Sunday, April 27, 2008

The pool is full and sparkling ready to receive its first guests!

The recent rain and contrasting warm sunshine has bought the poppies out in abundance.

The vines are also just bursting into bud, this one is probably about 100 years old.Growth will not be at about a centimeter a day.

Karen has done a great job restoring the boule court ready for play and for use by our guests the first of whom arrives in just over 8 weeks.

Despite the exterior not changing much work continues on site with internal walls being built, Electrics going in and this week we hope to see a plumber!

In just 8 weeks time this will be our home for two to three months!!!

The second house is also moving at a Provencal pace! Worryingly we have three bank holidays in May, usually either a Thursday or Tuesday. In between they have ' bridge' days linking the weekend so not much happens in May!

Our bad luck with cars continues! My beloved Mazda fresh from its trip to Marseille has complete Electrical failure (( just 9 months old and 2500 miles on the clock) luckily in our drive and is taken to the 'car hospital!' for repair.
During the last week we had reason to go to Marseille - the second largest City in France, about 90 minutes drive from here.

After our appointment we drove along the coast where we took lunch right by the sea.

We then followed the coast road to this rather bizare village, on one hand very pretty and the other most strange with pre fab houses which were unoccupied ( second homes I guess), but right by the sea.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Over the last week we have continued to work on the ceiling of the Gite - what a laborious job! first coat of tape and plaster, two days, rub down - a full day, second coat of plaster - another day , rub down again and prepare for 3 coats of paint! Thank fully I have managed to persuade one of the trades to continue where I give up ( I mean leave off)

The weather here as I mentioned have been extraordinary - this time last year I was using the pool - the water temperature was abt 18/19 degrees. February was stunning with lots of sun and pleasant days. Since early March we have had wind (!!)and much more rain than normal including yet another storm last Friday night and torrential rain all day sunday and through the night. You can almost here the vines lapping it up.

Thank fully there are signs of summer ( not so far away) with predictions of 25 degrees by the weekend.
In between the rain, we have had some contrastingly nice days so I bit the bullet last week and took the winter cover off the pool.

Overal it was in pretty good shape but a problem that I have been putting off dealing with for a while was still there - the corner of the liner had come out of its fixing and needed to be repaired.

Unfortunately this meant emptying the pool completely so I could maneuver the lining. I also had to melt it so it was supple ( using a hairdryer) Bit of a shame to just pump the water away. ( 40 cubic metres).

To my surprise and pleasure I seem to have sorted the problem, although until it is refilled and put under pressure I will not really know. I took advantage of the pool being empty and started scrubbing the sides and base using a bleach based pool cleaning product ( mixed with 1 or 2 other chemicals!!)

It was one of those jobs that you wondered why you started! Let me out please!

Once done though it was rather satisfying! now to refill it and get the summer cover on to warm it up for our visitors in just 3 weeks.(Sue & Tim)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Yet another week has flown by, and the realisation that in 8 weeks time we will be on holiday in Turkey ( with Sue & Tim) and moving just a fortnight later is rather scary! But over a bottle or two of wine it all became much less scary and very simple so we now have a clear plan for the weeks ahead - watch this space!
Many of you who read this will be fed of me showing blue skies and gloating about the weather! So to pacify you all here is a taste of when it rains in Provence! 10am Friday morning, a huge thunder and lightening storm with Torrents of rain.
But, typical of Provence the sun comes back and here we are today walking in 20 degrees of sunshine - its a crazy world!

I have spent 3 days this week filling the gaps in the plaster board in just one of the Gites including a whole day on the sander rubbing it all down ( my arm was still vibrating when I went to bed). Just another Coat to go before painting, then the other Gite, our house and the other house............ any volunteers out there!

This is a picture of Richard who although currently working for the BBC on Eastenders is spending a months holiday at Pinewood Studios on the new Bond Movie! That's my boy!!( he hates me saying that).

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Spring is here, the blossom is out in full bloom, the temperature is warming up, no need to light the fire at night (so no heating), socks can be put away till autumn!

The cover is being added to our terrace and next week the balcony will be built - its taking shape! Just 10 weeks till we move in!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The house construction moves on , at what feels like a slower pace this last 10 days! The damp course is added externally with a deep gully at the bottom filled with pebbles and a concrete gully to take away any rainwater that might get through.

The lounge and dining room await the next stage - Electrics and under floor heating. Hard to imagine we will be living here in just a few months (or 6!)

The plasterer has started work in the Gites, typical Frenchman to bring his own clothes stand!

Spring really seems to have arrived with the beginning of April renowned for the Spring blossom on the Cherry trees.

Our houses are perched in this hillside, if you double click on the picture it will enlarge, you can see both our new houses slightly to the left of the cabonon , the grey one is then to the right with ours in the red block.

The second house awaits some attention like internal walls, windows etc

A large crane has recently dominated the village as the retirement home has undergone a massive extension over the last 18 months, so now they can round up and house all the old folks!! Everyone is glad to see it go.

The lavender is aleady growing and will flower in July.

And the vines remain dorment for a few more weeks before starting their growth in May at a rate of one centimetre a day!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A few weeks ago some friends asked us to stand in as ' buyers' for building materials and antiques so we could be photographed for their website- here are a few of the results!

This is us studying the plans of a mansion to be built in the USA using Provencal building materials which Mike & Rosi buy and ship.

Here we are in a bespoke door and furniture makers in Apt, employing 60 craftsmen they create beautiful doors,windows & furniture, all hand made and very expensive!

We watch the craftsman carve this Oak door destined for the USA

These chandaliers are rather sparkly!

And some lovely dishes - worth a thousand pounds each - from Sweden I believe!

This cow gave us a good laugh

That old cliche 'its cooler in the shade!'

Lovely dish! Just like being on the Antiques road show

Not quite sure what I said but seemed to be pretty serious!

Some fairly hideous ornaments!

I am going to read you a story......

This is a cobblers table and tool set which I found rather fascinating

And finally a well desreved lunch!

This is beams r us! any size, all very old and expensive too

If its a fountain you are looking for look no further!

And to create a good impression a nice set of entrance gates!