Quoi de neuf cette annee

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ShowerCurtain

Oh I’ve got a lot of things on my list for ourlittlehouseinfrance this year.  With it only being a matter of weeks now before the long drive back to the French house, my mind inevitably has begun to turn to all the things that I’ve been collecting and storing up over the past few months that I plan to take with me on the next trip.  Of course before all that there is the rather large matter of whether or not I’ll be able to bring pooch Bella with me to France.  What with all this Brexshit nonsense.

So this is the latest from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit#return-to-the-uk

Govtinfoondogs

On this basis it looks like I will be OK to bring her.  This is a relief as it would be a long journey without her for company.

The next thing I need to do in preparation is paint a couple of bedside drawers that I purchased from a local charity shop.  They cost me £15 each and I thought that was a bargain and so snapped them up.  I’m going for an Annie Sloan neutral colour, probably “Old White”.  I’m going to strip the tops back to the natural wood and then stain them up to a warm oak colour to match the existing armoire and chest of drawers that we purchased from Maison du Monde last year.

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I’m going to change the rather boring little pine knobs for these old look rustic shell drawer pulls (see below).  I purchased 2 as samples from eBay and just need to get a further 4.

I’ve also purchased a pair of beech kitchen chairs from another charity shop.  These will go well I think with the kitchen table I hope to eventually purchase from somewhere.  I’m also keen to have several styles of chair around the table.  KitchenChairs

The exact table I WANT is sitting upstairs in a Cafe Nero in Harrogate.  See below:

CafeNeroTable

So when I’m up to it over the next few weeks, I will be stripping, sanding and painting.  Probably during February half term.  But there are other things I would like to try this year involving the garden and in particular the fruit trees.  I have about 12 fig trees in the garden now, along with 6 plum trees and a pomegranate.  There is one very special local fig tree on our boundary which I have tried in vain to propagate since we bought the house in 2012.  So this year I want to try air layering which according to all the research suggests is relatively straight forward.  What air layering does is effectively create another plant.  It’s a natural process and happens when a branch/stem touches the ground and then takes root.  In order to do it artificially I will need to find a good strong healthy stem and then cut away the bark all the way around to about 2 inches.  Rooting hormone can be applied and then this bare patch is covered with damp compost in a plastic bag or container and taped closed.  It remains covered in the plastic until new roots can be clearly seen.  At which point it can be cut from the parent plant and potted.  I’m really looking forward to having a go at this.  Will probably have a go with a very mature apple tree that we have hear in the UK too.

And then the final thing that’s on my mind is the purchase of a new shower curtain, hence the vibrant image of Freda Kahlo at the start of this blog post.  I saw this yesterday while mooching through my Instagram and then the search to find one began.  I did find one but it was really too expensive so a new shower curtain is on hold for the moment.

I will update with pictures of the bedside drawers once they are painted and have their new knobs.

The funny thing about having ourlittlehouseinfrance, our home away from home, is that the minute I know it’s only 9 weeks until I’ll be back, then I begin to plan for all the small and large jobs that need to be done.  That’s while I’m sitting here on the sofa ignoring the fact that I have half a wall in the lounge still to paint and yet I’m thinking we need new gate posts and gates in France.  Oh yes, and all the new shutters we had fitted last year still need to be painted.  Good job I’ve got my feet up on the sofa at the moment or I’d need to sit down.  Ha, ha!!!

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Arrivé à cette?

Ok, well we actually arrived on Saturday matin and the weather was gorgeous, up until an awful thunderstorm that put the electricity off for 4 hours. Then Sunday morning was cloudy but sunny and warm as I headed off to a vide in Marmande. Missed B as she couldn’t find it and has no mobile, so no way of contacting her. Monday between 8 and 10am we had to wait for the delivery of an armoire from Maison du Monde. Duly arrived about 9.30am and after they refused to take their shoes off to go upstairs, we accepted it being left downstairs. At least they took all the packaging away. Hubby and I then got it upstairs, but only just and taking a small chunk of the landing wall with us. Love it though, it’s just what we needed. Clothes now have a home.Then late Monday morning, met B & L in Duras for tea and coffee at the Duchesses which is community café that opened in October last year, so very pleased to see that it’s still going strong. In the evening had B, L, M & T over for aperitifs, nibbling and chatting till late.  Lots of laughs and discussions re Brexit.So weather wise, this is what we’re faced with. Drizzle, drizzle and more drizzle all week until Saturday which is when we travel back. Lovely. Anyway today the boys are heading to Bordeaux and I’m staying put I think as L will be heading up from Duras to stay with us. L has offered to Bella sit while I go to Bordeaux too but I think I’ll stay and do some painting of shutters.Garden is doing well apart from the 3 Oleanders I bought from Jardin de Beauchamp which have died. Nothing more to report from Petit Coquelicot – over and out, or rather over and in, as it’s drizzling.

La Rentrée – Nous rentrons a l’Angleterre 

Approximately 10 hours to Boulogne Sur Mer yesterday and an overnight stop there and now next morning we’re sitting on the train ready to depart for England. Looking forward to seeing Rose (pussy cat), Tamarind (our UK home) and friends. Leaving behind sunny, blue skies and grape vines. Interesting new places and people. New friends. Le Petit Coquelicot (our French home) and fig trees, full of ripening figs. 

dans le jardin

I’m going to begin this gardening blog with a picture of a gorgeous pooch.  Aaawwwwwgghhh!!!!!!!!!!

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And now to the garden and the plants.

This Phormium, I brought from our home in the UK.  We have a large plant at the front of the house in the UK which came originally from a few leaves that appeared in my mother in laws, neighbours garden.  She wanted the large leaves digging out and I asked if I could have them, I hoped it would be a Phormium, and it was and is.  In the UK and now in France.

I’m still buying plants and I have the workers to plant them.  Tee hee, well grandma and Paul.  JOKING.  The garden was such a blank canvas and because we have to leave them before they are established, we’re willing each tree or shrub to survive and grow quickly and so fill the space.  Unfortunately, the soil is clay and close to the house it’s very wet and boggy and then when the rain stops, in the summer, it bakes solid.  So plants have to be very adaptive to these conditions to survive.  Still some plants really thrive.  So this trip we planted a white flowering Viburnum.  The bottom right picture is of a Wisteria that we purchased here in August last year.  So I wasn’t sure it would make the winter, but it has.

The top image is of a series of small box bushes that we have planted at the edge of our pebble garden.  These bushes were purchased from Lidl in Pineuilh for 1.60 Euros each,  I thought this was really good value.  They may not survive though, as it is so boggy in this part of the garden.  Fingers crossed.  I purchased a common Lilac tree from the plant stall at Duras market.  This is very small but has already started to flower.

I also purchased a Yew tree.  Birds love the berries.  The Red Robin was a cutting that I took from somewhere here in France, I can’t remember where exactly.

I want these gates.

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And I close with another picture of our lovely Bella.

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Our 4th summer

Breath taking

Breath taking

We’re now back at our home in the UK.  Our 4th summer at Le Petit Coquelicot is just a balmy summery (very hot) memory.  Due to poor internet access this year it was a real struggle to blog and now that I’m back home I am so busy with all the demands of work, work and more work that I just don’t have the space in my head to write so this a picture blog of our 4th summer.

I have to start with the Atlantic.  It’s spectacular, it’s breath-taking.  A picture could never do it justice.

The Atlantic Coast

The Atlantic Coast

We invested in a beach tent.  Well it had to be done.  Grandma loved it and in its shade we could really enjoy the beach.  I love the sun but I am definitely not a sun worshiper.  I fry.

IMG_4540There was a trip to Mimizan to meet up with the Mais.  I really like Mimizan we’d been there before when our friends had stayed there 3 years ago.

IMG_4460 IMG_4461The boys hired skate boards for about 5 Euros for the afternoon.

The Mais

The Mais

IMG_4505The grape vines were looking fit to bust when we left.  I always imagine I would love to be in France for the vendange (grape harvest).

IMG_4450There were walks with Bella.  This one was when Cal and I were on our own as Paul had returned to the UK to work.  Arrrrrgh!  It was by the side of the Dordogne.  Bella also had lots of attention.

Cal and Bella

Cal and Bella

She also found time to roll in a dead fish.

IMG_4472Then needed to have several baths.

IMG_4480We had a weekend of very heavy rain and didn’t know what to do with ourselves.

IMG_4468We enjoyed another trip to Bordeaux.  Parking in our fav car park where the old Jag hangs out over the road.

I couldn't park the Jag

I couldn’t park the Jag

I didn’t get to visit as many vide greniers as I would have liked to because the weekends were when we had the wet weather😢 found these lovely scarves at one though😊

IMG_4574 (2)All washing dried in no time.  Love the smell of fresh clean sheets.

IMG_4537Had a trip to the far Dordogne/Lot to visit Julia, John and the boys who were holidaying there.  Cal and Van enjoying the pool.

imageThis years wild life, found just as we were leaving.

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imageWe just managed to eat the first of the figs.

imageI managed some yoga.  Here is dog, downward dog and dad😆

imageSo we’re back, having left good friends and neighbours behind.  Jeff will now be back on site to finish our extension.  We plan to fly back at half term to see how things are progressing.  I miss France.  We all miss France.  It is well and truly under our skin.

Bella’s séjour chez le vétérinaire

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Yesterday Bella was most definitely not herself.  She wouldn’t eat or go for a walk and was obviously very weak.  So off we went to the local vet here in Duras.  After the initial examination which involved her temperature being taken and the vet probing up her bum, a blood test was taken.  Then she was taken into a separate room to be ex-rayed to see if there were any blockages anywhere inside.  The blood results revealed that Bella’s liver marker was really high.  The vet said he had only seen this in 5 other cases.

Bella blood test results

This called for an ultrasound scan.  So the poor dear had to be laid out on her back in a vice with her legs stretched out down the examination table and her tummy shaved.  Grandma and I were acting as veterinary nurses, I was comforting her by stroking her head and grandma was holding her feet down.  After sometime the vet said Bella’s liver and gallbladder appeared to be fine.  Throughout all this she never made a sound or complained at all.  So after two hours the vet concluded that she probably has a virus that has affected her liver.  He said she would have to stay the night because she would need an intravenous drip to support her recovery.  We reluctantly left her and were advised to call back at 10am this morning.  The vet called at 9.15am to say she had improved and eaten and if she didn’t vomit we could pick her up at 4pm.  This is what we did.  It was great to have her back, we’d missed her and she had missed us too.  She has to take three tablets, Silycure, Marbocyl and Amoxival.  We will need to take her back to the vets before we leave France and she will need more blood tests in a months time back in the UK.  She is snoozing in her bed now and we are hoping she is on the mend.

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