Tag Archives: france

First Renters @ Supergites

Le début des locataires .. finally .. Judgement day was there. The first renters have finished the first holiday in the very first Supergites. Now we’re left with so many questions. What did they do? How do they think about the mill? Where did they go shopping? Did they sleep well?

I’ve send the registered renter a small questionnaire to gather some information. He replied the same day with some minor comments we agree upon immediately. They LOVED the mill and made some great work. OMG .. we cannot explain how relieved we are. To thank us they’ve send us some small sketches of the mill and Tourteron 🙂

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No TV?

Television icons
Image via Wikipedia

In the final week of working hard to get things right (or just done), at a certain point you just have to make decisions. Nasty ones. You have to choose between the must-have and nice-to-have. And that’s not an easy job. One says he really thinks curtains are essential, the other claims to die without TV. Do we really need that door between the two basements? or do we put our energy in finding the right furniture? It’s constantly putting pressure on the working relationship because you’re just so tired you really don’t care what the other says or even about the arguments. All space evaporated. But what to do … you have to go on. Continue reading

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A first Super night in our own Gîte

After 11 months of hard work, miles of traveling to and from France, laboring the garden and sanding the wood it was finally the moment that the beds arrived. We worked double shifts in the last weeks to get everything ready to install the beds immediately at their final place. The beds are huge and heavy, 100% natural material and fairtrade produced .. besides that they are gorgeous looking …

We had to wait all this time not because of the production but because of our own delay. The whole renovation took more time than estimated due to several reasons. You can read about them in the blog.

But this was THE day .. the day followed by the first night in our own Supergite, sleeping in our brand new beds.  Continue reading

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‘Zimmer Frei’

“Zimmer Frei?”…not anymore! We’ve just reached our first milestone with the Water Mill of Tourteron: Both summer months, July and August, are almost fully booked! There’s only one week left available in July. We’re super happy to see the first reservations coming in so quickly. All people who’ll fill the mill with joy and happiness. We so much looking forward to hear their stories and that they’ll really feel at home.

If you’re still doubting .. make a choice @supergites: it’s now or 2011 🙂

Time to Relax at a Supergite

Time to Relax at a Supergite

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How the Watermill used to Work

The Watermill of Tourteron has been built as a gristmill in the early 19th century, in 2013 200 years ago. In 1808 the French government did a country wide research and discovered that the mills were not all producing the same quality of flour. Because of this the government developed a new law to control the quality all over France. It’s probably why they built the mill of Tourteron. Maybe on top of a previous one – we don’t know.

The Watermill of Tourteron used to divert the water from an impoundment between Tourteron and Guincourt. The force of the water’s movement drove the blades of the wheel, which in turn rotated an axle that drove the mill’s other machinery. The water leaving the wheel drained through the tail race what is now the stream running next to the house. The passage of water used to be controlled by sluice gates that allowed maintenance and some measure of flood control. The mill-pond, the wheel and the sluices are all gone. Now only the fountain that runs from underneath the mill fills the tail race.

The mill

The Mill and appending houses

The watermill has probably had a breast-shot system .. meaning the water fell half way the axe on the wheel and rotated it downwards. The horizontal rotation of the wheel was converted into the vertical rotation by means of gearing. This big wheel was based in the basement room behind the current kitchen.

The breast system

The breast-shot system

The waterwheel turned a horizontal shaft on which is also mounted a large pit wheel. This meshes with the wallower, mounted on a vertical shaft, which turned the (larger) great spur wheel (mounted on the same shaft). This large face wheel, set with pegs, in turn, turned a smaller wheel known as a stone nut, which was attached to the shaft that drove the runner stone. This took place on the first level of the mill, the current bedroom 1.

The way the first floor might have looked 200 years ago

How it must have looked 200 years ago

In the 19th century it was common for the great spur wheel to drive several stone nuts, so that a single water wheel could drive as many as four stones. Each step in the process increased the gear ratio which increased the maximum speed of the runner stone. Adjusting the sluice gate and thus the flow of the water past the main wheel allowed the miller to compensate for seasonal variations in the water supply. Some research shows that this mill must have had more than two stones. The smaller stones and other machinery were placed on the second level , the current bedroom 4.

The different levels of the original mill

Section explaining the mill

Another pulley drove the sack hoist. To set it in motion, the miller tightened the belt on the pulley – not unlike a slipping clutch – by pulling on the hoist rope which passes through each floor. The end of the chain was looped round the neck of the sack of grain which was then raised by the hoist from the ground floor, through two sets of clapper doors to the bin floor for emptying into the storage hoppers and bins. The clapper doors were to prevent from falling in. One set of clapper doors is still visible at the attic.

The original clapper doors at the attic of the mill

The original clapper doors still at the attic

The living room has probably been two small houses and some flour storage at the attic. The two sided chimney is the proof. One next to the mill with the monumental door that show the year * 1813 * must have been the miller’s house. The house at the front must have belonged to the blacksmith who used the barn for his job.

Bedroom 2 and 3 have certainly been a bakery – so we were told by the older people in the village.

The whole placement of the mill, the small houses and the barns are called an hameau (hamlet). That’s why the whole Supergite feels like a small village all to yourself.

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Crazy weekends

IMG_8745
Image by Michiel Wijgmans via Flickr

The past weeks have had some crazy weekends. With the ongoing renovation the constructor needs more and more materials. Most of it we have him ordering from French suppliers. There’s absolutely no reason to get concrete or drains from the Netherlands. But as soon as it comes to shopping for style … this northern part of France is not the place to be. We’ve tried several Monsieur Bricolages and Castoramas. But with little result. There was always something wrong with the model; too thick, too small, too wide, not in brushed metal .. whatever. It’s really hard to find good design in the French country side.

So we bought the lights and the bathroom stuff simply here in the Netherlands where we know our way to design for good prices. One problem though: We have to deliver everything only some 400 km south wards. And we totally underestimated this ‘tour de force‘.

We need over 4 hours to pick up the goods from Nijhof, the Dutch supplier, including picking up the ‘Boedelbak‘. And more serious; we need over 5 hours to get to Tourteron due to the overweight trailer and the lower speed limit for cars with trailers. Apart from the drive itself it also feels quite uncomfortable knowing people actually see you drive one of these yellow trailers from hell.

And we still need to deliver the other half of the kitchen tiles and ALL the bathroom tiles – three trips to go – Jolly Fun! 🙂

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One Flower makes a Difference.

One Flower for Tourteron

 

To our big surprise, Tourteron has been awarded with ‘one flower’ by the Village Fleuri committee. Of course we’re delighted about the news! There are special guided tours offered through the Flower Towns of France–though sometimes it’s not more than some cranesbill next to the city name sign.Still, we wanted to thank and show our appreciation to the town of Tourteron, so we sent this letter to the town hall:

Dear Town of Tourteron, 

On our arrival in Tourteron for Christmas we noticed the ‘Village Fleuri’ sign for the first time. Is it true our lovely town  is awarded with one flower? We’re really happy about it since we had the wish to help our city with this. How is it organized? Is there something we can do to help maintenance? Is there a budget to make Tourteron look better with the flowers? If there’s anything we can do to support, please let us know.We have one suggestion for Christmas next year. In Brandeville (Meuse), the town offers electricity for the decorations and the town gardener places all the Christmas trees. The community helps decorate the trees. We’d love to help.Your new and proud inhabitants,

Marco and Hugo.

In French it’s translated like this: 

Chers ville de Tourteron,

A notre arrivée à Tourteron pour Noël, nous avons remarqué le signe «Village Fleuri» pour la première fois. Est-il vrai que notre belle ville est récompensée par une fleur? Nous sommes vraiment content de ça depuis que nous avions le souhait d’aider notre ville à la présente.Comment est-il organisé? Y at-il quelque chose que nous pouvons faire pour aider à l’entretien?Yat-il un budget pour faire Tourteron plus belle avec des fleurs? S’il ya quelque chose que nous pouvons faire pour soutenir – s’il vous plaît nous le faire savoir.Nous avons un sugestin pour l’an prochain Noël. En Brandeville (Meuse), la ville offre l’électricité pour les décorations et le jardinier de ville place tous les arbres de Noël. La communauté aident décorer les arbres. Nous serions ravis de vous aider.Vos nouveaux habitants orgueilleux,

Marco et Hugo.

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