Posts Tagged With: Moving to France

Step down, Step up…

Over the last few weeks we have been working hard constructing  the end part of the top deck and the steps down to what was the slopey bank down to our pool area, its drop was quite steep so the process involved digging out lots of earth to get each one level, then building mini walls, pointing them and adding all the decking. Finally we had to finish the walls and top them with terracotta tiles.

Here’s the process so far…

The stone the guys are moving used to be one of the mantels from our old kitchen windows, now it’s the feature stone on the top step.  

  They are taking shape, kev has installed power for lighting. 

 Jut the corner of the wall to finish and plants to add. 

 And hers the finished wall with tiles. The chairs were bought from our local Brocante market for €20.  

  
It’s a great spot to sit under the shade and enjoy the view. Liz and Tom our two new palms take pride of place on the steps.  

  
The view from the top.

And here’s Kevs lights.

Now we have to finish the other end of the pool area, no rest for the wicked!!!

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Butterflies, Bugs & Blooms. 

One of the things I one about living in the countryside is seeing so many of the above, living in London I was lucky to see a few butterflies a day maybe a bumble bee or two, wasps loads, but no honey bees. Here you go into your garden or for a walk and they are all there in abundance.

Here are just a few of the amazing creatures and beautiful flowers i saw a my walk on Sunday.

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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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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…

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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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Let the festivities begin….

Sorry for the lack of posts of the last few weeks it’s been a busy time here in Fayssac with Kev and I popping back and fro to London and lots of renovations happening in the house.

The last few weeks have been very cloudy and drizzly but there is always beauty to be found, even in the drabbest of weather. This time last year the countryside was just a mix of browns as no crops had been planted. But this year the farmers and mother nature have obviously realised that we all need a bit of colour in the winter, and the fields are blanketed with a beautiful green carpet of grass and mother nature has had a word with the oak trees and asked them to slow down losing their leaves. It’s nearly the end of December and their leaves have only just turned to amazing shades of yellow and gold which really does add a shot of colour to the horizon.
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And the last few days the cloud has blown away and left us with stunning blue skies and festive frosty mornings.

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I have been busy festivating [is that a word?no? well it is now] the house in readiness for our Christmas guests.

Holly and mistletoe have been purchased from our local market.

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They have been added to our festive arrangements to add a shot of colour.

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The log burners are constantly on to give us heat and add a festive flare

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Mother nature has generously donated lots of fur tree branches to help decorate Maison Murier

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And what have the pets done to help?

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Just lounge around as usual!!!!!

Merry Christmas everyone have a fabulous festive period

Love to you all

Phill Kev signitures copy

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