All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · The farm

The babies arrived

Owning over fifty birds, you get eggs, lots of them and this year I wanted to try for babies now that we have a more organized set-up. The cous-nous flock with Rudi needed a few additions and I so wanted more Pekin ducks. Poor Heff, our big six year old has arthritis badly and lost… Continue reading The babies arrived

All Posts · Fabrics and Ceramics · French Life · Making and crafting · My Company Projects · Thistle Cottage Studio

French Expo

The last few years have been very tied up with renovations, Covid, starting my illustration business and struggling with migraines…some things on the agenda had to postponed, but this year I refused to postpone the summer Expo at Crocq, a pretty medieval town near Aubusson, famous for The Black Prince invading and partially destroying during… Continue reading French Expo

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Renovation work · The farm

Country Colourful Bedroom

We have lived at The Farmhouse for over three years now, in a pre-renovation mess of undecorated rooms, boxes and drab creams and browns. The building was a good size, but had funny qwerks like no access to the rear, a kitchen next to a bedroom, a tiny bathroom, and for a house that could… Continue reading Country Colourful Bedroom

All Posts · Cats and dogs · French Life · Renovation work · The farm

Snug in a snug

The lower room in our farmhouse is a little dark, so why not go a little darker and create a cosy snug? Inspired by my Scottish ancestry and the collection of tartans and tweeds I have in my fabric stash and using the lovely Aubusson Blue chalk paint, which is funny given Aubusson, the tapestry… Continue reading Snug in a snug

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Making and crafting · Renovation work · Thistle Cottage Studio

Thistle Cottage Studio

Drum roll please!!!!!Apart from painting the walls, and making curtains, my studio is finished. A lot of chalk painting and waxing brocante finds, and suffering from cracked skin on my fingers, a sore back and bruises from I don’t know where….I love it! Somehow it seems to have manifested a French red, white and blue… Continue reading Thistle Cottage Studio

All Posts · Fabrics and Ceramics · French Life · Guinea fowl · Making and crafting · Thistle Cottage Studio

Fateful Fabrics

From way, way back as a child I loved fabrics. My mother’s wooden chest in the hallway provided hours of fun for me exploring the Colefax and Fowler, Laura Ashley, Cole &Son and Liberty prints, feeling their textures, weight and mesmerised by the pattern repeats and complex layers of colours. My mother rarely sewed but… Continue reading Fateful Fabrics

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Garden in the meadow

New Cous Nous

A few years ago now, pottering about the old chicken coop, there was a strange sight…a sort of chicken shaped bird but with a long red neck, featherless and topped by a head with a huge beak and a topnot of ginger like hair! The bird was trying to enter our coop, excited by the… Continue reading New Cous Nous

All Posts · Animal tales · Animal welfare · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Geese · Guinea fowl · The farm · Thistle Cottage Studio

Pipi found me

I haven’t posted for a while and wanted to catch up with a few updates. It’s a longish post but bare with me…I promise over the next few weeks they will be shorter and very varied. A lot has been going on and I have exciting things happening. But it had to start somewhere….. In… Continue reading Pipi found me

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Recipes and allotment

Factory House to Apple Puree

I have hurt my back again. Mowers with pull cords are absolutely dangerous! I have a lot of grass and land weeds to contend with and petrol mowers are a necessity. But they do not make them suitable for women. I am not a feminist but I do expect manufacturers to know our upper body… Continue reading Factory House to Apple Puree

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Landscapes and trees · Renovation work · Thistle Cottage Studio

Front of house

Finally the front of the Farmhouse looks respectable. It’s taken over a year to renovate my studio externally, repair the well and install the ancient well winding gear and repoint the wall. We put in the picket fence, pruned the roses and removed layers of plastic bags in the flower bed, supposedly put there to… Continue reading Front of house

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Geese

Geese in the grass

I have been absolutely useless in posting recently but I do have a few genuine excuses. The weather in France has been one long spring of rain, and although it is exactly what creates this beautiful scenery, meadows and cow pasture, it’s almost June for goodness sake and should at least allow me to remove… Continue reading Geese in the grass

All Posts · French Life · Making and crafting · Thistle Cottage Studio

Crafting and shipping

This week, after a quite stressful start from loosing a little guinea fowl, to finding French postage is way more than UK postage, I felt I needed to go into print. I have successfully printed all my mugs, toiling with the foibles of sublimation heat and time settings, ink ICC colour management codes and a… Continue reading Crafting and shipping

All Posts · French Life · Landscapes and trees · The farm

Ice maiden

Well I am not so sure about maiden, I am too long in the tooth for that olde title but today the frosty snap produced a wealth of chilly bucket ice disks and panes that this ‘young at heart’ enthusiast had to install around the goose field. Bonnie the head goose watched me with his… Continue reading Ice maiden

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Sketch Avergne

Back in 2006 I visited the volcanic area of the Avergne. Little did I know then that in just ten years I would be permanently settling just about hour North in Creuse. I always adored France and vacationers there every other year, with Scotland and the North of England as my walking holidays in between.… Continue reading Sketch Avergne

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Making and crafting · Renovation work · The farm

From cattle stall to Scottish snug

In a previous post I wrote about my journey to finding a home.  Buying property in France was the best decision I had ever made. Having now an open slate to work on I wanted the French dream.  I wanted to bring together everything I had learnt and wanted for so long – the comfy… Continue reading From cattle stall to Scottish snug

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Making and crafting · Mountain house · Renovation work · The Barn · The Factory · The farm

Property dreams

For as long as I can remember I wanted a home.  Not merely a house you decorate and live in between work and socializing outside, but a real home, full of homely noise like dogs barking, cockerels crowing, the sound of my husband chopping wood for the fire, the kettle whistling.  I suspect I have… Continue reading Property dreams

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life · Writing and Illustrating

Mad about the birds

From previous posts you probably gather I am starting out on a new journey to get back into art that I abandoned as a teenager. Part of that journey over the past year has been sourcing inspirational art, studying art techniques and amassing what’s beginning to be quite an extensive library of books dedicated to… Continue reading Mad about the birds

All Posts · Floral Photography · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Making and crafting · The farm

Bucket list at lockdown

With the French lockdown coming into affect tomorrow and the generally pathetic display of judgement by the powers that be, re Covid-19, I am arming myself with an eclectic library of reading, from science fiction, fashion, tapestry renovations, to bohemian souls, poultry farming, no-dig gardening and French decorators. I wont get bored. My latest delivery… Continue reading Bucket list at lockdown

All Posts · Animal tales · French Life

Wild deer

Today we stopped to help a lady filming a trapped deer. Probably a Fallow deer. Why she wasnt untangling him, I have no idea. The deer was a young male, probably just under two years old. Likely lost his mother from the French mafia for Sunday hunting and as many, grown up a little vague… Continue reading Wild deer

All Posts · Floral Photography · French Life

Simple

Yesterday we had our first meal at the farmhouse with friends who have lived in France for almost twenty years. They made the escape and have had a wonderful life here. We are novices compared but it’s wonderful being able to ditch debt and own your dreams. Simplicity is a word I love. That word… Continue reading Simple

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life

There’s a Cou-nou in the compost

A year ago we acquired a lonely Cou-nou cockerel. One of three wandering henless around our barn, bachelor cool and social, Mr Chicken made a beeline for our coop every day to trill at the girls and strut his stuff. The other two loitered by our garden waiting for treats or casually entering our kitchen… Continue reading There’s a Cou-nou in the compost

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Landscapes and trees

Views to wake up to

I still feel exhilarated every time I wake here in France. In fact I have to pinch myself sometimes. The morning light is amazing and filters softly through our trees creating long shadows across the lawns. The air is slightly damp as we live on top of a plateau that drops away South to the… Continue reading Views to wake up to

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New career move

When I came to France I had visions of relaxing on a terrace, Pimms in hand and a good book to loose myself in for a few hours. Ok there would be renovations to do and a new business to set up after my retirement from tax this year. But somehow life presents unusual twists… Continue reading New career move

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · French Life

Bella

Just over six months ago we finally got two Jack Russell’s, my favorite dogs. Since the day I visited a friend, whose mother was asigned to baby sit me at 18 years old, after a jaw reconstruction operation, to make sure I didn’t joke on my liquid lunch….I fell in love with these naughty, feisty… Continue reading Bella

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Renovation work

Brocantes and vases

Vases. In my case as seductive as shoes, as mint chocolate thins, as the very mention of “fancy going to Chambon resourcerie”? https://m.facebook.com/Ressourcerie.La.Dynamo/ I inherited a lot of hand painted vases from my mother who collected them in abundance. By the time she passed on, her house was a crowded display of nick-nacks and charity… Continue reading Brocantes and vases

All Posts · Cats and dogs · French Life · Renovation work · The farm

We have a cellar

After a very heady youth in the 1980’s spent in the City of London between working as a banker and sliding at most lunchtimes into the local pub, by the time I was in my late twenties I had somehow obtained a complete necessity to avoid alcohol in any form. Had I pickled my liver?… Continue reading We have a cellar

All Posts · Citroen 2CV · French Life

Thoughts in a 2CV

New mats in Amelie. Made in Italy. Thats good. I am avoiding ‘Made in China’. Have been trying to avoid that for years, as I feel its tiresome that Europe has sucumbed after being pioneers of the Indiustrial Age, to have got so embedded in that country, its a disgrace. Now people, supposedly in the… Continue reading Thoughts in a 2CV

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Links I Love · The Factory

Eau de Nil

I love to have Brocante finds and personal objects I love on my desk. I worked from home since 2001 and making a home office that felt comfortable and workable was important. We recently completed my accounts office and a studio above at the factory. Both have desks. One is a nod at my love… Continue reading Eau de Nil

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Marriage in the time of isolation

Facebook prompted a celebration of marriage this week and I wanted to share. * In this honestly shameful and tragic time of Coronavirus, you really feel how precious your life and relationships are. We are honestly scared about this virus and angry about the loss of many innocent and hardworking people. The daily news of… Continue reading Marriage in the time of isolation

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Geese · The farm

Little daily musings

A misty morning should mean a mellow day ahead? Hardly. Our mellow is unloading two new cast iron stoves, bagging up our flurry of leaves for composting and making a new chicken ladder. The silly cou nous cant jump. These podgy naked neck chickens have no sense of balance and at bedtime literally wail because… Continue reading Little daily musings

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Sofa sogood

I didn’t really want to mention the Coronavirus but this lock- in period hasn’t really caused us any inconvenience apart from having to slightly rearrange projects to deal with a few material shortages. The French brico stores are open but we are limiting our visits and the small local ones are closed. Generally the French… Continue reading Sofa sogood

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work

Tap

A design original! After buying the farmhouse the kitchen tap lasted a month. It broke in two! This amazing replacement design of ours featured a simple rocking motion to turn on water. Couldn’t adjust temperature but when in France and renovating you get used to temporary things. Sadly last night it fell off. Replaced with… Continue reading Tap

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work · The farm

Bottles and steel balls

Our Notaire is a very jolly guy and I think with a bit of wicked sense of humour. Unfortunately I have yet to master French and with our rather ambitious renovation projects of doing up four properties, my head is more full of the finer points of a 1-3 lime mix than whether I can… Continue reading Bottles and steel balls

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Geese

It’s a poultry thing

Because I finally found my vocation…. Every day this chicken slave trudges through mud to do her egg collecting and cleaning duty. My bleary eyed morning routine at the farmhouse starts with a hot cup of English breakfast tea. Can’t abide that thin whispy Smokey Earl Grey stuff. No has to be robust enough to… Continue reading It’s a poultry thing

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Chickens · Ducks · French Life · Links I Love · Travels in Europe

Inspired by comments

I am so behind with blogging I should pay a fine! I have also to catch up on everyone else’s wonderful blog posts and apologise for being so sloth in adding my comments. But tonight I managed to read a few and this prompted me to manage an update. The Anxious Gardener is busy. I… Continue reading Inspired by comments

All Posts · Animal tales · Cheese tales · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Recipes and allotment

Fridge

I opened my fridge today and realized it represented all my plans and resolutions for 2020. There is fresh cooked chicken joints with a rich jelly for our cats. Tired of uneaten tins of cat food and mountains of rubbish created from pouched food, we decided from now on we are making our own cat… Continue reading Fridge

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Making and crafting · Renovation work · The farm

The mundane and the magnificent

A homestead is a isolated dwelling, especially a farmhouse, and adjacent outbuildings, typically on a large agricultural holding such as a ranch or station.  A homesteader is a lifestyle of self sufficiency. A year ago we would not have called ourselves homesteaders, but by the close of this year, we actually feel we are heading in… Continue reading The mundane and the magnificent

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Vantastic!

After nineteen years of sterling service getting me through London rush hours and traffic jams on the M25, the Ford Focus very unceremoniously ended it’s days in a French scrap yard. 149k miles and right hand drive was not going to cut the mustard on any French sales forum and to be honest we worried… Continue reading Vantastic!

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · The Factory

Contrasts

Today was a day of contrasts. First thing this morning we headed off to Boussac, a lovely French provincial town just north of us with a chateau high up on a stony outcrop, to collect a painting by a local artist Pascale Lauwers. She hails from Belgium and had an exhibition of Chinoiserie inspired paintings… Continue reading Contrasts

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work

Behind the wall.

Well you buy a place, you plan your renovation, you argue, you draw it out merticulously on graph paper with little paper shapes denoting cupboards and chairs and even rope your electrician friend in, to stop you getting electrocuted by the decidedly dodgy French electrics. You then realize the dresser will not fit unless you… Continue reading Behind the wall.

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · French Life

Little ones

Last week excitement peaked when two little goslings hatched. As of today these guys are growing both in size and in their demands for lettuce. Spoilt to be honest with mum, dad and auntie Bumble trailing around them continuously. But they are sweet and we do believe some little tufts are starting to show on… Continue reading Little ones

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Mad Englishwoman goes out in the midday sun

I looked it up. Is was important. That confusion between Celsius and Fahrenheit. Today it’s an oven hot 102 Fahrenheit. It’s a larger number written that way. It represents the searing heat today and we are not even in July.What do I do in this canicule? I don wierd garb reminiscent of an 18th century… Continue reading Mad Englishwoman goes out in the midday sun

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life · Links I Love · Making and crafting

The foraged home

I have always loved exploring second-hand shops and the old warehouse salvage yards of Bermondsey, London, now sadly on the decline (better converted by a greedy landlord than promoting entrepreneurial enterprise..don’t get me started!) and if I get the chance, beachcombing, or collecting “finds” from the countryside, like curiously shaped sticks, old glass bottles to… Continue reading The foraged home

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We are confused

Blogging has stopped for a few weeks. It’s been a crazy busy time for us. Completing final paperwork for properties which have to follow French strict timetables and rubber stamping. It takes forever but when you finally get that little bunch of keys, well you don’t care. In a flash of a paintchart, the waiting… Continue reading We are confused

All Posts · French Life · Travels on my bike

Lazy Days and lazy bikes

Today was wet, windy and after a week of working hard on the septic tank and moving earth and stones, we crashed for a cosy afternoon in bed. Music, magazines, YouTube and a cup of tea for good measure, we love these times to catch up on social media, research or read about things we… Continue reading Lazy Days and lazy bikes

All Posts · Brocantes and reclaimation · French Life

Watercolours and Pasqueflowers

We took a day off from working on renovations. Both tired and a little wrung out from clearing out the houses and the back and forth journey to the local tip. It’s Pasque in France, otherwise known as Easter. Pasque is derived from the Latin word for Passover and the little purple flower bursts into… Continue reading Watercolours and Pasqueflowers

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work · The Barn

Fosse septic at the barn

Big day today. Septic tank going in. All hands on deck. Except me. I was foreman and well, drank tea! Someone has to keep an eye on health and safety from a safe distance! Ah that was a lovely cuppa! My friends sent messages of congratulations as we had to use a bucket for our… Continue reading Fosse septic at the barn