Tuesday 28 February 2023

Friday 24 February 2023

Nearing the end of a project

A building project that occupied much of our time over the last year. Fearful moments, wonderful moments, great satisfaction, and a collective feeling that we'd probably never want to do anything like this again...

Everything used has been hunted down at recycling places, charity shops, boot sales, online junk exchange, skips and the various local dumps, only the unavoidable basics bought - insulation, plaster board, the electrician and plumber skills/materials, etc.  

It's down to the small stuff now - unearthing the tile cutter to do the one skirting tile we were short of, a couple of curtains to finish, a bit of missed grout, a touch of repainting here and there; and a few bigger items, like pointing the exterior back wall and finishing off the courtyard BBQ area. 

Thanks to our our wonderful Workaway, Christopher, said BBQ area has emerged from a huge mound of earth and rocks at the back of the building which was once the bread oven - sadly neglected and allowed to collapse over time.

A few recent photos, and top one from what now seems a very, very long time ago...



The original door knocker from the main house.

remains of the old bread oven - with tree growing out of it...

cleared away, and wall partially pointed 

new rustic BBQ made of reclaimed bits from our local charity emporium. 
Total cost: six euros

Monday 20 February 2023

One man's rubbish . . .

Is another woman's gold. Or in this case, two, not at all valuable but highly serviceable objects that I narrowly stopped said man hurling into the 'tout venant' - general rubbish - at the tip/dechetterie/dump a couple of days ago.

I'd swerved the car to a Starsky and Hutch style halt as I'd seen an arc of unwanted glassware glinting in the afternoon sunshine headed for the afore-mentioned container, and ran up to the man to ask -as politely as possible - if he could stop throwing useable glasses away. He'd smiled benignly and said, too late. 

You'll want to keep the basket, I'd said, assuming he would want to keep a handmade, good nick whicker basket. 

He shrugged: Non - c'est pour le poubelle aussi . . . you want it? 


And this old wooden box?

Indeed. The old wooden box was actually a purpose made and delightful carrying container for holding new plants to be planted out. I briefly peered at his car that was full of less interesting stuff.

Ah. Shame he said, noting my surreptitious glance, I have many more things like this which will come here.

Due elsewhere I stopped myself asking for his address and a RDV in order to trawl his house, and unloaded my car of real dump garbage - unusable bits of plasterboard, broken glass, damp cardboard etc and set off again wondering why he hadn't bothered to take the useable items to our not-far-away excellent emporium of second hand everything; or at least leave the things to one side for someone else to re-home. 

Judging by the employer at the place however anything that was left would be swiftly binned anyway, unlike at the dump I had tried to go to before getting my dates mixed up, where they positively encourage folk to re-house stuff and recycle absolutely everything from china, sinks, all different types of plastic, paint, furniture and of course, perfectly serviceable whicker baskets...

Saturday 11 February 2023

A perfect day

Not on a sun-drenched beach, exploring the hot springs of Iceland, or snow-boarding in the Alps. just a half hour journey up the road to meet my son at a half way point we use when meeting for a hike or exploration of the area.

Château le Vallière is relatively unremarkable apart from the scenic lake that sits below the town within a bowl of green hills. As this was an 'insolite' (quirky) wanderings day rather than a serious striding out walk we started by clambering up to the disused railway track - or rather, tracks, as there would have been two lines usefully connecting many of the small - now rather dead- villages and towns of the area - and walking quite a distance before skirting back into the town from a different direction.

As all the cafés I had pinpointed as possible quick lunch stops were inexplicably closed - restaurant strikes? (unlikely!) - a supermarket picnic sufficed which we enjoyed sitting on the disused and impressive old metal train bridge spanning the valley. 

Map banned, we strolled on, seeing where we would end up - with a rough knowledge of where the car had been left. The February sun shone brightly on impossibly green pastures, the white bulk of the local gravel factory and our three selves as we rather reluctantly made our ways back to the walk's starting point and the separate journeys home.

Thanks, the lad - great day.


Tuesday 7 February 2023

Chega de Saudade - No More Blues

Live from the teatime sessions kitchen, our take on this bossa classic.

Enough of all that homesickness... the English version of the 1957 song, first recorded by the great Brazilian actress and singer, Elizete Cardosa. Music by Antönio Carlos Jobim.