Four hours of fun in France- or, my house has an attitude as big as a chateau

We now have Orange landline (sans phone right now) internet and TV (not yet set up) In the interests of complete candour, I will keep you posted as to it’s efficacy and utility…………..

I also have a few holes in the front wall

The house fought the Orange engineers every step of the way.



Confident they were, at first. We were booked into a standard two hour slot for the full works.

We stood outside and discussed where the wiring connections would go. We “walked the line “around the house  looking for optimum installation point. I already had all this sussed; inside and out. They demurred. The starting point was the existing landline box high up on front of house. I can live with that if no further wires/pipes/crap is dangled across the front of the my house; see earlier posts and the massive bill we paid to EDF to move the tangled electrical supply lines draped like grotty necklaces over the front of house) and the meter from over the toilet to a more sensible spot in the workshop.

YE (young engineer) clearly  had a hot date and was looking for an easy fix. would madam not like the wiring concealed behind the external pipework outside shower room? NO!!!!… Madam has paid a fortune to have all that rerouted internally!

I want the cable run neatly concealed under the roofline and dropped down behind the existing downspout then into corner of salon. End Of.

OE (older engineer) had apparently rewired the local chateau and village hovel was going to be a doddle. The house resisted all. Every car in Campagne came down the street and the ladder had to be moved so many times YE was in despair. OE tried every drill in his arsenal and still could not breach the stone walls or find an acceptable spot avoiding river pebbles.”This will have a rubble core inside the stone skin” quoth he confidently . “It doesn’t” I said. He soon took refuge in despair and said it couldn’t be done and they might have to come back. Oh no, not that old chestnut.

It took over four hours (the poor soul with the next appointment got postponed) several tries at several spots to breach the wall and YE virtually pushing drill through wall manually with every bit of muscle he could muster to achieve a single hole for the cable.

I did not blame the guys, the house rejects many attempts to drag it into the 21st century from a practical perspective. We need internet access and telephone service. They didn’t expect a four hour slog. How unusual are solid stone walls here? It seems most have a skin/core construction; who knew? How unusual are picky restoration stress-witches who want authenticity and the complete avoidance of plastics/synthetics where possible? Apparently they are unheard of at our budget point. Only grand houses and chateaus require sympathy and the preservation of authenticity. Don’t get me started……

They finally left. A neat job has been done with external wiring and we can now lose the old tv aerial threaded through the window frame (I wonder why…..??). The holes have all been filled.









Posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

La chambre d’amis. Guests at the French house

It’s not easy finding a battery operated light that is bright enough to steer you to the bathroom in the middle of the pitch black, light pollution free nights we have here. We have wiring, but it’s not connected up in the tulip room.

So I draped a beaded glass cover over this plastic mushroom. I hope to distract our imminent guests with the old pencil drawing of a tulip. It would distract me anyway. And I ironed the pillowcases too. I vacuumed the cobwebs and checked for loose rubble amongst the stone walls above. And what if there are all the components of a wooden staircase stacked under the bed?

Posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Interesting food and drink available in La France

OK, what are these?

Most mysterious variety of veg on the seed display. Wonder if they will go well with this bottle of Blanquette given to us by our remaining neighbours, with flakes of gold leaf in it!?

Posted in Food and wine | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

All manner of pretty things

You are going to see lots of posts like this.

If you aren’t keen, look away now; I am not at all offended if you un-follow or un-friend me or whatever it is you can un-do.

In the middle of French house restoration nightmares and dust and detritus, I need to open some boxes and look at stuff, even if I can’t put everything up, away or in it’s proper place yet.

This box has panels of patchwork Chinoiserie embroidery for bed drapes in terrace room, the hand mirror from my silver dressing table set, hand made beads, some silk tassles and tie-backs and the heavy damask door curtain for the tulip room.

Posted in Antique and Vintage finds | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

What a day!

It’s glorious here in le vrai sud de France weatherwise; perhaps not the ideal day for running around.

Down to the dechetterie with renovation detritus, all super-heavy. Then had we to get three big solid twelve foot roof joists down two flights of twisty stairs to the cave.

Answer? Tie a rope around them and lower from second floor into courtyard. Avoiding windows of course.

Then race to Carcassonne to pick up chest of drawers that is in a blog-buddy’s way and as she was kind enough to save it for us for weeks, we needed to pick it up asap.

Then back to move stuff around in cave and check on whether shower room door is “setting”.

Handy  hint- Trev experimented with biscuits rather than wood dowels/pegs on his second hand-made door. Unsuccessful so all had to come apart and be drilled and dowelled.

Just use pegs, guys


Posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France, What we did, how we did it and what we used | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Je suis obsédé par tissu, fils à coudre et passementerie

I cannot imagine that you haven’t noticed this fact.

This is why I need my Giant Vintage Woolwork Sewing  Box/Footstool. See my post-

Selfie with footstool

I decided to edit through this old sewing basket, formerly my mother’s. Not her nice old one brought into her marriage in 1948 (who knows where that one is?! I could speculate….) This one is from the mid 80’s.


I decided just to put the buttons, beads, pins, needles and other “notions” back into this one.

I thought that I had sorted through this basket when I acquired it in 1990. It was heading for the tip when I intercepted it,  as my Father could not bear to keep any of my Mother’s personal bits after her death. The contents of a life were thrown away or spread off to various family members. I won’t follow up on the rest of this story now.

Anyway, I clearly had not looked through it properly before, or I’m even crazier than I thought, because at the bottom of it was something that has solved a 27 year old family mystery…

Posted in Antique and Vintage finds | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Driza bone – or tiling by Tonto

So Trev went to war on the kitchen floor. This certainly looks like “warpaint”

(PC alert- I hope no one is offended)

In fact its the water/dust spray from his serious tile cutter. He says that the brick tiles I have chosen are made of iron .

All tiles cut ready to lay tomorrow. Too late to change my mind again now…!

So he really had no choice but have a shower and hope that my glass mosaics are fully dry . They seem OK.

AND we no longer have a sub-shower leak on the stairs!! RESult. Though now I will have to go back to mopping those damn stairs again.

Posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments