Stefi, John, Margaret & Louise 19th May 2007
Last evening was a real Boar!

Is it really near the end of May?

Pool_006 May seems to be passing so fast and whilst it is not as full on as last year the work does seem relentless.
I suppose, part of that is because we are busy which always makes time pass quickly.

Where an earth though did the last year go? We are fast approaching the end of our third year here in France and it seems like yesterday in so many ways.

I am finding it tricky to blog as much as I would like to and it is a habit I ant to slip back into. Because I spend four hours a day working now it means I have to fit in the writing and renovations around it.

Landscape Juice, my other blog is going from strength to strength and I am just about to have it featured as 'website of the month' in a gardening magazine which has an 18,000 readership. Amazing really because I only started it six months ago but I am being contacted regularly by individuals and organisations who would like a review or coverage of a product or their business.

Since the launch of the Complete Gardens Streaming software I have been asked to review two further garden software products. The intention now is to increase the awareness and start selling some advertising space which can contribute, hopefully to our income.

I tend to rise about 6.45am and walk with Henry down the track to meet the College bus. It is funny because it tends to be the time when Henner's is at his most talkative although some mornings he does not want to talk at all!

He had a friend stay over on Saturday and the caravan is perfect for that. They set the Playstation up and when Johanne's father came to collect him the boys revealed that they had both gone to sleep at 7am that morning!

Pool_005 Most of Sunday morning was spent doing chores around the place. I have to replace some pipework in the pool house because of a little leak. We used a re-inforced flexible hose which didn't glue properly when we installed it last year and I am concious that we are losing water which bothers me. So I cut all of the pipework out and went to re-install some new stuff only to find that I had no glue for the fittings so the pool stands a quarter empty at the moment.

The irony is, I had to pump out the water into the field to fix the leak and if I am honest, if I had let the leak go on for all the summer I would probably not have wasted that amount of water!!

Pool_009 I was talking with our neighbour yesterday at a BBQ and he came up with a great idea! Hire out a large tanker so that water can be saved during any renovations or re-building work and pumped back in at the end. Sounds simple, I wonder if there is a real need for it?

We have had the windows and the doors of the Gite painted. Donna's Dad (and MUM) came out for 2 weeks and John spent the time rubbing down, priming, undercoating and top coating the woodwork.

He did remarkable well considering the weather decided to become hostile so there was a lot of showers to dodge.

We had a bit of a problem though! Donna had been to Villeneauve to get the paint mixed and we had decided on cream which was felt it would blend nicely with warmth of the stone and the Bordeaux red shutters.

Pool_010 John had started to put it on and on inspection we could not rteally see much of a difference to the white undercoat. We decided that it was best to stop, get the paint re-mixed and proceed with what we really wanted.

We took a pebble from the terrace which was as close as possible to the required colour and Donna went off for a re-mix. When she returned and John re-commenced we found that the colour was too yellow!

On this occasion, time was not on our side so we continued. Have a look at the picture. What do you think of the colour? We are getting used to it and it does look very bright and summery and makes a strong contrast to the brown of the African hardwood that is underneath.

We have just waved goodbye to our latest guests who came over from Yorkshire. They had a mixed week of weather but enjoyed themselves and I must admit, they found the countryside around here at the greenest time of year and it really does look stunning.

Pool_007 On their last day, as a thanbk you they bought us a lovely basket with trailing Fuschia's in which we have hung between the door and the window.
You know, it is gestures like that which have made it all so rewarding. We really are making some great new friends.

The recent hot weather coupled with the strong sunshine has really spurted the growth. We are wondering though when we can cut the grass for hay? This week looks to be good with temperatures forecast up to 29 degrees but if we miss this then I fear it will all start to lay down and be lost.

The onions in the Veg are coming on great guns. We still have not the time to reproduce the fantastic display of out first season and we have decided to grow the essentials. A couple of rows of spuds, onions and garlic. A row of tomatoes has just gone in and the courgettes, which self seeded nicely, are coming through in a patch we have cordoned off.

Apart from the crepie the well has now been topped off with a safety cover. Do you remember the first 'temporary' front door that bowed? Henner's helped me dismantle it and we re-harvested the wood and made a well top. I hope one day to have wrought iron but till then the Bordeaux red painted wood will have to do. It doesn't look too bad and with a few Geraniums to top it off will do for the summer

Pool_008 Today will see the end of the plastering - for the ceilings at least. It has been rather enjoyable really although hard work but with help from Donna and Henner's who have cleaned the equipment as I concentrated on working the material is has been a good team effort. Just got to wash the beams off as the watery residue makes everything white. It comes off easy enough though.

If I had been able to concentrate on it I reckon about 3 solid days - possible 4 but it has been spread over nearly two weeks. Never the less, another task ticked off and it is time to do a little stone wall building and then jointing the stone which will remain apparent.