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Success Stories - Busy Bobbie

Tiling Course & Plastering Course Student, retired Police Officer Graham, discovers a wonderful new life in France. C'est la vie!


Graham Carter's story is one of a number that will go down as legendary in The DIY School history books. After attending Plastering, Tiling and Bricklaying courses at The DIY School in Manchester, Ex Police Officer Graham's life took a turn that I would imagine every one would envy.

Read here in Graham's own words how he has ended up rubbing shoulders with French Aristocracy, renovating a Chateaux and having to stop work as the sun in the South of France is just too hot! Shame!

"I retired from the Police Force in June of 2008 having completed 30 years service. The Plan was that after retirement my wife, Christine and I would move to our Holiday home in the Limousin area of France. I decided that I would take some DIY courses to help with our refurbishment of our farmhouse set in 2 ½ acres of land including a large orchard. I had researched on the internet the several companies that provided the skills I wanted to learn. I enrolled with The DIY School for their plastering essentional course. Friends were telling me it’s not possible to learn plastering on a four day course. Fortunately they were wrong and you will see further on, of the high standard taught and personally what you can do if you try. I was delighted at the results of my course and of the high standard of tuition provided by the staff who I now regard as friends. I followed with the Advanced Plastering and Rendering Course and the Floor and Wall Tiling Course.

On arrival in France I was looking forward to trying out my new skills on our home and was proud of the fact that I would only do flat walls. People I met wanted the rustic uneven look which I regarded as inferior. “Sorry I only do flat walls,”

I was approached by a retired English solicitor who was happy for me to practice my new plastering skills to complete the renovation of his cottage. He assured me he did not expect it to be smooth but I endeavoured to get the walls as flat as possible. He was made up with the result. My next big break was by recommendation when I was asked to tile the back of an oven in the lodge house to an 18th century chateau. I had taken the opportunity to practice patterns in the tiles to create a centre piece for her kitchen. I did not envisage what would happen next. The Countess from the chateau saw the work I had done and I was asked to go and see her. I was also asked what other skills I had and if I could paint. For several months now I have been employed at the Chateau. My first job was to paint a window frame. This was followed by painting a large staircase. Before I could paint I had to re -plaster three walls on the staircase which were quite badly damaged. I have removed and replaced old rusty edging strips around doors and re-plastered to a smooth finish. I also brought into play skills in woodwork, repairing parts of the original staircase that had been attacked by dry rot and woodworm. I was then asked if I would like to paint the shutters on the outside. There are 272 of them........!! Since then I am to prepare a quote to completely re-furbish the render and brickwork of a large house in the Chateau grounds. Repaint three rooms and I have done some preparation to replace a staircase in oak to match the existing woodwork which I will start in a few weeks. I have this and other work to keep me employed for the remainder of the year without any advertising. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to work on our own house as a result. I would not have been able to do any of this had it not been for the excellent training and support from The DIY Cchool that has given me the confidence to work professionally to a very high standard. This has put me in high demand in this part of France. I can’t thank you and your staff enough for the high quality of training."