done to maintain them to the high standards our clients demand.

This year Sandboys Dune and The West Wing have come under scrutiny.  We decided Dune needed a general freshening up, so we repainted throughout.  We also fitted a new TV with a larger screen, capable of receiving French digital HD channels as well as all the UK free-to-air satellite broadcasts.  This wasn’t quite as simple as just plugging in the new set, though, since changes to the French terrestrial broadcasting system meant we had to install a new, more sensitive aerial.  Lots of climbing up and down ladders!

The West Wing apartment has also undergone a decor facelift, particularly in the bathroom, kitchen and entrance hall.  We were always unhappy about the poor WiFi reception reported by some of our guests – many of them had difficulty logging on, and most had to sit by the lounge window to pick up a signal – so this winter we have vastly improved the situation with a more powerful WiFi repeater installed closer to the apartment.  This has made it possible to connect with most tablets and smartphones from any part of the living room and now even the bedroom.

We spent a few days and nights living in The West Wing apartment ourselves so as to be totally aware of any problems that might affect our guests’ comfort.  As a result a new, better kettle has been installed, and we plan a TV upgrade before the summer.  We can certainly endorse the good reports we received from guests about the fabulously comfortable new mattress in the West Wing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spiffing News! – More Comfort At Sandboys Dune

new sofaGood news!  In response to suggestions that the futon sofa at Dune wasn’t comfortable enough for a long stay, we changed it over today for a very comfortably sprung and softly upholstered 2 seater sofa.

We think it has a rather spiffing hot climate look to it.  Must be those elephants.  It definitely is very much more comfortable, though.

In the photo, you can also see one of the two relaxing, leather covered Ikea armchairs, so all the family can now lounge comfortably!

Any bad news?  Of course not!!  Things only get better at Dune!

 

 

 

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Gite maintenance ~ keeping ahead of wear and tear

gite picnic table repair and maintenance

At the end of every holiday season we plan our out-of-season gite maintenance work. Usually it’s a combination of minor replacements (of small electrical equipment, furniture, etc) and buildings maintenance (redecoration, interior or exterior painting, flooring, replacement of fittings and major equipment) and it gets done sometime between Christmas and Easter.

But, in reality, keeping up with the general wear-and-tear maintenance is an ongoing job – it never stops. We had already planned to replace the picnic table on the patio at Sandboys Dune before the start of next year’s letting season, and then, suddenly, the job became more urgent. The old timbers in its benches and table-top began to sag. The rot had finally weakened the most exposed wooden parts beyond repair, and it was no longer capable of seating a family for an outdoor meal.

Initially I thought of simply buying a new picnic table. This one was 8 years old, after all. When I found out how much that was going to cost I began to consider more economical (and ecological) alternatives.

gite picnic table repair and maintenance

The newly-restored picnic table, back on the patio at Sandboys Dune

On close inspection it was clear that the base of the table was relatively sound and that it was only the table-top and benches that needed replacement, so I went out and bought 15 euros worth of pine planks. These needed cutting down from 3 metres to 1.5 metres – done in a jiffy with my hand-held Bosch circular saw. Then these pieces needed cutting down from 22cm wide to 10cm – easy again with the same tool. Some 5 cm wide pieces were needed too – piece of cake! (anyone from Bosch want to sponsor this blog?).

Having cut all the right pieces and stained and varnished them ready to be installed, I took a look at the base section. It was in pretty good shape, but there were some design flaws which gave it a tendancy to wobbliness. With some deft cutting and shaping (Newstar electric mitre saw, Stanley Surform, Ryobi Orbital sander – blog sponsorship still available!) I installed some bracing that completely eliminated the original instability. More stain and varnish – job done!

One week later, the totally refurbished, sleek and glossy picnic table is back at Dune, ready for another 8 or 10 years.

By then I reckon it will only have cost our gite budget 2 euros a year in capital and maintenance costs – and even then it might only need a couple of cheap pine planks to last 8 more years.

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