Let’s play a game

OK, what’s on your dining table this evening?

I have a glue gun, a random plank, three hand embellished candles, a box of threads, a sewing machine, a jar of paintbrushes, a box of acrylic paints, a glass bowl, five wardrobe sachets, toothpicks, sugar bowl, four work files, my lap top, three mobile phones, two toy pistols, a glass of wine and the remains of our dinner.

Posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France | 5 Comments

Just-in time….


I deeply regret writing the last line of the last post.

Have you seen the news from the Aude?

On Sunday night, the rains came, and they came, and they came. The noise on our roof was terrifying. I could not sleep, but at least we were safe.

The Aude is on red alert still and shut down completely in places.

Yesterday was a tragic tale of starting the huge clear up whilst counting the human costs of this weather “event” that resulted in severe inundation of both the recognised “flood” plains and higher areas, literally destroying vehicles and villages and bridges and railway lines and roads and homes and businesses.

Tragic loss of life ( Possibly twelve dead and many more missing). It has now been confirmed that the parents of the first victim of the Trebes attack six months ago Trebes tragedy Aude floods were amongst the dead.

There are no words, in French or English.

We know how lucky we are to be intact, with no damage other than a few slipped roof tiles.

I suspect we would have had a flooded courtyard and cave if Justin had not finished the new guttering at the back of the house only last week (the new stuff on right of picture)

The water pattern is easy to trace today.


At the end of our street, the river, though about half a metre lower than yesterday morning, is still alarmingly close to the top of the bank. Choked with debris, some of which is too frightening to dwell on.

Wolf Princess tippy-toes, aka Brontë, waited it out under the bed. She believes we can protect her from anything
Her faith is touching. If I had a coherent faith of any kind, I would be praying today for all those souls not merely touched but torn apart by this.

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It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Really.

I return from a Troc Trawl (more on that later) and on the spectacularly ugly and completely unimproved back wall of our hovel is perfectly level and perfectly fitted new guttering.

Prior to this we just had three small spouts which drained the roof terrace after a fashion by channelling any rain into cascades down the back wall.

This was turning the wall and the shutters green and mouldy.

I am almost looking forward to the next deluge.

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Onward and upward

After a summer of stasis when nothing got done around the French house, we have finally started to address the final work.

Everything stopped for a number of reasons: Trev’s new French doctor put him back on a drug cocktail that renders him exhausted and grumpy and my new creative project became all consuming over the last few weeks.

I have always been happy to talk about most things house related on this blog, and that will continue, but I have been forced, by circumstances, to rein in some of my other subject matter, sadly.

Anyway, back to the hovel for a long overdue update.

A couple of weeks ago, chance and fate and serendipity sent us the help we need to get back on track on the village house project

After over twelve months of trying to pin down our French builder and plumber and getting precisely nowhere I have drawn the line and moved on. Procrastination is so easy to perpetuate, but enough is enough.

Our new guy has a broad skill set, is sympathetic to quirky old houses, isn’t trying to talk us into uneccessary extra work and keeps a straight face when I ask for something outside the box.

The very first thing he did was take off most of the grotty external pipework we have put up with for 12 years. Back tomorrow with longer ladders to finish, fill the holes and install my woodburner.


When he makes the inevitable mess the work entails, he not only covers up before and sweeps up after, but he vacuums too.


Cross those fingers and toes

brown frontage (1)

Posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France, What we did, how we did it and what we used | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A spider did it.

Yes, diagnosed as spider bite.

Bitten in The Bride’s garden, I’m fairly sure.

Gives me someone to blame. It really doesn’t hurt or itch, just looks sinister and makes folk do a double take.

I’m no odder than usual, so the poison hasn’t yet reached my brain.

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So, what bit me?

Lots of unpleasant critters down here, but this is definitely a nouvelle bite.

10 cm long and growing by the hour.


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Orange Alert

So, we can now announce that Trevor is deemed to be legitimately resident in France and is recognised by the basic French health insurance system.

We had fun getting the necssary photos in the booth in the supermarket.

The first lot did not even emerge from the machine (cost reimbursed by customer service who are clearly used to this scenario!)

The second lot were inpenetrably dark and foreboding with just a flash of strange uplighting . Rather Hammer Horror.

The third time lucky “let’s just submit these, I’m losing the will to live in this blasted booth”

But he looked an alarming shade of orange, so I fully expected them to be rejected, No. The Carte Vitale arrived yesterday with Trev in full Strictly Come Dancing, Tangoed, TOWIE glow. You can look up the references if you aren’t party to UK televison culture.

Then there is the slightly disturbing stare, certainly not facing the camera, more menacingly ( or resignedly?) right and upward.

No, he hasn’t been on a sunbed or had a spray tan. Then there is the odd bleaching out of his hair morphing into a veritable halo around his little orange face

These particular shades of orange and green are virtually complementary colours, so the overall effect is truly startling. And hilarious.

So, to recap, Trev is now legit here, with virtually no effort. I am not. Long story.

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