Monday, 11 October 2010

The final push......

We returned from our short break in France last Wednesday and before we knew it we were back into work at breakneck speed with barely a minute to reflect on the transition from relaxing rural France to frenetic, congested England. So I'll try and do it here.....

We managed a day in Brantome whilst in France, where I got a chance to experiment with my new camera. . We also managed a few drives through the beautiful countryside, taking in magnificent sites like Chateau Montbrun. Here are a couple of snaps I managed. Not brilliant but I'm still getting used to my camera...

We were determined to just relax and spend some time thinking about the details for the completion of the Gite as we enter the final stages of its renovation. A visit to Castorama in Limoges (owned by B&Q) gave us the inspiration for choosing the details. Wall tiles, floor tiles, patio tiles were all chosen and carefully photographed to send back to Fred and Pat who are departing for France next week with a trailer full of bathroom furniture.

We didn't argue much over the details, we have relatively similar tastes and neither of us much design flair but I think we have chosen well with the main criteria being durability and light colours to counteract the lack of natural light.

We caught up with our friends Roz & Neil, and their new pigs who were very cute and extremely edible looking.

We also had a lovely evening at our friends Matt & Helens with their two adorable boys Etienne and Louis where we put the world to rights and consumed more alcohol than is sensible for one night. They also bought me a fantastic Manchester City T-shirt for my 40th which must have stuck in their throats given their support of the 'other team'. I include a photo of Helen and the boys here purely due to her dislike of having her photo taken.

All too soon it was time to return armed with lots of ideas and thoughts as to completing our 3 year project.

On Saturday, Pat and Fred travelled down from Hartlepool to spend the day planning the bathroom fixtures and reviewing the ever increasing list of jobs that Fred will undertake for us during their 5 week stay. They are a really calming influence, dampening my tendency to get stressed and over-excited by it all and making pragmatic, down to earth suggestions. Just what I need as I hurtle around with work and find myself with little time to think and plan properly.

After they left, Mel and I impeccably observed our self-imposed abstinence from Alcohol following our consumption of half of Frances wine reserves. I say impeccably observed, it actually lasted for about 30 minutes before we cracked open a bottle of 12 year old single malt that I'd been given for my birthday and drained half of it. The accompanying bottle of champagne and three beers were probably a mistake but if your going to break a fast then I firmly believe you should do it properly.

As a natural consequence, Sunday was a write off with none of my pre-planned jobs ever getting beyond the advanced planning stage.

Another big week in work beckons but safe in the knowledge that our final push to finish our barn renovation is well underway and in safe hands (i.e not ours!).

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