Sunday, February 23, 2014

While the cat's away

So while Kevin has been visiting the family in the UK I have been moving my projects along. Curtains for the salon are up -  not finished as need to hem and iron again but I need an extra pair of hands to help with the ironing as they are quite heavy.

I also started the colour in the fireplace -  not quite the right red yet bit you get the idea. Tomorrow the chimney is being redone by a French artisan so hopefully we'll have the fire back.

The dogs needed somewhere comfy to rest after they had played themselves out so I made new floor cushions. Schula doesn't seem to get the idea.

Kevin is home again now so off to our favourite restaurant to plan our next projects together.

A bientôt.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Springing into Spring

Usually around now I am sowing broad bean seeds. We love broad beans and i grow a lot and freeze them and we use them in lots of ways throughout the year. The best time to plant here is in October as the beans are ready to harvest in May and they avoid black fly attack. It was just too wet to prepare the soil in October so I decided to wait for the next opportunity in February. Well here we are and the ground is still too wet to prepare but if I want broad beans I have to get them started. So I am trying a little experiment.

While catching up with Mr Selfridge on the internet this morning I made newspaper pots.

First I cut pages from the Sud Ouest  in half then folded them in half again longways and rolled them round a jam jar leaving some overhanging at the bottom. I fasten the edge together with a bit of tape.

Then turn the jar on its end so that the overlapping bits of paper are on top then turn them in like a parcel and secure with a bit of tape.

Ease the cylinder of the jar and there's your pot. I made a log basket full and it was time to go outside.

I filled all the pots with compost and put in a crate and then sowed the broad beans, watered them in and put in a sheltered spot. Fingers crossed they will germinate then I can transplant them when the ground in the veg plot is ready and the newspaper will just decompose and the potting compost will enrich the soil a bit.

It was lovely sitting potting up with the warm sun on my back - hopefully it won't be too long before the potager is in full production again

A bientôt.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Beating the Blues

Well things have picked up again in the Wilson household. We took ourselves in hand and decided that we were going to beat those winter blues.

First we went out to lunch at one of our favourite restaurants and did bit of a SWOT analysis on our life.  We decided that we were letting other people affect our mood and that they weren't important enough to let them do that. We also decided that we were being lazy about our projects and using the wet, winter weather as an excuse to be idle so we had a look at what projects would move us forward. We also agreed we were missing some of the people who mean the most to us. Just having set some plans in place while we were enjoying time together with good food and wine was enough to lift our spirits.            


We started work on a couple of projects. First one to fence the back terrace. It has drop of about 2 metres down to the back parking. Just recently Kevin came in to the salon and said ' Don't want to worry you but I've just had a fall'. He had slipped going out of the back door and right off the end of the terrace. Luckily he hasn't forgotten his rugby training and managed to curl himself into a ball - still he had cuts on his hands, his heads and some mighty bruising. Scary. So we went to buy the fencing and work has commenced ( and stopped as K has gone to the Uk to visit the family)

We also recommenced work on my kitchen dresser. We have finished the bottom half and it's in the kitchen but the top half still has to be stripped and painted - very therapeutic. Pictures were hung in the kitchen and bedroom and that made such a difference to the feel of the rooms.

I've got into the sewing projects and have finished the curtains and soft furnishings for the bedroom. I'm trying to pluck up courage to cut the material for the salon curtains but it's a but daunting as I have masses of cloth and don't want to make a mistake. So today for a little warm up I made a couple of small runners for the dining room table - I like to see the wood so didn't want a big cloth on but we do need to protect the table a bit now we use it so much more.

Pictures up and sewing finished 
Tablecloth for two

Just getting moving again has done us both such a lot of good and got those blues on the run!


We are still having problems with the wood burner in the sitting room and haven't been able to light it even though the piping has been redone - it just doesn't draw and the fitter insists it's fine (even though he hasn't been to check it). Meanwhile in the kitchen the Esse wood burning stove is going like a good 'un. Easy to light, no smoke and cooks a treat. Stays in all night and a doddle to relight in the morning. The chimney was fitted by a local french artisan and we are very pleased with it.

It's lovely cooking on the Esse

So we have decided to cut our losses with firm one as it is just too time consuming and stressful and get the local guy to redo the chimney for the salon fire. He has explained to us why the current one isn't working and what he will do to make sure it does. He is also going to look at the whole heating system to iron out some little anomalies (in the main it works well). Just having made this decision took a weight off our shoulders.

The underfloor heating is perfect for Schula after a long,wet walk

We are still dealing with issues arising from the sale of our last house which after two years is a bit tedious - but we agreed it is just that - a niggle we have to deal with but not important enough to affect us if we don't let it.

Of course the best way to beat the blues is to spend time with the people who do make you happy so the last part of our planning session was about organising trips to the UK to see people we love. Kevin is there now visiting our offspring and I will be doing the same in March. I am very excited to be there for my granddaughter's 5th birthday and for the Revolution event at the London velodrome organised by my son - the first event there since the olympics. Then in May we are going together on a little road trip around the UK visiting friends and family  - the people who never bring on the blues!

We had a surprise visit from our friend who used to live here and her daughter Sarah who we looked after when she was a baby - it was good to see them and to remember good times we had shared in this house. It must have been a bitter sweet for Janine to revisit the home she shared with her late husband but she was excited about the changes we had made and we hope they will come to visit us again. Here is Sarah with the magnolia that was planted when she was born.

As tall as her tree

There are celandines in the garden and despite the continuous rain the days are longer and there is a whiff of spring in the air - so we are turning our backs on the winter blues and looking forward to sunny times.

Lovely sunrise seen from the kitchen


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Happy New Year

I know I'm a little late with my greeting but its been a shaky start to 2014 for us. We had a lovely Christmas, our first here at Kebourg, and brought the New Year in with  good friends.

January didn't get off  to the best of  starts. We had been having problems with the wood burner so decided to have the chimney swept and the 'ramoneur' found that the flexible pipe had become unattached from the rigid part which comes down into the room. Seems it happened when the builders put the  cover on the chimney. So that was us without a fire for a while. Good news was that the underfloor heating kept us warm but we lacked the ambiance.

The month was wet - rain, rain and more rain. Taking the dogs out became a chore and not a pleasure and work on replacing the chimney and fitting the chimney for the wood burning cooker in the kitchen couldn't go ahead. We are still waiting for the outside walls to be pointed but rain has stopped play there too. January was a very busy teaching month for Kevin and with the bad weather conditions he spent a lot of nights in an hotel in Bordeaux by the business school so we were apart. I had more examinations on my shoulder which proves to be frozen shoulder and not tendonitis so now I am on a series of injections.  Like so many here and in the Uk we had the winter blues.

Thus ends the tale of woe.

Sunset reflected in the pond

There's lots to be thankful for. We aren't flooded, hungry or seriously ill, we love our new home and Spring is around the corner. The dogs are doing great - Schula is enormous and still a bundle of energy but getting a tiny bit more sensible each day - she is a great companion. We are working on little finishings to the house and we now have curtains in the bedroom

Back from a very wet walk

We have planned visits to the UK - Kevin first in February and then me in March. I am going to be there for my granddaughters 5th birthday and also for my sons cycling event, Revolution 5, which will be the first event in the London velodrome since the Olympics. Then in May we are having a trip together doing a toad trip around the UK visiting family and friends - ex gite guests who will be hosting us thus time.

Today the sun is shining and we had a lovely walk with the dogs and now we are going to lunch with friends - that will help us shake off those winter blues!

We hope your 2014 has had a merrier start than our and we wish you good luck, good health and a little less rain!