Well to my shame and horror I realize it is over 6 months since I last wrote anything….
Apologies but the endless days of lockdown and curfew means that time has just drifted along with a pattern of sleep, work (see pic below – yes it’s high!), home by 7pm, eat, repeat!
I will admit to having been struggling a bit of late (well a lot if I’m being honest) and that combined with the frankly shocking bad weather we have been having, I mean honestly still lighting the fire in May!!!, has not led to a very good state of mind.
So I gave myself a huge kick to sort myself out. I followed a 2-week detox, which included a 2-day juice fast, which left me feeling so much lighter both physically and mentally. The weather has slowly improved over the last few weeks, curfew has been extended to 9pm and we have slowly been allowed to go back out as bars are allowed to now open for outside seating only which with the cold evenings we been having has been only for the brave but it has lifted everyone’s spirits. The relaxing of the confinement has meant that I can slowly restart my face-to-face yoga classes again and now have a lovely group of beginners started with me and have a few people waiting for the next beginner’s course. Fingers crossed that this is it now and I won’t have to close again.
Along with the improvement in the weather I have been back out running again which Luna loves and she is very good at waiting for me to catch up! I recently attended a painting convention via zoom but cannot share most of the paintings as I’ve only finished 1 of the 4! So here’s that one and a couple of paintings I did recently along with a box I made out of bits of mdf that I rescued from a skip at lshtm (where I used to work) and a scrap of fabric I bought for €2.
In other news, Brexit, that gift that just keeps on giving, meant I had to apply for a resident card. After my experience with my driving licence I wasn’t looking forward to this process at all but I duly completed the online form, the hardest part of which was taking a photo of my passport without the glare thanks to the handy lamination on the photo page. I know I thought, I’ll print a copy and then take a photo of that but not without having to change every single flipping printer cartridge first. Imagine my surprise to receive an email about 8 weeks later asking to me go to La Rochelle with my passport to have my fingerprints taken. Expecting to be in the place for hours I had pretty much written off the day but in unheard of efficiency I was in, fingerprints done and out again within 5 minutes.
So what’s been happening with the house I hear you ask? Well we had a 3 week program of work planned and so much was going to be done but then Builder Dave Junior ended up with 3 broken ribs so was out of action for a few weeks – typically my 3 weeks!!! So not as much got done as planned but we still managed to get quite a bit done. My barn roof was causing me sleepless nights as tiles were sliding off into the road so although it wasn’t a priority for me it had to move up the list of priorities before a tile hit a person or a car. We only did the roadside of the barn and just patched the garden side for now. As you can’t really see the roof I decided to replace the tiles with fibre boards – quicker and easier and left me with lots of spare tiles for when we do the back of the house later this year. All I’ve got to do is sort them and pressure-wash them, which I started this week. Just a few more to do….
Most of the horrible ugly render has been taken off the external walls in the garden with the plan being that while everyone is here the higher parts of the walls that need 2/3 levels of scaffold to reach will be done leaving me the lower parts to get on with at my leisure.
The ceiling in the bedroom of the gite is almost complete and I’ve made a start on repointing the remaining walls in there. I hope to have this finished in the next few weeks. The windows and doors in the gite have now all been replaced and the whole of the gite courtyard has been repointed.
Earlier in the year we had some really bad gusty winds here and that sadly was the end of my greenhouse that I’d only put up 8 months ago. As it was only a cheap plastic thing I wasn’t too upset other than having to clear up the mess. So I have decided to extend the patio by a tiny amount to get a more stable and slightly bigger greenhouse, which I have just this week ordered.
But as always as I do this work we discover other things that need to be done that weren’t planned for. The bedroom floor in the gite is not the best so once the ceiling has been completely plaster boarded, plastered and painted a new floor will have to be fitted. Having to be upstairs inside the barn while the roof was replaced has made me realise how unsafe that floor is and the upstairs is pretty unusable in it’s current condition so at some point that is all going to have to be replaced…….. What else? Oh yes in taken off the ugly render on one of the walls in the garden the wall collapsed due to long term water ingress so that has had to be patched and stabilised until it can be repointed properly in the not to distant future.
And so while all this chaos reigns in the garden and the house I continued working away in my allotment. I had 4 tons of top soil delivered which then had to be wheel barrowed into the raised beds – I had quite a bit of help with this! I had a quick look back at some old photos to see how much it had changed over the past 4 years and it is quite a bit transformation. I only hope now the weather is improving I can start to see some results.
And so on to the menagerie, Luna is still an excitable over reactive puppy at times but mostly is a very lovely and loving dog. It still amazes me how excited she gets whenever the collar and lead come out of the cupboard! She knows she has to sit down or we don’t go anywhere but she is so overcome with excitement she can barely keep still! Her and Chablis, who is growing bigger by the day, have lots of fun playing together and very much like to cuddle up in front of the fire at the end of the day. Malbec after her adventures with the lock-in and the oil dunking prefers to just keep herself to herself and apart from keeping Chablis in check with the odd left hook tends to hide out either in the allotment or asleep on a bed.
Lastly, I thought I’d share a few photos of the fields around my house. Until next time which I promise won’t be as long!