Sunday, 18 April 2021

If winter comes, can spring be far behind?

Enjoying the spring sunshine
Shelley was quite right, spring always comes but it did seem to take it's time this year (bit like this blog post!) Last time you dropped into the blog, winter had just begun, as had another lockdown and I feel like not much has changed. We thought winter had finally been banished a couple of weeks ago when it was warm enough to take coffee and croissants to the river and I wore sandals. But the old saying 'ne'er cast a clout til May is out' held true as bitter north-easterly winds swept through this week. We lost some blossom on our magnolia but some of the French vineyards have fared far worse.

Nevertheless there are signs of spring all around, the days are longer, blossom is out and there is an air of optimism. I confess we did slow down on renovation work during the dark, cold months. There is something unappealing about dressing like the Michelin man to work in a freezing house but we bravely soldiered on. We also did quite a lot of planning which is always a good thing, particularly when it took place in the warm, bright, comfortable barn!

Garage & plumbing
I know you're eager to see progress aren't you? I can hear you now "stop the waffling Sharon and show us the photographs" Alright I will, but please allow me a little explanation too? A lot of the work that we, well mostly Andrew, has been doing is hidden. Electrics and plumbing are rarely seen. Old walls came down and new ones have gone up, to all intents and purposes nothing has changed. But it has, oh yes! Last time you and I had a chat we had just finished the complete re-wire of the house and were about to move on to plumbing. Now in normal circumstances this doesn't sound too onerous but it was a major job. The old house had one bathroom, two loos and an upstairs kitchen. We were moving the kitchen downstairs and adding a utility. The garage loo was staying in place (the only thing that was) and we were installing a total of four new bathrooms. Poor Andrew has been sliding on his back under floorboards, contorting in small places and joining pipes in confined spaces. The manifolds would not look out of place in an art gallery. He has worked so hard and he's also been putting plasterboard up so that I can start the slow task of prepping for decoration.

From top left clockwise: Bedroom 3; sitting room; entrance hall; sittingroom
What have I been doing I hear you ask? Well a lot of sanding of walls and multiple, and I mean at least six, coats of paint on two of the bathroom ceilings. I abandoned the restoration of the windows as the cold weather was effecting the paint but I'm hoping to get back to that soon. I did actually finish decorating a room, our tiny office which we've shoe-horned into a dead space. I would love to show you a photograph but we've filled it with packing cases!

Oh! I nearly forgot the excitement of new insulation. We qualified for the French government's one euro scheme and now have additional insulation in the attic plus the garage ceiling was done too. Roll on winter. Well actually no, hold your horses for a few months yet.

We have been enjoying some lovely walks though. Mortimer much prefers walking in the cooler seasons and our lockdowns have allowed us to continue to go to some favourite spots. Up until a couple of weeks ago Emmaüs was open so I was able to indulge in some retail therapy to keep me sane.

Watery walks
At the present time we're not sure what summer will be like, whether borders will open and what freedoms we will have. We're hoping to get enough of the house finished so that we can move in and then our barn conversion can become the holiday rental, which is what it was designed for.

Beautiful Corrèze
Well I think you're pretty much up to date now. If the wait was too long between posts then why not follow/friend us here on Facebook or to follow our photographic journey of life in Corrèze then we're on Instagram too.


  1. Now that I'm no longer on Facebook, I don't get so many updates, so this is a welcome update. As ever, you've achieved so much, and it's looking wonderful. We'll have to join the queue to be among your early customers when finally you can open for business!

  2. Thank you Margaret. You would be most welcome.


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