Avoir le cul bordé de nouilles

I’m carrying on the theme of the French idiom, so here is the second one. I’m not sure that we feel our asses are surrounded by noodles BUT we do consider ourselves very lucky to have ourlittlehouseinfrance.

Dimanche 30 Juillet – up early and off to a vide grenier in Pujols.
On Monday morning the paving slabs for the terrace were delivered, the lorry only just managing to squeeze through the hedging.Also purchased a small chest of drawers via LeBoncoin from Eymet. A bit insignificant and so I ended up painting it cream.


On Tuesday morning our neighbour Margaret popped around with her daughter and children. She has been a resident in the village for a long time and knows many of the other residents well. Sylvian the plumber came to give us a devis for putting in an outside tap and changing the lavabo in the bathroom. He was very efficient and came to complete these small works the next day, Wednesday. Wednesday evening we drove to Saint-Loubes near Bordeaux to purchase a pine commode via LeBoncoin, bringing it back precariously strapped to the top of the car.Thursday 3 Août – Callum’s 16th birthday. Can’t believe I have a 16 year old son. Where did those 16 years go, in the blink of an eye!!!!!  There would be a picture of him here as he’s very handsome, but he won’t let me post any pictures of him😟 so here’s a piccie of Bella between his legs. Candy fridge freezer delivered in the morning and then we went to Callum’s favourite city of Bordeaux. Had a good mooch around and Cal chose his pressie. Then on the following day we went back to Bordeaux again to the cinema to see “Spider-Man Homecoming”. Very entertaining but had to dash there from the car park as usual due to our late arrival.

Samedi – evening went to the Bastid’Art festival in Miramont de Guyenne with Michele and family. Super entertaining with a reggae band, acrobats and then a swing band.Dimanche – sad face as the boy’s return to the UK. Not before Paul and I had a snoop around the vide grenier at Sauvetat du Dropt. The boys flight was due to leave at around 3.30 but it was delayed and they didn’t get home until late.

Most of the week on my own was spent cleaning and oiling the staircase and painting the small chest of drawers purchased from LeBoncoin. I did meet up with Barbara a couple of times and had an evening with Lune and her family. Also, on the Friday I had a nice trip out with Margaret to IKEA. It was a bit of an epic trip as I hadn’t realised how long it would take to get there and walk around. In the end it meant leaving Bella for 6 hours. Luckily she coped with that. The evening I spent preparing for the girls arrival the following morning.

Saturday morning, the girls landed about 10am. It was great to see them and they both looked excited to be here. We didn’t get up to much and as they were acclimatising we just went for a walk along the Dordogne river in Ste Foy La Grande.
Dimanche 13 Août – the girls were happy to get up and go to a vide grenier in Pellegrue not far away.  It was hot, hot but we managed to mooch around and pick up a few bits. In the evening we stood, and stood for over an hour to see “Mapping” at the Château de Duras, together with a fireworks display. It was well worth the wait in the end, although my feet were aching after all the standing about.
On Monday we went in the morning to Duras market, where I also caught up briefly with Barbara and Sharon and purchased a small common perennial plant in this part of France called “Gaura Lindheimeri”. In the afternoon we headed to Meilhan-sur-Garonne where we had a lovely walk along the Canal du Midi and down by the river Garonne. In the evening we had a pizza in the village restaurant. I wouldn’t go back.  Monday night there was a tremendous thunder storm. Lightening lit up the sky and the bedroom. Wasn’t sure I’d get to sleep, but I did. On the Tuesday morning the girls and I decide to go to the Monflanquin medieval festival. We took Bella and enjoyed browsing the stalls and watching some of the festival acts.  Although Bella didn’t like the drums. Mercredi 16 – visited Les Jardins de Beauchamp which is in Marmande. Catch my next post to see how beautiful these gardens were. After the gardens we went to see an armoire I’d found on the dreaded LeBoncoin (think I’m addicted). Needless to say it wasn’t as nice in the flesh. In the evening we went to the Monsègur night market. Then back for jollies around the kitchen table.

Jeudi – I am up very early writing up this blog. The plan is to visit Eymet market this morning and then go to Duras night market this evening. It’s hot today and we all enjoyed our mooch around Eymet market. The girls are enjoying the sunshine and I’m about to post this blog before joining them.

Peddling in semolina

Pédaler dans la semoule which is a french saying meaning, having trouble doing something.

And for the past two years we’ve had trouble getting our French house extension completed (something you will be aware of if you’ve been reading my blog). But on the Monday after we arrived it felt like the semolina was being thinned down by water and positively washed out of the bowl and down the sink.

There was some rain on that Monday but this didn’t dampen our spirits. 8.30am the tiler arrived and began work on the sitting room floor. Laying the tiles we had purchased back in October last year. 10am and the joiner arrived to fit the staircase rail (not fitted by our previous and now fired builder). At 11.30am our Maisons du Monde bed was delivered and by 12.10 Paul and Callum had put it together. So now no more sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Yea!By The next day the tiling was complete and only the grout to do on the following day which was Wednesday. And on Wednesday we had a lovely visit from the Mais family and spent an entertaining evening at the Eymet night market. At the end of this first week on the Saturday we ordered a Candy fridge freezer from Pro & Cie. Not keen on the idea of two fridges in the kitchen but there’s just not enough room in the small one for cheese, drinks and vegetables.

So great achievements made by the end of week one and definitely no more peddling in semolina.

Un petit séjour pour mon mari et sa mère

So last weekend saw hubby and grandma take a very short trip to France, with a view to meeting a plombier, a menuisier (joiner), and a plâtrier (plasterer). 

Le plombier spoke very good English and grandma wouldn’t let him go – had to show him Duolingo! He was called to sort out the leaking shower pipe that our former builder left us with, together with the hot water tank which doesn’t work properly (fitted by former builder too)

He replaced the pipe valve just in case – it hasn’t leaked at all! Much tighter fit now.  

Will quote re outside tap. Through kitchen units. Said he will drill in from the outside because the crèpi will break off if he drills from the inside. Re the drain – he said preferable to have one but with tiles it shouldn’t be a problem – just should’nt let the water lay on bare concrete as it soaks in. He will put an isolation tap in under the sink so we just turn it off when we’re not using it. 

Re shower – Hubby found receipt and plombier rang Bricorama for us and they have said take back the tap piece only and they will replace it. Receipt now clipped to the board in the kitchen and this must be our first job when we return in late July as 12 months is up on 4th August. They have none in stock at the moment but still sell them. Said they will be in stock by end of July. 

Le menuisier, Josh, has been in France 30 years. Covered area – the minimum height would be approx 2.2m. We could have the posts inset a little and would give more height. The crèpi needs doing first he thought – makes their job easier and less mess. He wouldn’t do the faux stone pillars – he would get Andy (the tiler) to do them and work together. They are filled with concrete and wire for strength. If we wanted wood he said they can be on studs which are very low to the ground but raised enough to stop water rising into the wood.

Shutters – again the crèpi needs to be on first – he needs to know the depth to have them fitting flush. He said the holes for hinges would not crack the crèpi. We want anodized metal hinges which match our existing shutter hinges – he said his supplier no longer offers anything but black. But he will buy the shutters from them and the fixings probably from Bâtiland as we know they have them. 

Stairs. He thinks he can sort (see pictures later) will cut a bit off the bottom and place at the top and then the bottom post would be adapted a little to fit flush. 
Balustrades – he can make some to fit – same colour but unlikely to be in beech! He will have them overlap the wood floor edge to hide the finish / edge of wooden floor.

Le plâtrier, manually plasters. Looks older when finished he says. More dimples than staccato. He doesn’t have a machine. He has to do one wall a day. Also can’t do it if over 30 degrees temp so July / August would be difficult. Paul explained the idea that we were trying to achieve the look of pigeoneer being older and the bungalow being the extension. He started suggesting one or more sides would look good in faux stone. Then the longer he was talking he started suggesting all in stone OR we would need to get a firm in to do the crepi with a machine. He is going to give us a price in a week or so for faux stone. He needs to chat with builders merchants. 

So all meetings were relatively positive. When things can begin is not so straight forward as it sounds like the crèpis must be done first. So another important job when we return is to find a professional crèpier. Answers on a postcard please😳

I received pictures of the garden, with many plants flourishing. Of course the grass needed cutting. 

And there was time for a bonfire 🔥 

Difficult to see, but the willows are growing. One day a willow arch. 


Our former builder (no longer employed) never fitted the stair rail and now we know why. Shoddy!!!

Let’s end positively with pictures of flourishing 🌱 


We’re looking forward to our summer in France now, with really just the finishing touches to the extension to organise. Our relationship with our former builder now over and even though he owes us money, we are moving on. Perhaps next year our extension will be finished but I’m not going to hold my breath. All in good time. Things do take longer in France. But hey ho!

Summer 2016 phlog part 1

Beautiful, but sad sunflower☹️image

OK, a phlog’s a bit of a cop out. More pictures, less words.

Visit to Taillecavat vide grenier this morning and then a walk through the grape vines with Bella and grandma.

Gorgeous vintage wicker bag, a necklace and some gentleman’s cuff links were my finds at today’s vide. Was looking for some wooden dining chairs but these were trop cher, at soixante euros😳

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Eclectic stand at vide today, followed by antique French confit pots, a Western horse saddle and a little black vintage car.  And our lovely village moulin à vent from our walk today.

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Cailloux de la Garonne

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We started our French garden back in April of this year (2013).  To the right of the house, looking from the back, we began to create a seating area from the remnants of a small above ground pool base. the-pool

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So fast forward and Stephensons Landscaping and Gardening Inc begins with delivery of ten tonnes of cailloux de la Garonne.

Cailloux de la Garonne

Cailloux de la Garonne

Yes I know, it seemed a small pile for 10 tonnes.  But that’s what 10 tonnes of small and large unwashed Garonne river pebbles looks like. 

Cailloux

Cailloux

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We laid some weed suppressant membrane which we brought from the UK (much cheaper), then the pebbles and Ta dah! after many trips with our wheelbarrow we now have a seating area with pebble surround.  This is still a work in progress as we want a small wall to be built around it to retain the pebbles and define the area.Pergola

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We have planted 2 Cypress trees at the entrance to the seating area either side of the path that leads from the house.  These we purchased from Lerclerc. Then I planted a young fig tree that I purchased from Morrisons in the UK (£2.99).  A Buddleia, a Feijoa Sellowiana (pineapple guava) and Rosemary were planted earlier in April.  The rest of the stones we are going to use at the left of the house to create an informal pebble garden.

Loto ~ our French bingo experience

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We tasted a bit of real french life when our neighbour, Michele, who has two children at local schools, invited us to the equivalent of a bingo evening in aid of the Association des Parents d’Elèves (French: Association of Parents of Students or APE);  She has been fantastically welcoming and helpful since we moved in, told us that the bingo didn’t start until 9pm but we should get there by 8.45pm to ensure we get a seat, she also said we would need our own counters for covering up the numbers and said she would bring some for us. So Callum, grandma and I headed out to the salle des fêtes in Duras not knowing what to expect as none of us had played bingo publicly before.

Salle des fêtes in Duras

Salle des fêtes in Duras

We arrived and were met by Michele, our neighbour, who explained that for €10 we would get to pick 13 from a pile of vintage bingo cards that were piled up and strewn across several large trestle tables.  This was our first test as, people were gathered around the tables sifting through the cards to find their personal favourites.  I decided to simply gather 13 and pay for them. I always feel so inadequate when attempting to interact with French locals and this time was no exception. Grandma handed me the €10 and I handed it over, although I now realise I was also offered some raffle tickets but completely ignored that request and said “je ne parle pas français”.  (although later we did buy some from one of the APE fathers)image

We purchased only €10 worth of cards (13) but many people had a table full in front of them.  They were very serious about the bingo and had not only brought their own counters but also had magnetic counter collecting devices.  We sat down and placed our cards out on the table in front of us. We split them so grandma and I had 9 and Callum had 4. Grandma hadn’t got to numbers on http://www.duolingo.com but was a fast learner and after writing the tens down soon got the hang of them. This would be a great opportunity to practice my knowledge of French numbers too.  Although not used often, many are hard wired into my brain from O Level French back in the day. 

So we were all set. The prizes were much better than the UK PTA events that I had experienced at St Peters. We usually would manage to gather together the odd bottle of wine from the back of someone’s cupboard together with various boxes of smellies that people would find at the back of the wardrobe from some Christmas past and there would also be the ubiquitous unwanted foot spa.  However, here there were donations from parents and local businesses including various vouchers for local shops, chocolate fountain, toaster, huge jambon legs, digital camera, cases of wine from the local vineyard “Bertico” and finally the star prise of a two hundred Euro voucher for a local white goods store.

Trente-deux, soixante-trois, cinquante-huit    , quatre-vingt-dix. We were helped by Michele, and one of her two sons Nathan, who said the numbers in English for us. We also new what we would have to shout should we be lucky enough to get a line or a full house. In French we would shout “carton” for full house or “quine” for a line.  Carton means card and quine is what the French call a set of 5 numbers.

Well hours went by and when I say hours I mean hours!!  The bingo did start promptly at 9 pm but at midnight we were still listening to numbers being called.  During the evening, Michele was helping to hand out the prises. Callum joined Nathan with his school mates in a game of tig while later, Grandma and I were struggling to keep our eyes open.  The rest of the people, including the children (many very small) were bright as buttons).  You would have thought it was midday and not midnight. At about 12.30am we thought it was all over and began to gather our counters and cards together, WHEN!!!!! The final carton was announced. This would be for the big one €200.  Girding our loins we began to listen carefully for one last time.

Onze, vingt-quatre, un, trente-neuf, cinquante-quatre etc, etc, etc. I was nearly asleep, it was almost hypnotic. Then I looked down and saw that on one card I only needed vingt and quatre-vingt-cinq.

VINGT!!!!!!!! Only need one more number!!!!image

QUATRE-VINGT-CINQ

My arms shot in the air. Grandma waved hers about frantically and Michele shouted for us. We had won the star prise of €200.image