Sam arrived on time and raring to go.
Our tasks this visit are to tile the Salon, with terracotta pammets, decorate and tile the walls in the kitchen and plant the around the courtyard area.
After debating the spacing and which way up the tiles should be laid, Sam cracked on with the tiling. I started to paint the fireplace, cupboard doors and doorframes.
This is first visit that Frelon Cottage is actually a house that is having rooms worked upon. Before in was a building site that I slept in! This is progress, but it now means covering everything with dustsheets and sealing areas with dustsheet curtains.
By 11.00am the lure of the sunshine and fifty plants waiting to be arranged and planted. was too much. I say ‘arranged’, as if it was a spur of the moment casual thing, what I meant was, laid out to my carefully thought out and drawn up plan!
One hour into the planting, it suddenly dawned on me. Its midday and twenty-four degrees, what am I doing working in the blazing sun!
Sense prevailed and I went back inside and continued with my painting!.
Tiles going down
At three pm, the days are short here in the winter, the sun had dropped to a sensible level and the temperature was comfortable so I completed the planting.
I guess it must be true what they say about Englishmen.
Waterpoofing the walls
Sunrise this morning
The trip down now is painless and routine.
One hour and three quarters to Dover, timed for no waiting to board. One hour sleep. Then two ‘Desert Island Discs’ , lunch on the move, one ‘Gardener’s Question Time’ and maybe a ‘Moral Maze’ then arrival at Frelon Cottage at 7.00pm.
This time loaded with four hundred terracotta floor tiles, kitchen doors and a garden’s worth of plants, hills and stopping were a slight problem but other than that, routine.
I have discussed this with other French holiday home owners and they all say the same. You build picture of your house in your mind over the period that you are away. This is based upon the fact you left the house last time all neat and tidy. Then you pull up after a long journey and all you can see are weeds. Where did they all come from!
Weeds in the front
Last visit, in the summer we cultivated and created three planting areas around the limestone parking area, even planting some herbs. Nine weeks later no herbs to be seen, but weeds standing two feet high.
Weeds to the side
Now, I am a horticulturalist, but the rate of growth here just amazes me!
This is not all bad as a mornings gardening in rural France under clear blue skies is the perfect antidote to yesterday’s twelve hour journey!
More weeds and my new windows
The view from the front door
Planting and the view
I’m off to France again in a few days time.
Since my last post, a lot has happened at Frelon cottage. Last time I posted I was rushing to get the upstairs finished and the kitchen operational….I didn’t achieve this!
But, I then made an additional visit in July and managed to achieve my goal.
This visit also allowed me to cut the grass and prepare the garden so that when we arrived for our holiday ten days later, we did not arrive to a jungle!
The holiday went really well and Frelon Cottage operated perfectly as a holiday home and many a fine dish left the part finished kitchen. Best of all were the bedrooms. For the first time ever of staying at Frelon Cottage I was able to hear the bells of the church across the valley at 7.00am and not think ‘I need to get up, Sam will be here soon’, instead I could lay and doze and listen to the cows!
Our completed bedroom
This visit it is the intention to tile the floor in the salon with rustic terracotta tiles and fully decorate the kitchen. In my absence, a French joiner has made and fitted new windows in the salon and kitchen. This will allow another first for Frelon Cottage, the ability to open the window in the Kitchen! The old window was so decayed, held together with my silicone repairs, it was too fragile to open!
If all goes well, this will leave only the tiling of the kitchen and decoration of the salon to complete the interior. This will be done in February, ready for the a family break at Easter. That’s the plan!
Our Chicken ‘Madame’
Wild flowers from the garden