Wednesday 31 July 2013


Well 'window' actually, there's only one so far.

And it's turned the clutter into the start of something more elegant! The guys arrived on time and apart from the fact that the handles are wrong, all went well, we love it. We have ordered the kitchen window at the end to match but of course the factory is closed for August so it won't be here for a while.
I seem to have spent days taking the front door to bits and scraping inches of paint off it, filling the holes and priming the rest. At the moment I think I will return it to its dark green because there is so little left of the original house so it would be good to keep something. (One of my first thoughts on seeing the new window was how long it's going to take me to paint it :-( )
Meanwhile Him Outdoors has finished propping up the beams on his new wall in the cellar and has moved on to repairing what will be the back door.

And it's sunflower time again

Thursday 25 July 2013

More cherries

Eldest brother has reminded me of this poem by A A Milne. Christopher Robin was a big part of his childhood and was read to him a lot. My twin brother and I were/are 7 years younger so he could read to us.

A. A. Milne's Now We are Six (1927) had the following version of "Cherry stones":
Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief,
Or what about a cowboy, policeman, jailer, engine driver, or a pirate chief?
Or what about a ploughman or a keeper at the zoo,
Or what about a circus man who lets the people through?
Or the man who takes the pennies on the roundabouts and swings,
Or the man who plays the organ or the other man who sings?
Or what about the rabbit man with rabbits in his pockets
And what about a rocket man who's always making rockets?
Oh it's such a lot of things there are and such a lot to be
That there's always lots of cherries on my little cherry tree.[3]

And also that this was/is a counting song that included the bits I remembered. I remember this year, next year, sometime, never and big house, little house, pigsty, barn, but not the others.
When shall I marry?
This year, next year, sometime, never.
What will my husband be?
Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich-man, poor-man, beggar-man, thief.
What will I be?
Lady, baby, gypsy, queen.
What shall I wear?
Silk, satin, cotton, rags (or silk, satin, velvet, lace)
How shall I get it?
Given, borrowed, bought, stolen.
How shall I get to church?
Coach, carriage, wheelbarrow, cart.
Where shall I live?
Big house, little house, pig-sty, barn.

Wednesday 24 July 2013


I was asking a waitress that was serving us a delicious clafoutis with cherries what the French said instead of:

Rich man
Poor man

And get married in


Driven away from the church in

Muck cart

And they don't seem to have an equivalent. What a shame. In my memory it is mostly plumstones that you use, not cherries. Stewed plums and custard served as a bowl of custard with stewed plums spooned in the middle and then stirred into a delicious pinkness..............

A friend has just put this on Facebook:

Soldier brave
Sailor true
Skilled physician
Oxford blue

Gouty nobleman
Squire so hale
Dashing airman
Curate pale
which her mother says. My mother used to say that too and she got her dashing airman bless her. (David if you can email me a picture of  Dad as a dashing airman, I'll put it on :-)

And here he is xx

Saturday 20 July 2013

Beams and fireplaces

Little by little.
The beams that go into the wall on the front door side of the house are underground. They are nearly all rotten at the ends that go into the wall but completely sound otherwise. At the street end which will be his workshop, Him Outdoors has been building supporting frames out of timber. (Who knew that gibbet was a French word? Another 'say it in a French accent and hope for the best.)
Confident that all was supported, he attacked them with a chain saw from the kitchen. Seemed very strange to be chainsawing inside!
And he was right! The rotten bit was the bit in the wall!

We have been fancifying the kitchen fireplace. New supports and plate. Painted and ready for ...... 


The new stove that arrived yesterday. The back plate was from the old house and we put it in painted black. But it detracted from the stove and you can't see it anyway. Bit of a 'well what are we going to do with it' moment. Painted cream you can see the pattern on it better and the stove looks better too. (Sue, the interior and the fireback are painted with Annie Sloan paint. Do I need to wax them if I am not intending to do anything to them. And do you think it will stand up to the heat anyway??)
The beams at the other end will be supported by this block wall in the cellar which is being finished by Him Outdoors and colleague this weekend (fingers crossed).

The sittingroom fireplace is now ready for fires too. Everyone else tells me that it will have to be another stove but I am holding out for at least a trial of an open fire. The exposed bricks going up the wall are just because the wall began to fall down, they will be covered by plasterboard.

Marche Gourmand

(Apologies for lack of blogging, I hope I have time now to do a couple.)

Last night we went to our first Marche Gourmande run by a local commune. It is about an 8k walk around the countryside, stopping off for courses at farms on the way round. You start any time between 6pm and 9pm and take torch and cutlery. We had booked by phone but when I went to pay the tourist office lady said that there were 350 people booked in! OMG that is going to be a long queue for everything all evening. Oh well....................................

How wrong could we be. We arrived with another couple at about 7 and signed in with about a dozen people, we set off on our own and walked uphill on what was still a hot evening to the first stage which was an aperitif. We'd caught up with a few but still only about a dozen people, mostly French and mostly local we knew a couple and our friends knew a couple.

More uphill through cool woods again with no-one walking with us and then we were on the top of the world with stunning views, past beautiful hidden houses. Second stage was a plate of local charcuterie. (Each course had jugs of red wine and water on the table to help yourself.)


Outside in a beautiful courtyard, lovely food, smiley people, glorious.

Wish I hadn't seen this barn on the way out but where do I think the foie gras comes from, glad I don't like it and very rarely eat it.

A longer walk through spectacular scenery as the sun set.

Third stage was confit de canard and haricots. Again outside.

Each time as we arrived another party was vacating the table which was speedily cleared and reset for us. We walked completely on our own each time. Where were all the people?? By now it was nearly dark.

Fourth stage was salade and fromage and then downhill to where we started for dessert and coffee.

Chat here revealed that even though by this time it was 11.30 only half the people had come through and they were not expecting to finish until 1.30 ish!

All really well organised by cheerful people. Well done to all.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Day to day stuff

The good news is the lovely stones under the kitchen window. The bad news is that the last remaining original window is rotten too. Ho hum. There is so little left of the original house. They will keep covering everything in concrete and then it just rots underneath. Sigh.
However, the attic is now cleaned and sprayed against every known boring insect. It looks so lovely. Closer inspection so far has only revealed minimal woodworm which has been halted in its tracks. The chest at the back is full of old French paperbacks which are interesting but heavy and need some thought as to how to get them back to the rented house and where to put them when they get there.