Living in a small rural community
Our little village was shaken recently when we heard that one of our neighbours had committed suicide. She was a quiet, private. woman and although everyone knew that she was suffering from a long term illness that gave her a lot of pain, no-one could believe that such a devoted Catholic would have made this decision. As usual when someone in the village dies everyone turned up at the church to support the family - standing room only as we all squeezed in. It is this feeling of being part of a big family that made us want to stay here as we grow older - everyone looks out for their neighbour . If you move to a village in rural France remember that most of the inhabitants have lived here all their lives and have been following the same way of life for generations. If you don't want to be part of it at least be respectful of it and get to know people before you criticise the way they live. (Sorry about that little rant but we have seen English people come and go in this village who have not even tried to get to know any of their neighbours but who have had lots to say, quite rudely, about 'the French' and how they do things).
Keeping in touch with family and friends
Off I went at the beginning of February to visit friends and family. I was lucky to be able to take our grandson Sam to school for two days and play with all his birthday toys and in London I saw my granddaughter, Bethany , have her first swimming lesson. Lots of fun and games and hugs and cuddles and I had a lovely time.
|I took a day to visit Birmingham and was surprised how beautiful the architecture is|
|An overnight stay in Lichfield to visit to ex gite clients who are now dear friends|
|Playing birthday present games with Sam - 5 years old!|
|Charlie is such fun - no longer a baby but a real little boy|
|B liked her new cossie so much she couldn't wait to try it on|
In the garden
Before I got really sick I did manage to do something in the potager. The broad beans and garlic I sowed in the Autumn are coming up well and I weeded those rows and managed to plant another two rows of broad beans. Our neighbour came and turned the patch over with his tractor and we took the protective fence down as we aren't letting the hens roam free this season. I bought seeds, potato sets and onion bulbs but haven't been able to do anything with them yet. Not too serious as the frosts came back so best to wait a little and hopefully I'll be fit enough to get going again by the end of the week. We planted the peach tree our friends bought us for Christmas and I had a master class on fruit pruning from a neighbour. We have pears, apples, apricot, fig and plums in our little orchard - oh and now a peach too. There are also cherry and walnut trees in another part of the garden and a beautiful old quince tree so we won't be short of fruit.
|Broad beans, last of the winter veg and newly ploughed soil|
Work on the house
I came back from the UK to find the builders had been very busy and I now have a new terrace at the back of the house. The underfloor heating went in and we are just waiting for the final floor screed to go down. It is starting to look like a real house at last.
|Marking out the floors|
|It was a bit chilly that day -scary isn't he?|
|Ceiling in, walls and beams sandblasted and underfloor heating down.|
|Solar panels going on|
|Rear retaining wall and support arch|
|A lovely rear terrace|
Next the floor will go down and when the windows are in the walls will be insulated and a few additional internal walls added. Then we'll really see the ruin becoming a home - can't wait!