Monday, 13 February 2017

The Water Diviners

Last Friday, Pierre and Gabrielle popped round with their friend Maurice. Pierre and Maurice are water diviners and had offered to help us locate our septic tank.


It was extremely interesting to watch them work with a pendulum, sticks and a watch on a chain.


I don't know too much about water divining but I understand the theory is that the muscles of the body react to the electromagnetic caused by the presence of water.


There were certain areas where the sticks would twist, the pendulum would swing or the watch would spin.


There was a strong response in this area in particular and Chris grabbed the spade to dig....


.....but unfortunately they didn't locate the tank. After about an hour, some toilet flushing (to locate the pipe leading to the tank!) and some discussion, they decided to leave it for now. I think they felt disappointed that they couldn't help. We felt it was so kind of them to try. A septic tank is rather different from an underground stream or water pipe with free flowing water. I think the only way we're going to locate it is to dig over this area.


I don't think Spring is too far away now......


....we have a daffodil....


.....and a crocus!


You can see how much rain we have had...the pond is nearly full....


...and look at the water glistening on the fields.....



We will be leaving soon so I always like to take a few outside photos before we go. Especially as I've been indoors most of the time due to the wintry weather.



  
 


Even though last year we spent time clearing the driveway, it hasn't taken long for the mud to build up again...


Chris has been outside clearing the mud and has put several barrow loads into the pond.



Throughout our stay, Chris has worked continually to keep our cottage cosy and warm by making sure we have plenty of wood for the wood burner.



The last few days, he's been finishing the frame and insulation in the bigger bedroom.




I've been preparing to leave, packing and cleaning. 


I've painted the living room door too.


Our cottage is becoming so cosy and homely.



 It's always sad to leave......au revoir 'til next time.....


Thank you for joining me on our adventure....see you soon!

Maggie xx

Monday, 6 February 2017

Village Raclette, Sewing and Kittens

So here I am wearing my new crocheted cowl!


It's no wonder I'm smiling as the night before (Saturday night) we'd attended the local raclette held in the village hall. We went with friends and it was a fun evening. It was great to see the locals all getting together for this feast! The delicious food was similar to the raclette at Rod and Gails' house but the machine that melted the cheese was different. Two local ladies were in charge of machines similar to the one below. A half cheese was placed under a grill and then the lady would scrape the melted cheese onto your plate.

Attrib:https://www.meilleurduchef.com/cgi/mdc/l/en/shop/product/bck-traditional-raclette-grill-alpage.html
There was a buffet of boiled potatoes and cold meats including ham, salami and the local Andouille sausage:

Attrib: By DocteurCosmos (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

After the raclette, our neighbours, Hélène and Franck, invited us all back to their house for coffee. We all had coffee but we were also offered (and drank) some homemade alcoholic beverages including prunes soaked in 'eau de vie'. They were extremely potent so I sipped mine politely!!

Gail drove us home and Spencer was especially pleased to see us as our friend Pierre had made a doggy bag of meat scraps for him from the raclette!


On Sunday, we decided to have a gentle day. 


In the afternoon, I grabbed my sewing machine and sat at the kitchen table making tote bags.


I had some leftover fabric from the kitchen bench cushions that my Mum and I had made.


I have been watching Debbie Shore's brilliant sewing tutorials on YouTube and followed her tote bag tutorial here.
I didn't appliqué anything on the bags as I thought the fabric was interesting enough.


I was really pleased with them especially as I haven't done much bag making before. It was great to do some sewing...I'd been craving it!


On Monday morning we went to the Mairie to pay our water bill. As always, the ladies were very friendly. We also let them know about a problem with the tap near the water meter and they arranged for the commune engineer to pay us a visit regarding this.

After the Mairie, we popped to see our friends, Henri and Yvette. We had a nice chat, a coffee and chocolate biscuits with Henri. Unfortunately for us, Yvette had gone out for the day to visit their daughter. We'll have to catch her next time.

Henri's old cat had passed away last summer and he now had two beautiful kittens!.....Penelope and Theresa....named after Theresa May, he told me with a wry smile!

Henri told us that he had asked our farmer friend, Serge, to bring him a kitten and several months later Serge had turned up with these two little bundles!

Having been farm cats, they were a bit wild but Theresa didn't object to a cuddle too much.


Henri was keeping them in the kitchen for a few weeks until they become accustomed to their new surroundings.


They seemed to have settled right in!


We never seem to leave Henri's empty handed. I mentioned that I'd like a rhubarb plant in the Spring and he dug a couple up for us there and then. He also gave us some lilac plants and another shrub.

Thanks for visiting!

Maggie xx

Friday, 3 February 2017

Pot-au-Feu, the Wall and more Paint

Gosh is it February already?!

My photo calendar showing my sons Will and George and myself


This week started on a high as we were invited to the home of our French friends', Pierre and Gabrielle, for a meal. We were also joined by our English friends, Rod and Gail. We had such an enjoyable evening, chatting with our friends (in French and English) and eating good food. Gabrielle had cooked a tasty Pot-au-Feu, a French beef stew which Raymond Blanc describes as 'the quintessence of French family cuisine'. We hadn't experienced this delicious dish before and loved it. 
Pierre ensured we all had plenty to drink! To finish the evening, I was offered a Mandarine liqueur which was sublime!


On the renovation front, in the big bedroom, Chris had noticed that the rendered stone wall (that I had painted recently) was extremely cold. I would have thought it would have been warmer as it backs onto the farmhouse and is not an external wall. Apparently not. The farmhouse is just a shell at the moment so maybe the wall would be just as cold as an external wall. Anyway, after some thought and some 'oh no, I've only just painted that wall...', we decided to construct a frame for attaching a new plasterboard surface which would allow insulation to be fitted in the gap. We would only lose about 3 inches of the room. We had spent time insulating the roof so it made sense to do this and also, even though the farmhouse will be heated and insulated in time, this may not happen for several years. 

So this week Chris has been building the wooden frame. You can purchase metal frames for the plasterboard but Chris wanted to work with wood this time.




Meanwhile I have had my paintbrush out again! Painting the walls in the living room.

Each wall needed scrubbing clean and then two coats of paint.


Chris helped out knocking in any nails that were sticking out.


So nice to get a fresh coat of paint on this wall!


And this one!






Does it meet with your approval, Chris?


In the photos of the room, the colours don't show true. Below are the colour cards. The lighter Rose Satin Slippers is on the ceiling and the other two are on the walls. I was concerned that the darker colour would be too dark but it isn't at all. The room now has a lovely cosy and warm feel.


I had finished painting by the end of the week. Chris and I enjoyed arranging the room together, putting everything into place.



We even have a mirror!







 Whilst all this was going on, the bull was chasing the cows around the field.



......and I made a tasty Shepherd's Pie......


Thanks for popping by!

Maggie xx