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

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Make do and mend

Moving crates and boxes of fabrics into the Factory sewing rooms, found these wonderful old linen sacks and strips. Not only are the textures wonderful, but so too the painstaking work to repatch and darn the holes or tears. The patches to me create a new design. I don’t see them as repairs of damage,… Continue reading Make do and mend

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Pipi Pintade

Last year I was given a box of baby guineafowl. They were supposed to be banthams. Billy Bantham my adopted, feisty cockerel needed girls. He had adopted the role of deputy to Ronnie roosters flock of Rhode Island hens as Ronnie had an amputated toe and found rounding up the girls at sunset difficult. But… Continue reading Pipi Pintade

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In the dog house

Dogs need a dog house. It can get -23 degrees here and upto 46 degrees in the height of summer. Dogs need to be spoilt sometimes and dogs need a quiet, calm down when your hot over excited space too. Dogs need to share their house with cats. A two tier system with a cat… Continue reading In the dog house

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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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Cooped up

Everyone was full of beans yesterday…not literally but the extra ration of meal worms in the meal worm hunt had resulted in a group of feisty ducks and chickens. Mr Chicken led the hunt and as per usual showed off for the benefit of the camera and the girls. Now for clarity these girls are… Continue reading Cooped up

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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

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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

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Morning light

This morning was a sharp, crisp take your breath away chill, but the sun was peeping dramatically between the thunder clouds and that meant camera time. Saturated greens and greys and white frost crystals made the shots relatively simple. I went wide angle to stretch the perspectives more and gave a minor contrast tweak in… Continue reading Morning light

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Button up

If I had to say my third obsessions after fabric and ceramic tiles, its buttons. I have many boxes from brocantes and what seems a jumbled lot of buttons that have little to love about now, once sorted a few gems appear. Some buttons are damned ugly and have to go, but others are a… Continue reading Button up

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Fallen leaves

As a child my walk to school took me through a rambling footpath between mighty oaks and horse chestnuts.  The latter supplied conkers that resulted in many bruised fingers from conker fights.  Now this childhood right of passage has been banned. Shame, but it was actually rather dangerous.  But also rolling around in leaves could… Continue reading Fallen leaves

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

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Restoration chairs

A few weeks ago a visit to our local brocante found us hauling another van load of furniture back to the farmhouse. Now much of the land has been tamed and the ground cleared of fallen branches and sadly household rubbish, we have the foundations of a garden, orchard and meadow. This means the farmhouse… Continue reading Restoration chairs

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Studio scheme

We have a small cottage next to our farmhouse, a little two roomed building that I have decided will be the perfect writing and photography den. Sometimes you need your private quiet space. I know my husband would agree. There are times we spend too long in each other’s company, working on the buildings all… Continue reading Studio scheme

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Pintade problems

One of my little pintades (Ginnea Fowl) has a cold. It prompted a quick sketch and an idea for a character in my future book. But more so, this sudden change of weather had arrived a little quick,  finishing the creche pen to avoid drafts was getting me in a fluster. The new birds had… Continue reading Pintade problems

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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

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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

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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

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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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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?

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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

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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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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

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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