Rent  A  Traditional  Country
Farmhouse  in  South-West  France

August 2007

garden area rent letIt must be my age; I can't seem to remember a bl**#^° thing that I have already said so if I'm repeating myself, please say nothing worse than stupid old sod.

We have built a "car park". This is really a hard standing area so that we don't have to push the van out of the mud when it is really wet. Material to stop the weeds coming through and then a few tons of 'calcaire' should have been easy. Except Spencer and Olly decided to help me on the hottest day of the year. We finished three litres of water shovelling the stuff into the van and that was just 1,400kgs (less than a ton and a half to you).

Well, six tons of calcaire later, the farmer running his tractor across it, the rain washing some of it away, and all we need now is another two tons. Offers of help anyone? But at least we don't get cars stuck in the mud. It is now just our shoes that get stuck walking from the car park to the house.

The back of the house has been transformed. Some expert design by the Boss, fifteen tons of gravel (the weight goes up for each new project), and lots of work and you can see the results. This time, sensibly, we had the stuff delivered. Again, the ground has been covered with a material that is supposed to stop the weeds. Ha. we should put this stuff on the lawn as the grass comes though no problem and we could have a weed free lawn.

All the flowering plants are drought resistant types, so need little watering, which is just as well. Despite the un-seasonally high rainfall this summer, the rivers are low and the artesian wells are allegedly low as well. Anyway, as you can see, it's not quite finished. Just a few more strategically placed rocks, and then another fifteen tons of calcaire for the driveway. And that is another story. And the lavender crowning the wall of rocks has been fantastic.

Well; it was mostly finished and then we waited for the drought and while we were waiting, we were given an olive tree. What that means is I have to clear a circle of stones off the membrane, cut through the membrane, dig a tree sized hole without getting soil on the gravel, and then plant the tree. No job ever too big, but ... just dig through the two inches of broken tiles and rocks before digging the hole proper.

As it is the height of the holiday season, we feel very superior driving around in our right hand drive car, but with French plates. Anyway, during August and September, a small town not too far away has a night "market" every Tuesday. We went a couple of times. The main square is filled with trestle tables, there is live music and there are food stalls serving mussels, spit roasted lamb (I think it's actually mutton), prawns and of course the inevitable duck.

Everyone has a good time, it's free and the Boss gets to practice her waltz, quickstep, cha cha cha and various other things she has learned going to dancing lessons; without me of course. Fortunately the weather has been kind on the occasions we have gone.

Some time ago, we had a dispute with Portuguese Pete and the farmer who is his landlord about the use of a commune owned track. The final result was the mayor came, had a look and sided with me, and we reached an amicable compromise. So I invited all for a Pineau, the local aperitif. The mayor speaking in French asked me if I liked living here and I said it's great except the neighbours are terrible. Well, Portuguese Pete thought this was so funny we are now bosom buddies and his name is Victoire. Luckily, I knew the French word for joke as I had to explain to the farmer this was an English joke. And the 15 tons of calcaire are partly going on the once disputed track. Next holiday, make sure you bring your shovel.

Now, Autumn is on the way