The dogs, the post and the wardrobe

Hello Dear Reader,

I feel like a zombie today. I couldn’t sleep last night as the dogs couldn’t sleep and they kept me awake. I was hot, the insects in the garden sounded like garden machinery and the neighborhood cats hissing and fighting made my dogs growl. First world problems.

Consequently, today hasn’t been very fruitful. However, day three of all the doors and windows open is drying out the house. The funky smell is starting to clear and I’ve cleaned up after the plasterer’s dust that left a film of dust everywhere. I’m yet to wash all the walls down with bleach but I’ll get round to it.

Today, we went to Carhaix- plouguer to collect an Orange internet box from a pick up point, the local ‘pressing’ or dry cleaners to you and me. It wasn’t there. We phoned and it’ll be redelivered on Friday. More first world problems. 

We went instead to the institution that is Gifi, kind of Poundland on steroids! I bought a wardrobe for €35 and came home and spent an hour swearing at it. I also bought a salad spinner, salad here is a delight with roots and soil that need washing and then spinning. 

We also went to Netto, we won’t be going back. Not good at all. We’ll stick to Lidl which is always good quality. I did buy a melon (they are expensive but I only ever eat them in France) which I’m chilling to have this evening.

DB went to the tip/dechetterie and he took more rubble which can only go a bit at a time because of the weight in the car. We then went to La Poste and bought envelopes that have the postage costs included. I’ve now paid for the wood stove and the fitting. Now to save up for a new bathroom.

My camp wardrobe means we have somewhere for our clothes and yes, those are all our clothes for five weeks.

Sheeeesh, I’m tired!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

It’s all go here!

Hello Dear Reader,

We’ve had a lovely productive day. The dogs were walked and DB’s bread was bought and carried home by eight this morning. He’s fitted the stair gate by the door so we can leave the doors open and not lose the dogs

I’ve cleaned the flat and the house downstairs, swept and washed the floors on all three levels, washed the laundry that’s now dried, ironed and put it away. DB assembled our dining room table and put his new work bench together. 

We’ve been to the dechetterie twice to get rid of the spoils from demolishing the fire, I’ve painted a kitchen wall and this afternoon we picked up: internal stairs, a free flat packed wardrobe and eight fence panels that were being sold on the local version of eBay. Dinner is chilli and rice that I cooked at home and brought over frozen. 

It’s been another warm day although it clouded over this afternoon. 

Now it’s down tools and eat, then a glass of wine and feet up for the evening.

It’s been a lovely busy but fun day. It’s sounds like had work but we’ve enjoyed ourselves. The sooner the work is done, the sooner every visit will be a holiday.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Lazy French Sunday with a galette 

Hello Dear Reader,

Lunch day #1 Breton galette with ham, egg and grated emmental. It’s a classic snack in these parts. Creperies sell these and we’ve often eaten them. We bought the galettes from the supermarket and they were 54 centimes each – about 45p.

Place one in a hot pan, allow the heat to penetrate, layer with thin cut ham. Break and egg in the centre and spread the egg yolk around with the back of a desert spoon. As it starts to cook sprinkle in some Emmental. 

As the cheese starts to melt, fold in the edges of the galette.

The galettes are made of buckwheat flour, that isn’t actually wheat at all so gluten free. If we eat out here, I tend to have a galette sometimes served with salmon or I have a galette with mushrooms. Safe bet if you can’t eat gluten.

It’s beautifully warm here, we’re shattered and we’ll spend the day just pottering with a snooze in the garden. Sundays in France are very quiet.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Packing the weirdest things!

Hello Dear Reader,

This time last year, all I needed to pack was a bikini, towel and pile of books. Oh how life has changed. I’d looked at ‘French houses for sale’ sites for quite a while…….well, about twenty years to be honest. We’ve holidayed in France since 2005 and just the site of the cross channel ferry gives me goosebumps. 

We whittled our search down to one financial area of inland Brittany and went to visit an area on our second summer trip last year. We viewed three houses and made an offer on one of them. We bought on price and it was the say so of a colleague and another blog that took me to Huelgoat.

This year, my packing is very different.

Gardening equipment, ladder, tools, TV, router, plumbing, workbench, crockery, food, dog food, dogs and their crates and clothing.

Our plans: more work on the kitchen, more painting, constructing stairs (they come in a kit) installing stairs, putting us a dog proof fence, a stud wall and join the house up so we can live in all of it. 

If you’re in the area, visiting or just passing through. Drop in. The kettle will be on and I’d be glad of the distraction. You won’t find us busy all the time and don’t be surprised if you find me sat in the garden with the dogs.

I’ll be back for a chat tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Cooling off on a budget

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been lovely and warm here today and it’s cooled down to a comfortable 32 by tea time. In the heat of the day, it was much hotter.

I thought I’d share cooling off on the cheap.

1. Cool the house down at night, open upstairs windows, front and back to get a through draught.

2. When the house is cool in the morning, close the curtains/shutters on the south side of the house.

3. Keep a through draught throughout the day.

4. Getting off to sleep in this weather isn’t easy, have a cool shower before you go to bed. I find that talc keeps my skin cool.

5. We sleep with one of my thinner quilts.

6. And finally, and obviously, plenty of water…….when I get in from work, soaking my feet in cold water with some bicarbonate and a drop of lavender oil. 

If you’re in France and in the midst of the ‘canicule’ take care of yourselves xxx

I think this weather is just perfect. 

Love Froogs xxxxx

No shopping this week! 

Hello Dear Reader,

As we’re going away for a month, we’ll eat everything and take anything left with us. I’ll bleach out the fridge/freezer and switch it off, whilst leaving the doors open. Everything will be cleaned, switched off and leave ready for our return. 

This week’s meal might be a bit ‘odd’ as we’ll just eat what ever we have. We’re eating everything in the order of ‘stuff that goes off first’. Lastly, we’ll eat what ever’s in the freezer. 

Today,  I cooked a cauliflower and bag of kale in the steamer. I chopped a yellow pepper and two courgettes and sautéed in some oil until soft and added some garlic powder.

I made cheese sauce, four tablespoons of cornflour, one litre of skimmed milk and blended well, seasoned with salt and pepper and added 150g of grated, half fat mature cheddar. I kept the rest to add before cooking.

I combined the cooked pasta, cooked vegetables and cheese sauce. I grated the rest of the cheese (£1.75 for 350g in Lidl) and sliced the going soft tomato.

Here’s the cheese, it’s always cheap enough in Lidl. 

Everything was baked for twenty minutes. Over cooking a pasta bake can turn it into a brick.

Serve sprinkled with some paprika.

The only expensive bit is the GF pasta but everything else was just cheap veggies. 

Come back the rest of the week for an odd assortments of whatever we’ve got for dinner.

Lunches this week, will be leftover pasta as above. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx

Breton builders triumph again

Hello Dear Reader,

The last six weeks have flown by. It’s seems like yesterday that I demolished the faux fire surround masquerading as something it wasn’t. 

It was down and ready to be used as hardcore in under and hour. Monsieur Plombier came out to see us and promised to have it done before we returned for the summer.

He kept to his word and went to  our house on the 12th, removed the old chimney lining, old perished stove, fitted a new lining, new bird proof cowl and a new efficient modern wood stove.

Modern stoves are virtually smokeless as they have a secondary burn where they burn the gases too. The new stove is a 9KW stove and a lot less imposing than the previous stove. The plumber’s colleague, the builder, will be back next week to build the wall behind the stove and all the ‘pipe work’ will be out of sight. There was a slight delay as ‘quatorze juillet’ is a ‘fete nationale’ and the builders had a long weekend. I love that French lifestyle where family comes before work. When you work with French builders, you just have to wait.

I’ll update you with the latest photos of the finish when we get there.

This time next week, we’ll be on the ferry.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

We’ve come a long way already 

Hello Dear Reader,

I must admit, I had a moment today when I though of Maison de Thrift in Huelgoat and thought that we’d never get it ‘done’. Then, I stopped being a ‘numpty’ and thought about the journey and how far we’d already come. On the first rainy August day, the grass was long, the overgrown trees hid the house and wisteria covered the bedroom window and had grown into the house. No one had lived there for thirty years.

We fell in love with the place. We came home and started the buying process.

The trees were all cut down. We turned up at Christmas and had the water and electricity reconnected.

Even in the depth of winter, the hidden house started to reveal itself.

The house was rewired and all electrics brought up to code.

The shutters were sanded back and repainted. They were in really good condition. 

We had the rotten wooden back doors replaced with double glazing. The back of our house has no windows, this made the house secure (one door had been open for years) and let the light in.

We had four cubic metres of logs delivered and I moved and stacked everyone.

We fitted a kitchen.

We demolished the sink.

We fitted a new one.

To the delight of our neighbours, the overgrown hedge has been taken down and we removed all the ivy from the walls to show the lovely stone.

The grotty, rotten and not working properly 1970’s wood stove has been removed. The new one goes in on the 15th and the walls will be made good. 

We’ve made the top floor flat a temporary home whilst we renovate the house. 

We’ve done a lot and we’ve only ever stayed there for twenty one days in total. We’ve locked up and left it three times and everything’s been fine. 

Our next trip?

Build a room, insulate between the beams on the second floor, build a ceiling.

More painting, more garden clearing, some path building, more log stacking. 

Most of all, plenty of walking, sitting in the garden, socialising, reading and resting.

I also need to remind myself that we have years to do this.

We’re there all summer, drop by and say hello.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxx

Weekend plans for living on the cheap


Hello Dear Reader,

Life is really good for us right now. We have a warm safe home, we have jobs, we can pay our bills, we eat well and we have dreams and we’ll be off to liv e those dreams in just two weeks.

Tonight, we’ll put our feet up and watch the highlights of the TDF.

We’ll be off for a walk in the morning, clean the house, cook for the week ahead, some sewing (curtains to finish) family time and some gardening.

Life is wonderful.

Now, I’m on the countdown of a million things to do before we go back to France.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx