Oh, What A Night – The Four Seasons

29.7.18 – 17.8.18

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It’s an early morning start today – a guest needed to be on the road as they have a long drive back to the UK; so up at 6.30 a.m. Everyone else is still sleeping. However, August has been its usual extremely busy month. The town has held a ‘festival’ this year – first one since I’ve been here. Festivals are common in French villages throughout the Summer. Eymoutiers seems to have finally caught up with the tradition. And with quite a launch! A large red and white tent was erected on the market square last weekend and this held most of the main events; other events were in the art centre etc. It seemed popular and one of my guests was the mother of a soprano singer who was part of the festival. It was good for the town, it brought in many tourists. For me, the downside was the lack of sleep for 4 nights, as the last event of the day started at 11 p.m. and involved very loud music until at least midnight – 3 a.m. on the last night.

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Current state………..

When I moved into La Belle Maison, one of my finds in the attic was a very old sofa. It was covered in some manky loose cover, which, on removal, revealed an antique piece of furniture. Albeit, in need of restoration. Some time ago, one of my guests, who was an antique dealer, said she thought it looked in good condition and probably only needed re-covering, rather than stripping back and re-stuffing etc. Finally, I have found someone local who can do the job for me. As I plan to use the sofa in my dining room (next decorating job!), I’m going to have it done. Need to get my head around colour schemes now.

I took Owen to a Marche de Producteurs a few days ago, These events run in villages throughout the Summer. They are mainly social events, there is no British equivalent to compare them to really. People go along to the village, which will have set up trestle tables and benches under big awnings. You join the extensive queue, buy some meat (well, the carnivores do), take it to the BBQ area where it is cooked for you. Everyone sits down, with their bottles of wine, bread etc and eats together. Often there is music – French accordion is very typical. It’s good fun. Owen enjoyed it; we were invited back for coffee. It was a great evening – enhanced by the fabulous weather.

I’ve been trying to track down some typically French gypsy jazz (??) type music. I’m not having much luck, as I’m not sure of the genre and I certainly don’t know the names of musicians that I can reference to. At the moment, I’ve ordered a cd of the soundtrack of the film ‘Chocolat’* It’s not exactly what I want, but a few of the tracks do fit the bill. *One day I intend to visit Flavigny -sur-Ozerain, the location where the film was made.

Have a listen….. (hope the link works)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chocolat-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B001I85DNM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534577145&sr=8-1&keywords=cd+chocolat

Oldie cat Jaffa has been poorly. I’ve had him to the vet’s a couple of times in the last 8 weeks. The problem is not so much his thyroid, but his teeth. His teeth and gums are in a bad condition and he can’t eat at times, he’s in so much pain he won’t look at food. And with his condition, the one thing he needs to do is eat. I thought the vet might say there wasn’t anything he could do and we’d have to make a decision. (There’s no way Jaffa could withstand an anesthetic at his grand old age – almost 21). However, the cocktail of antibiotics and anti inflammatory worked and he’s picked up on both occasions.

I’m thinking back to a year ago: my party! It was such FUN! So many friends, terrific band (The Honky Tonk Men) and,as far as Owen was concerned – plenty of profiteroles!

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Bon appetite!

 

 

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Congratulations – Cliff Richard

12.7.18 – 28.7.18

It’s so hard to work in this heat! As in the UK, temperatures here have been top 20’s/30’s over the last couple of weeks. I resorted to to doing my ironing at 10 p.m. with the fan directly on me. It was quite refreshing actually, I got piles done. Literally.

Louise’s flatmate, Helena came to stay for a few days, on a Workaway basis. It was great – we even managed to strip the wallpaper in the utility room (or rather Helena did) AND she re-organised and tidied everything. Nice brown paint underneath. Not. The utility room in my house is always the most untidy room – the place when everything gets deposited. Hopefully now I can plan ahead a bit and decide what I’m going to do with it; I’m thinking maybe an office/study.

We made the effort to go to a couple of places in the evenings. Owen took some great pictures of the sunset at the top of Mount Gargan. One of my favourite places.  http://www.tourisme-hautevienne.co.uk/node/38 

 

The weekend of July 13 – 15th, was a very hot, busy and noisy weekend. On Friday 13th the town put on a concert, a tribute act to the late French rock star, Jonny Halliday. (Probably the French equivalent to Cliff Richard). I think it took longer for the sound check than the actual performance. If he said un, deux, ehhhhh once and sang about 4 bars of a song once, he must have done it about fifty times. Hilarious.

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Saturday 14th July was of course, Bastille Day, with all the usual events – huge vide grenier (car boot) throughout the town all day, music, bar and fireworks in the evening.

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And Sunday ……….. World cup football final. We watched it on a big screen in the grounds of a nearby hotel. (Well watched is a bit of an exaggeration, I couldn’t actually see anything because the sun was too bright). It was a good atmosphere. Celebrations – music, singing, air horns, car horns etc going on until at least 3 a.m. I was well in bed by then, trying to sleep.I guess there were a few hangovers in the morning! Allez Les Bleus!

I’ve discovered a new place to eat in Chateauneuf La Foret. It’s a place I’ve been meaning to go to for a while, so finally went with a friend the other weekend. Not knowing the set up there, we sat waiting in the shop part, wondering where everybody else was – turned out we were supposed to go through the shop and kitchen to the court yard behind! Anyway, great meal and pretty set up. Will definitely be going there again.   http://www.ziboinboin.com/

More jam – this time damson. Just picked up the windfalls and made 3 big jars. The tree is laden, so there’s going to be plenty this year.

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New website – Owen’s re-vamped things. (Still got a bit of tweaking to do, but it’s much fresher now). Good work O! http://www.labellemaison.net/

WOO HOO – EXCITING NEWS!!  How did I forget this big piece of news??  (probably because I wrote the blog at gone midnight last night!).  La Belle Maison has a mention in a travel book!) German guests booked because of it! The translation goes along the lines of…  “the name of the guest house speaks for itself, it’s really wonderful. The same can be said of the guest rooms, one is very chic the other is grand and noble with antique and detailed furniture.”

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Jammin’ – Bob Marley

17.6.19 – 11.7.18

Yet again, I am behind with this blog. I’ve been thinking about writing it, but sadly lacked motivation. However, motivation came to the front door yesterday. I was watching Wimbledon (about 4 p.m.) when the doorbell rang. It was an English man, whose opening words were ” My name is Mike, we come to Eymoutiers often and stay at the same place. I hope you don’t mind me dropping by to say hello,  but I read your blog on a regular basis.” Fame!! Ha ha!! So we sat out on the terrace and had a cup of tea. So here I am, back writing with a bit more vigor!

My oldie cat Jaffa, was really worrying me a couple of weeks ago. He was refusing to eat and was obviously in pain with his mouth and teeth, and when you’re a thyroid patient, eating is an important function. With some trepidation, I took him to the vet. He said that Jaffa’s tongue was inflamed and that his gums were too. He gave him an injection of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds to last a course of 10 days. And they certainly worked! He was a much improved cat within 24 hours, eating lots and much more active. So he lives to fight another day.

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The weather is now much more settled, but we have had impressive thunderstorms and downpours. Unfortunately, my timing at missing them wasn’t great. I had been given the opportunity to pick blackcurrants and redcurrants in a garden nearby and, of course, within 2 minutes of me starting the job, the heavens opened. I got soaked. The little footpath turned into Niagara Falls, my feet were squelching through the undergrowth. Anyway, I eventually managed to pick a good amount and have subsequently made several jars of jam and jelly. Delicious. Hope my guests like it.

There’s been some updating in one of the guest rooms. New, bigger beds. Owen and I spent a morning putting them together. They’re pretty solid and look perfect in the room.

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Even if Owen hadn’t had the TV on following the World Cup, it would have been difficult NOT to have known when France were scoring. La Belle Maison sits over-looking the town and noise travels up here. So, when the France match wass on at the local bar with the big TV and the goals were scored – we could hear the shouts! After the semi-final win, the music, air-horns, car horns and cheering went on for ages. Goodness knows what it will be like if they win!

Some lovely butterflies and hundreds of bumble bees on the lavender here.

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Airport – The Motors

31.5.18 – 16.6.18

My bedroom floor is finally FINISHED!!!!!!!!!  Last coat of oil went on a couple of days ago. It’s only taken 18 months from start to finish – ha!ha! I won’t be doing that again in a hurry – lost the will to live! Anyway, I am pleased with the result; just need to buy a couple of rugs to complete the job. I found very nice bedroom chair at the local brocante and bought it for 25€. I aim to re-cover it but it’s in pretty good condition. I’ll have to work out how to detach and then re-attach the stud buttons through the back cushion.

Talking of bargains – I went to a local church charity sale last week. How about this for 10€? Not Le Cruset, but brand new and extremely heavy.

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Also picked up some small glass tankards, a couple of pieces of Limoges porcelain, and a mirror. I went with a friend – she also picked up lots of bargains. What was nice about this event was that all items were clean and well presented. Lovely people too.

Jolly old Ryanair and French Air Traffic Control are having a few flings at the moment. Nick and Wendy were supposed to be staying for a few days, but ATC have put a stop to that. I really disappointed, especially as the haven’t been for over two years and the weather is on the up. I’d planned a few things: places to go, the funfair is in town and I was hoping to have a BBQ. On the theme of flights and cancellations, I had a phone call from some friends whose delayed flight meant they couldn’t pick up the hire car – could I collect them from the airport so they could stay here for the night and pick up the car the next morning? Of course – yes! However, it turned out that the hire car office was still open and they were able to have the car. They still came to stay for the night though; it was good to catch up. Also, on the same day, another guest arrived back at Limoges airport and her flight had been cancelled, so she returned for two more nights! My room change-overs were in overdrive! Good fun though.

SNCF (railways) are also striking. I noticed the other day that the steam train run later this month is cancelled because of it. What a shame.

http://www.trainvapeur.com/nos-circulations/

I’m still trying to solve my garden path problem. I’ve re-vamped my temporary fix. It’s still not brilliant, but looks better. The front flower beds are looking pretty but there’s are real problem with slugs. They’re devouring everything. I’ve replaced the salvias in my pots because they’ve stripped them. The only things that seems slug resistant are geraniums. I can’t/won’t use slug pellets and I’m trying egg-shells and coffee grains. Any suggestions of  slug resistant plants that are good in pots, gratefully received.  (Going for a red & white theme).

 

 

 

 

Streets Of London – Ralph McTell

28.4.18 – 30.5.18

Time flies. I hadn’t realised that I am so far behind on my blog – seems like a couple of weeks since I last wrote it and now I realise it’s a month! I’m not sure I can remember that long ago! So I’ve decided to write a list of go-ings on and then a story of an event from last year, which I didn’t write about at the time as I felt I needed to wait a while.

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Happenings: (not necessarily in chronological order)

  • bought a patio umbrella a stand from a seller on Le bon coin (French equivalent to Gumtree).
  • long weekend visit from Julie (Louise’s god mother and my friend for over 30 years)
  • oops! completely messed up a booking, which I thought had been cancelled, but instead had been re-booked in a different room. I wasn’t in when they arrived (2 lovely pilgrim walkers). Owen stepped up to the mark and sorted everything – including a meal reservation on a Sunday evening. Well done Owen. Very grateful.
  • went to Limoges hospital for an ultra-sound on my ankle. Cyst of some description; not serious. Back to Doctor next.
  • bought some plants from the annual flower market in Eymoutiers, Trying to find ones that the wretched slugs and snails won’t devour.
  • worried about Louise going to China and South Korea, but she’s back now.
  • online tax papers completed – bit of a nightmare.
  • new curtains arrived via a friend’s UK van delivery, as did a log burner that I have been given. The latter will go in the kitchen. I hope! The former will go in the blue guest bedroom.
  • erratic weather: hot, sunny, cold, thunder, lightning, wind and rain.

 

The Bag Lady.

I received an online booking for a room, a good few weeks before the chosen arrival time. The next day I received a phone call, in French, from the lady who had made the reservation, to request another night. My French was about as good as her English; I tried to explain that she could book the second night direct with me and pay me for this when she was here. She obviously didn’t understand, or changed her mind about it, as the next thing I received from the online company, was a cancellation. BUT she then re-booked a different room for two nights. In the meantime, I had let the other room to someone else. Fortunately, this was a problem resolved easily.

On the day of her due arrival, I was driving back up the hill after going to the supermarket, when, almost at the top, I passed a woman. She was standing in the middle of a pile of bags (the large, extra strong supermarket shopping bag type). Given it was a hot day, I noted she was wearing a jacket and beanie hat and carrying a rucksack on her back; she was also wearing trainers and short socks and a skirt. She wasn’t a small lady. None of her brightly coloured clothing matched. She looked just like a stereo-typical bag lady. The thought that went through my head was “I bet she’s coming to my house”. And she was.

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A few minutes after I’d unpacked my shopping, she arrived. I took her to her room and gave her my usual meet and greet welcome. After which she asked if I had a hairdryer, so I gave her mine. She also asked for extra shampoo, shower gel, pillows and anything else she could think of. During the two days that she was here, she must have washed her hair at least four times. She had come to Eymoutiers for one of the Summer music events and left the house at about 7 p.m. Anyone who has been to Eymoutiers, will know that it isn’t exactly a throbbing city with nightclubs and bars. However, this lady didn’t arrive back to her room until 2 a.m. And it was the same on the second night!!!!

Needless to say, she ate a hearty breakfast each morning (obviously determined to make the most of her weekend away). When she left, she packed up all her belongings back into the bags, put on here coat, beanie hat and rucksack and walked back down to the railway station. On checking her room, I found that she had also taken with her all the shampoo, shower gel, tea bags etc., etc.

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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.

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Anyone want to buy a mower??

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

April Showers – Bambi (Disney)

18.3.18 – 7.4.18

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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!