The February visit is a long time coming. Almost thirteen weeks without a trip to the cottage, expectation and anticipation are always high and this visit did not disappoint.
Sometimes in February arrival is a little anticlimactic as the property has been left untended for all that time, the weather is often bad and it can look a little uncared for. This time the grass was green, the sun was setting and all looked calm and peaceful. The log burner was quickly prepared with the kindling and logs cut before leaving last time and I settled down in the warm kitchen.
Next morning it was extremely frosty but it had that look in the sky that it was going to be glorious, as indeed it was forecast to be all week.
My neighbour, Pierre came around early to say hello and to update me on all things Le Port and also to discuss the new gutter I was installing over his entrance. We have what is known as a ‘Flying Freehold’ on our barn with the new roof. The left hand part known as The Cave has an upstairs but below part of this is Pierre’s land. He conveniently uses my new roof to keep his logs dry and the old gutter is not large enough to handle the increased capacity caused by a new less porous roof!
New road signs have been installed throughout the commune. When I say new, I mean not just in the physical sense but that each road, lane, track, however small has now be given a name. Our track is called ‘Impasse Guy de Larigaudie’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_de_Larigaudie. Each house has also been assigned a number. We are number three. This costly and time consuming exercise has been made necessary as it is no longer just La Poste delivering to rural communities. Up until now each house in the commune had the same address and it was down to La Poste to know who lived in each house. Amazon et al don’t have this knowledge.
Marie Anne, Pierre’s wife is councillor at the mairie, so we knew in advance of the official announcement what our road was called and our number. So I was perplexed when Pierre said she would come around with our number later in the day. Little did I realise that the commune was supplying each house with enamelled numbers in the same colour scheme as the road signs! These signs would cost around £15 in the UK! ……..Vive La France!
Installation of the gutters was not trouble free! As we had to rebuild the roof on existing 100 year old walls and beams, nothing is level or flat. In two sections the eaves sloped in the opposite direction to the fall of the gutter toward the downpipe. This created a strange optical illusion and caused some head scratching but once solved the zinc gutters looked very nice and will help keep the inside of the barn dry as well as Pierre’s logs.
Over the winter I employed some French gardeners to clear a patch of scrub, elder and brambles at the rear of the house by the Big Barn. This was not a job I fancied. This area is now clear and will be a compost and storage area, so on this visit I have brought some Hornbeam hedging to plant to screen the compost heaps from sight when in the garden. This planted and some other replanting of the front flowerbed, cutting back and pruning and a lawn cut and the house again looks very loved!
Off now to overnight in Calais, then early Eurotunnel.
We are back at 3 Impasse Guy de Larigaudie at Easter!