Summer is here and the sunflowers are back!

When I last left you I was awaiting my first visitors of the summer and some much needed time out, but as you will see it doesn’t always work like that!

Sue and Gez arrived at the end of May and were very encouraging about all the work I’ve been doing, having not seen the house for a year.   I was feeling v pleased with myself, as in the few days before they arrived not only did I finally get rid of the daisy chains of extension leads across the living room but I got the sink in bathroom one plumbed in too.  No easy task I can tell you.  The photo on the left was taken at 11.30am, the photo on the right was taken at 6.30pm.  Builder Dave and I worked in shifts and the only break we had was when both drills were overheating.  And before anyone says anything, yes I did tie my hair back, and put gloves and safety specs on.

Sue, Gez and I set off for a day out, but first had to allow the local transport go by.


We had a lovely chilled out day in the Marias Poitiven, aka The Green Venice,  wandering around the pretty villages and having lunch by the canals watching the boats go by.

The journey back home was a little different to the glorious sun-shiny day we’d had.  We could see the sky getting darker and the wind blowing up, and as we approached the village near home spotted a couple of trees snapped in half.  Our first thought was a lightening strike, but there were no scorch marks.  It soon become clear that there had been a tornado!  Luckily for me it had skirted around my village but neighbouring villages were not so lucky; roofs blown off, land slides, lots of trees brought down.  A town close to Cognac had hailstones the size of golf balls.

We got home to no electricity for the rest of the evening, but having been used to the complete lack of sockets in my house I’m never short of candles or battery operated lights, and it didn’t affect the bottle opener!

It was then a quick nip back to the UK for my date with Bryan Adams – fab as always – and to pick up my lovely painting buddy Claire, who came back with me to paint for the week.   And paint we did. Please just excuse the shameless showing off coming up.

We had a few spectacular storms in the evenings while Claire was here, and during one of them the gite developed its own internal water feature.  I thought hard about marketing this as my USP, but in the end there was nothing for it but to break a hole into the internal wall and try and find the source.  Hmmmm. Now why doesn’t it surprise me that the previous owners just patched it over with plasterboard and did not bother to repair the hole the wall ……..

So I have taken down all the guttering and jet washed it, the external wall of the gite has now mostly been repointed (to be finished this week), and the wall and the beam above the window are slowly drying out.  The drying out of the beam has produced some amazing fungal growth – see below.

While Builder Dave was up the ladder doing the repointing, and in between supplying him with the lime mortar mix, I thought it was about time I got the pool up and running.  Seemed a shame to be having temps of 30oC+ and not able to dip in to cool off.  Much to my surprise the pumps etc all started up first time,  and after a lot of hoovering and cleaning I now have a clean pool to use.

The long term plan is to sink the pool halfway into the ground, but for this year I will just enjoy using it as it is.

While I had my paint brushes out I also finally got around to transforming a white moldy plastic table I’d found in the garden.

With the long warm summer evenings I have been enjoying sitting out in the garden watching the swallows and hoopoes nesting in my barn.

My next visitor just a few days after Claire left was my old school friend Alison. Obviously we have only known each other a few years – ahem. We spent a happy few days enjoying the sunshine in the garden, making the most of the pool and days out at the beach.  We even took part in the quiz at the local bar, and get this – we came 2nd!!!! My usual team who were away have already asked if I’ll join them again.  Slightly worried that without Alison I’ll be under a bit of pressure.


Next up was another flying visit back to the UK, this time to see Queen with Adam Lambert who I have to say was absolutely brilliant.  What an amazing voice he has, and a fantastic show.

However, the trip back didn’t all go as planned as just before leaving I had been bitten by a vicious tiger mosquito, and what I thought was just a little bit of a heat rash turned out to be a pretty bad infection from that bite.  I was trying to ignore it, as you do, in the hope it would go away, but no amount of antihistamine was having any effect.

When I got off the plane on Sunday night with the rash very swollen, very hot and spreading down my arm – which I was barely able to move – I took myself off to A & E.  A few hours later and I was on steroids and hooked up to an IV drip of antibiotics, and eventually allowed to leave at midnight with instructions to return the next night after the concert for a second dose.  I duly arrived at midnight and finally got out at 4am, but the infection was worse than I had thought so after watching the excellent football match (dare I even whisper, ‘it’s coming home’?) it was back to the hospital for a 3rddose and home again at 1am.  Thankfully this was to be my last, but I am still on oral antibiotics for another few days. Forgive the pity photo coming up, but I was feeling pretty sorry for myself by day 3 and a little bit tired with all the late nights and spending 3 out of my 4 nights in the UK at A & E.


My last day in London coincided with the annual picnic and cricket match at my old work place in Regents Park., so I popped along for a couple of hours to catch up with a few people I wanted to see (studiously avoiding those I didn’t).

Meanwhile, the work upstairs just rumbles on and on……….  So anyone fancying a working holiday…… don’t hold back, just say the word!

A bientot mes amis!



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