Nearly time to go home


Huelgoat Lake 25/12/15

Hello Dear Reader,

Our five weeks in France is almost up. We have those ‘lock up and leave’ jobs to do. We need to stocktake and make a list of what we need to take home and what we need to bring with us next time. Lovely cheese here, but five weeks without chutney?  We need to make a list of things we need to do next time and mentally prepare as well as financially prepare. 

We’re not coming back for four months by which time it will be the Christmas and we’ll take frosty forest and lakeside walks. In the meantime, it’s back to Cornwall and our everyday lives.

We’ll set a new budget, evaluate our savings, make meals plans, budget for ferry trips and keep up with mortgage over payments. Life will be thrifty, bargain filled and remain focused on us both retiring at sixty instead of sixty eight and sticking to a financial plan so we can do that.

Thanks for sharing our trip with us.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Last few days

Hello Dear Reader,

We’re off to Blighty on Thursday and are enjoying the last days of sunshine. The dogs are loving it too. We walk in the early mornings and later evening and we love investigating the back streets and by ways.

These crepes are made in Huelgoat and I tried them as they’re only 27% wheat flour, they were lovely but I had a very severe reaction and although I can recommend them, I won’t be eating any more.

We love the walks in the ancient alleyway that lead up and down from the canals to the old town. I can imagine carts with ponies coming up from the silver mines and how many feet would have walked these pathways. 

Here’s our favourite doggy walk from our street down to the lavoir and fontaine. We often find camper vans here and the lavoir cloudy after people have washed their clothes there.

You can still see the bloom from the soap. People kneel either side and wash their clothes against the granite. There’s a constant stream of water through the lavoir but like a swimming pool, it takes a while to refill. It’s maintained for people to use, it makes sense doesn’t it that everyone should have somewhere to wash their clothes and everyone no matter how skint you are should have clean clothes? 

Our little town of Huelgoat has a camping aire, which is where camping cars can park overnight. You can see here that our camping aire is very popular. It was 4€ to park there for the night.

We walking past the aire and past the municipale campsite which again is a facility provided by the community at a reasonable charge. It runs alongside the river.

Two hundred metres along the river is the public swimming pool which is only open in July and August. This again, is funded locally for the locals and visitors to enjoy

I love the French attitude that everyone can have access to a holiday, exercise and public facilities. It doesn’t cost much to get away for the weekend or a holiday and local towns make sure there are walks, trails and places that are free or very cheap to exercise.

I think that 2.50€ for an un timed swim is just brilliant.

I’ve totally fallen in love with this little French town of Huelgoat, the walks by the rivers and lake, the forest, through the back streets and alleyways. If I can persuade just one of you to drop by whilst in Brittany then my job is done. Maybe drive by in your camping car, pitch your tent in the camping municipale or rent a gite in the town or nearby. Stop a while or a few days or just stay forever. 

It’s only eighteen weeks until Christmas when we’ll be back again. If you visit before then, drop me a line and let me know.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx

Just loving it

Hello Dear Reader,

We’ve had a quiet day, mooching around the village. It poured with rain last night and has been gently damp all day. This afternoon we had some lovely visitors, tea, cake and a chat. Later, we went for a poke round the village when we ok the dogs out. It was late enough that people had shut their shutters and everywhere felt as if it were under some kind of spell. It’s either spooky or magical depending on your point of view. 

I thought I’d share a few Maison de Thrift piccies. We’re not finished but I’m still having fun adding a few touches.

The garden clock and kitchen roll holders were donation from mum.

The stairs were built by DB. Tomorrow he’s building the spare bed and I get to plan what I’m going to do with the room. We have three rooms that are currently empty and not being used yet.

Tomorrow we have friends popping round, and a walk later. It’s been a quiet holiday of plonking around a French village with intermittent building work, socialising, reading and putting our feet up.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

A trip to Emmaüs in Morlaix

Hello Dear Reader,

The sun has gone so we headed off to Morlaix to Emmaüs a big French charity that sells household items. I’ve hard about it, that it’s cheap and there’s something for everybody. It’s better than that, it’s amazing. I eyed up several pieces of furniture as I have three empty rooms to furnish for guests. You’re coming soon, right? 

Today, I bought a magazine rack that’ll be a side table for the lounge, a little cupboard that’ll be a lamp stand in the lounge too. There’s also bedside table. Like my house in Cornwall, nothing will match and that doesn’t bother me a bit. The tables cost 10€ each or £8.50 in sterling.

We arrived first as we under estimated how long it would take to find it and get there. We shopped and had gone in twenty minutes by which time the place was rammed as they only open twice a week and for very short hours. You find something you like, find a member of staff, tell them you want to buy it and they give you a ticket saying what to pay and you find a little booth and pay a very grumpy man who didn’t want me to pay so early and didn’t like me not having the exact money. So, linger, buy slower and take plenty of coins.

I also splashed out 6€ for a poster in a frame for me, very unlike me to buy frippery but it is yellow and summery and my plain house needs some colour. I also bought a present for my parents that I can’t show here, as mum, I know you’re reading xxx

Here’s Emmaüs on the outskirts of Morlaix, open Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning, closed two hours for lunch and then Saturday afternoon. It’s utterly brilliant for furniture, household linens, household items and anything for children. I shall go back for furniture on future trips and will arrive with a hire van and not leave until I’ve filled it.

Thanks to Jenny for telling me about the place, it’s amazing!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

It’s hot today 

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s lovely and hot. Huelgoat is packed with tourists and I don’t really notice them unless I walk into the square to get DB’s bread. We don’t need much to have a really great time. We’ve got books, including library books, the fluffies are great fun especially as they’ve mastered both flights of steep French stairs. We’ve made some lovely friends and we’ve been really sociable since we’ve been here.

I’ve spent the afternoon in the garden, it’s too hot to go far. We hope to go to Emmaus tomorrow afternoon a half hour journey away in Morlaix but we’ll ditch that plan if it’s hot again. I thought I’d show my grey hair, I’m thinking of growing it out but I’m not sure it’ll look professional enough for work. I think I might go back to the hairdressers when I get home.

It’s lovely being on holiday with our dogs. It’s going to be great to share the house with family and friends and it’ll be ready with spare bedrooms and furniture soon enough. Hence the trip to Emmaus, we’ll look out for some household items. As we basically need everything for three rooms that are currently empty. 

I tried to get them all to pose for you. Dolly Knockers needed to shake. 

We’ve nine more days left for walks, cheap day trips, lolling in the garden, coffee with friends and trying to stay cool. We’ve decided we’re not doing anymore work and we’re just going to enjoy ourselves. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Now we are on holiday

Hello Dear Reader,

Nothing much to report as we’ve done very little. I shuffled the furniture around to make more space and to ash the floor. One of the things I love about this house is that it’s entirely tiled downstairs, a quick sweep and mop and the whole place is freshened up. 

So after a bit of cleaning and hanging out the washing, the day was ours to just relax in the garden. It’s been too hot for walking or going anywhere so we’ve just relaxed at home. 

We spent the day chasing the shade as the sun passed overhead, we’d move the chairs and the parasol for the fluffies. They love just following us but we have to keep their leads on them as they would chase the feral cats if they had the chance.

They don’t mind as they don’t go far from us. They’ve been to France with us on three trips now and I can never imagine traveling without them again.

So this has been my day, reading in the sun with the fluffies trying not to get burnt. 

We’ve no plans to do much but when it’s cooler, we’ll be out and about walking again.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

I’m sat downstairs 

Hello Dear Reader,

We’ve now called a halt to any further work for the long weekend. We’re now on holiday for a few days. We need to get our energy back. I’ll have a walk and an early night after this very long day.

This morning, we moved down stairs. We have a bedroom and a bathroom on the top floor and open plan living downstairs. The place is habitable but far from finished. I have a big functioning kitchen and I’m looking forward to some proper cooking.

Our friend John came round today and installed a shower and toilet. The previous toilet was cracked and was ready to fall apart. The shower was a tiny leaky hose with a nozzle the size of a box of tic tacs which we had to hold over our heads. It felt like we were camping……in the 1970s!

DB built the stairs, there’s a hole and the stairs are in. It’s such a relief to be able to use the house. It’s no longer a house and a studio flat but an entire house. 

In total, we’ve lived in the house for six weeks. Even though it’s no where near finished, I think we’ve come a long way. I’ve had a lovely soak in the shower, I’m sat on a sofa in my living room with a fluffy dog and I’m feeling very spoilt by my extremely hardworking husband. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

We’ve made it to the turn

Hello Dear Reader,

We cut the grass today and finished taking the laurel mountain of cuttings to the dechetterie. It’s totally free, at our version of this in Cornwall, you have to pay to take certain waste, such as rubble. You don’t pay here. We must have been to dechetterie five times but it’s all part of getting this place habitable. 

I must remind myself that all this work will be worth it as when it’s done, we can come here, or even you might come here and just enjoy the place. It’s a lot of hard work at the moment but one day, it’ll be done.

DB has been amazing. I’ve painted the windows and frames again. It takes several coats of paint to get a good finish. I’ve also repainted the walls and skirting boards. DB is constructing the stairs and has made it to the turn in the stairs…..the complicated bit! He powers on.

Here’s another photo from Monday of the bike race around our village. 

Here’s supper tonight. Another salad: lamb’s lettuce, sweet potato, feta, quinoa, tomatoes, alfalfa, beetroot, carrots, cucumber and guacamole. Really quick after a day of DIY.

Apparently, we’re set for warmer weather. I’m just loving having time off with DB in this beautiful place, enjoying fresh food, walks with the dogs and putting my feet up in the evening.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Doing it together, ourselves

Hello Dear Reader,

We’re back to work today. We get so dirty every day, our clothes get so dirty and the flat gets so dirty. I have to clean the flat and our clothes everyday. Fortunately it’s been dry and windy today which is great for cleaning and laundry.

DB had to go to the Brico for glue and chisels and then spent the rest of the day assembling the stairs after previously cutting everything to fit. Each tread has to be glued and screwed. We want these to be safe. Once they are in and being used, we don’t want to have to do this again.

We took another window out of its  frame today and it’s been sanded and painted.

The paint takes so long to dry, that even though it feels dry, we can’t close the windows just yet. Instead, we close the shutters. 

Initially we looked into getting a builder out to do the work we’re doing ourselves and the cost would have been thousands. We’re working hard but we get great satisfaction from saving money and it’s actually quite relaxing. We end each day early enough to cook supper together and take time to have a glass of wine in the garden. It’s beginning to feel like we’re getting somewhere. 

Working like this is slow as we are learning whilst we work, we make mistakes, take time to put them right and work at a pace that suits us. DB wants to finish the stairs and join the second and third floor, I want to paint all the windows and have the guest bedroom completely painted. In between, we garden/tame the wild and of course take time out with our dogs.

We’ll just plod on together and we will get there eventually.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs