Thursday, August 21, 2008

We have had a good week, completing the decorating in the Kitchen, Utility room and also the chambre d'hote room. The weather has been very warm and settled.

Two of our four builders returned from their holidays today to start stone cladding the wall which is in front of the gites and will be the backdrop to the swimming pool.

Today I spent several hours sanding the beams and timbers on our dining room ceiling, this is a traditional provencal style.

It was very dusty and hot work!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Well it was a good party, about 65 friends and family, this is me with my sister, who looks pretty good I think.
Yesterday, Sunday 17th was our 7th wedding anniversary. Here is Karen looking pretty fantastic before we went for dinner in Bonnieux.

This is the view from the restaurant

We were not aware when we booked that Bonnieux was holding it's fete votive that night so when we arrived to find candy floss stalls and roundabouts outside the restaurant we were a little concerned however at 10pm there was a great firework display and we had the best view in the house followed by live music and dancing in the square, we left at 12.30 driving home with the roof down in the mazda lit by a full moon (and headlights too!), it was a lovely balmy evening.

Meanwhile I think my wine consumption might be taking its toll on me, I was walking down to the Boulangerie yesterday morning when I came across a Lama who clearly has a good appreciation for a fine view!


Friday, August 15, 2008

We are making in roads on the house with the kitchen and chamre d'hote room now decorated. It seems to take so long though with each room requring sand and rub down beams, ceiling then walls,fill all around door and window frames (long story!),paint doors and windows and then apply 4 coats to ceilings and walls. Then there are the shutters! and about 12 rooms to go , did I mention in roads!
Anyway we have learnt that the 15 August is a turning point in the summer weather pattern here.It has been very settled actually until last weekend but Tuesday we had the most amazing storm with abt 3 inches of rain in under an hour, note our sun terrace is a little wet and muddy!
I am actually writing this in South Wales - my sister Gillian was 50 last Friday and is having a big party tonight so I came over last night to Bristol and surprised her, home tomorrow though.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

What is the most important item in a French work mans van? the cool box containing lunch!
Our Gardening team arrived at 8am and duly unloaded the lunch boxes with coffee to start proceedings before getting down to some serious strimming and mowing!

The grass had not been cut for months and our driveway was fast being engulfed by triffids and brambles!

Meanwhile Dominique, a really nice gentle man, with a very difficult Provencal accent but who nows his garden work set about cutting the weeds on his ride on go cart - well actually a 5000€ serious cutting machine.

Job almost completed - 3 men and their machines in just over 3 hours and we have a garden again!

It's like when you come back from the hairdressers and wonder why you put up with it for so long!

Meanwhile Karen continues on windows and window frames ' (honestly I didn't say a thing!)

Patrick, our electrician rather worryingly uses washing up liquid( that well known trick of the trade!) to encourage the ADSL cable through the under house pipes!!

And I precariously balance on the scaffolding painting the ceilings

But its been a good week with the Kitchen and Chambre D'Hote room well on there way to being completed by early next week.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Its Monday morning and we have serious work to do! I have over 30 beams in this house to sand and paint, let alone the ceilings they hold up!

The ceilings take 4 coats of paint, then there are the walls,and the shutters, and the windows and then there is the other house................Anyone want a painting holiday in Provence - good food and wine?

Karen has bravely taken on the roll of windows and doors ( haven't actually told her that yet)! our new paint shop!

And good news my South African buyer exchanged on Monday night, deal done in 14 days completion November - thank you very much! I must admit 3 years ago when we took the decision to come here I had never thought we would be actually able to earn money here from selling houses nor that I would be so up to my eyes in paint!! but I wouldn't change it for anything - we both love it!
Its Sunday afternoon and the village boule courts are full, a wonderful French Pastime - its hard to know what stands out the most - the noise of the boules hitting each other or the chattering of conversation! And no I am not a member yet!

As well as the evening fete there is a harvest festival, lots of straw, donkeys and lavender, plus more chatter and wine consumption! Plus a demonstration of modern farming techniques!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

This time of year the waist line seems to take a hammering here! The glorious weathe
is perfect for long sociable evenings eating & drinking!

On Tuesday we went into Avignon where the festival was in full swing,

we have found a superb restaurant opposite the Opera house

and after this we went to a Flamenco show. The wheel is erected each year just for the festival and is right by the Rhone which flows through the city.

We were also out Wednesday & Thursday at friends houses, both nights were very late and with our wake up call at 5.50am every morning when the builders arrive an afternoon siesta is obligatory!

This weekend sees the Annual 'village fete votive', 3 nights of live music starting at 10pm till 2am in the village and there is no escaping the noise. It is attended by both locals and folk from other nearby villages and towns with a few hundred at each evening, there is much drinking, talking and dancing!

This is the band on Saturday night and a rather blurred dance floor - it is about 1am by the way!

This week there is been more progress on the second house which we have named Le Mùrier a mulberry tree which will be crossed with a plane tree to give shade in summer which we will plant in the garden.

The internal walls are being insulated after which a second skin of 7cm red block is added and this will then be plastered.

The outside staircase which will lead to the roof terrace has also been added.

Meanwhile we have our shutters which we have to paint - another job!

And these stones will be used to face the wall, in front of this will be lawn then the pool.