Saturday, 21 April 2012


Our renovation project in France is almost complete. We recently returned from a 10 day break where we had a chance to see the work that my Parent-in-laws have done over the last 6 weeks. It is looking fantastic, to the point where our house next door is looking tired and boring in comparison.

Fred has tiled and fitted four bathrooms as well as a list of other jobs as long as a gangly persons arm. Whilst there we took the opportunity to buy light fittings and soft furnishings etc. where I was able to demonstrate that my rudimentary French has amazingly got even worse.

I am embarrassed to admit that on several occasions I reverted to pointing at things and even worse speaking English in a French accent. I've resolved to book regular French lessons in order to fix this situation as a matter of some urgency and intend to demonstrate a better grasp of the French vernacular when we return in June.

The final phase of work including the pool and decking will be going in over the next two months and we will be finished slightly ahead of plan in time for our first guests later this year. I'll post more photos then but here is a recent shot of the rear of the property. The weather was mostly fantastic whilst we were there but I managed to capture the Gite at the gloomiest possible moment. I'm gifted like that.

My contribution to the project was to mow the lawn which took nearly two hours and rendered me exhausted to the point where I had to drink an entire bottle of Cidre to revitalise myself. I also took some time out to reflect that aged 41,  I now own 10 bedrooms, 8 toilets and a small tractor. I have truly arrived.

We didn't manage much holidaying as we were both exhausted and relaxation was the name of the game, mainly involving wine and cheese but we did manage a day out at Lac Vassiviere about an hour from our house. If you think about the Lake District but without the hordes of people, you'll not be far away. We intend to revisit in June and cycle around the shoreline though having learned that it's 45km all the way round I'm going off the idea. However, Mel will not be deterred so I'd better get fitter in a hurry.

I've attached two photos, one of mine and one by a talented photographer. See if you can work out which one is which. (I won't be offering a prize).

After nearly five years of owning a house in the Limousin, we now know the area really well, have made some great friends and have acquired a lot of knowledge on living and thriving in France. However, we're not ready to move there for some time yet. Our life in the UK is very rewarding right now and we're keeping an open mind on our eventual plans.

For now, we're enjoying the experience and looking forward to the day when we can just enjoy what we have there rather than sinking every spare penny into the project. I know that Pat and Fred, who have been beyond amazing are looking forward to those days too. We're eternally grateful to them for helping us realise our goal. 


  1. You are so lucky to have had all the help with the renovations. I know what you mean about French. In the six months since we have been living here mine has gone backwards!!! Nigel's French is pretty good, so he now does all the talking, I also need to do something about it!

    We are more than happy we have made the move now and finally retired here. Life is great. Diane

  2. We're looking forward to moving eventually but enjoying the duality of our life just now Diane. When we do move, I'm determined to be conversant if not fluent but I have a long way to go......