Back in England, I e-mailed Chris with the room dimensions and, to help with my own calculations, I drew a scale plan on a large sheet of paper. I visited several do-it-yourself stores to get the measurements of their loft panels, all of which were the same. At least this meant that if I had to use several stores to obtain sufficient for my needs, there would be no problem with differing dimensions.
I took great care over my calculations as I realised that there was just one chance of getting this right. No way could we wing it once the tiles and sand had been removed. I had several telephone conversations with Chris in which we decided which way the joists would be laid (at right angles to the floor boards), which way the loft panels (at right angles to the joists) and which way the laminate flooring pieces (at right angles to the loft panels). By this time I felt as though my head was going round in right angles.
Having agreed the basics, we then needed to calculate how many lengths of timber would be needed, how many angle brackets, how many screws, how many loft panels. The timber could be bought in France, but the angle brackets, screws and loft panels would have to be bought in England as we didn’t fancy our chances of being able to pick up exactly what we wanted at any of the French do-it-yourself stores in the area, let alone in sufficient quantity.
Rather surprisingly, especially as neither of us is a quantity surveyor (or could it have been because of that?), both Chris and I came up with the same figures. I made several trips to B & Q to buy loft panels – no way could I get all I needed into the car in one go – and sourced a supplier of the hardware, which I duly ordered over the internet. As there was no way all this could be transported at once, I had to make a special trip to take about half of the materials. About half the remainder could be taken over when I went to remove the old floor and the rest when I went over with Chris to lay the new floor.
I was astonished when my neighbour, Tom, expressed interest in coming with me to clear the old material. I did warn him that it would be hard, dirty work, but he was still keen to come – and I wasn’t going to decline the offer of a free slave.
Still in Chateaubriant but now with Christmas decorations.