Living in France

Back in the blog business…

Well hello, It’s been a while, well almost three years to be exact.

Now where to begin, mmm well i don’t have time to fill you in on the last three years, but why not  check out our instagram and facebook pages to catch up.

When we launched our B&B website, almost three years ago it came with its own blog which is why i stopped publishing on this original blog site. But due to new EU rules and regulations, that if I’m honest i don’t understand and am not inclined to research we cant use a blog on our website. So here we are back on our original wordpress site and i must say its nice to be back.

Quick question, with the rise of instagram and other social media sites, dose anyone read blogs anymore? I guess you do otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this, but what do you think? Let me know by letting me know via the poll below.

Its a very unusual January here in the Tarn, mild days and mostly sunny, although as i write this post we have just had a torrential downpour which has sent Kev running for cover in one of the barns, he’s digging trenches in the garden.

Our garden is thinking it’s the start of spring, the usual early spring flowers are beginning to appear, daff’s, hyacinths and other such like bulbs are all sprouting. And my roses are growing at an alarming rate, as is the mint, i even have flowers on my strawberry plants. Mother Nature what are you doing to us? all will be lost if we have a bad frost.

 

We have been taking advantage of the good weather by digging trenches and laying foundations for walls that will run along our hedge, this is part of a much bigger project of creating a new driveway and securing the garden to keep Barnaby from chasing our guests cars, more on that as it progresses.

January has also been very busy with B&B guests, all of whom are visiting Gaillac for the third and last year of the Chinese lantern festival; alas it has been snatched from them by a much bigger city.

        

Now when i heard that Gaillac would be hosting the Chinese lantern festival three years ago i have to admit i was very sceptical and even had a wry smile, how could a tiny town put on anything that grand? And i must admit i didn’t bother visiting it, but some of my friends did and said it was very good . In fact the local tourist board had a great time boasting that 240K people visited over the space of December and January 2017. So last year Kev and I together with family and friends paid it a visit, it was spectacular, so i had to eat my words and congratulate the town. Not only was it extremely well executed but it was also very well organised, which in Southern France is a miracle, as most people are so laid back when it comes to event organisation. This year they are predicting over 500k visitors, so it will go out on a big high. but what will they do next year i wonder.

We had a lovely email the other day from a travel website called Travel Myth  [www.travelmyth.com ] Apparently we are listed in the top 30 accommodations in Albi and the surrounding areas. Its always nice to be recognised, thanks Travel Myth.

And what have Barnaby Pickles and Miel Miaow been up to over the last three years, well apart from eating, sleeping, having walkies and lots of cuddles?

Barnaby has mostly been relaxing as you can see from the photo below.

And Miel Miaow still won’t use the cat flaps, instead demanding to be let in through the windows.

Arghh its good to be back in blog land.

Until next time have a great weekend everyone.

Px

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Say Hello to the Maison Mûrier Blog

Hi Everyone

Sorry this there hasn’t been many blog posts this year, we have been busy renovating our house and also building a new website and blog.

Going forward all our blog posts about our life and adventures in France will now be published via our Maison Mûrier website blog, if you would like to sign up for email updates or just visit the new blog click on the link below.

https://www.maisonmurier.com/blog-1

Our  new website is also up and running and can be found at

www.maisonmurier.com

Thank you all for reading about our adventures on this blog, we have really enjoyed sharing them with you,  we look forward to welcoming you to our new blog site.

Best Regards

Phill and Kev

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Hello Spring

Hi Everyone

Sorry we haven’t been in contact for a while, it’s been a busy time here at Maison Mûrier. Winter is fading away and spring is taking hold of the land, blossoms are ready to burst and bulbs are popping up to say ‘hi, it’s been a while’. The first to show their colours are the daffodils but the tulips & hyacinths  are hard on their heals.

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So why have we been so busy we hear you ask?

Well we have continued with our house renovations, the loft area above Marion and Ian’s house has been transformed into an office and spare bedroom.

Take a look…

To the left you can see the new full height entrance we have created, we had to break through the 1/2 metre thick stone wall.

To the right you will see the shape of the old door which was cute but very low and dangerous, as we kept banging our heads every time we entered through it. We used some of the stone from the new door to fill up the space.

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One end of the room is our office/workroom

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We sandblasted the beams, what a messy job that was! But worth it.

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We kept all the original stone walls and re pointed them using traditional lime mortar, a long and messy job but quite satisfying as well.

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The other end of the room has been made into a spare bedroom; the ceiling is low, but it’s ok for sleeping. The bed frame was going to be thrown out by  friends of ours, so we nabbed it and painted it using chalk paint [amazing eco paint that needs no prep work done before painting your furniture: YES] and the headboard was made out of  old wood that came off our roof. We love a bit of recycling.

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We are now in the middle of installing an en suite bathroom into the old closet of the recently renovated Library bedroom – I’ll keep you posted on that.

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Now that spring is arriving the garden is demanding attention too, mainly clearing up after winter but I’ve also just started creating a hot garden [plants with lots of reds, oranges and yellows] on the back of the old stone wall of Marion and Ian’s kitchen garden. The earth is not so good, lots of clay so ill have to dig in loads of compost and manure, hard work ahead…

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And lastly we have developed a new website for the house, using a fab web creation company called Wix, really easy to use as it’s all visual.

Heres a link www.maisonmurier.com 

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The leaf in our new house name logo was hand drawn from one of our murier [mulberry] leaves by my talented cousin Tamar, thanks Tam, wish I could draw like that.

The website also has a blog which we will use going forward to post about whats happening here at Maison Mûrier

If you would like to be kept up to date with our news visit the new blog page and sign up for our newsletters. www.maisonmurier.com/blog-1

Whilst all of this has been going on

Barnaby Pickles has mostly been surveying his kingdom…

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While Miel Miaow has been mostly snoozing in the sun.

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Time for a cup of coffee in one of my favourite relaxing spots, under our acacia tree [yet to bud but still beautiful]

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Bon weekend à tous.

Happy weekend everyone.

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The beauty in winter

The last few days here in Fayssac have been bitterly cold, its the first time mother nature has wrapped her frosty arms around us and cloaked everything in wintery white.

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The mornings have been starting out with a sunny glow, but within minutes the fog has been rolling in creating misty swirls in the valley and continuing its journey until you can hardly see anything.

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Im not really a winter person, although i do love a log fire and large brandy to help keep the cold away, for me summer is my season, but if you look there, really is so much beauty to be seen in this Narnia season.

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The sleeping trees and decaying plants are given a dusting of frost making them shimmer.

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There are picture postcard scenes to be viewed everywhere.

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The ice particles bring spiders webs to life, showing all the incredible intricacies of their spun webs.

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I think i may be a little obsessed with them, but why not when they are this beautiful?

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Colour still manages to pierce through the frost giving us vivid sparks to brighten our walks.

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The dogs love this weather, they don’t seem to feel the cold, they revel in it bonding and springing about, except when they are patiently waiting for you to throw a toy.

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So my friends this year is drawing to a close, and what a year it has been, we have had some amazing times, and have so much to be thankful for. There have also been many shocks along the way and we have lost so many amazing people, musicians, authors, celebrities, stars and many loved ones.

But we must look forward and not glance back for that is the only way to go….

From all of us here at Maison Mûrier we wish you a very

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Merry Christmas from us all here at Maison Murier

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Well, Well, Well

After nearly four years of living in Fayssac, our unsightly well has finally been removed.

The well is nearly 100 feet deep, apparently the deepest in the village, and although it could be a good source of water for irrigating the garden, it looks awful and is blocking the footpath making it dangerous for children (and us on our return from the cafe!) to pass.

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In true french fashion the workmen just turned up out of the blue with no notice given, other than the Mayor saying it will be removed sometime before Christmas. And that was back in the summer.

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The huge digger made quick work of demolishing the actual well, we have kept all the stones which will be used to finish building the wall around our pool decking area. Great as this stone is in short supply around our garden.

 

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We will use this space to make a pedestrian gated entrance to our house, instead of having to open the main gates, and we will use the  existing beautiful wrought iron pedestrian gate which sits between our driveway gates.

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The hole down to the well has been capped over using reinforced concrete lintels.

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Its all ready for a final layer of gravel, hmm but it’s been like that now for two weeks so who knows when the workmen will be back to do that!!!

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Christmas Brocante

Ho, Ho, Ho, it’s our annual Christmas Brocante market in Albi, and Santa was there to greet us.

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Mother nature was kind, offering us a beautiful crisp festive day

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The smell of wood smoke and glu-wine wafted around the market to help give that Christmas feel.

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The market was a mix of antique stalls and brica-brac [my favourite] as you can get lots of bargains if you’re happy to rummage around in boxes laden with curiosities.

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Heres a few photos of what else was on offer.

 

 

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The calm after the storm

Hi, it’s been a while i know, well i have had a busy month, turning 50, having lots of fabulous celebrations with family and friends, and having an incredible holiday in Barbados, thanks Kev, Les & Dx oh and Lady Balls for a true surprise, one that made me use really bad language out of fright, [as she made me jump] i must say in my defence.  You all made it so special and one never to be forgotton.

Then straight from holidays to London,  Scotland & Highgrove for work and finally back to my beloved Fayssac, it was all amazing arghh but its so nice to be back home. I know i keep saying it in posts but it always amazes me how things change so quickly, mother nature dosnt stop for anyone, she keeps rolling on, season by season, things bud, blossom and decay. So Autumn was, and now winter begins, shorter days and longer nights abound, colours keep changing and the smells of cinders and earth are strong in the air, and i must admit i love it. I’m not really a winter person as i crave the sunshine but i do always look forward to winter fires and long walks in the late afternoon cherishing the last rays of the day and today was no exception its been unseasonably warm and beautifully sunny, i had to stop and take yet another photo, i have so many of this view but it always makes me smile and gives me a warm feeling, this is a special place, its hard to explain why it needs to be experienced,  friends that have visited have said the same.

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But the week hasn’t all been like this beautiful day, far from it, as much as mother nature rewards us with days like this, she unleashes her worst sometimes, as she did on Wednesday night. Thunder, lightening, rain, hailstones and howling winds that shuddered the shutters, tossed garden furniture about and generally messed things up a bit, as you will see from the photos below.

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But Barnaby was on hand to help out.

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So many leaves

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Probably time to put all the garden furniture away.

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Anyone fancy cleaning the pool for me?

No… mmm didn’t think so.

Argh well it was good exercise cleaning it all up and i just kept thinking of all the calories i was burning off doing it and how many more glasses of the red stuff i could have later….

Lets hope we have more blue skies and not so many grey ones.

Happy weekend everyone.

Px

 

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Autumn at Au Cafe Joubert

We have been so lucky to have had some really lovely warm autumn evenings of late, [not including this weekend, as its grey and a little bit rainy, but not as bad as the weather reports predicted] so as autumn is here we must make the most of these lovely weekend evenings and head to our beloved Cafe Joubert for a glass or three of the white, pink or red stuff.

The garden at Cafe Joubert is well established and has some very interesting sculptures in it and a lovely water feature. Sophie and Bernard grow and use lots of produce in their potager, which in the summer months is bursting with gastronomic treasures but now is fading into autumns clutches.

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I love the early evening sunshine, still warm, hanging low in the sky, it paints everything with a fabulous orange glow.

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I found these completely dried out artichokes whilst wandering through the potager area of  their garden, I’m not fond of eating them as i personally don’t think they taste of anything. But they are beautiful sculptural examples of mother natures handy work. Even in this dried out state they still look fabulous and i think add beauty to the garden.

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But its when you take a closer look that you really see their beauty, the heads layered with fanned out symetrical leaves looking fabulous.

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Couldn’t resit taking this photo of a little grass hopper basking in the last glow of the sun, its amazing how it has changed its colour to blend perfectly in with the stem of the flower.

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Then there are the dead heads, wow so magical and beautiful, mother natures candy floss.

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Taken from a different angle it looks like a smooth fury coat, tinged with sunshine.

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Arghh i wondered where Bernard had gone, he was obviously posing for a sculpture of himself.

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Bon Weekend everyone….

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Vide Grenier … Again 

As I have mentioned before, villages in France are very social places, they have fetes and some have craft societies of various types. But they do love a car boot sale (Vide Grenier) which actually means ’empty your attic’, and that’s exactly what some people do. 

Our Vide Grenier is usually in May, at the start of the season, and is really well attended by sellers and buyers. But this year they decided to change the date to September; as you can imagine there were lots of raised eyebrows and tutting from some committee members and villagers. 

So commeth the day and the weather is wonderful, but will it be a success? 

Yes, yes, yes, the stall holders turned up at the crack of dawn and the buyers weren’t far behind. 


Our guests were straight out there having a rummage and finding bargains. 

Helen ‘I want it with a discount’ Macauley:


And Dr Silvertoes… I only have a tiny case, no can buyee. But would love to.. Ohh I love those postcards…




So many lovely bits and bobs to be found and bartered for. 

And what did I buy?


Garden urns …

… and bathroom bits

So all in all a great day… Here’s to next year. 

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