Medieval house paintings

Wow. Just wow.

I’ll start one tomorrow…

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The house project has been allowed to drift.

This is due to a number of factors, not least a creative/business project  that I started last September and a second project here in our village. img_20190506_104014925607886.jpgAlso, Trevor’s blood thinning drugs had turned him into a permanently tired and grumpy (we call it drug rage around here) old man with a foggy brain who bled profusely from the slightest scratch!

Do not tell me these pernicious drugs do not have mental as well as physical effects.

Anyway, today is gloriously sunny so Bronte and I had great early walk by the river . All the delicate spring flowers are out and in full bloom. The lavender coloured one is a wild clematis that I have successfully taken a cutting from and which is now adorning the terrace.

I know that these wild flowers look better in situ, but I only ever take one or two from strong, proliferous plants and they look good Chez Nous too.

img_20190506_103845964708308.jpgI noticed that these photos have a bit of a shrine vibe. Not intentional I assure you, and some of the family members above are still with us…………….

I have also noticed that one of the many toys that we have bought Bronte, none of which she wants to play with,  has crept into frame.

This one has been christened  “Road Kill Baby” as it is furry, completely flat and without substance.

She has indicated slight interest in this horrible looking creature , so we persist.


Right, back to work on the house now or I might go mad.

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Odd things to do in Argeles -sur-Mer

It’s a glorious morning in Argeles and the birds are singing like crazy in the trees outside.

Bronte and Trevor are eating porridge. I am on apartment snag-list patrol.

Long time followers will remember some of my previous rants about what guests do to holiday lets.

The latest? I spotted serious asymmetry to my long faux taffeta curtains in the living room. Up the ladder, I worked out that, at some point last season, someone climbed up and rehung the curtains with more hooks to one side than the other.

And over the curtain rail in one corner, a plastic tag.

And they’ve paid to stay in a nice apartment by the sea.


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A symphony in red

I love the back streets of Carcassonne.

I love the red Caunes-Minervois marble set into the pavements.

These buildings coordinate rather well with it’s terracotta-ish hue.

I did not know that this marble also existed in grey. One new thing that I learned on Saturday.

I also learned that the bones of our church pre-date the Templar knights who brought it fame.

And there are two ancient holy water half bowls in grey CM marble by the door…. V interesting

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Spring sprung a while back in the high valleys of the Aude.

If you were butting up to a French mustard coloured house what would you do?

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Details Details 2

I know I need to take these shots with a decent camera, but mine is under a pile of assorted stuff and the mobile phone is handy.

Trev has returned to the tulip room ceiling project to start on the details. These include edging each section of panelling between the joists and beams with a large, quarter round profile moulding. It looks great.

Quite a fiddly job in places, Then he is moving onto the panelling and edging around the old door frame (which has caused most of the headaches in this room- see previous post) and the detailing around my antique insert fretwork panel.

Click on the photos to see how great his finishing work is going to be.

Quite a big investment in this room. A LOT of wood (kilometers it seems) had to be bought and more will be needed before we are done. However, we are saving on the roof window. I had concerns re fitting a much bigger velux style window to replace the 50’s tabatiere horrible thingy, because I thought we needed more light in this small-windowed room; but, I was also concerned re the amount of sun this room gets, which meant that a larger window would end up being shaded all day for months of the year. Rendering a bigger window pretty pointless.

HOWEVER, EUREKA! the newly proposed insertion of a glazed panel over the shower room door brings in lots of light into the dark bit. So a new roof window to replace what we have in a similar size will do just fine.

The ideas for the area above the plaster board at picture rail height have now changed. This is mostly due to my acceptrance of the fact that only the back wall is  beautiful, ancient stone and a piece of history worth exposing.

The side wall is a melange of stone from various periods and blockwork near the roof.

So the boys will panel above the plastered walls up into the apex of the roof with the same  boarding as used between the beams/joists, leaving a very large aperture above the bed head with a glazed panel to reveal a section of our beautiful old wall.

Around said panel will be fitted a huge, carved and gilded  picture frame which I thought was 19thc but it may be 18th…..



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Paris Hip




A “work trip” to Paris this month yielded new ideas and design inspiration both work and house renovation-wise.

Paris really is another country, when compared to Deepest Aude; but the first thing that struck me is that there, ” up North”, I can understand virtually everything said to me in French and everyone understands me!!

Is it the slower speed of speech or the less extreme accents?

Anyhow, we stayed near Montmartre, my travelling companion’s favourite spot.

We chanced on a very good Ibis hotel in highly entertaining Pigalle, with a charming guy who plied The Bride with whisky and anecdotes about living in Birmingham. Grear bar virtually next door ( just the other side of the sex shop with the oddest window display) the only sour note was the sans-abri on the corner . I didn’t have a problem with him per se, life happens, but with the way he was treating his dog. Including, we think, drugging it.

The guy in the Pharmacie was watching him too and, as dog had disappeared on our last morning, we hope some kind animal charity bod had come along and “rescued” said dog. I hope..

Having Montmartre right there, with The Bride’s favourite restaurant right at the top we did a lot of step climbing. Then there was the Metrohopping and cobble walking as we pounded the streets looking at fabric shops, merceries and flea markets.

We also took in a trade fair where, critically, the wholesale section had been dropped due to lack of exhibitors! That was pretty annoying, even more so for some Australian friends who had come to Paris just to meet up and visit this fair!

Anyway we still had a riotous time with much fun and food and wine and Di got to see her first cracking view of the Eiffel Tower, well judged and set up by Bev.

The net result of all this being a new condition that I refer to as Paris Hip.

Our return car to the airport took us through central Paris on a gorgeous, sunny day.

Christo style wrapped buildings under renovation and posh shops. Many, sadly, falling victim to riots, fire and looting just days later.
Que peut-on dire?

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