Saturday, 18 October 2014

Getting the House Ready

Today has been brilliant weather - blue skies and hot sunshine - a great opportunity to do that painting I talked about here.

I spent about 4 hours there and I was exhausted by the end of it, though I don't seem to have got much done!

I started with lunch and a coffee on the patio...


Patio 3, not wasting time - a necessary break to give me some energy.  It was so lovely I was tempted to stay out there longer...

Patio 2

That's not my car, by the way - mine is garaged in the barn, out of the heat.

But on with the painting!

First I painted the skirtings in the front room...

Front room 2

Front room

...though I took these pictures before I started!

Then I did a sample paint area in the bathroom.  I was going to paint it yellow but, having found some turquoise accessories in a charity shop in England, I decided to have a go with some paint I already had - in Verdigris Green...

Green verdigris

Not a success, as it was far TOO green.  Back to the yellow, I think!  If you click on this picture you should be able to see the turquoise items on the windowsill.


 I think the yellow will be OK though.

 While I was away, the new stairs were installed...

New stairs

...exciting, isn't it?

Now I can go up and look at what will eventually be the bedroom (or two bedrooms)...

Upstairs, left

Upstairs, right

Lots more to do - I'll keep you updated!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A Visit to England


Once again - a couple of weeks between posts - but this time I've been on a little holiday.

I took the train through the Eurotunnel from France to England.  It's a long drive up to Calais, but I don't mind the driving and the 35 minute crossing is great.  Coming out near Folkestone is good for visiting my son in London, but not so good for visiting my daughter near Southampton.  Still, there's no waiting around in miserable airport buildings and, with the car, I can take and bring back lots of goodies!  Also, during the crossing you can do your knitting...

Tadpole en train...

I put the latitude and longitude co-ordinates into my GPS to get to the French end and it was easy-peasy. Coming back was not so easy as the GPS co-ordinates took me to an area of sand dunes in Hythe!  I should have ignored the Tom Tom and stayed on the motorway, as I was only minutes from the Eurotunnel terminal, it turned out.

A lesson  to learn there for Eurotunnel!  Edited to add that I see that the co-ordinates on the Eurotunnel website are different from those I used (which were on my ticket) and I wonder if they have recently changed them...

The machines as you enter the terminal recognise your booking and issue a ticket automatically, which you hang on your mirror...

Eurotunnel ticket front

Eurotunnel ticket back

If you haven't tried the tunnel - do.  It's simple and quick - but watch those GPS co-ordinates!

I stayed a week with my son and a week with my daughter.  In London we went to the Red House - one of the homes that William Morris lived in...

Red House 2

...a pretty National Trust house but virtually empty of the furniture that once filled it.  Apparently most of this is at the non-National Trust house Kelmscott, much to the chagrin of the Trust (as expressed by the room stewards we spoke to)!

Down South I had a lovely time too, with visits to Winchester (always on the itinerary) and Lee on Solent...

Lee on Solent seafront 1

Lee on Solent seafront 2

...a pretty sea view, but not much else!  Although I did get some great stuff in the charity shops!

So - back down to earth now - one of the things I got in England was some good paint and now I have to paint the house at La Tache, while the weather is still warm enough to have the windows open!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Busy, Busy

It's been a hectic few weeks!  And I see I haven't posted for ages!!!

I've been busy on the La Tache house - trying to get it all cleaned up and sorted out ready to rent out for holidays lets next year.  Today I finished stripping the old wallpaper in the bathroom -the last bit of a long, boring and messy job.  This photo was taken just before the last bits came off...

Bathroom - nearly finished stripping!

Now the walls are bare and it's a matter of washing down before painting.

The other thing that kept me busy was the HOPE Association Charity shop 2-day event at Harry's Route Sixty-six Hotel in Bussiere-Poitivine.

All in all we volunteer helpers spent a fortnight (and a bit of time before that) setting up this event.  On the first day we had lots of visitors and took over 1000€...


...but today (Sunday) was a lot quieter and we only took 500€, giving us a total of 1500€ for the two days. Still - that's a good amount to raise to help animals in need and we are all very pleased.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Today at La Tache

Cutting back the Wisteria and removing the seed pods...


General neatening of the concrete along the front of the house...

Front door into Living Room

And harvesting the grapes from the vine along the front...

Grapes from La Tache

Not sure how to use the grapes, though!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tidying Up at La Tache

La Tache is the hamlet where I have a second house.

I bought it as an investment and then the market plummeted.  I let it to a friend of a friend and that didn't really work out, so she has left and I'm trying to get it in order to let it out 'properly' for summer visitors.

A set of stairs is being installed...

Stairs opening 2

... and then the upstairs will be insulated and partitioned to form a couple of bedrooms. That hopefully will help with eventually selling the place too!

The downstairs needed a really good clean and some work, and the garden too.  Today I did some work in the garden and put in a rose bush...

Isabelle Autissier rose

...and some little violas that look a bit pathetic right now...


I'm hoping they'll bush out to fill the container!

I was also busy altering a little voile curtain and it's surprising how much time that takes!

Anyhow, tomorrow I'll be back, getting that garden into some sort of order - I hope!

Lovely Sunrise This Morning...

sunrise 11 Sept

Monday, 1 September 2014

Researching the Doves...

Bev, from Kainga Happenings, asked me if I knew when my doves plate was made, so I did a bit of research.

This is the mark on the reverse of the plate.

porcelain mark on doves plate

According to this site, this mark was used at the beginning of the early 20th century by A. Lebacqz & M. Bouchart.

It's a bit confusing as there are many marks for St Amand porcelain (I think I would class it as earthenware, or simply 'china' although the French information definitely refers to it as 'porcelaine') and, although there is quite a bit of information on various sites, I have not been able to find out anything about Messieurs A. Lebacqz & M. Bouchart.

This led me to take another look at the plate I bought from a previous brocante, with a flowered pattern called Marie-Louise, in a similar shade of blue...

Marie-Louise plate

On the reverse side is this mark...

porcelain mark on Marie-Louise plate

It seems that in 1818, Maximilien Joseph de Bettignies, a ceramicist from Tournai, opened a factory in the hamlet of Du Moulin des Loups at Saint Amand - the same hamlet on the mark on my Marie-Louise  plate. According to the same site as I used above, this mark was used for  long time - between 1896 and 1952 - a pretty good innings!

So now I think that St Amand china is a variety of china and not a manufacturer, referring to china that comes from the St Amand area.

Hopefully I will find out more about this later.