La Belle Vie en France

Our journey into purchasing and rennovating our fermette in the South West of France

After a relaxing weekend, our newly installed Fosse Septic was due its installation commissioning by SPANC before being covered over with soil. So, early (08.00) on Monday morning, Mr. SPANC arrived and his inspection was carried out together with the obligatory discussions and photography to certify our Fosse as ‘Conforma’. That same day, all the documents and photos were sent to the SPANC offices to be signed off. We are pleased to announce that we can now officially and legally use our Toilette in France!! And we have a piece of paper to prove it.

As a result of filling in the large hole which formed our Epandage and levelling off the ground, we have a lovely flat new terrace in the garden instead of a steep slope. This then led to another idea which was to landscape the remainder of the garden on the side of the house so that we could have another nice area on which to sit and have al fresco dining without having to sit at an angle! After much discussion with our friend Nathan, he and his digger agreed to come back later the same week to create an additional terrace at the side of the house. This area will eventually be grassed and have shrubs planted around the border. Nathan began the task of removing a very large oak stump that was left behind from the huge oak tree we had felled back in January. This task alone took over 2-3 hours to dig up with his 3T digger, a spade, and a chainsaw. After much perseverance and just plain bloody-mindedness, the stump and roots eventually lifted out of the ground and rolled down the hill at the rear of the garden into the wood. We’ve been advised to leave it there and let the weather get into it, which will make it easy in two years to dismantle if we wish to, but who knows, it might make a great feature for the birds or even some chickens!

Removing a troublesome tree stump

Now the Fosse has been finished and before Nathan coming back, we started to tidy up the garden. Whilst Mandy went shopping, I spent the day fighting the terrain with a stump grinder and rotavator to tidy up and clear out the gully at the edge of our garden., ready to plant a mixed hedge of Photinia and Laurels.

Our friend Pete wanted some squiggly oak legs for the base of a table he was making out of the rounds I gave him a few weeks prior, and whilst tidying up, I found some logs which were perfect for said table legs. After a quick visit from Pete and a flash of the chainsaw, the legs for his tables were ready.

Throughout and to the end of that week, the weather continued to be warm and sunny. We celebrated my birthday with Pete and Colin coming around for lunch and much of the afternoon, ensuring they were home by bedtime. Yes, in France we are still enduring a curfew of 18.00 hours and there is currently no sight of it ending, on the positive side, at least we are not in a very restrictive lockdown. Mandy, once again excelled herself by cooking a lovely steak and being the wonderful hostess that she is. Once the birthday celebrations were over, on the Sunday afternoon I began cleaning my LUREM combination woodworking machine in the workshop. After cleaning and polishing the top, I started to practice using the machine by milling a piece of rough oak lumber. All is going well, and I still have all my fingers and thumbs……. just.  It won’t be long before my workshop will be producing wood items for our house and garden to utilise.

Two weeks ago, Mandy and I helped another couple to move a new beam for their work van into their workshop. After much heavy lifting, the 6 metre Douglas Fir beam was placed in its temporary home. We decided then to visit Clive and Jo for a quick coffee and a chat. Well…… a good couple of hours later we eventually get back home. Mandy then decided she wanted to show me the local plant nursery (1/2 an hour away) that she had been told about and from which she bought the Laurel/Photinia hedging. After a drive in the French countryside, our not very local plant nursery appeared on the horizon behind a lovely chateau. And with the lovely weather, it turned out to be a wonderful afternoon spent with each other doing what we like to do as well as enjoying the French countryside at the same time. By the time we got home……poof, the day was gone!

At the beginning of last week, the weather looked to be like another glorious French Spring week. I popped out to do some household chores, but on my return home to complete those chores, our local farmer managed to scupper my plans. Guillaume, our farmer friend has had our felled trees in his pasture land for the last month and he’s at the stage now where he wished to put his ‘Vaches’ into the said field now that the weather was improving. Guillaume turned up with new fencing and barbed wire ready to reinstall his new fence.  I was sharing that duty.  We both began clearing up the last of the branches and bought them from the field, placing them on our ever-growing pile of tree branches at the rear of the Well waiting to be chipped.  Whilst removing the remainder of the branches, twigs, and leaves, etc, and following a previous conversation, Guillaume decided the time was right to also removed the trees from across the road but directly in front of the house. We now have a clear path to the Sun.

At this point, thought should be spared for Mandy, who single handedly prepped the newly created terrace ready for sowing grass seed by de-stoning, rotavating, and endlessly raking the soil so that it was level, and because she is such a trooper 95% of the terrace was completed the same day.  Albeit and being a perfectionist, couldn’t help herself……the following day she continued to pluck stones and level the ground………… I must say a big thank you to my lovely, and tell her that she is ‘one in a million!!’

Guillaume and I finished installing the fence after a couple of days! I have to be honest, during this experience of French workmanship, I have concluded that there were some very dodgy health and safety practices going on, especially working at height with a pole pruning saw and power cables whilst stood in the bucket of a tractor. Please no comment!!! Now that the fence is up and the bank semi cleared, it now looks like a wonderful area to plant wildflowers and even some wild garlic. Permission already sought from our friendly farmer Guillaume. I just need to finish tidying up the tree stumps on the side of the bank, then Mandy is free to do her thing. The pasture field is now ready for his cattle to be bought up from the winter field to his Spring and Summer fields.

I finally got round to planting the laurel and Photinia hedge which had been sitting in their marked spot for nearly a week. As Mandy’s line was a bit wonky, I scrubbed her line out and marked out a brand-new boundary ready for grass seeding and shrub/flower planting. We didn’t quite make the seeding before it started to rain at the end of last week, however, there is a gap in the rain this week in which we should be able to seed the lawn.  Watch this space and find out if we achieved our goal.

This Friday (12 March) was our six-month anniversary of moving to the Correze. I know that when I say this, I also speak for Mandy…… the decisions we have taken and the journey we have and still are experiencing, have been the best thing we’ve ever done, besides getting married of course. If any of our readers ever get the opportunity to do what we’ve done, we would seriously recommend it.  Giving up the rat race and moving abroad has reduced stress levels, reduced noise pollution, and, by joining the slower pace of life has brought a sense of peacefulness that comes with relaxing in the sun and listening to nothing more than nature and the world going by.

The weekend was topped off with Guillaume and his wife Noura coming around on Saturday afternoon for an aperitif, a few nibbles and to watch Le Rugby Wales v Italy. A good time was had by all and it was the perfect opportunity to practice franglais, broken French/English on our side and broken English/French on their side. With the help of Google Translate on both sides, we had an amazing laugh.

As is customary in our blog, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer. “Dry January and February” are now over and whilst it was fun, like everything else in life it must come to an end.

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Since our last blog, we have been extremely busy in the garden and surrounding woodland. It’s amazing how fast the last two weeks have gone, but so much has been done. The most important thing for us at the moment is that the weather seems to have changed for the better and Spring appears to be on its way. The weather has generally been above 14℃ in the day with a peak at 20℃ at one stage; clear blue beautiful sunny skies that one could quite easily forget that it’s only February!

Wood cutting in the farmers field and behind the Well continues and with the help of an extra pair of hands (tree surgeon lent me one of his guys for the day), this task is now finally coming to an end. Last Friday our local cheerful farmer finally started moving the cut-up trees from behind our Well, allowing me to further process it over the coming months. It looks like we will have enough chippings for our allotment, and some……. given the size of the mound of branches moved from the field to our land that now needs chipping, which is in addition to our already huge pile of chippings we already have. What was planned to be only a couple of weeks has turned into a month and still is not finished. Fingers crossed, the last of the trees will be brought down from the farmers field by the end of next week.

Our friend Pete wanted to put his hands to wood making, and wants to make a wooden table or two for his back garden and as our trees were rather large in diameter and circumference, he asked if he could have a round or two.  So, I have cut him two from the base of one of our felled oak trees and at the same time have promised not to copy his design……. it’s rather a nice design too. It will be interesting to see what comes out of his workshop in a couple of years once the rounds have dried out so he can use them.

After the farmer helped to dig out the drainage channel at the side of our road last month, work has continued on maintaining the channel by the road again as it refilled with silt after the rain and run off from his field.

Now that the back garden is clear of trees, we have started to clear the gully to the side of our land which adjoins the garden. We cleared years of fallen, rotten branches, acorns and leaves, brambles and goodness know what else, of which, most went through the chipper, hence more chippings.

There is still a lot to do in the back garden.  There are piles of larger rounds and the stumps left to grind and clear away, but we are getting there slowly, in between doing other jobs.

Mandy has bought some lovely Laurel and Photinia hedging shrubs for the gully, and once planted will grow into a wonderful colourful well-manicured hedge which will run down the entire side of the gardne where there is currently an empty space where the huge trees have been felled.

The main event for last week has been the installation of the Fosse Septic for all our waste water as we are not on the mains drainage system, being so rural here in France. Nathan along with his digger and dumper truck arrived early last Monday morning to start the work in earnest.  The day did not get off to a great start as the digger decided not to start and he ended up calling a friend Clive who happened to live 10 mins away from us. After getting the digger started and a good old natter work commenced, at the same time it turned out that Clive and his wife Jo viewed our house a couple of months before we did, but weren’t keen on the cellar as it was flooded when they saw the house.  Instead, they bought a complete renovation project about two miles away.

During the week I became Nathan’s labourer to help him out as he was on his own, and by close of play on Monday our old fosse had been removed and the new one fitted and connected to the house.  We only had to cross our legs for 6 hours, but then all our facilities were back up and running. The remainder of the week involved the installation of the 60 square metre filtration system called an epandage (spreading) in France which Mr SPANC insisted we had due to our surrounding trees and the layout of the land. It was one seriously large hole, which at one point Mandy asked if we could change our minds and have a swimming pool instead ha! ha! So, this was not the multiple traditional trenches but one huge trench with multiple pipes running through. The up side to this is that we get somewhere level to pitch a tent on for any guests that wish to visit us and more importantly Mandy gets a level area for here swimming pool to go on and stay out all summer!

This week has been a mixed week with regard to outdoor equipment. On Monday I managed to break the stump grinder as two bolts sheared in half whilst grinding a stump, after rummaging around in the dirt I managed to find the tungsten carbide tooth and the remainder of the bolts.  Wednesday I got the pouring mechanism for the chain oil bottle replaced after it sheared off whilst refiling a chainsaw.

Towards the end of the week, I then managed to break my built-in ear protection on my Stihl chainsaw helmet. With Nathan’s dumper truck and my stuff going belly up, I think it must have been a week for breaking things. To add to the sorry, Nathan’s car broke down on his way home on Friday evening as well. After searching the internet for a replacement part and not finding what was needed, I was not looking forward to spending lots of money on a new helmet. But on a good note, I managed to fix the pole pruner after the mice had chewed their way through the chain oil tank on the end of the pruner, and am so glad they invented epoxy resin, as this has saved us potentially a few hundred euros for a new head.

On Saturday which was again a glorious day, we went out armed with the sheared bolts from the stump grinder and a list of Sthil spares and headed down to Uzerche, and our local Doussards for replacement Sthil parts, and we couldn’t believe how cheap they were, only in France. We then ventured out to a little town called Seilhac which is about 30 minutes away, and found a farming shop which was recommended us, where it was believed we could get replacement bolts for the stump grinder.  After much debate and dithering/deliberating on my part, we finally purchased the bolts and some spare in case others sheared off.  It turned out the bolts were the correct size and fitted perfectly. I went around all the bolts and tightened them all back up as they were loose. Now the stump grinder was up and running again, I decided to finish off the job I’d started on Monday.

By the end of the week the right-hand side of the garden was looking very different prior to the week before. We have one more day of carnage left, I say carnage but in reality, it’s putting everything back as it should be.  Filling in the humungous hole, levelling the surrounding land, using the left-over soil to bank the rear of the garden and make it slightly longer, this of course can only happen once the obligatory authority (SPANC) inspection goes according to plan at 08.00 hours on Monday morning.

The crafting elf is still busy crafting in her spare time, crafting away. When she’s not in the garden or out shopping here in South West of France hunting that elusive bargain for the house/garden, she working hard on stocking up her Etsy shop. Her wonderful creations can be on her Etsy store!! The store is taking shape and I am sure that soon enough it will be filled with further crafting goodies for you to buy. Whilst you are there get your friends to have a look too and spread the love! Next on the agenda for Correzienne Crafts will be a Facebook Shop, which I am sure will make its debut sometime in March.

This busy fortnight was topped off with a visit to a local lake (Sunday) which has a manmade beach and swimming area.  It’s predominantly a fishing lake and has a campsite on the perimeter.  The lake has a lovely path that one can walk around and lots of picnic benches to stop and take in the views. Due to the current restrictions these facilities are closed but the walk around the lake was still open. It was a clear beautiful day and the dogs had a lovely time jumping in and out of the lake and exploring around the 3 kms walk. On our return to the van, the camping chairs and picnic were brought out, and a fitting end to a lovely walk……… sat by the lake having some food and watching the world go by. It reminded us of why we moved to France and reaffirmed that it was the best thing we had ever done together, apart from get married of course!!

As is customary in our blog, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another cup of tea, as “Dry January” has now merged into February.

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a like, follow, tweet or Subscribe!!

More of our blogs can be found on our blog page

Thank you for following us!!

Life here in the Correze has pretty much remained the same as previous weeks in terms of the weather and tasks around the grounds of our mini chateau. The man cave received a good clear out and reorganisation in preparation of my new toy which arrived on Tuesday. We have been waiting for this arrival since the beginning of the year. At the start of the week the weather continued its recent theme of the last few weeks and started out rather cold and very drizzly, which made for a perfect day for me to give the man cave a good clean out and reorganisation. It’s amazing how messy the cave gets given how small it is, but since the second week of December I haven’t been using it as the weather has been far too cold.

Workshop Machine

My ‘Lurem 310’ wood combination machine arrived on a cold & drizzly Tuesday morning last week.  Our good friend Steve and his trusty mini digger, son and French friend managed to just about lift the machine off his van and more or less place it in front of the man cave door.  400 Kgs is heavy even for a mini digger who’s tracks lifted slightly from the strain.  Steve owns a campsite (7 km from us) which we stayed at a few years ago and which, we have remained friends with for a couple of years. He also buys and sells wood working machinery which is how I managed to purchase this lovely industrial combination wood machine.

Lifting the machine from his van proved to be difficult, quite tricky and took about 45 minutes. However, once off the van, between the five of us, managed to pull, drag and lift the machine off the road and into the workshop.  This proved to be quite easy in comparison to lifting it from the van. We tried to use an ancient Egyptian technique of rolling the machine on steel bars, but the bars weren’t long enough, so had to rely on brute strength instead!! Just as well he bought his 16-year-old son and his French mate to offer added muscle. After much toing and froing, we successfully negotiated the ramp into the man cave. All that I need now is to buy a third wheel which will allow me to move this beast around the man cave with some ease, and sort out the electrics, oh and of course the obligatory clean, and then I’m up and running and the workshop will finally be open for business.

I have spent two days cutting the trees that were felled into the farmer’s field and in the area just below the field where our well sits. One of the felled trees landed along the farmers fence line which caused me some problems trying to break it up into manageable segments. As the trees get smaller the piles for chipping and firewood get larger.  

The weather, yesterday (Monday) and today has taken a turn for the better with temperatures reaching double figures, blue sky and lots of sun. Albeit there are still some clouds about for the sun to hide behind, but generally it’s been lovely and it could be mistaken for being more like April weather than February. My work in the field was rudely, but pleasantly interrupted by something you virtually never see in suburban Britain, our local farmers’ herd of Limousin Beef Cattle making their merry way down the hill to the bottom fields, having earlier in the morning made their merry way up the hill to have their routine blood tests at the farm.

Rush Hour Traffic in France
Bird on the bird box

Back in October, we made some bird boxes and put them up on some oak trees a little way from the house where we have been clearing the ground for the allotment. To our delight, it’s been Good News!! We have seen some bluetits investigating one of the boxes, flying in and out. We are keeping our fingers crossed that they will use the box and later in spring will see some baby tits making their way in the world. We shall be keeping an eye on the box over the coming weeks and shall keep you updated. Whilst writing this blog, Mandy has sourced a Nature Camera in which to film the birds. Roll on next week when I have to put it up in just the right spot, a front seat view of the bird box.

For the latter part of last week, the weather managed to stay dry and bright. Despite being cold (1 degree), the tree surgeon and his crew returned on Saturday morning to finish the job they started three weeks ago. To fell the last four oak trees and to release an oak that got hung on some other rather large trees on the other side of the road. In total, we requested and paid for 17 trees to be felled, but ended up having 20 felled. The amount of light and sun that now shines onto our garden is amazing and of course on the other side of the house, the allotment benefits greatly from the extra light too. It took 4 hours to fell 4 trees, and the reason it took so long was the they were dangerously close to the house.  They were leaning over and therefore had to been strapped and winched in the opposite direction to avoid them crashing down on our roof. The tree surgeons made light work of this and were a huge laugh too. They are a highly professional and courteous team which we would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone who wishes to have tree work carried out, of course, that’s providing you live in France.

The company that felled our trees very kindly offered the use of one of their men last Monday to help me complete the breaking down of the trees in the farmer’s field and along the hedge.  He was invaluable and a great help to me. Now that this job is complete, all I have to do is to ask the farmer, who offered us his services, to collect all the smaller bits with his tractor and bring them down to our land so we can chip. We have given him the trees trunks that were felled in his field to do with whatever he wishes, whether it be wood for burning, selling on, or making furniture with, it’s up to him.

Timber!!!

The end of a busy week was topped off with a wonderful Sunday Lunch at our friend Pete’s in Chamberet. We had the company of Colin, (Mandy’s ex-boss), and Fred and Isabelle. A French couple who spoke reasonably good English, although did all end up speaking the local dialect of Franglaise, a curious mixture of French, English and hand gestures.  Fred plays the guitar in a band called Honkey Tonk Men, and our local farmer, Guillaume who plays the drums in the same band. We even managed to get a guest appearance from Pete’s wife, Linda, who zoomed in from Dubai.

Mandy has been busy crafting and this week has been crocheting bath mats. These and other wonderful creations are on her Etsy store!! The store is taking shape and I am sure that soon enough it will be filled with further crafting goodies for you to buy.

As is customary in our blog, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another cup of tea, as “Dry January” has now merged into February.

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a like, follow, tweet or Subscribe!!

That’s another week over with here in the Correze. Time just seems to fly by, even though we have both retired and have all the time in the world to do what we want there just never seems to be enough. This week has been very similar to last week in regards to weather and activity. A wet start, good middle and a wet end.

This week has been mainly taken up by the cutting up two trees felled at the back of the well. The largest section of the trunk is still to be cut as I was rudely interrupted by the torrential rain. Utilising the new wedges, I purchased last week has made the whole process a little easier. By using the wedges to separate the tree as I cut, not only makes the process quicker but also has stopped the chainsaw from getting trapped as the cut can close behind the chainsaw. Depending on how the trunk is laying on the ground and the ground level itself, which here is quite step for the most part.

Prior to getting the trees cut, we set about chipping the massive holly tree and bushes that had to be cut away, so access could be gained by the tree surgeon. After a little swearing and cursing at being pricked by holly leaves and getting caught up in it, we managed get it all chipped in a couple of hours. We then moved the pile of chippings over the road to the main pile, which will be spread out for the allotment. In between cutting up felled trees and chipping we are also managing to keep the firewood topped up in between the good and bad weather.

Mandy is busy crafting and this week has been knitting cowls. She also made me a beanie and three other beanies. These are and other wonderful creations are on her Etsy store!! Less my beanie. The store is slowly taking shape and I am sure that within a few weeks it will really take off and be full of lots of crafting goodies for you to buy. Mandy’s polystyrene mannequin heads (male and female) arrived from amazon this week, she will be using them for her photographs to display hats/beanies on Etsy. Harley did not know what to do with himself as the heads sat on the dining room table. He was up and down on the chair, growling at the heads and then running away. Things soon settled down after a couple of hours. He still does not know what to make of them but now ignores them.

We have now got all our pieces for the roof guttering to be placed on the rear of the house. Hopefully we will get a big enough break in the weather to put it up and stop the rear garden getting flooded. Hopefully we will be able to tie the whole process in with ethe fosse installation so we can get a drainage channel dug using a digger instead of by hand.

The return of the Six Nations has bought some relief to this rugby mad household who to be quite frank have been having rugby withdrawal symptoms after the Autumn Nations Cup.  On further exploration of our new French tv decoder, we have manged to find a weekly Pro14 highlights programme to watch. All that is left is to get the cycling coverage sorted and we will be full steam ahead for our sports fix in between jobs around the house and grounds.

As is customary in our blog, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another cup of tea, as “Dry January” has now merged into February.

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a like, follow, tweet or Subscribe!!

More of our blogs can be found on our blog page Thank you for following us!!

The weather here in the Correze is a bit hit and miss at the moment. There have been spells of dry and sunny hours, then like Jekyll and Hyde, sudden downpours of constant rain, which makes working outside a bit of a hit and miss affair. Luckily for us, after the busy end to last week with all the tree felling, the first half of this week was ok to work outside.

On a bright and dry Monday morning Mandy and I set off to the back garden to tackle the felled trees, making them more manageable and moveable. We spent all day cutting down the trees to smaller stumps and delimbing the branches. After organising into various piles, firewood pile for burning, and smaller branches for chipping and placing on our allotment. By the end of the day and a few aching muscles later, we managed to clear two large oak trees into separate piles for processing later.

Tuesday was a repeat of Monday and we ended up clearing the massive Pine tree and half of the Chestnut tree. The whole process was a big learning curve for us both in terms of how the dissect trees when they’re on the ground. Learning how to chainsaw correctly so as not to get the chainsaw stuck in the trunk when it sinks on cutting and closing the cutting gap.  To correctly dissect a tree, one should start at the top of the tree and work their way to the base of the trunk, this way, the branches support the trunk keeping it in place as one works to the end of the tree.

Wednesday was one of those days when the drizzle just didn’t stop all day. For a change, we decided that we would clear all the branches that were piled up in the designated allotment area and put through the chipper, building three rather large piles of wood chipping.

As the upcoming replacement fosse is due very soon, we were asked to move a huge pile of firewood and breeze blocks, so that a drainage area could be dug when Mr. Fosse gentleman arrives.  It didn’t take long and once that was complete, we moved onto moving 60 breeze blocks.  The last things we still need to relocate are the compost bins.  One is full of horse manure and the other two have rotten veg and grass in them, which are nearly composted down fully.

Whilst Mandy was moving the wood pile, I started cutting more wood from the exact same pile, obviously lessoning the amount of wood she had to move.  We finally used all the wood the farmer gave us and the remainder of the left-over wood from 2019. Not bad since our fire has been none stop since 1 December last year. We are now into the 24 stere of wood that we purchased at the end of September last year.

By the end of the day, lots of work had been achieved to include moving all the newly cut wood in to the house, which seems to be burning rather nicely and keeping us very warm indeed.

The remainder of the week has been somewhat slower than the first half. The weather took a turn for the worse and generally has been pretty much constantly raining until Saturday. We decided that we would relax a little after a busy couple of days and just unwind. Other than going shopping, buying the fencing for the front of the allotment, (a whooping 60 meters), crocheting, purchasing replacement parts for the chainsaws, fuel, oil, tree wedges and keeping the house warm, we haven’t done much else. Whilst we probably should have pushed through the rain, and an earlier version of us probably would have, but we have retired and decided that it can wait until another day, when we won’t get cold, wet, achy and miserable.

The most important thing that happened this week was that Mandy got her first sale through her Etsy store!! Well done Mandy and keep up the good work! More sales will come.

As is customary in our blog, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another cup of tea, as it is January and both of us have gone “Dry January”.

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a like, follow, tweet or Subscribe!!

More of our blogs can be found on our blog page Thank you for following us!!

Since our last blog about the dog’s life in rural France, it has remained slow and tranquil except for the last 3 days which have been fun, lively and well, pretty much full on. We will come to that later.

After what seemed an age, but in fact was only about 10 days, the snow and ice finally disappeared. It disappeared everywhere else quicker than in our location, but we weren’t too bothered that it stayed with us a few extra days. However, this did make driving conditions a little precarious to say the least. One cold morning the local district nurse came knocking on our door and was speaking far too fast for us to understand, but turned out she had gotten her car stuck. I donned my warmest gear, followed her down the hill to see what all the fuss was about. She had managed to get herself stuck in the ice and snow. After a few minutes of digging, and explaining (in my not so good French) not be too heavy on the accelerator, and pushing at the same time, she was finally free and away to see the old man at the back of the hamlet. Albeit the ‘not so heavy on the accelerator’ didn’t seem to ‘comprehend’, and she snaked all the way to the top of the hill. A few days later, she presented us with a lovely box of chocolates which was very kind of her.

Now that the snow and ice has moved on, it has been replaced with rather cold temperatures and a significant amount of rain. The type of rain reminds me of the times I spent in Sennybridge, where the rain was so fine, coming from all angles and rendering me soaked through to the bone within minutes. We are however, getting some sunnier, drier days where the sun is reasonably warm brightening up all our spirits, even the animals.

We have pretty much remained in the dry and warmth of the cottage with the log stove burning away in the back ground. Things on the crafting front for Mandy’s small crafting business is moving forward slowly. She is making some stock and has advertised one item on her new Etsy shop which is currently live. More items will be advertised very soon.  We have both even tried our hand at bead jewellery making which is not as difficult as it seems.  Mandy has made some great stuff to sell.

Down in the man cave, limited progress has been made due to the cold weather and having no heater to keep me warm. On the bright side though, I have managed to get my brand-new chainsaw fixed at no cost. The chain tensioner mechanism had got stuck due to over tightening as a result of metal expansion. The mechanism to tighten and untighten the chain by the user is plastic so once its stuck you need a special tool to release it. The man in the Stihl shop sorted me out and said was a common problem!

Over the last few days, we have been non-stop, the land around our house has started to take on a new look and feel. We have had a tree surgeon in and a two-man crew to fell some trees for us. I have been working as a groundsman for them to keep the cost down, they fell, I chop and clear away. It’s looking like this may lead to some further work…paid as well.

The true hero of the 3 days was Mandy, who kept everyone in the team supplied with hot tea and coffee even when the rain was hammering down and the wind was blowing a gale, never forgetting to be the perfect hostess.  She even provided bacon and egg baps each day, but on the second day they all got a full English breakfast before work started.

In the last couple of days, we have also moved into the 21st Century and finally upgraded our internet to fibre broadband and French TV. After running on ADSL for last couple of months and nearly dying from either boredom or stress from the ‘slower than the old days of dial-up internet in the early 2000’s’, things now do seem to be a lot better, and the average upload for our blog pictures is now taking a few moments rather than a couple of hours.    

Van outside a house

Finally, it has been a sad day and a happy day yesterday (Saturday), we picked up our French Registration plates for the van and packed away the British number plates. Slowly and surely, we are becoming more French. Just a residency card and a French driving licence to sort out and then we are good to stay forever. French bureaucracy is not the fastest and that’s putting it bluntly, however once you understand this, and adapt to the French ‘way’, it becomes far less stressful and annoying. As we have found out in France, it’s all paperwork, paperwork, paperwork and expect to send documents multiple times to achieve your end goal. That’s the French way!!

As is customary in our blog, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another cup of tea, as it is January and both of us have gone “Dry January”.

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Every week you get to hear about the antics of what us humans get up to, or not as is the case recently. We thought we would mix it up a little and introduce our three dogs which came on this adventure with us. So, without any further ado, lets meet them………

Bacchus

Bacchus was born on 25th December 2016 (yes he’s a Saint), and moved in with us on 19th February 2017.

Bacchus is an English Working Cocker Spaniel, a gundog breed.  He is an amazing fetcher true to his gundog spirit. Gundogs can either be fetchers (they fetch the game that has been shot for the gamekeeper) or flushers (they spend most of the time with the nose to the ground sniffing out the game with the beaters).

He will run all day long and fetch the ball when it is thrown for him, only trouble is he won’t give it back to you. Looks like we need to get some more training in for this lad. Out of the three dogs Bacchus is the more reserved gentleman. So much that his nickname is “Lord Bacchus” which depicts his gentle, kind, respect nature!! He adores a cuddle and takes prime spot on the sofa, when we let him!!

Hudson

Hudson was born on 18th May 2017 and moved in with us on 4th July 2017. He is Bacchus’s half-brother; they have the same dad and their mums are sisters. Chalk and Cheese comes to mind.

Hudson is also an English Working Cocker Spaniel. He is a hard wired flusher and occasional bird chaser. He will flush all day and is not interested in a ball; he does though love to spend hours on end in the summer flushing/watching the lizards, he’s a very busy dog doing his own thing. He never sleeps during the day, always up and down and always in your face, in your coffee, in your shopping bags, in the cats food given half the chance and even cat flaps! He is truly a special dog as he is very slow in development terms due to getting his stuck whilst his mom gave birth.  But as our special dog, we love him all the same.

Harley

Harley was born on 2nd February 2019 and moved in with us on 5th April 2019.

Harley is also an English Working Cocker Spaniel. He is a flusher and a fetcher…he loves flushing out animals and is mad for a ball, he can fetch a ball all day long. Due to his small stature this dog can move, hence his nickname “midget man”.

Harley is unrelated to Bacchus and Hudson, and is from no pedigree line but comes from actual working stock and you can tell. When we first moved to France, he stalked patiently and reaped the rewards……. a mouse! Harley is a lively little chap but when it’s time to rest and relax with “one eye open”, he can be found with his head right up next to the wood burning stove on the hearth. Thus, earning himself a second nickname “hot dog”.

Feeding Habits

All three of our dogs are raw feed and they love it. Their coats and health are amazing as its all-natural food with no chemicals or preservatives thrown in. However sometime this can be a little testing for the humans in the house especially when its green tripe for breakfast!

What’s with their Names?

Like all perspective parents and new animal owners, the conversation one day got round to puppy names. We went through a long list and this is what we came up with:

Bacchus – Named after a Roman God. Bacchus is the God of agriculture, wine and fertility. Given his nature we think that this fits him perfectly.

Hudson – Hudson got his name from our friend Steve. Steve had just become a Grandad, and his grandson was called Hudson. We liked the name so much that we called our dog it. The simplest of name choices. Don’t worry we’re still friends with Steve.

Harley – He is a little live wire, we decided, Harley after the branded motorbike “Harley Davidson” was appropriate. It’s also in keeping with his two brothers Harvey and Hooper, The three H’s. His brothers were bought by my ex-boss Lisa and that’s another story in itself.

All three dogs are our loyal companions and we would not be without them! Even on days when they can be testing.

So, there you are, you have met the dogs! Maybe the cats might get a mention all of their own.

As is customary in our blog, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer.

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a like, follow or tweet!!

More of our blogs can be found on our blog page

Thank you!!

Woman walking her dogs in the snow

2020 has been and gone, and we are into a new year, 2021. Now that 2021 is upon us, we all ask the same questions……Will it be any better than the last year?  Who knows; besides COVID-19, it will be what we all make it to be? Many will be thankful that 2020 is over, and I think we speak for everyone, that we all hope 2021 sees an improvement of the pandemic around the world and a reduction in the lockdown/restrictions being seen everywhere.

Back in 1992, the Queen made a historic speech which described the year as “annus horribilis”, I think that she may have got it wrong and it was actually last year!

The week running up to Christmas was slow, quiet and calm. No rushing around preparing Christmas food for guests, as it was just the two of us.  We had the full Turkey Christmas Dinner, but no Christmas pudding (Yuck!!).  Animals had the raw version of Christmas dinner, turkey, vegetables and a fresh raw egg on top (Christmas Dinner Tartar).

Between Christmas and New Year, we saw no-one, we hunkered down with the fire on everyday….well who wouldn’t when the outside temperatures is between -1℃ and 4℃ , and that’s during the day.  Night time temperatures have been between -2℃ and -5℃. Brrrr!!!

On New Year’s Day our friends Peter and Colin came around for Turkey curry and watched Troy on Netflix.

On 2 January we went for a walk with the dogs around the 5km (3mile) loop. We took in numerous hamlets in the local area, and remembered to take photos this time.

  • Local barn on top of the hill
  • Woman in a field
  • Farmer Field
  • Dogs playing in the field
  • Two Dogs in a Field
  • Stone house in La Roche
  • Brook running through farmers field
  • Brook running through the farmers field
  • Street sign of La Roche
  • Woman walking her dogs
  • Stone Gite
  • Stone with place name painted on
  • Bird of prey sat on a fence post in a farmers field
  • Straight Road
  • Road Sign
  • Woman walking her dogs
  • Husband and Wife smiling for the camera
  • woman pointing at a sign

This morning, 3 January was a complete surprise to us, we woke to pure whiteness outside.  Two weather stations were checked, and rechecked, nope nothing is mentioned about having snow, but yes, surprise, surprise, it snowed last night and for a lot of today.  What more could a cocker spaniel want………snow………snorkelling in snow……………running and slipping in snow………. Yippee. The temperature didn’t get much above 0℃.  We took lots of photos for this blog. As the day wore on, the snow stayed, the sky turned from pinkie white to brilliant blue and the sun showed its face too.  A wonderful end to the day.

  • Snow on the road
  • Snow on the road under the motorway
  • Snow on the road
  • Snow on the road
  • View of the house from the side
  • Snowy House in the woods
  • House in the Snow
  • Woman walking her dogs
  • Farmyard
  • Cows feeding in the snow
  • Wood with snow
  • Woman walking her dogs in the snow
  • Woman in a field
  • snowy dogs
  • Snow on the road
  • Barn in the snow
  • Barn in the snow
  • Dogs playing in the field
  • Woman walking her dogs in the snow
  • Woman walking her dogs
  • Snow on the road
  • Snow on the road
  • Snow on the road

Mandy is busy crocheting away still and I’m now finished our blog until another day.

As is customary in our bloc, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer.

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a like, follow or tweet!!

Thank you and Happy New Year!!

Well, time certainly seems to fly especially as we are retired. Some days we literally do not know where the day has gone and what we have done. But you know that’s life and we shall just keep pottering on.

Since our last post, the weather has taken a turn for the worst and has become cold and damp. We have even managed a small yet short flurry of snow. Given all of the rain we have had in December I am surprised that any lay on the ground.

Mandy has opened up a small crafting business and I have spent much of the time learning how to create web pages and run them. In fact, that’s where the time has gone. The business can be found here; www.artisantcorrezienne.fr and is called Correzienne Crafts. She is still in the very early days of the business and is currently sat next to me crocheting a snood so they can go on the online store. So why not go and check it out and also my guest blogging on the history of crochet and macrame!! I never knew I had it in me to blog about such things. We also are on Facebook and Instagram; links can be found on the home page of our site.

On the Covid front, France has now moved into a curfew stage to try and reduce infections. So, the dreaded form has now gone and we can go about our business as normal but must be home and tucked up in bed by 8pm every night! Over the festive period only Christmas eve has the curfew been lifted. New Year will be slightly different than normal, but for us older folk it will be situation normal.

After a little searching and plucking up the courage to have a difficult conversation in French to get registered with a doctor, we have succeeded! That means Mandy is now registered and has got her prescriptions initiated in France and is now in the French health care system! Which given our limited French was no small achievement. It also helped that the doctor spoke English. A massive relief there!

Christmas at Chez Adams was a quiet affair this year and we stayed home and have not visited any one this time. Mandy and Lynda visited the local Christmas market in Uzerche and had a lovely time, especially as Lynda was not due to be home at Christmas due to work commitments.

So I suppose for now that is us caught up and as the communications director of Mandy’s enterprise (unpaid) and this blog writer I must get my finger out and keep you all up dated as to our progress.

As is customary in our blog, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer.

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a follow, tweet or like!!

Thank you!

This week has been much slower than normal here in the sunny Correze. The weather has been glorious considering that it’s the end of November and beautiful clear skies plus nice and warm (15-18℃). But looking at the weather forecast it looks like this may be coming to an end as we enter December! I am sure there will be some more glorious winter dates to come……this is the Correze after all.

It’s been a busier week in the workshop than normal after installing the cat flaps and making signs informing the locals that there are kittens about and to drive slowly. The garden got a new bench and makes a great addition especially when tea breaks come. We also have been making bird boxes for the local wildlife. Mandy’s new roses also arrived which meant four new planters had to be made. The wood for our shutters has finally been milled to the right thickness, however work on them might start in the new year. Our friend Steve who owns a campsite with his wife Sharron (which we stayed at before) kindly agreed to mill them for us. Check out their website if you are thinking of visiting this part of the world, you won’t be disappointed we weren’t! For those who like workshops, you should check out Steve’s! Workshop envy.

The cat flaps are in and it has taken the cats a while to pluck up the courage to wonder out, today they ventured into the pig style (Man Cave) and the barn and had great fun running across the roof (attic) of the house. This was somewhat confusing for the dogs who could hear footsteps above them but couldn’t understand what was making the noise.

The three dogs and cats are getting along very well together and are often found snuggled up on the sofa or in front of the fire. They have really taken with each other. The animals are all over our Facebook page so why not go and check them out.

As is customary in our bloc, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer. 

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a like, follow or tweet!!

Thank you

The woodchopping has reached a milestone since the last post. We have finally managed to cut 50% of our wood purchase and only another 12 stere to go. Thankfully we have enough ground to store it but sometimes when you look at it you do wonder……. Do I? So far, apart from a lot of petrol used it has cost some free time and two chains for the chainsaw, which has been performing exceptionally well considering the amount of firewood and trees it’s cut in the last 8 weeks. However, that did not stop me from having an impulse buy last week. Yes, I went and bought a new Sthil chainsaw, chain and file sharpening set! Much to the joy of Mandy who know is excited about gaining the old smaller chainsaw we were originally using. Best she gets kitted out with the correct PPE!

The weather continues to be glorious and mild during the day with beautiful sunshine, whilst starting to get a bit chilly in the evening and we have even had a couple of frosty mornings. Fingers crossed the weather continues as the clear blue skies and warm sun certainly lift the spirits during “Confinement”.

The man cave has welcomed several new arrivals in the last month and are certainly a helpful addition to the ever-increasing list of items we wish to make. The second-hand bandsaw was a bargain, but will be a restoration project for now before it gets back into full service as it needs a clean, service and new saw blade.

The kittens are as mischievous as ever and itching to get out and explore the big wide world, but all-in good time, as we have just finished installing some cat flaps at the rear of the house so they are directed away from the road in front of the house. Whilst we know it won’t stop them from crossing the road, we can try to keep them from it as much as possible. The plan is for them to be released in the next few days, after Mandy has put up some “drive carefully” signs, and I am sure they will have lots of fun. 

The three dogs are just being their normal selves and have really taken to the cats. They are enjoying their country walks and sleeping in front of the wood stove. The animals are all over our Facebook page so why not go and check them out.

As is customary in our bloc, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer. 

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a like, follow or tweet!!

Thank you!

As in most of Europe, life here continues in “Confinement” at its slow and consistent pace. Life continues on and the once quiet road at the front of the house is now even quieter. Which is great news as you can hear the bird song even more all day long.

We have for now finished clearing our allotment area and moved onto an area of waste land that was overgrown with brambles and ferns. The bush cutter this time has taken a bit of a hammering, whilst the chain saw rested peacefully in the workshop. Speaking of which, is slowly coming on, albeit has taken a back burner due to the lovely sunny dry weather we have been experiencing.  The workshop development looks like it will be my hobby when the rainy days arrive and I don’t feel like going outside.

Whilst clearing the Cherry and Hazel, overgrowth, Mandy has had plenty of practice stacking meter lengths of wood and has made a cracking job of it too! An additional 3 to 4 cubic metres of wood for burning.  The Hazel will be best used for the firepit outside.

It would be rude of me not to mention the kittens, they are doing well and recovered well from their castration/sterilisations. They are growing up to be very mischievous, so as soon as the cat flaps arrive and we install them, they will be off into the big wide world of woodland and Glis Glis. Hopefully they will catch these and some mice in the process. I am sure the pull of readily available food won’t keep them away for too long. The animals are all over our Facebook page so why not go and check them out.

As is customary in our bloc, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer. 

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a like, follow or tweet!!

Thank you!

Life continues here in the idyllic rural area of Chez Adams at its slow and consistent pace. Whilst confinement seems to be in the back ground and something that we are aware of it, so far has not really affected us and our day to day life. Habits are quickly formed when going out and ensuring that you have your “exemption certificate”.

Outside, we seem to spend most of our time clearing the ground which will eventually become our allotment whilst enjoying the exceedingly warm sunny days where the temperatures have been in the range of 15 – 19℃. Not bad for November!! Great progress has been made and we have created more space by removing trees thus gaining a better understanding of our land and what we can do with it.

So, this week our blog will mostly be a pictorial one, so you see what we have been doing. Enjoy the pictures, now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer. 

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So, if you like what you read and see, gives us a like, follow or tweet!!

Life here in lockdown or as the French put it “confinement” has not changed from a normal day for us in La Correze. Just need to remember the self-certifying certificate that we need to fill out and carry on our person when we venture out, even to walk the dogs up the road. The restrictions on the face of it seem quite restricting, only exercise within 1km or 0.65 miles from your house and you must wear a mask if you are out and about…. essential activities only. But actually, it makes sense and coupled with the French’s sense of citizenship the vast majority are abiding and even in our rural area there has been a marked reduction in traffic. Could this be, what may be described as draconian, work in the UK? I think not! The UK is all too pink and fluffy.

On another note, the chainsaw has been having a rest and we have decided that we should start clearing some land to the left of the house as you approach us. This area will become our vegetable patch and area for the chickens (we have not bought them yet!). Great progress has been made even though it’s only been a couple of days hard graft so far!

The kittens are coming on well and are very interactive with the dogs and the two seem to exist in a state of “don’t bother me and I won’t bother you”. Which is great and they don’t really mind each other. The animals are all over our Facebook page so why not go and check them out.

The local farmer came good on his promise of some fire wood, so off I went with him in his tractor and wood bailer to assist in bailing 3 cubic meters of Frances finest oak. Yes, I know more firewood, but this deal was made prior to being able to secure the 24 cubic meters earlier in October. 

Small progress is being made on the man cave but still lots to do to get it fully up and running. I have managed to get two new additions to the family (mitre saw and compressor), the latter being used extensively to clean the chainsaw and other tools in the “man cave”. Managed to get them before “Confinement” came into place and quite clearly others were having the same idea of getting essential DIY items.

So, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer. 

Maybe the title of the last blog was used incorrectly and would be more apt for the activities since the last blog. On a warm day for October without the chance of rain, we headed out to the large stack of wood and started the slow process of cutting the timber into manageable pieces.  We are cutting and stacking the wood into one metre lengths, so it is manageable and ready for the final cut into the desired lengths for the stove. In fact this activity has taken up pretty much most of the time at the moment and we are probably only a quarter of the way complete.

As there is such a large amount of timber to be stacked and seasoned it has meant that we are going to have to clear a bigger area. This meant that two trees have been felled and then I got to play with the wood chipper. “Boys and their toys”, is all Mandy can say. Talking of toys, the chainsaw is getting a hammering at the moment so we are on the hunt for a second larger chainsaw. It’s certainly true what they say “your wood should warm you twice”. 

On the plus side, we finally have been connected to the internet and the landline is in. This in itself is no major event for the twenty first century but this is France!!!!! We are slowly starting to realise that good service has a completely different meaning here than it does to the UK. The internet saga has been going on since the beginning of August and after 4 visits for connection and one thing after another, it has finally been installed and is working. The speed is not great and our mobile reception is quicker, it is working.

But it’s not all bad, the tax people were extremely helpful in getting me set up with access to my tax page so I can submit my tax return next year! Just got to love the tax man!

Of course, without mentioning the kittens would be a crime in itself. They are doing really well and settling in nicely with the dogs so much so that they are even taking over the dogs’ bed. They are all over our Facebook page so why not go and check them out.

So for now, it’s time to hang up the chainsaw, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer. 

The week here in La Correze has been a tale of two halves regarding the weather, the first was damp and cold whilst the second has turned out nice with the occasional shower. But despite the better weather, the need for fire wood to see us through the winter was still needed, despite the good intentions of the local farmer (who plays the drums in a band which you must see if you are ever in this part of the world), so a week ago I went off to the timber yard just up the road. After playing a bit of “what is the timber merchant talking about?” and why does this Englishman not speak enough “français”, the fire wood was eventually ordered and the cheque handed over. 

Well during a heavy rain spell on Wednesday morning I get a phone call from the timber yard to say that my order was being delivered in 30 minutes. The truck arrived fully loaded and the 24 cubic meters of France’s finest oak and Châtaigne (Sweet Chestnut) had arrived! After a short while the truck driver was away after some expert unloading which he managed to miss the wife’s treasured established hibiscus and the new one that we planted at the beginning of our adventure in September. All that is left to do now is to get this wood cut down and stored for winter which is going to take most of the winter by the look of it. Best get chopping!!

The Wood’s arrived!
Looks like its going to be a big task!

Now that the wood has arrived and the weather has been remarkedly cooler, it was time to sum up the courage and get up on the roof and inspect the hornets’ nest that had established itself in spring. Well it was still there but was inaccessible from above, so the decision was made to tackle this problem from the bottom. The nest happens to be in the most awkward position on the chimney next to the flue liner. After some prodding and poking from a safe distance some started to fall down. It was only then that we realised that the nest was still live and hornets where still in the nest in their cocoon and somewhere about to hatch that we had knocked down. So, we quickly stopped that job. Thankfully nobody was harmed during, but the wood burning stove will have to wait another month before it can be lit. At least that gives me a chance to get some more wood cut

With the sunnier weather at the later end of the week and into the weekend, my intentions turned to the “Man-cave”. Finally clearing out the last section to open up the space. It was now time to organise the space and move in.  By the way things are going it’s going to be a long process and may take a few weeks yet to finalise.  But the workbench is now out of the packaging and is fully up and running. I am sure that it is going to get abused over the coming years which is something that I am looking forward too. 

So, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer. 

Despite the continued rain and high winds bought on by Storm Alex, life continues at a slow pace in rural France. This cold damp spell has been delightfully warmed up by the adoption of 3 new kittens from a cat association in the next county. After a drive through the French country side, we collected these three adorable little kittens. The plan is for them to be barn cats and to drive away any mice which decided that they would like to live in our cottage.

These three kittens are Bluebell, Solo and Holly (the order in the picture). They are still a little shy and have not been introduced to the dogs as they are still a little small.

Well that was a really quick 17 days! So much has been done around the house and we have seemed to lost track of time. So where to begin, well let’s start with the weather. The permanent sunshine and hot sunny days now seem as distant memory after the last week of cold weather and rain. Autumn has definitely arrived in France and is looking glorious in all its autumnal glory despite the rain, which makes the area we live very muddy as it’s a rural spot we have chosen to relocate to.

The last of the boxes have finally been unpacked and the contents have found their resting home for now, until we decide that they need to be somewhere else. So, we have now officially move in! As all is unpacked. Out in the garden, some more planters and an herb planter have been made and planted up, the garden is starting to come along nicely with a beautiful mix of plants flowering throughout the year. That’s the plan, let’s see what mother nature decides to do. The front of the house has had a small make over with some azalea’s (beautiful white and pink) along the fence line.

Meanwhile in the barn, the mezzanine floor has been replaced. Now we have a more stable area to store garden furniture etc without having the gauntlet of standing on a floorboard without going through it. This has also generated some extra space for storage, which I am sure will be utilised at some point. Underneath the mezzanine, in the old piggery that is half way through being cleared out so the man cave come workshop can be fully set up. Which I am sure will be put to good use.

So, for now it’s time to hang up the keyboard, sit back, relax and have another bottle of my favourite beer. 

So sadly, due to the need to spend some time in our UK house in self isolation so we can finalise the sale, we have had to make our way merrily through France to reach the port of Calais. The crossing was a bit rough due to the current storm that is hitting the UK, so there was many a green face to be seen hiding behind the mandatory face mask.
Despite the crossing and the usual roadworks on all routes in and out of Dover the journey has been uneventful, if not long. As with all things British, having to fill out an additional passenger location form because we caught an earlier ferry became very frustrating especially when after several attempts it finally was received by email so we could have a copy to show. You just have to love the bureaucracy of it all and also the inadequate user interface of completing the process and then having to complete a new one instead of being able to amend the original. I am sure that someone earnt a fortune from this somewhere!!
Anyway, enough of all that, time to soak up the English weather for a couple of weeks and then we shall be doing this journey in reverse for the last time in a long while.

Whilst having a busy day in the garden trimming what is left of our lawn due to the warm weather over the summer and the fact they we have been unable to come over for the last 8 months. It appears that nunderneath a planter at the top of the garden, we appear to have a new resident in the garden.

Toadonthetable

It appears that Mr Toad has found himself a home and has taken up residency in Toad Hall. He seems to be a happy chappy sharing his surroundings with the local lizards and of course our three dogs.

It seems such along time ago since the removals arrived at our fermette, all of about 9 days. Much to our delight we have managed to empty all but 4 boxes. These will be emptied once we have created some more storage for the bedroom.

In the meantime we have been living with the heat wave and then the subsequent thunderstorms.

Today was supposed to be a rainy day, but in typical fashion it never turned out that way. We also planned to complete the move around after initial intalling some storage, as it could have been layed out slightly better. After spending the remainder of the day moving kitchen stuff from one side of the kitchen to another or bringing stuff backwards and forwards from the dining room we finally finished. this also means that tommorrow will now need to have an obligitory trip to the local tip!

Much too the delight and I would say somewhat relief, our furniture and all things that we hold dear have finally arrived at our fermette in Correze. Having spent a few frantic days making phones calls and emails to the removal company, the joy on Mandy’s face was a sight to be hold. Then we relaised it was the hottest day in August so far.

Now how do we get all of this stuff to fit in our fermette??……………….

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