Les poissons en France

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Some of you will know that John was heavily into Bonsai when we lived in Lincolnshire. Unfortunately he left most of his bonsai trees behind when we moved out of The Old Vicarage. Frankly we had nowhere to keep them and didn't know how long we would be in temporary accommodation.

The climate in South West France is far from conducive to growing bonsai but he has dabbled a little. Spring is the time they look their best so I wanted to share their beauty with you. 

This is a cascade style Japanese Quince.

He is aware that this forsythia (informal upright) needs pruning but we wanted to let it flower.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Design Changes

When we were working (I can just about remember that far back) I would have been described by the "builders" as a customer from hell i.e. one who is continually changing her mind. They were always women!! Fortunately for me I have my own pet "builder" who panders to me and doesn't complain.

In the en-suite of the third bedroom we have always envisaged using the left over tiles from the ground floor. That inevitably means that we are restricted by the number available and of course we must leave enough spares in case of accidents. So we came up with a plan that fitted the available tiles. However, whilst I endorsed the plan, feeling I did not have much option, I never really liked it. Reminiscent of the situation with the stairs! Not to be deterred I spent two days scouring my design books and on line looking for inspiration without success. John joined in yesterday in an attempt to mollify me. He offered up endless different combinations of tiles and mocked up things in cardboard. I had had an idea but feared to mention it as his indulgence only goes so far. As things were getting desparate I plucked up courage to suggest that we put a false beam at the end of the tiles. I had thought that he could slice through one of our many old beams with the chainsaw. That was deemed impossible so we looked on line for false beams. Hey presto we found some but decided that we should have a thorough look in the barn loft before spending 65 euros. Miraculously there was just one that was the right size. It was cleaned and temporarily installed by lunch time.
He is currently relining the wall that was originally scheduled to be half tiled. I do realise how lucky |I am!!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Long Time in the Making

I suppose that sums up all our projects. The difficulty is we either can't remember what we originally planned or we have changed our minds. Whatever, the result is the same, we end up with materials we bought originally that are now surplus to requirements. In the case of the third bedroom it is three rolls of textured bamboo wallpaper and a bathroom floor's worth of tiles. So far!! Any offers?

John is progressing in the bedroom although a long way from finishing. Nevertheless yesterday we went in search of flooring (you know me, it has to be exactly the right shade, which is inevitably twice the price!). There is nothing better than a good bit of retail therapy to lift the winter blues, so I got really into the spirit of things and bought bedding as well. We haven't got any beds but that is a minor detail.

Changing our minds always causes more work. We have just decided to move the position of the electric towel rail yet again. This is the third time, and it is back to where it was originally. Fortunately 'im indoors does not complain ... can you imagine what a bone fide electrician would say.

John is currently covering the plasterboard with "toile de verre" a sort of fibre glass lining paper which we have used in much of the house. There is talk of me painting it next week. I thought I was just the gardener these days.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

New Menu ...

... for the deer!

The latest design element added to the garden features 6 standard roses in the beds along the Iris Walk.  As you know the deer love to eat roses and the under gardener fears that they'll love standard roses ... they won't have to bend down to eat!

The roses arrived within 48 hours of being ordered ... 
... and they are planted within 48 hours of delivery.
We await the reaction of our customers!

Friday, February 05, 2016

The Season Has Begun

We went to the garden centre yesterday as we needed compost. Well actually it is not a garden centre but one of those agricultural suppliers/ machinery vendors that you only find in really rural areas. We were amazed to see the car park full when we arrived and a large queue at the check out. Nevertheless as we walked in with our trolley load of compost the checkout lady threw her arms in the air and declared to all and sundry that now we had restarted buying compost she knew "the  season" had truly begun. We came away chuckling but the other customers were simply bemused.
We needed the compost to fill some new tubs I had bought last weekend. Well they just said "Sue you must buy us, we are half price and exactly what you need". That is not what John said as I had merely gone to buy a replacement pansy plant. 
As usual every available heated space in our house has been given over to the plant factory, but rather earlier this year.


As production is charging on and space is at a premium John built me a cold frame this afternoon. At the end of last year we were helping our friend Judith clear out her garage and she found a dismantled greenhouse which a friend had asked her to take to the recycling depot. Well I knew a better recycling depot at Mas de Bouye. As is the way of these things it is not the most elegant of structures but certainly useful.

During the last couple of weeks we have endeavored to walk every day. For the health benefits you understand. We will try not to lapse as we both feel better for it - no guarantees of course. Today was the first time that we had walked together. The weather was glorious and everywhere birds were calling proclaiming territories and searching for a mate. However the loudest call was from the male kestrel. He has been "shouting" all day and circling the courtyard. Looks like we will not be able to eat at the back of the house again this year until the "lodgers" have left. What a privilege.