Oh Fuite-ing Hell!

OK, what is this? 

Let me just confirm that it’s not one of my paint effects.

It’s on the dining room ceiling. What’s above? The terrace.

Dern, dern dern, dern, deeeerrrrrnnn…….. 

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Paper, boxes, benches

Whilst shredded paper won’t be in short supply en France, I am wondering if we will still be able to get recycled cardboard boxes to post out our pieces?

Maybe someone can tell me a source for these ?

And perhaps a bench like my ideal one here. I have only been looking for a decade, so maybe it will go on Trev’s list. Don’t tell him


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Ready, Shreddy, GO!

So, the logistics of making a relatively simple move.

Why does no one ever blog about the sheer slog and the practical detail of moving to another country? Boring? Is it? ………….Tough!

This is the “warts and all” blog diary, complete with almost full candour,  so you guys are going to get the full picture, is that OK?

I am irresistably compelled to do it my way, so I will just ramble away like I do……

First, the piles of paperwork. We haven’t even started on personal stuff yet, but as I type , I can hear the gentle hum of the brand new shredder as Trev manfully wades his way through six years of confidential waste from my office. Let’s hope this shredder lasts longer than the last one and is sturdier than all those vacuum cleaners we have blown up in France. Unfortunately, my job relies only partly on electronically (or cloud held)  data, it’s one of the last bastions of the paper office.

For those worried about all that waste paper, ours will go into packing boxes and be useful.

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Episode 152- To Hull And Back

Most of my biggest decisions are taken on a Thursday. I was born on a Thursday so maybe it’s connected?

Anyway, I had a high pressure, high preparation, contentious and stressful work commitment in Hull on Wednesday. I have nothing against Hull, it’s a fine Yorkshire town and only one county away from where I grew up in Lancashire. But it’s not the Aude. This is.

So I have refined my new “work from France” plan further. I will cut out my established commitments for travelling all over the UK and which I intended to honour from our French base.

I reasoned that I could continue to work this way and coming back to the UK regularly means I could see lots of my family and friends. No. I have taken a long, hard look at the reality of this situation and I will be too busy/tired/frantic to spend any quality time with anybody if it’s wrapped around a big work commitment.

It’s time to put those sober suits away. I’ve given it years of my life.

I felt my full age and then some when I got back on Wednesday night. It’s time to walk away from the lucrative but intense aspect of my high profile day job and step back. I will still offer my expertise and knowledge and support and advice. But I will do it from home; in the Aude.

This is huge. My skill-set is so highly specialised that I will be taking a critical resource from a poorly served  sector. But it’s time. Walk away.

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Mixing materials

I am fascinated by the gorgeous mix of materials and colours in this one French house found on http://www.cotemaison.fr

I like the change in colour on the stair risers at the door way. And the raw wood panelling on the stairs playing with the neatly painted ceiling. And the mix of old tiles on the floor.

Spots and a chandelier? Lovely! And why can’t I find a clock like that on my next brocante run?


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Another old French village house

img_7140-lr-ccIn my self appointed ongoing mission to bang the drum for Small Village Houses, here is another from Lost In Arles- see here

I note the many common features shared with our place, inset cupboards, terrazzo stairs and modest dimensions (it is almost exactly the same size) the use of raw plaster finishes is very evocative and charming but I’m not sure Trev would be thrilled if we exposed and celebrated our areas of concrete breeze-block walls. I do love the typically located corner fireplace in the bedroom and the new fireplace in the salon designed and built by the owner.


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The Thursday Three – velvet and verdigris

velvet damask vintage curtainsI will miss aspects of the cottage in the UK. Although the cheap white walls and dark brown carpet upstairs are not my choice, they are an OK backdrop for photos.

As you might know, I have been sourcing curtains, mostly old ( but a smattering of new linen ones) for the French house for a long time. It takes time to find the perfect pair and they are utterly critical when considering natural light and colour reflection and what could be more authentic or eco-friendly than keeping old, sound wooden windows & doors and insulating with thick drapes?

This pair of velvet and damask gems are superfluous to my window needs, but they are very heavy and very beautiful for the right spot, door or narrow window. Extremely well made and sitting on Etsy right now.

Having listened to many folk bemoaning the difficulty of finding drapes to suit the  height and drop of tall windows in French properties, I have started sourcing old pairs in good vintage condition here and in France as not everyone can sew their own.

Yes, you can have them made to measure and but that is very expensive due to the amount of material, labour and time required for proper hand finishing.  Vintage ones are an affordable option and tick lots of boxes for me; the response on Etsy to the curtains I have listed to date suggests a market out there. And I can post them safely anywhere in the world, unlike our restored & refinished furniture!

If you are making yourself, you really don’t have to pay top whack for fabrics. This length of Voyage embroidered linen was a 99p ebay find. As was this unusual and screamingly 30’s little embroidery destined for a cushion cover.

1930 embroideryvoyage linen








Find of the week, however, has to be these very old brackets , designed to hang a heavy tapestry on a pole. From a French château of course.But certainly simple enough for the hovel.img_20170303_091712

Yes you can stabilise patina and verdigris so it doesn’t come off on your 17th century Jacobean wool embroidered hangings.Details…Details….


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