Wet, warmth and wifi!

Wet. The wettest ever visit to south western France. It has rained everyday, sometimes all day, sometimes heavy showers, but every day. The view down into the valley now looks like a panorama over a large lake, but no, it is the river over all the fields and the water mill on the way up to the house is now an island in the centre of a raging torrent. Given that all my work on this visit was outside, it has not been pleasant….but you do not travel six hundred miles and not do what was planned because its wet!


Le Moulin under water


My view of the lake

Warmth. For the first time on a winter visit I am warm. Two functioning wood burners and a heated towel rail make the house almost tropical in the evenings!

I am not sure which log burner I like the best. Downstairs is a brand new Franco Belge Savoy Classic 7 Kilo watt stove with a glass door. Nice to see the flames but hard to light and takes time to warm up. Upstairs, is a refurbished Jotul 602. This is a very old model but a design classic. It has a solid door but burns beautifully and pumps out the heat. Both are good and but I think the Jotul edges it! It has not been in production for 86 years for no reason!


In front of the Jotul watching iPlayer

Finally Wifi. What difference this makes. I have been quite happy in the past visiting Café des Colones for a quick use of their wifi, but to have it in the house just changes everything!…Radio, essential when on your own. Facetime, free visual contact with home and the family, email on the laptop (is this the s start of working from France?!) plus twitter and the world at your finger tips. Imagine what a difference this will make to the children….better brace myself for large bill!


Planting up the side of the barn sans ivy


At least someone’s happy its wet


Once again, my trip to Frelon Cottage, has corresponded with gales and high seas. Last year I was delayed fourteen hours due to a storm, this year ‘Imogen’ threatened to disrupt my journey. Perhaps its giving every low pressure system a name that makes them more media worthy; my trip to Dover was punctuated by predictions of doom due to this storm. The reality was, my ferry left early. Whether this was an earlier ferry that had been delayed or that there were so few people traveling once they were all there then the ferry left!


Not many people on this ferry!

The media warning s should not of been of wind in the UK but of cataclysmic rain in south western France! I was woken by heavy rain on my first morning and it just got heavier and heavier and rained all day. Looking down into the valley from the house I can see the river is over the fields. Luckily my task on the first day was to install the wood burner in the kitchen. Not so lucky, is it is too wet to install the new septic tank, the main reason for this visit.


Building my first fire

The wood burner was installed by lunchtime, I now have radiant heat upstairs and downstairs. Where do I sit in the evening? I have a comfy chair in front of both so am spoilt for choice!


Day two, raining again! Four cubic metres of logs arriving today so first task is to clear a space in the big barn. Not only do logs in France come large quantities, they are one metre in length! Not the 20cm ready split logs from Shepreth.


Membrane down

By lunchtime, logs in, I started on the second reason for this trip. Planting the large beds created by the new steps in November. After digging, covering the beds in weed suppressing membrane and laying out the plants, I called it a day at 5.30pm. Planting will take place tomorrow…..weather permitting!


I’ll plant up tomorrow!