Piilu et mon potager


We have our first peapod. Yes I know, it’s only 2cm long. This is a big deal for us though.

I have never attempted to grow vegetables on a roof terrace, small pots out front or window ledges before, having had big gardens for this purpose. I bought a book purportedly on just this subject, but it did not answer any of the questions I had!

Due to the space restrictions almost all plants have a buddy in their container, which include both glazed and unglazed terracotta pots, ancient Moroccan metal planters, modern zinc containers and old enamelled tins.

I will report on the functionality and efficacy of all these options as this stuff grows.

So far we have peas with chilli peppers and sweet peppers, tomatoes, strawberries with clematis ( Piilu and a wild one I took a cutting from on the riverbank ) tarragon, rosemary, basil, coriander, parsley, buddleia, hibiscus, dipladenia, passion flower, platycodon & lilies, ( I need sage & thyme and mint and lemon verbena)

I have grown most of the above from seed and will save seed from the successful ones.

I wanted climbing courgettes but cannot find them here.

The weather down here has been gloomy and wet, unusually, but the rain has helped keep the baby plants refreshed and happy. And the sun has just come out to help progress. Watch this space.


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Bedroom decoration and refurbishment


Still no luck finding a new changeover person for the Argeles apartment, so doing that ourselves right now.

As the apartment has not been decorated for a while, and the bedroom was just a white box, we decided to bite the bullet and take off the weird bumpy wallpaper behind the bed that had, on closer inspection, an illegal layer of polystyrene behind it!!!

We also discovered that the wardrobe surround was held up ONLY by said wallpaper.

Stripping this off was no fun (as Trev’s knuckles will attest) and the wall is not perfectly flat. No matter , we repainted and I washed and brushed a soft aqua blue onto that wall.

The new/old unashamedly repro wall appliques and the 60’s hessian lampshades (French ebay-perfect for the period) work well in here; with a little attention from me using glue gun and cotton lace trim. We just need to take off the metal spring clips each side, designed to hold glass shades.


The linen double layer curtains are modern La Redoute purchases but look fine.

Next, we turned our attention to finding a small, unfussy French dressing table that would accommodate a laptop for 21st century needs. This 1930’s one came ready painted with a beautiful marble top and perfectly complements the orignal modernist 1960’s beds. Our last task was to replace the scrap of unframed mirror glass the dressing table had been on display with. I had a vintage triple mirror lying around at the house, of course.

Dressing table from Cafe Brocante Renaissence in Quillan https://www.renaissance38.com/

A little attention with some paint and a custom built mirror base made by Trev and it all coordinates. We’ve tweaked and tidied the sitting room also.



Posted in Antique and Vintage finds, Art, design and inspiration blog, What we did, how we did it and what we used | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Elvis has not yet left the building

So there we have it, grapefruit infused and bizarrely titled beer

And under eight euros!

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Flower Market in Quillan

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In which normal service is resumed

Well, almost normal. At least I can draw breath this week. I haven’t solved the technical issues affecting the day-job, but at least I have a little spare time to think  about it.

In the midst of the general chaos and frustration it was our birthdays. In  Trev’s case it was a pretty significant one.  I bought him a rather trendy watch. He loves watches, although he nearly had a medical crisis when he found out how much it will cost to service his Omega here! Don’t ask.

My gift includes a mystery outing, culminating in a trip  on “The Hermione”. Hermione

She is a reconstruction of an original French frigate built in 1779, and she will visit Port-Vendres next month . I love wooden ships, I love tall ships, I love the 18th century and I am beyond excited at the idea of this treat.

I also love beautiful things made by hand and I was overwhelmed by a gift of this amazing hand made quilt from the Bride.

If anyone would like to commission something similar I will happily pass on contact details.



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Episode 164 – Big sky

Just to reassure anyone out there who has been bemused by recent rants, I am saner and more sanguine this morning!


It has been a truly trying couple of weeks, with only an occasional bright spot, but this is how it rolls, so back to the master plan. Which might change. Again.

The apartment at Argeles-sur-Mer has one bedroom only and accommodates 2 comfortably. So, over the winter, we looked at a two-three bed 18thc fisherman’s cottage further back from the beach in Argeles town. It’s a totally different proposition and would certainly accommodate up to six  guests, thus dramatically changing our potential target audience.

The one we have viewed is in a charming little street. It does not need quite as much work as the village house; but it does need work, including a completely new staircase, kitchen and bathrooms. At least it has plumbing.  But it would be a significant project.

Anyway, as we now have guests booked into the apartment for this season, this decision  has got pushed back until later in the year. We will talk about it over the next couple of months and weigh up the pros and cons; along with the consideration we must give to the ongoing issues with me working my day job from home here. That may not be doable much longer in it’s current, more lucrative, form.

Big stuff; but as I will be probably now  be flitting back & forth to UK for a while any firm conclusion will be delayed

But look at the beach at Argeles. Why would anyone not want to holiday here?


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Big Log Part 2

I’m more than a bit grumpy this week. I’m sorry.

I feel a bit like these vines on the road from Perpignan to Campagne (D117)

Some green shoots would be in order; that glass is getting half empty again.

A raft of new problems seem to be arising now. Why is life so messy?

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