Paint, rest, paint

Hello Dear Reader,

What a day! I was up early to catch the good weather and get some laundry on the line and then get on with sanding furniture and adding a couple more coats of paint. When I went out to check in the washing later, I noticed that the side wall of the house was wet even though the sun had dried out the other walls. We’d had a leak and had to remove some of the stud wall and get the leak fixed. Luckily, a friend/hero came to our rescue and fixed it. It’s now drying out with a dehumidifier which has set us back a day but it would have been a lot worse if I’d not de I to have done some washing.

We’ve met some lovely people in Huelgoat, including a couple who have rescued dogs from as far as Ireland, Spain and here in France. They give these ageing and unwanted dogs the loveliest life on a French smallholding. We went for a barbeque lunch in their beautiful garden. Lunch lasted the rest of the day and then we came home and put our feet up and this evening, we’ve had another few hours painting.

Tomorrow, we shall plod on with more renovations and head over to Emmaüs in Morlaix to look for an armoire in the afternoon. Like any charity shop shopping, we could be lucky but we may well come back empty handed. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

Not a lot, very slowly

Hello Dear Reader,

What a lovely two weeks.

Home cooked food, salads, chilled rosé wine and good company.

We helped some neighbours move furniture.

We got to know the French chaps next door (teachers).

We met the old guy, who wears clogs and lives with a blue eyed cat, opposite us, who chatted to us where he previously used to scuttle indoors.

We had a great night out (lock in!) with the locals.

We tidied the woodland, found and stacked logs, cleaned out the wood shed and sat in front of the fire each night.

Went to the charity shop in Morlaix and bought some furniture.

We built a wall with a door.

We painted a room.

We gave the house a good clean.

It was relaxing and we did not a lot, very slowly.

Tucked it up safely and waved goodbye.

We’ll be back in summer.

I’ll see you tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Building a partition wall

Hello Dear Reader,

The top floor of our house was once a self contained two roomed flat but last year DB opened up the floor and built and installed stairs. We’ve built our first wall (ever) and will eventually have a four bedroomed house. 

Here’s our wall building. We bought the door and frame last year, it was second hand but never used and a bargain for 20€. The wood and the plasterboard was all bought from Brico depot and a friend, a builder, told us how to build the wall. His instructions were invaluable.

DB built the frame and plaster boarded one side.

Here it is with the door.

I stapled the insulation inside the frame.

We then screwed the plasterboard to the other side as well.

He filled all screw holes and joints with plaster mix.

We also added beading over the joints, I think it will give it a paneled look. Not to everybody’s taste, especially not if you have perfectionist tendancies but I don’t. It’ll be fine when painted.

I’m currently painting. I put one coat on, allow it to dry and then pain again. It will take three or four coats. Bare wood or plasterboard just sucks up the paint. Here in France, they don’t plaster on top of the board, they just paint.

It’ll be a finished room tomorrow even though I don’t have any furniture for it yet.

All in good time.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Thrifty French life

Hello Dear Reader,

We’re still tidying up the back of the house. We had a great discussion with our neighbours on one side, who luckily for us are English teachers (they’re French) and are a bit less shy with us and told us all about the land at the back of our house. They’d been in touch with the mayor and notaire and the owner has long passed away and no inheritor can be found. This is common in France and land and property is just left unowned and houses just rot and fall down. Sometimes, the local council, called the commune, take over the property and then sell it. If you see a pile of stones and a hectare of land being renovated, it’s usually a British family who want a piece of France for about 15,000€. I ask repeatedly why the French don’t do this and just get the answer that they want new houses that are warm and cheap to run.

So, the immediate bit of land behind our house was so over grown that the willow branches were resting on our roof. We had them trimmed back by a local tree surgeon as soon as we bought the house in December 2015. We also had the trees cut down in the garden, then finally, at Easter last year, had the fir trees cut down at the end of the garden. We’ve long since stacked the wood messily in the front garden and finally got round to pulling the willow logs out of the undergrowth behind the house. We’re still cutting back the brambles so the wild flowers can pop up. In the spirit of thriftiness, we’re also collecting sacks of kindling and they’ll be stacked in wooden vegetables crates in the shed.

After lunch, we headed to the outside of Morlaix to the large charity shop called Emmaüs. We are great fans. They sell furniture, household items, bedding, clothing…..i could go on, you get the picture.

People get there early and the crowd are a bit enthusiastic when they open the doors. It’s only open Wednesday and Saturday and they get new donations all the time. The car park and the roadside outside was soon rammed with cars, vans and Brits with roof racks. It’s quite an experience shopping there. You find what you like, find a member of staff who marks it as sold, then you get a ticket. At the end you take your tickets to the pay booth and brace yourself. The man who takes your money: doesn’t like cards and doesn’t like it unless you have the right cash and will give you a complete telling off. Just accept, he’s like that and emmaüs give people the chance to work when no one else would employ them due to a whole loads of personal issues and just take people as you find them.

Glasses – were about 2€ for ten.

Essential escargot serving set. We really love butter and garlic cooked escargot. But we didn’t buy the set.

You cook them on the tray, hold them with springy clampy thingies and pull them out with the little forks. You may well crinkle your nose, I know I did, but we like them. Sadly, a snail eating kit wasn’t on the list! 

Nor were retro pots or coloured glass.

Nor were God, saints or voodoo! 

No tapestry ladies for me.

Oh my, if you like kitsch- you’d be in heaven.

We were sensible and spent our 50€ budget on some pieces of furniture, squished it in the back of the car and drove the thirty minutes home. 

Here’s what we bought. A small sideboard, a hall cupboard, a bedside table and a picture. 44€ in total. Eventually, they’ll it’ll be painted.

So, a thrifty fun day.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxx

The pleasures of home

Hello Dear Reader,

We’re back on form and back working on the house. A friend popped round to show us how to tape the joints of our partion wall and that’s well under way; a big reveal later.

The dogs are totally at home and spend the day either in the garden or checking that no one and especially that the feral cats are not in our garden. They are sweet but they disappear when we arrive with three dogs. 

Our neighbours have told us all about the woodland behind our house. It used to be a field but no one now knows who owns it. It soon became taken over by trees that anyone has the right to remove if they could fall on their house or overshadows it. When we bought the house, we paid for the willow and hazel to be cut back but never got round to picking up the logs or clearing up the smaller branches. That’s exactly what DB and I have done today or at least made a good start. There’s a whole load more levels go under the brambles. Once cleared, the wild flowers will be able to grow. 

We’re really enjoying this holiday doing a little bit of work, with lazy lunches ( I’ve got a stash of rice cakes to eat with my cheese) and really enjoyed clearing the back of the house. 

We’re off for a walk tonight and then a glass of wine in the garden.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx