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 · Renovation work

Picture this

Today I framed a picture. This post developed into something more than that somehow. On rainy days work at the farmhouse comes to a stop. The fields get slippery and knee deep in mud after a history of being cow pastures, and work on the coop building is dangerous. It’s a big build and with… Continue reading Picture this

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 · 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

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Garden in the meadow · Recipes and allotment

Garlic

A bit late but the garlic started showing signs of shooting and we hadn’t really planned to plant much this year given the building projects taking up so much time. But the awful virus arrived and we realized what bad timing. We had seeds but hadn’t really prepped the beds. A long slog in the… Continue reading Garlic

All Posts · Garden in the meadow · The farm

Le Sapin de Noel

My first home was in Chatham, Kent, on a steep chalk hill with views to the historic dockyard and the downs that follow the Pilgrims Way to Canterbury where the famous Thomas Becket was martyred during the rein of Henry II. I loved my little home and after moving in with my long term bachelor… Continue reading Le Sapin de Noel

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

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

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 · Brocantes and reclaimation · Making and crafting · Renovation work · The Factory

Woodworm

Rain. Flooded field and the chicken coop projects on hold…again! So what do you do? Go to a Brocante armed with your measley €30.00, knowing that there will be an immense wealth of objects that would make even the Count Of Monte cristo blink twice! A short half hour drive across country to picturesque Chambon… Continue reading Woodworm

All Posts · The farm

Grass at last

Now off to get lawn fertilizer, clover, grass and wild flower seeds. After mowing we raked the surface quite hard to clean out dead grass, moss, thatch and scarify the soil to help with reseeding and regrowth. Years of leaving piles of mowings had resulted in dead patches and nettle growth. The previous owners rarely… Continue reading Grass at last

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 · 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

All Posts · The farm

Seasons greetings

We all panicked when the clock ticked past the year 2000. Computers would meltdown, planets would explode and the world would head swiftly in its trajectory to the sun. We would be crispy by the end of the year! Well it’s 20 years since then and we have had some meltdowns, explosions and as of… Continue reading Seasons greetings

All Posts · Recipes and allotment

Carrots and potatoes

Carrot cake with coconut, hazelnuts, lemon and lime marmalade and duck eggs. Yum! And because today is a great day, a heart amongst the potatoes. Our week has been very stressful and today we needed a break from work, time to recover from my mini operation and the injury to my chest after I fell… Continue reading Carrots and potatoes

All Posts · Animal tales · Cats and dogs · Renovation work

Letting in the light

We finally hauled ourselves after the long hot summer into the Farm House to start renovations. Somehow a trillion excuses manifested to keep us from mustering up the courage to tackle opening up this lovely property and get some order into the rooms. With no rear access to the house, the kitchen off the bedroom… Continue reading Letting in the light

All Posts · Making and crafting · Renovation work

Putty in my hands

Autumn seems to have arrived with earnest. From a blistering sahara 42 degrees we are down to a fishfinger chilly 18 degrees in less than two weeks. This signals not only rummidging in cupboards to find lost winter jumpers, but realizing we must get to the Farmhouse to decorate our bedroom. We need it to… Continue reading Putty in my hands

All Posts · Landscapes and trees · Renovation work

Oaks

We took the brave but necessary step a week ago, to ask our local tree surgeon to work his magic on the sadly neglected trees at the Farmhouse. My husband was rather doubtful about the whole project, but trees are complex guys. Firstly height. It’s a dangerous job to rope a tree, climb and wield… Continue reading Oaks

All Posts · Garden in the meadow · The Barn

Mowing

No rain today. The clouds scudded past all too quickly. Its been almost two and a half months with all but three days of rain. We are desert. The air is filled with choking dust from the combine harvesters. The river near our home is dry and our farming neighbour has to travel further every… Continue reading Mowing

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 · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Renovation work

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 · Animal tales · Chickens · Recipes and allotment

Can I freeze eggs?

Freezing, links, recipe and what to do with eggshells: I see this question a lot on the internet forums. Our lovely girls are laying eggs as if there is a local competition going on…which coop can egg it the best this week – wins meal worm treats! Well my girls get treats regardless but our… Continue reading Can I freeze eggs?

All Posts · Animal tales · Geese · Recipes and allotment

From field to plate

Simply my lovely Tolouse goose Barley lays her eggs daily, carefully covering them with straw and twigs in an attempt to be a careful mumma goose. Except she doesn’t brood over them. Bonnie her mate (Sorry we thought he was a girl) doesn’t chastise her either. So I collect them and in return for the… Continue reading From field to plate

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

All Posts · Renovation work · The Barn

The roofers finally arrived

Four years ago we could see the sky through the tiles. Mmm nice and sunny today! The joists had insulation made from spiders webs, a dense white drapery befitting Mrs Havershams world* and the beams looked as if the woodborers had a work in progress ‘re the new lunch menu. With no money the prospect… Continue reading The roofers finally arrived

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 · Renovation work

Girl does concrete

Well it’s turned hot so out comes the masonary gear, sand buckets and rubber mixing tray. The girl likes to live dangerously! So first job, tackle silly top of Little House wall in prep for converting room to a cold room to hold food, preserves and such like. The original builders didn’t finish to top… Continue reading Girl does concrete

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

All Posts · Mountain house · Premo From London · Transylvanian travels

Mountain retreat for a Transylvanian

What a long day today. We finally completed our property purchases by signing for our rear barn and mountain house. I hadn’t slept well. Over did work at the farmhouse and my back was angry. On the second signing I was drifting off. I can understand French ok. Can’t speak it but it’s tiring when… Continue reading Mountain retreat for a Transylvanian

Garden in the meadow · Renovation work · The farm

Backbreaking work

A week ago we signed for our farmhouse just north of the barn, in a lovely forested area full of lakes and rocky outcrops.Typically when you move in, the remnants of the previous owners lives are left unloved in cupboards, under beds, chucked in garages and garden outbuildings. This house is no exception.The van is… Continue reading Backbreaking work

All Posts · Garden in the meadow · Renovation work · The Barn

Update on the barn project

The sun is finally shining and I got a chance between sniffing into my hankie (I have a cold) and trying to stop Bonnie goose from pecking me (she has hormones!), to do a quick video. It’s countdown to signing for our purchase of the rear stone barn to ours, complete with the large hey… Continue reading Update on the barn project

All Posts · Making and crafting · My Company Projects · Renovation work · The Factory

Mezzanines

This week the mezzanines arrived from Spain. The French delivery guys had no idea about health and safety and appeared to have no safety boots or understanding about using truck hi-abs without the risk of loosing their pallet truck in the process. I couldn’t watch. After a lot of groaning and levering, the three very… Continue reading Mezzanines

All Posts · Chickens · French Life · The Barn

Poop and Feathers: Chicken Coop Tour

I have always found my London slash Essex accent somewhat annoying, but there are times that trying to put into words what pictures do better, means I will have to subject you all to my first video. It’s not perfect but I hope you enjoy my little guided tour of the coop and an intro… Continue reading Poop and Feathers: Chicken Coop Tour

All Posts · Chickens · The Barn

Chicken Licken day

We have had a spoiling ourselves time looking for little colourful household goods for our barn and farmhouse. We both inherited heirloom kitchen equipment from our parents – Brown Betty teapots, blue and white stripped milk jugs, Judge enamel pans, wicker baskets, pie dishes and cast iron griddles amongst them. We have a mixture of… Continue reading Chicken Licken day

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

Poop and Feathers: Books about chooks

In these cold and wet wintry days, there is nothing better than taking some time out from muddy chores and wet wellies, to catch up on reading. In a couple of months we sign for our farmhouse and begin a huge planning session, working out where the new chicken coop and runs will be and… Continue reading Poop and Feathers: Books about chooks

All Posts · French Life · The Barn

Wash Day the old fashioned way

A quick pre-new year post. As we transition from our few years of basic living to a bright new future of domestic bliss of owning the modern appliances known as a washing machine and a water boiler; what better way to spend the last day of 2018 washing in the old fashioned way. Not that… Continue reading Wash Day the old fashioned way

All Posts · French Life · The Barn · Writing and Illustrating

Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

La Grange has it’s tree and its Christmas jumper time for us. It seems Hippo and me shopped the same design! Our collection of stuffed friends in the background…Lob-i-ster, Alfred the pig, Chicken and La Loup. Don’t worry, forever a child at heart and writing stories. You should see the other shelves! In Paris I… Continue reading Christmas Jumpers and Children’s books

All Posts · Animal tales · Cheese tales · French Life · The Barn

House Mouse

There is a little mouse in the house.  He lives near our log burner – sensible guy – and although we shouldn’t, we leave him French bread and sometimes cheese.  Once the barn is finished, he will have to move his little home to the hay barn at the back, but for now we indulge… Continue reading House Mouse

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work · The Barn

Big House – Little House: Water

Starting as I mean to go on – a promise to start a regular update on our renovation projects in Limousine, France; we finally had a water supply installed at the barn. Our properties seem to have an habit of providing us not with just one building, for example our barn, but two.  The new… Continue reading Big House – Little House: Water

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

All change – French property plans

I have been a little too quiet on this blog.  Life’s ups and downs as they are.  But today in December was wonderfully windy, autumnal and the bright golden leaves looked like the sun had been scattered to the ground ready to swept up for a winter slumber. The chickens were out – the coop can get… Continue reading All change – French property plans

All Posts · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Renovation work · The Barn

Decorating girl

I was always daddy’s girl and from as long as I can remember I helped my dad with everything – gardening, decorating and building work.  Neighbours still on my mum’s estate from the 60’s, remember the little girl with the pony tail, sitting high up in the skip with her dad, eating sandwiches.  I loved… Continue reading Decorating girl

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · French Life · Garden in the meadow · Renovation work · Tony Costin

Team soul mate – notes and plans

I often refer to Tony in my posts. He is my rock, soul mate, breakfast and tea maker, solid sharer of life’s stresses and calming problem solver in a crisis. I haven’t met anyone who works as hard as he does nor with such enthusiasm. I am more tetchy and vulnerable to doubt. Hard labour… Continue reading Team soul mate – notes and plans

All Posts · Cheese tales · Recipes and allotment

Curds and whey

A quick skim through Waitrose magazine over a coffee in-store and a small article on getting out and learning a new skill, caught my eye. Arundel – Cheesemaking Not far by train..maybe a stay over in a hotel, a break from hospital visits and some me time.  The course run by a very enthusiastic and… Continue reading Curds and whey

All Posts · French Life · Renovation work · The Barn

Angst, rethinking and making a home

Angst Its been a bad morning. I shouted at my mum, her illness has stressed me. Somehow in the UK dealing with cancer is a hit and miss affair and much of it just people spouting words. They don’t really talk with you, but at you. Cliche but true. But my point is, my mums… Continue reading Angst, rethinking and making a home

All Posts · Animal tales · Chickens · Recipes and allotment

Go to work on an egg

Go to work on an egg… a UK 1970’s maybe advertising strapline before the Brits panicked about cholesterol and stopped eating an egg a day, but then realized how silly that was and it was typically politicians playing games, as usual, with the publics well being. Well I think we need to go to work… Continue reading Go to work on an egg