11 - 28 August 2009
This period started with a week of re-roofing. The first part of the roof, over the kitchen, went well, but when the roofers got to the roof at the far end, a lot of rot in the chestnut wood boarding (volige in French - and what the tiles rest on) was discovered and had to be replaced. The budget suffered heavily……
7 – 19 September 2009
David had bought me a huge apple tree for my birthday, a present which was also thanks for the help in selling their house. As I wanted our apple trees together for better pollination, I moved the bay tree to another spot and started digging the hole for the apple tree near the others. Jean and Nicole had given me a stunning Stargazer Lily, which I had enjoyed in the house for the past couple of weeks, and so this I also planted in the garden; hopefully I will be able to enjoy it again next year.
As the figs and courgettes slowed up, the quinces were now ready, so I was trying to keep up by making as much jam and jelly as possible. The latter were very difficult to cut up this year, as they were badly pitted from the huge hailstorm on 11 May, so the preparation took more time than usual.
Nigel arrived for a break on 17th and on the 18th he finished the hole for the apple tree and planted it out. While Nigel was in France, we spoilt ourselves with meals of both mussels and oysters. We also visited a selection of neighbours for some drinks. On 19th, we went to see our friend’s recently purchased holiday home, situated in a hamlet to the south of us. It was a good day although the weather was a bit off. We first went to Cave St Sornin to buy some of their excellent Charentais wine, then on to their local restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon we had a tour of the new house and we walked around the village in a dry spell to see what was available. They have a huge garden with lots of trees; someone has lots of work to do!
20 September – mid October 2009
I climbed up into the roof of the kitchen, masked so as not to cause further respiratory problems, to spread out the new insulation. Nigel worked from below lifting and passing it to me while I spread it out. I remember doing this in one house in South Africa and I itched for days after; the French insulation thankfully did not cause this problem.
The pumpkin and water melon from the garden were quite delicious.
I experimented with a sanglier (wild boar) casserole, using a piece of meat that Nicole and Jean had kindly given us. Nigel cycled a couple of times; I was still not allowed to exercise until I had further x-rays to check my chest was clear. All the rotten wood that had come down from the roof was cut up to go on the firewood pile. We composted the asparagus and on the 26th Nigel returned to the UK.
I spent the next couple of weeks generally tidying up, making jam and digging over the garden. David came to cut the laurel hedge for me as I was worried about dust getting into my lungs. I dug up the remaining beans, pumpkins and water melon and the residue went for compost.
On 30th I picked up one of our young neighbours to take him to his riding lesson and on the way there was an almighty crash from the back of the car. Looking out of the rear window, I watched the silencer bouncing down the road behind me! I only had a couple of weeks before I left to return to the UK, so something had to be done about this quite quickly. Jean came to the rescue and spoke to his mechanic who repairs not only his cars but his tractors as well, so on 6 October I had a brilliant temporary repair done, for the princely sum of €20. After sorting everything out and preparing the house and garden for winter, I drove back to the UK in mid October, leaving David to keep an eye on everything for us.
We return to France 27/28 March 2010 and I hope that by the beginning of April I will have the internet connection restored, so I can keep this blog up to date. Watch this space - I will be back!