Our new home in France

While looking for a house to rent, somewhere to base ourselves while we hunt for the right property, we found the perfect house in the perfect spot -and with the help of the lovely people at Cle Rouge Immobilier in Duras it is ours! This blog is primarily for our friends and family to follow the ups and downs of the adventures. However if we don't know you, I hope you'll enjoy the story too, and that one day you may consider booking into our lovely home as a paying guest - you'll be made very welcome!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Bits and bobs

The chicks have become a little too free range when it comes to wandering into our neighbour's garden, so their wanderings have been curtailed a little.

They're getting just a bit TOO confident!
They are now confined to quarters until a bigger pen is made around the orchard for them.

The winner of the 'I can keep the dead toad long enough to eat it' competition!
The B & B and gite are filling up - Hugh will soon be able to retire! We had a house full of perfect guests, celebrating a silver wedding anniversary, last week. Thank you, Vince and Julie, Joy and Steve, Rae and Mia, Andrew and Lesley, we thoroughly enjoyed your party - all week!
The perfect guests!
Vince opening Champagne to get the party going. Apparently all the
jokes have already been made by his colleagues!

Missing from the picture - the photographer, Hugh of course, and lovely number one daughter, Ellen, on a weeks 'holiday'. She somehow managed to stay out of all photos. I'm sure Nicole must have some on her antiquated film - I'll publish them as soon as they arrive so we will have proof of a lovely week.
During the week, a visit to Domaine Gourdon for a spot of wine tasting and buying. Thanks to Jonathon for an enjoyable and educational session, and coping with all Steve's questions!
No spitting!
Plenty of drinking - and buying.
It's sunflower time in the south-west of France. As well as the beautiful green of the vines, the growing maize, and the ripening plums are fields and fields of sunflowers. A small selection of  all the photos - you just HAVE to keep stopping and snapping!

This one because I love the way the one flower is facing the opposite way
 to all the others - confused or independent?
Two flowers for the price of one!
And this one because this is the vegetable garden I aspire to. I was supposed to be looking at the pottery on display at Castelmoron d'Albret, but this caught my eye over a low wall above a long drop!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

We got there!

Another long gap, with so much to blog, that I will have to use photos and captions to prevent boredom in the reader!
In the (almost a) month since my last blog lots of things have changed.
The chicks have grown, and grown again and are now pretty much free range, ranging wider and wider, into the vines, the plum trees, our neighbour's garden and the gite! They return pretty quickly though, if they think there might be treats involved!
Mike with treats.
Waiting to be let out!
Table birds?
Oven ready?!
The gite was finally finished and furnished.
Jim the digger, digging another pond, leveling out the car park and filling in holes.

Mike putting finishing touches to furniture for the gite.

Just waiting for the grass to grow.

Bedroom 1
Bedroom 2 
Lounge and dining room

Kitchen diner
Spot the camera man!
 We are thrilled with the way it has turned out. We wanted to celebrate the end of this part of our adventure, and thank everyone who helped along the way. So we planned a big party and invited everyone who helped along with the mayor to make it an 'official opening'. Unfortunately, we were too busy to take any photos, but we're hoping that other people did, and I will publish them when I get them.
After weeks of very hot and dry weather, it started to rain just 10 minutes before the party began, and rained for a couple of hours - real, steady, wet rain, much to the relief, I'm sure of all our local farmers and wine growers, so we couldn't really complain! We just got on with it, enjoyed the afternoon, and when the rain finally stopped, it turned into a beautiful evening, with petanque, led by Jean-Claude (playing his rules apparently!) and an impromptu (albeit "one we prepared earlier") chilli on the terrace until well into the night.

The petanque pitch, scene of a battle!
So....thank you to everyone who has helped us on our way (not just those in the photo!) and to everyone who came and joined in our celebrations.
Ash, filming the party
The last six weeks or so of our story have been filmed for ITV, to be screened, possibly in September. We're not sure what it is going to be called yet, or exactly when it will be on, but watch this space!
Nicole also had a birthday, celebrated with a visit from boyfriend, Mike and her brother Dave and his girlfriend  Neesha.
After the parties were over, we took a couple of days off and spent one of them in Bordeaux and the sand dune at Pyla near Arcachon, the tallest sand dune in Europe.
From the top of the dune towards the sea
From the top towards the forest.
On the Miroir d'eau des quais in Bordeaux

Taking photos of the photographers!