Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel – Tavares

8.4.19 – 27.4.18

Such a busy time. Visitors and visitors: family, friends and guests. Plus, generally speaking, great weather! What more could you wish for?

Louise came to stay for a week. As one of our walk challenges, we spent an afternoon walking through the forest in a nearby village, Cheissoux. (At one point we tramped through a part of the forest that was being felled. I don’t think we should have been there, but the route map seemed to take us through that part; fortunately it was a day off and no-one was working). We also investigated a shopping precinct in Limoges and had lovely coffee and cake, pear gateaux, one morning at a cafe/restaurant at Domps. Thanks to a concerted effort from my two helpers, we managed to make a start on the garden. (This is the major project for 2018). Louise and I raked and cleared up leaves and Owen figured out the new lawn mower and gave the grass a first cut. My garden will never be a work of art, but I just need it to be tidy and presentable.

It was Louise’s birthday on the day day she went back, it’s horrible enough taking her back to the airport, but it was a 100 times worse on her birthday. I barely had time to turn around before I was heading back to the airport two days later to pick up my friend. Dave. We visited Oradour-sur-Glane; this visit had been on my to do list for a while, and as it is very near to the airport, now seemed a good time. It’s a village where time has stood still since it was razed to the ground by the Nazi Germans in 1944. All the inhabitants were murdered, the men and boys in a barn and the women and children in the church. One woman survived and a couple of men escaped. It was a very sobering place, a place where you should visit, but probably only once. I found it very difficult in places.

Oradour

https://www.herodote.net/10_juin_1944-evenement-19440610.php

Back to more mundane things: bedroom wallpapering finished! What a marathon! Generally speaking, it wasn’t too difficult, apart from the bit of the wall where the cupboard had been taken out and the edge rebuilt. It wasn’t straight. I think I took the piece of paper on and off about eight times (maybe more). There are a few splashes of paint to get off the floor and curtains to organise, but then that’s it! Only taken 18 months. The small, glass bathroom shelves are re-cycled from the old bathroom cabinet that was originally there. I thought they were quite sweet, so I kept them and bought some little brackets off ebay. IMG-20180422-WA0005

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Meanwhile, back in the garage … the ride on mower with a flat battery was causing problems!! Just to re-cap – I bought a ride-on ‘mowcart’ when I moved here, thinking it would be great for me to cut the grass with. Unfortunately, it wasn’t suitable for the job, as the slope of the garden made it unsafe to use. At one point I thought it might be usable if the garden was leveled, but that isn’t going to happen now. So, four years on, and only used twice, I have decided to sell it and put the money towards re-doing my garden. BUT the machine has a flat battery. It took two of us ages to even find the battery to charge, and not having a charger didn’t help! Anyway I have now borrowed a charger, it’s been on all night and fingers crossed it might work this morning. Watch this space.

McCulloch

Anyone want to buy a mower??

More visitors (friends and family) coming in the next few weeks. Can’t wait!

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April Showers – Bambi (Disney)

18.3.18 – 7.4.18

duckegg

Via a convoluted route, my bedroom wallpaper has arrived!. I’ve made a start at getting it on the walls, but, as always, it’s taking some time. I decided to wash the yellow, nicotine-coloured walls first as I didn’t want the colour to seep through the new paste and stain the pale paper. Generally speaking, the walls aren’t in very good condition: there are a considerable amount of bumps, gouges, uneven corners and ceiling joints etc but there is only so much I can do to make good. As someone said, I will know they are there, but most people won’t. I hope to complete in the next couple of days.(Small delay because of twinged back).

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bus2Owen and I embarked on a long walk the other day. First really nice day of Spring, we decided to walk a trail in a nearby village (7.4 km). Not a long walk, but the terrain was quite challenging! Beautiful scenery, very picturesque. Owen took his camera and took some photos. Lots of butterflies out and about. There are always buzzards in the skies here, I love hearing their whistling calls. So we were quite cream-crackered by the time we got back to the car, just as there were a few spots of rain falling. By the time we were back in Eymoutiers it was more a of a drizzle. 20 minutes later – the heavens opened and thunder and lightning were rocketing around.bus1

We’ve also had a couple of trips into Limoges hospital. Owen’s had a review of his meds and was referred for check up tests. Suffice to say we were considerably impressed by the system: yes we had to pay* but both appointments were on time, test done, info sent to the consultant, discussion with the consultant and meds prescribed all in one session. Done and dusted within the hour. And no parking fees. *should get reimbursed.

Train station has been somewhat quieter this week – French rail strikes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Heat Is On – Glenn Frey

25.2.18 – 15.3.18

Toastie! Well it might have taken about a year from start to finish (finding a heating engineer, getting quotes, organizing finances, failed orders and weather delays), but I finally have my new boiler installed. The job didn’t go quite to plan (does it ever?), it turned out to be a 5 day job rather than a 3. I had a couple of radiators repaired too and they’re now no longer dripping water in the dining room. It’s so lovely to get out of bed to a warm house instead of having to come downstairs in the cold, switch the heating on and wait over an hour for it to heat up. I had a small issue with the timer, whereby I woke in the middle of the night and the house was roasting. Seems I had put the heating on at night and off during the day. Oh well, sorted now!2018-03-08 19.13.53

One spin-off from discussions with my heating engineer was the subject of hot-water in the Summer and how great it would be to have solar power to heat a tank. Knowing the position of my house and the jurisdiction of Batiments de France (bit like building reg crossed with National Heritage), I hadn’t even bothered to ask the Mairie if I could have a panel installed somewhere. However, being persistent, I tried e-mailing, only to be referred to the architects department in Limoges and then back to the Mairie in Eymoutiers; so I went to ask face to face. I nearly fell over when they said yes. In fact I asked the guy twice because I didn’t think I was hearing properly. The condition is that the panel is not view-able from the town. So now I need to get a water tank organised, which hopefully won’t be too difficult.

The local supermarket recently re-vamped their bread department.They opened the back of the shop and made it so that you can see the bakery in operation. It all looks quite nice. BUT the bread is rubbish. Whenever I go the shelves are mostly empty, there may be a few manky looking loves in the display cabinet where a girl stands waiting to sell them. And when you do buy something, it’s usually disappointing. I paid 1.50€ for a 400g loaf which was very chewy and full of holes. I’m going to have a go at making my own: time to get the bread machine. Probably can’t remember how it works! Watch this space (bear in mind bread making is not my strongest point).

Although the weather is still erratic,Spring is definitely on its way. The tortoises woke out of hibernation this week and I have seen Jackdaws in my garden collecting sticks for their nests. I was also motivated to do a bit of gardening, which doesn’t happen very often. I think the garden will have to be a focus this year. The damage done by the digger repairing the pipe at the end of last year is not a quick fix. The possibility of the solar panels, the removal of the old, defunct heat unit, the new path, the removal of tree stumps and other issues are going to need attention in the very near future. And I don’t like gardening. Not that these are jobs I can do, someone will have to come and do them for me.

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The bathroom is nearing completion The tiling is finished, I’ve top-coated the floor and the new rug has arrived. Speaking of which, I’ve found a good supplier of rugs on ebay. This is the second one I’ve bought from them; delivery is very prompt and the item seems to be good quality. I can recommend them. I will be buying a couple more when the bedroom is finished.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SMALL-EXTRA-LARGE-SIZE-THICK-MODERN-PLAIN-NON-SHED-SOFT-SHAGGY-RUG-REC-ROUND/191975421604?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=491451899324&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

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Owen wanted a large mug for his cuppa – I found this in the charity shop. Wonder if they do similar ones with a French flag on?  2018-03-16 09.17.03

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stray Cat Strut – Stray Cats

10.2.18 – 24.2.18

New cat flap needed. An interloper has been nipping in and eating the left over cat food. Moreover, he or she has been upsetting the finely balanced cease fire between Sid and the others. I spent an hour or more doing what I thought would be a straight swap of old for new (ha ha, I should have known better). Anyway the new flap sits a bit on the wonk but functions. The updated flap operates by microchip recognition, so hopefully this will solve the problem of the stray cat coming in. And NO, I’m not going to take advantage of the fact that you can program the flap for up to 32 cats!

I had a lovely birthday on the 20th. Owen and I braved the cold and walked into town in the hope of having coffee at the patisserie. Our plans were thwarted though, the coffee shop was closed for 2 weeks. So plan B was to buy some extra nice cakes at the supermarket and have them with coffee at home in the warm. Lovely cards, smellies and some not very calorie free chocolates.

We blew a few cobwebs away at the top of Mount Gargan. Owen took some great photos – if you click of the one below, it will link you to his page of other photos.

The bathroom tiling is underway; nearly done apart from the exceptionally tricky bit behind the loo. The wall at this point is so uneven, I don’t think all of the tile is sticking to it. Anyway, it’ll have to do. I don’t suppose it’ll be noticed, especially as only I use that bathroom.2018-02-24 15.08.40

I had a bit of a purchase at the market this week. I spotted a book that I’d been on the look out for for some time now. It’s a first edition and wasn’t cheap, but it’s not printed any more and difficult to find. There are some pictures of my house in it. I also noticed that one of the authors – Jean Riboulet – is the same name as the town archivist who came to my house some months ago to look at the glass photographic plates that I found in my attic. So putting 2 and 2 together, I think it’s probably the same historian.

And I’m pleased to report, he bread man is back on the market this week…..

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(Left to right) Winter bread with cranberries, nuts and honey, wholemeal bread and maize bread.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drive – The Cars

22.1.18 – 9.2.18

FINALLY!!!  Both cars sorted. What a palava. France has made all registration of car documents online, as of the end of 2017. Previously it was possible to go to the Prefecture in Limoges and do everything face to face with an official. The improved system is a joke.  The backlog is so great, the website ha crashed. To register the Nissan in my name took hours and hours. I sat with friends for two hours one afternoon and got no-where. I spent about five hours myself trying to do it, and failed. Eventually I contacted my insurance company (who were waiting for the official document so they could issue my full insurance); they suggested I try a garage, which eventually proved to be successful. The manager at a local Renault garage was very helpful and did all the online transaction for me; even he kept shaking his head and saying “c’est compliqué”  However, the carte gris arrived by registered post 48 hours later. And OF COURSE, the same happened when I wanted to transfer the ownership of my sold Renault Modus to a new owner. My Renault garage man was once again very helpful and I gave him a bottle of wine for his assistance.

Still on the theme of cars. The Modus had a final protest at being sold.  Not only was there a problem with the jammed biro in the seat runner (see last blog post) which was  eventually resolved by sheer brute force, but 10 minutes before the new buyers arrived, the battery died. This Renault has never failed me, it has started in rain and snow in freezing temperatures. It could only happen to me. So the buyers had to endure my embarrassment of jump starting it before they could drive it away. I’m sure they thought I was conning them into buying a dud car.

The freezing cold weather continues. Snow has fallen continuously for a few days. But thankfully, it has now stopped and the sun shone yesterday, still bitterly cold though. The cats aren’t venturing out very far either.

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I headed into Limoges last week and bought some curtain fabric. Part of my plan to install a wood burner in the kitchen has progressed unexpectedly. A friend has offered me a wood burner for free! So I think with it in and a heavy door curtain, the heating should improve. Just got to make the curtain now – it’ll be a good size and weigh a ton! Also, I have yet to look at curtain poles and find something suitable …. and then find someone to put it up for me. High ceilings and drilling into stone won’t be easy.

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Onwards and upwards with my bedroom: the radiators are off so I can clean and decorate behind them. Not the best time of year not to have heating in the bedroom. I’ve been a bit lazy about pushing on with the painting – I’ve only wanted to sit in front of the fire over the last few days! When the rads are back on, that only leaves the en suite bathroom to tile and the wallpaper to buy and put on. Oh and a final coat of wax on the floor. Only taken a year to get this far!

Still a few guests arriving, but February is looking distinctly quiet. People are now beginning to book for Summer.

A few weeks ago, I noticed some fencing alongside the small path that is in front of my house. I’ve since learnt that it is keeping people away from the edge of the path as it has collapsed. The Mairie is to repair it at some point soon. However, the knock on effect of this to my neighbour is a problem. He has a large gas tank, which is refilled from time to time and the restricted access now means the gas tanker can’t do the refill. We looked at the possibility of bringing the tanker in through my gates, but they just weren’t wide enough. I have had an extra supply of logs and oil delivered. I intend being a toasty as possible; this house is not easy to heat.

https://www.weather-forecast.com/locations/Eymoutiers/forecasts/latest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The River of Dreams – Billy Joel

5.1.18 – 21.1.18

B&B is gradually getting back to business. First guests arrived on January 10th and there’s been another 3 since then. The weather is a bit of a killer at the moment – getting up and seeing grey, gloomy, wet mornings isn’t very inspiring. I keep telling myself Spring can only be a few weeks away. The River Vienne has burst it’s banks, apparently it hasn’t done this since 1905, so that gives you some idea of the amount of rainfall. My garden is sodden and puddles are sitting on the path and not draining away. The weather forecast isn’t offering respite.

 

Some of the house projects that I’d hope to finish before the end of 2017, didn’t quite happen. Mainly the decorating in my bedroom, en suite and the installation of the new central heating boiler. I now have the tiles for the bathroom and have made arrangements to start the work at the beginning of February. There has been a problem with the boiler; they don’t make the model I wanted any more. So a re-think has happened; not 100% sure how it’s going to pan out yet. I have written to the planning department to ask what their policy is on solar panels, as one on my back wall would be a good option.

Now I have my new car, I need to sell my Renault Modus. I found out that in order to sell a car in France, it has to have at least 18 months CT (MOT equivalent); to this end, I re-newed the CT. No problems. A few days later, I cleaned out all of the rubbish, hoovered the inside and washed it. Just as I was putting the carpets back in, I noticed a biro in the seat adjustment runner, I think it had been there since I bought the car four years ago. I tried to get it out, but ended up pushing it along the mechanism and now it’s completely jammed the seat, I can’t move the seat either backwards or forwards and I can’t see the biro. I think the seat will have to come out. Neither Owen or I can move it. And then, in the same vein, the mechanism on the kitchen back door lock has jammed/broken. I’ve no idea what to do about this at the moment, other than buy a large bolt. Oh and the third thing was an attic window mechanism, but I fixed that.

It was interesting for Owen to have a professional photographer stay. They had talks about cameras and ideas. Here’s a very atmospheric picture that Owen later took over Eymoutiers a day or so later.

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Fame – Irene Cara

23.12.17 – 4.1.18

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Bugs. Christmas sneezing bugs descended on me on Christmas Day. I sat on the sofa and sneezed through the evening and went downhill after that. The downhill slalom included a bad back: I could hardly move until New Year’s Eve, so spent a lot of time sitting on the sofa watching rubbish TV.  Owen and I thought about going to a music event in town on New Year’s Eve, but the weather was so awful, we stoked up the log burner and watched the final Harry Potter film instead. New Year here is a very quiet affair, not one firework to be seen anywhere.

Owen seems to be settling in. His new ‘office desk’ and chair arrived and we put them together without any problems. He’s no excuse now – study time looms. His room seems to be working quite well, although there’s a plethora of extension cables keeping him attached to the electricity supply. I will see if I can have some extra sockets put in; I guess they’ll need doing at some point. Asterix and Colin have moved in with Owen. They love having another room to be in and another bed to decorate with their muddy paws. I think the only loser at the moment is Sid. He’s very nervous of another person in the house and, horrible as the weather is, he doesn’t come in  during the day, only at night, when he sleeps on my bed until breakfast time. Then he’s off as soon as he’s eaten. I’m a bit worried about him, I hope he soon adjusts.

We went in Limoges yesterday to meet up with some people that I sold my SatNav to. (It was redundant as I have one in my new car; that someone has scratched by the way). As always, going to Limoges gives me an opportunity to do shopping that I can’t do in Eymoutiers. I bought a few new bits and bobs for bedrooms and we went to the fabulous Grand Frais store – what they don’t have in fresh and/or tropical foods isn’t worth knowing. On the way home we dropped into Lidl to pick up a few more basic, less exotic provisions. We’d only been in the shop a few minutes, when an English lady came up to me and asked if I lived in Eymoutiers. She told me she recognized me from my blog!! Fame or what? Owen was seriously impressed!! She too lives in Eymoutiers,  having moved here very recently.

It’s panto season – is this Puss in Boots or Cinderella?2018-01-04 22.07.46