Posts Tagged With: French house

Time to Come Indoors

A little over 18 months ago, on April 1st 2014, I posted a blog explaining how I had spent a couple of days installing our pool and terrace. The more astute among you will have noticed that it was an April Fool’s, and that the tiny photo was badly doctored:

April Pool's Joke

In the passing 18 months, we’ve been toiling hard to build the pool and the surrounding terrace, and today – our last day working out in the garden before we transfer back to working indoors – we finished the last couple of tasks to complete it. After 1.3km of decking planks and 7000 screws, here is the final result:

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I’m sure Phill, Marion & Ian would like to join me in thanking everyone who gave some of their time and effort, and helped us along the way. Claude, our neighbour, for hours digging channels and test holes with his mini digger; Lionel, our friend in the village, who turned up on endless days to help, and who taught us an invaluable French phrase: Jamais Plus – Never Again; John, who dug out the initial hole for the pool, and persuaded Phill to spend an extortionate amount on “200 year-old Parisian” (yeah, right) iron railings to go around the terrace (but which were so worth it); Michel our electrician, and general pool advisor; Luke, our friend from London, who spent a couple of hours on his hands and knees, screwing; Boris, Ian’s brother-in-law, whose relaxing stay in the south of France meant wheeling barrow loads of concrete around the garden; Dave, Phill’s brother-in-law, who can turn his hand to anything! And to everyone else who supplied us with cups of tea, and meals, and bottles of beer at the end of the day.

As I mentioned, our attention now turns inside. It will be a busy winter converting the loft into 3 bedrooms. Next spring will see us return to finish off some of the walls near the pool, and build a summer kitchen.

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Railings Review……

Its been a busy summer here at Maison Mûrier, we have had lots of fabulous guests staying and amazing weather for us all to enjoy.

Trying to do work in the hot weather is almost impossible, unless you like getting up at 6am to avoid the sun, we aren’t early birds, so have only done that a few times.

We have had the odd cloudy day and have taken advantage of the clouds to crack on with the decking around the pool and the railings surrounding it.

The last few days have been much cooler so we have really cracked on with the railings and here’s what we have done so far.

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We have managed to put the railings up around the whole area of the deck that is finished.

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We thought it was going to be really difficult to fix the railings in place but Kev came up with a relatively simple solution of using long metal rods attached from the back to the existing rods, before they are attached to each other, they are hammered into the ground, roughly 1.5 meters deep.

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The design of the panels is lovely and the colour fits really well with all the foliage.

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Each of the railing panels had to be welded together and thats where Ian fabulous skills have come in handy, off cuts of metal are used to fuse each panel together. The results are really sturdy panels.

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I found these old metal urns at the brocante market today, they were covered in black soot as they were used for washing clothes, they would have been sat on a huge fire, the clothes being boiled inside them.

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With a bit of hard labour sanding them to get rid of the soot they have come up a treat, i varnished them to bring out the colour and markings.

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And now they have a new life as plant pots.

And what have Barnaby & Miel been up too whilst we have been working?

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Barnaby has been spending his time watching us work.

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Whilst Miel Miaow has mostly been sleeping……

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Baaaa

Yesterday when sunbathing on our deck I thought I heard sheep baahing; the sound seemed to be coming from our neighbour Colette’s garden. Further investigation proved correct – she has invested in some sheep to help keep her grass down. She has a white ewe and ram and a 2 black ewes and ram.

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They are very small sheep I’m not sure what breed but ill find out and report back.

They are very friendly and came straight to meet me to say hello.

My first thoughts were what will Barnaby Pickles think of them and will he bark all the time? We took him down to introduce him and after a few initial barks he seems fine and very interested in his new neighbours.

When sheep sit down does that indicate rain, like the old wives tales about cows?

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A vineyard tour at Clos Rocailleux

We are in the midst of a heatwave here in France as are a lots of countries in Europe, today was the hottest day of the year so far, the thermometer in the garden hit 42 Degs and its due to get hotter later this week.

Even the pets stayed inside all day, Miel was out this morning but she soon came running inside as the day heated up.

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After a day of working on the computer and a quick swim in the pool we headed over to Clos Rocaileux which is owned and run by Jack and Margaret Reckitt who have been making wine here for the last five years. On Tuesdays at 6pm they take people on tours of their vineyard and winery.

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We meandered through each of the wine plots tasting the wine that is produced from each grape variety.

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Jack explaining the intricacies of caring for the vines.

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We did try the wine in the bottle he had in his hand.

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Glasses in hand

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Stunning views

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Yes that is a box of wine in Kevs hand, 3 of the early vintage red and 3 of the reserve red which will be laid down for a few years… well maybe not all of them.

I would highly recommend doing this wine tour or just a visit to the vineyard, you will receive a very warm welcome.

Visit the website here closrocailleux.com

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Summer Season kicks off…

Our holiday season visits have started in ernest, Marion and Ian have been with us for the last 10 days and  Ian’s daughter in law and grand-daughter started proceedings off with a quick visit the last week, and now the Hill, McCauley clans have popped over for a visit and in true welshy clan tradition are having a fab time, even though the weather has been hit and miss.

Here’s a pick n mix of what’s been happening over the last 10 days.
Ian has been busy creating terraces on our steep garden bank, he’s taking the Minack theatre as his inspiration.thumb_IMG_4848_1024

It’s work in progress and will look amazing when finished, so pop back for updates.

And all the things he is using are recycled.thumb_IMG_4849_1024
kevs been busy in the kitchen, how many cooks does it take to make Humous?  IMG_0101

Are these nibbles really all for me?IMG_0100

Lots of playing games, Kev trying to explain how to play buzz to the Welsh clan…. Hmmm did they listen????   thumb_IMG_4874_1024 thumb_IMG_4876_1024

A visit to Cordes Sur Cielthumb_IMG_4884_1024 thumb_IMG_4881_1024

A walk through the vineyards thumb_IMG_4866_1024

The grapes are growing quickly.thumb_IMG_4865_1024

Cafe Joubert for aperosthumb_IMG_4890_1024

Our lavender has grown out of control this summer and resembles Worsel Gumidges hair, but the bees and butterflies are loving it which makes it all ok.thumb_IMG_4856_1024 thumb_IMG_4859_1024 thumb_IMG_4861_1024

Amazing sunrise on Tuesday.thumb_IMG_4879_1024

Lots of reading and snoozing by the pool…thumb_IMG_4894_1024

Cross my Paws i haven’t seen the ball…..thumb_IMG_4891_1024

And finally pigeons have decided to take up residence in our acacia tree on our top deck, it’s rather sweet as they are building a nest, but they keep discarding all the unwanted twigs onto the decking for me to clean up, I mean where’s their manners?thumb_IMG_4867_1024 thumb_IMG_4868_1024

More to come, Bonne Weekend everyone…

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Rush Hour in Fayssac…

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The last few weeks…again

I wrote this blog post last night and for some mystical reason it has vanished from our blog site, but that wasn’t before it decided to do some very strange things on Facebook along the way, so here i go again and no doubt this one will be slightly different from last nights efforts.

So lets see what we have been up to over the last few weeks…again.

The weather over  has been really lovely, hot sunny days and even a few hot evenings, which is unusual for this time of year but most welcome as we have had visitors.

Firstly my niece Helen and her friend John joined us for a holiday and also to do us a favour and look after Barnaby Pickles and Miel Miaow whist we went to Barcelona for our friend James 40th birthday, more on that later.

Before Helen and John came i decided to have a go at recovering the footstool that Kev made, it had got a bit worn, mainly due to one pesky cat called Miel Miaow, who on many occasion used it as a scratch toy.

I covered it in an old coffee sack which i bought in Shoreditch in the east end of London for £1, i love a bargain and i must say it dosnt look half bad.

Guests get to relax and have a chilled time here in Maison Murier but not before being put to work, Helen is a keen gardner so i put those skills to help get our potager ready for planting, John helped out as well.

And after a hard days work everyone deserves a rest and a nice drink.

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So with the pets safely being looked after Kev and i headed off to Barcelona by car for James 40th birthday weekend. Barcelona is only a 4 hour drive from us and takes in some beautiful scenery along the way.

Paul and James had organised an amazing weekend packed full of fabulous meals at amazing restaurants, but the special nigh was James 40th birthday dinner which was a private function organised by The Supper Club, they hold dinner parties in unusual places and the place they chose didn’t disappoint, it was a private residence overlooking Plaça Reial.

A fabulous night was had by all, it went on into the early hours, just how a birthday celebration should be.

Back at home all was well, apart from  Helen and John getting stuck with us as the French air traffic strike cancelled their flight home, so an extra five days was added to their holidays, i don’t think they were too upset, and all worked out for the best as they got to spend some time with Cheryl, Chris and Louis our cousins from London.

As mentioned earlier we do like to put our guests to work.

Helen and John departed and kevs birthday was upon us.

The blossoms have been blooming and the lilac trees have been so heavy with flowers, i don’t think mother nature will miss a few, they scent was so heady and sweet, i could resit.

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Oh yes and here are the finished deckchairs, i used paint i already had and the fabric was a steal at €4 a meter.

And after all our guests departed back to good old Blighty, Kev and i set back to work on the garden.

We bought 30 geraniums for all our window ledges and set about potting them up.

And heres the house in bloom.

The house adorned with geraniums, 30 in total for all the windows.

The house adorned with geraniums

And whilst we worked all Barnaby could do was survey his kingdom.

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After a few glorious weeks the clouds rolled in and a crazy storm was upon us, mind you it saved me watering the garden.

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Have a lovely week everyone.

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Blue Sky & Blossoms – well sometimes!

What a varied week this has been weather wise, it started with grey skies and cold wind, but by mid week we had lovely blue skies and on Thursday it reached 28 degrees in the sun and 25 in the shade, which is pretty amazing for this time of year, i got sunburnt arms whilst i was sanding beams in the garden.

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The blossoms are bursting out on our almond trees, the smell is exquisite, as is the smell from all the violets that have popped up on our front garden, mother nature is full of surprises, she didn’t let us see or smell them last year, i think she likes keeping secrets to surprise us with.

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These lovely magenta flowers have popped up in a few places, i think they are anemones? But i may be wrong.

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We have had a really busy week on the conversion of our loft space into bedrooms and bathrooms, we have been installing the  patrician walls using a mix of old and new materials. The new being metal stud walling with is just like building meccano, its amazing stuff to use and very lightweight, but when assembled incredibly strong. You won’t see any of this once the plasterboard is on, but you will see the lovely old ash beams we have been using as the main supports.

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We are also using old reclaimed doors that Kev found at a fab new reclamation yard in Albi.

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We ran out of beams so had to pop over to Johns reclamation yard in Virac which is only 15 minutes away from us.

This pile of dirty old ash beams will look great in our house, well they will after a lot of hard work sanding them.

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This is how we got them home.

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As i mentioned Thursday was such a beautiful day we headed over to Chateau Du Cayla which is just a 20 minute drive away on the outskirts of Andillac.  You can do a 5k walk all around the perimeter of the grounds, Barnaby Pickles loves it there as there are so many interesting areas for him to explore and a lovely stream for swimming in. The Chateau is now a museum which you can visit, we haven’t done that yet so ill report back when we have.

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Its a very striking building.

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The grey skies were back today, so i missed the eclipse, it has been warm but windy.

The garden has been calling for ages, i need to get my potager back into shape as you can see from the photo below its looking rather scruffy.

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Two beds edged, weeded and dug in, just four more to go!

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The artichokes seem to like their new home, i moved them in the autumn from another part of the garden as they didn’t seem to like it there.

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Clear skies to end the day so hopefully that bodes well for the weekend.

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Have a lovely weekend everyone.

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Arghh March is here, does that mean Spring is here?

After last week’s sunny days, this week has brought us rain, rain and oh yes, even more rain. Thanks mother nature. I know we need water and god knows I don’t want to deprive the grape vines – I want a bumper harvest so we have fabulous wine next year, but come on! Rain day after day? Please! Just a few days of sunshine would be nice. Heck I’d even be happy with one day. I feel sun deprived and I’ve only just come back from a very sunny glorious holiday in Cape Town. That’s probably why I’m needing the sun: I got used to it and got into summer mode and now want more. Hmm, at least the nights are getting lighter – it’s really noticeable, every day a minute or two more and I love it.

I know spring is on its way as our local supermarket E Leclerc has adorned its entrance with garden furniture and pallet upon pallet of bedding plants and yes there are bargains to be had. In fact this very week I purchased 10 climbing roses for the smugly price of €2.10 each and with the exchange rate the way it is, it’s a steal. Mind you, now I have to plant them all which I did this weekend. We have lots of wire fencing around the garden to keep the dog in so I have planted them all along that in anticipation that they will climb and creep to their hearts’ content and cover the horrible green fencing. I hope they don’t let me down. Check back around June time to find out.

So with the rain mainly keeping us inside we have been cracking on with our renovations which abruptly came to a halt due to our trip to Cape Town, which was fabulous. Oh! Did I mention that already? Sorry.

With the installation of our new staircase we have partitioned the old large bedroom to create a corridor, which will eventually become a library area. After much research Kev decided to create the partition wall the French way using their metal post system, which I have to say is very simple and lightweight, which is a bonus as using wooden uprights that weigh a ton is hard going on the arms.

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Yes I know there is still some wood in there – it’s to give stronger support to hang the radiator off. Kev thought the metal may buckle under the weight.

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The large hole is for the fab double doors that Kev bought from John our reclamation guru. He has an amazing warehouse full of goodies. I’m only allowed to go there under supervision and without a cheque book.

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View from inside the new bedroom, the door needs to be sanded and waxed but you get the idea.

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View from the new halfway which will be a library area, eventually, not plasterboard on here yet as all the electrics have to be done.

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And whilst we were hard at work, what were Barnaby and Miel up to? Well B was supervising, and snoozing. And Miel Miaow was tucked up in her bed, best place to be.

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And in anticipation of spring coming, it is coming isn’t it??? I have planted some Hyacinths and Narsisi to make the house look like spring has sprung. (Spot our marble Troc bargain in the background for our first ensuite bathroom sink)

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January days….

Well January is flying by, the days seem to come and go, mind you we have been busy.

No more hoar frosts but still very cold, lots of jumpers and log fires.

Heres a few photos to show you what we have been up to this January.

Click on any thumbnail to enlarge it.

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