Posts Tagged With: Gaillac

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

Categories: General posts, Living in France | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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Tired of Tuscany Look at Le Tarn The Times

Have a look at this article about The Tarn which was featured in The Times.

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Tired of Tuscany Look at Le Tarn The Times

Thanks Paul R for sending it to me.

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Potager Produce…..

We have come to the end of a heatwave which has given us a few months of amazing sunshine, scorched the land and given us a bronzed look.

Everything we have planted in the potager has bloomed, grown and is now ready for picking, mainly thanks to the fab watering system that Kev installed.

The only part of the grass that has needed cutting is the plush green grass circular patch that the sprinkler has reached.

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Over the weekend Kev and I started to harvest our crops, with the help of Barnaby Pickles of course.

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Our peppers have been ripening in the sunshine and turning lovely shades of yellow and red.

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Kev cleaning off the red onions.

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We picked 185 red onions and left them to dry in the sun for a few hours.

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Kev came up with a great way of drying them, courtesy of single bed slats

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Kilos of overripe tomatoes were picked.

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And turned into pasata source.

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French beans were bagged and have been frozen ready for winter dinners.

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Now weeding and fertilising to be done before planting winter veggies.

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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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Goodbye January, Hello February

As January faded out with a beautiful sunset, February breezes in with a cold wind but the bulbs I planted last autumn under the trees in our garden are beginning to poke through to say hello. Let’s hope the impending frost and snow doesn’t make them change their minds.

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By the time we come back from our holidays to Cape Town, hopefully spring will be well on her way here in South West France.

Our last week on January has been very eventful and busy. Here’s what we have been up to.

We have started work on the garden area at the back of the house, here we want to create a concealed herb garden. We have started by creating a walkway with Cherry and Mirabelle trees [tiny yellow plums] very delicious, either side of these will be a hedge which will be planted later in the spring when we have decided which type of hedge we want. Then walking through the trees you can enter either side of the herb garden which will have raised beds, eventually the horrible fence at the end will be replaced with wrought iron railings to match the ones we have put up on the the walls of the front gardens.

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Doesn’t look much at the moment but when they are blooming I’m hoping it will look much nicer.

The rest of the week has been taken up by renovations on the interior of the house. Before we can do anymore work creating our two new bedrooms out of the loft space we had to put in a staircase.

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So we set about cutting a hole in the floor.

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Then support beams had to be fitted to strengthen the floor and all the existing plaster removed to reveal the beautiful old wall beneath.

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I have never seen so much dust, we started with a good old hammer and chisel but thankfully Ian soon charged up the air compressor [one of the best presents ever] and the task in hand was made so much easier and quicker, but still as dusty.

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We are really happy with the results, although the stone and bricks still need sand-blasting: another dusty job for another day me thinks!

Now for fitting the staircase and what staircase to fit! Anyone who knows us will know that we love anything reclaimed, so it was by great chance that we were introduced to John Dene who as well as being a fully fledged industrial engineer has a fabulous reclamation yard and if he hasn’t got what we need he will either know where to get it or will build it for us. And after looking at a number of unsuitable staircases he decided he would make one for us.

So off we popped the other day to see the fruits of his hard work and WOW we were not disappointed, he had created a stunning staircase using floorboards from an artists studio. Now i know some of you will probably be looking at this photo and thinking, why are they getting excited about dirty old staircase? But as i mentioned if you know us you will know we see beauty in anything old and battered about a bit.

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And today John turned up with Lucas and his dog Tigan to fit our staircase, with some help from us.

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Did i mention it weighs a ton and needed to be hoisted up and through the window?

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Finally in, now all we have to do is lift it into place!!!!

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And after a lot of brute force it’s finally in place and looking like it has always been there, which is the effect we were after.

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And finally what have the pets been up to whilst we have been busy?

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Well Miel has become a wine conoisseur….

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But only after a hard day on her laptop…

Categories: Living in France | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Brocante bargains

A freezing visit to our local weekly brocante market in Albi brought some great rewards, it was worth braving the cold as i founds lots of lovely bargains all for €1 each, yes its like my very own pound shop in France, well i say pound but the euro is worth so little at the moment soon i will have to say the 50p shop.

Anyway you never really know what you are going to find when you pop along on a Saturday morning and today as  it was so bitterly cold there were very few stalls, which was actually good because the more expensive stall holders were obviously all snuggled up in bed, so the stalls that were there were my favourite kind with their goods all laid out on the floor and big signs saying “€1 par Piece” i love that sort of signage, it get very excited as i get a huge swag bag for very little money, kevs even more fond of that sign as he knows i wont spend much.

So here are a few pics of my finds, now bare in mind that one persons junk is another treasure and yes i know everything looks a bit dirty and grotty but you wait until Phyllis Poppins get his hands on them.

You will have to pop back in a few days to see how they all scrub up.

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By the way the trowels are not for decoration they will be used to build our walls around the pool area.

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Apparently these used to be used to store water when their was no plumbing, People would wash their hands with the water that dripped out of the tiny spout at the bottom.

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When i got back from the brocante we had snow flurries all day, not much settled just a light dusting.

Happy week ahead everyone.

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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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Sunrises, sunsets and bits in-between.

This week has brought us some beautiful sunrises

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And stunning sunsets

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The weather has been really lovely, i can’t believe that we are still in T shirts in the middle of November.

Ive spent most of the weekend in the garden planting over 300 bulbs, tulips, bluebells, miscarries, and narcisi.

In the front of the house are three long patches of flag irises, which were really stunning last spring, but as we are making that area into a drive and parking they need to be moved, so i started that job this afternoon.

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I have dug trenches along the wire fence at the back of the garden and have filled them with the dug up irises well some of them as there are so many and I’m only half way through digging them up.

So lots more beds to dig this week, Barnaby Pickles decided to help, pity he dug the holes that had already been dug.

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Miel Miaow trotted along after all the hard work had been done.

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And then promptly decided to have a rest.

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Summer fete dinner 5th July 2014

We had our annual village fete dinner last Saturday and the sun gave us some lovely last rays of the day, the square was decked out, the wine flowed and lots of food was devoured by a hungry crowed.

It was a really great evening and so well attended by everyone in the village and surrounding hamlets, we are so lucky to live in such a fabulous village and count our blessings every day, over a glass of rose of course.

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