Friday, 11 July 2014

.. connection issues with blogger

Hi, sorry for the delay.  Technical post this so short.  I have now and in the past had constant problems connecting to my blogger account.  My original blog had to be deserted in the end and due to the privacy setting I used I am not even able to read it let alone copy and save any of the posts I wrote.

It is happening again.  I know my gmail user address and I know my password or did, today I changed it three times and yet when I sign in it refuses to acknowledge me unless as now I use the same browser and have come on here directly via the email they sent, which limits me to safari not my usual chrome.

So unless some genius out there has the answer, or can direct me to a more straightforward hosting site then I am afraid I will have to discontinue this one aswell. It is just too time consuming plus now my laptop is thankfully up and running again I need to be able to access it from there.

Aurevoir for now or goodbye for ever if I can't get back again,


Friday, 20 June 2014

.. tell about our 3rd renovation and introduce our 4th.

Our third house had been part of my life always.  It started life as the village police house, no cells but office attached and accessed via glazed corridor, which we turned into a large and rather beautiful wooden conservatory.  The office became a spacious sitting room.  One of my first friends, Meirwen and her brother Robert lived there, their dad the village bobby.  In time it became a private house and I spent many a Saturday night babysitting for the two young children in residence, both now scarily with children of their own some not much younger than my littlies.

Family life and as ever a lack of funds mean't we spent five years renovating whilst adding two more boys to our chaotic household - who else has hubbie and father fitting windows on Christmas eve whilst they are out doing their Christmas shopping I ask.   Sam, no 3, arrived the same week as our kitchen.  I remember well answering the door to our range cooker delivery guy to be met with a look of horror when he clocked my extended belly and realised he was on his own getting this one into place.  He finally left me with it wedged in the hallway blocking off access to half of my house till dearest hubbie returned from work and shifted it.  I was not impressed. I was impressed however by the efficient arrival of dishwasher next day which was promptly plumbed in by my dad in time for my return from hospital after the new arrival.  Unfortunately his fitting of the bath previously had been less prompt and a mess up by B&Q led to 3 months of being bathless at the beginning of that pregnancy.  Another lesson learn't, do not remove sole bath in house unless in full possession of replacement!   It was a lovely house but with the addition of no 4, Elliot, the upstairs proved too small, the third bedroom 7x7, a tad snug to fit two growing boys.  I still miss the spacious lower floor, with its vast kitchen,once sitting room, and its spacious reception rooms and entrance hall, the perfect place for our much travelled and battered but well loved family heirloom piano. We even managed to squeeze in a snug guest room with ensuite shower in part of the old kitchen.

This house took a year to sell.  Fortuitous because Mike changed jobs and the planned move within the village turned into a necessary move to Gloucestershire.  Timing is all and within two weeks of him getting the job we got and offer on the house.  Allowing us to buy .....

The house I loved,
Ivy Cottage,

Thursday, 12 June 2014

..continue with our 3rd renovation.

Seven months of wasted journeys and trawling estate agents, oh how I longed for a rightmove or equivalent, came to a thankful end one weekend on opening the property section of a local newspaper to find a 3 bed remarkably cheap detached property for sale in a rather nice suburb of Wolverhampton.  Untouched for 20 years maybe but with sound roof and interior bathroom, sheer luxury compared to our first buy.  I viewed it with my mother, babe in arms and 3 months shy of giving birth a second time.  Puppies all sold and re-homed things were looking good.  We immediately put in an offer and Mike was fine about it even after he had seen what we were taking on.

The rub came when the survey threw up subsidence.  Hopes of getting in before the birth of no 2 son went out window as it took nearly a year to complete.  But complete we did and for a year with a toddler, a baby and an incredibly hardworking and super supportive mother and father ( no more builders for us, once bitten ..) we worked solidly on turning this dated wreck into a modern family home.  A year of washing nappies by hand in the bath, stripping, sanding, oh the curse of artex, and painting walls, fitting kitchen and bathroom, replacing some but not all windows ( hate PVC and will always repair where possible), laying floors and cutting back a forest of brambles and weeds to reveal a once beautiful garden.

A year of hard work and doing without but suburbia wasn't for me, I longed for the country, village life.  We trawled again but Midland village houses don't come cheap and I felt a yearning to return from whence I'd came. A bargain for sale in a village near my family got us thinking and so one year on after much hard work the for sale board went up and offers were made.

This next sale was long and arduous as only the British system can be.  We lost buyers we lost sellers and once again we ended up camping out in my thankfully selfless parents abode.  This time myself husband, two toddlers, one cat and a thankfully not pregnant dog but 9 months later we moved rather conveniently next door to this our 3rd renovation.

Google again and not our renovations this time.
The new buyers extended over the garage,

Thursday, 5 June 2014

continue the story, our second renovation.

Hirwaun Road in physical terms was an easy renovation.  A builder did most of the work and we were sans children. I painted walls, made curtains, aquired some modest second hand furniture to bulk up our wedding monies brass bed purchase and one good sofa bought on interest free credit over the two years it took to get plans approved and building work completed. The garden though neglected and filled with builders detritus was small and easily tamed.  Emotionally and financially it was draining, we made little capital on it as the builder was a cheat and a lier, our fingers well and truly burnt.

So three years on Mike left behind his PHd and research and embarked on a job in I.T.  I set aside my teaching career and a newly acquired law diploma and embarked on motherhood. Rather too quickly we sold the house so I decamped to my parents rather snug three bedroom semi, pregnant again plus the baby, a cat and a pregnant dog.  Mike lodged in Wolverhampton returning to West Wales for weekends.  I was in my early thirties many of my friends were already settled into comfortable family homes but I had chosen to fall in love with a younger man just starting out on his career.  Wait I would have to and wait we did.

For this our next house took longer to purchase than we could ever have planned for.

Canterbury Road,

Monday, 26 May 2014

... tell you about luck.

Well you have seen the house and there is no denying it, beautiful it is.  Big also with everything I have ever dreamed of in a home, bar the proximity of the road.  Compromises something we all have to make and that is ours.

When we showed it to my MiL she said, ' did you ever imagine living in something like this? How lucky you are.'

I disagree.

I always imagined it. Don't we all have dreams of some sort or other.  Mine was always to have four children and live in a beautiful house.

Secondly I am not or ever have been lucky.  Even at this moment there are things going on my life that cause me pain and unhappiness.  The same for everyone I imagine, life is about ups and downs a much used phrase precisely because it is so very true.

But back to my ' old house' getting it has been a culmination of hard work and sacrifice.  Starting here

52, Hirwaun Road,

This was our first home, our first project.  With my post office savings and a lone from Mike's dad we bought this cottage that cost less than our first car.  Property was cheap for the price of this one particular cottage whole rows could be picked up in derelict state. Why this one?  Because I loved it, so much prettier from the front but unfortunately google can't take us down that path and allow us to knock the door.  My maternal grandmother was born here much visited throughout my childhood with it's town park and boating lake at the end of the road.  When we  took it on there was a hole in the roof and the toilet was at the end of the garden, no bathroom of course, no heating, no kitchen to speak of.  All that we did and it was here we brought home the first of our sons.  Sadly too small, after three happy years we had to move on.

To be continued ...

Thursday, 3 April 2014

.... go to lunch and sign a compromis de vente

Off to Grenoble again for today we shall meet with a notaire, sign a form, hand over a deposit and start the official process of buying an old house .  First though we meet at that old place to confirm what old brown stuff  will go, what will stay, future projects planned.  Rather scarily for moi, socialiser not,
 the seller has invited us to lunch.

So today is a blog of photos. 

Welcome to my future.... peutêtre?

8000 sqm of blank canvas

The back aspect,
The boys love and reason why,
they call it,
The Castle

The front and oldest part,
And why I love it.

The grand salon,
A 20 century addition,
Not bad as extensions go!

The fireplace in the extension,
Salvaged from an Old Chateau,
As you do.

Inner hall,
Complete with stain glassed doors.

Monday, 31 March 2014

... wave my son off on his Classe Verte trip

Short one today, going to be a quiet few days.  My 10 year old is off to the Loire.  Fifty three CM2s with bikes, accompanying teachers and brave parents all embarking on 3 days of circa 70km biking. From Chateau to Chateau, exposition to exposition, picnic to picnic and even a disco, though dancing after a 38km bike ride will be a big ask.  A wonderful experience he will have but boy will I miss him.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

.. tell you my fears.

Been a little too long between posts I fear, the procrastinator in me rears it's none too attractive head.

One of the problems with moving alot is the waiting alot. That stagnant period when you are leaving behind your old life again but excited to start your new and playing the waiting game.  I am not very good at it, patience, not my strong point, loyalty and continuity unfortunately yes.

Also this time I keep feeling scared.  It is a new emotion for me.  Not that I have  never been frightened.  Yes put a spider in front of me and I run.  See my children at a cliff edge and panic kicks in, adrenalin flares, voice cranks up a notch, I stand paralysed trying with depesperate restraint not to impose my irrational fears on them.

This scared differs though, some would call it anxiety but it is too quiet an emotion to be thus.

Age, death, fear of not having lived well.  Less choices left to make and less time to correct mistakes made.

This house we buy is not the one I have fixated on, a big choice, yes an old house as always but a big house, 500msq plus attics big, can only be that.

Maybe I must remember it is just that, bricks and mortar.  Houses sometimes workout.  When they don't you move on, buy another, use it as a base for a life not actually make 'it' a life.  Alas! maybe that is what I am scared of ?

A big fireplace in a big house,
I try to imagine Christmas,
It helps with the doubts.

Monday, 17 March 2014

.. take my son to the Orthophonist

Half an hour he spends.  Just once a week, all in French but what a difference it is making.

Two of my boys we placed straight into the french schooling system on arrival.  At the time I thought nothing of it.  They were 7 and 9 therefore time enough to acquire the language  before having to sit any formal examinations.  Yes it would be tough initially, their french consisted of merci, bonjour, counting from 1 to 10 and having spent many holidays here they could order some baguettes if pushed so no chance of starving.  It has been a success.  A year and a half later they both speak French and despite a reluctance to complete homework tasks are pretty much on parr with their french class mates academically.

Socially we mix with expats.  This was not our intention but our older boys attend an International School and because both husband and I do not speak french it has evolved this way.  In time this will change, our expat friends will move on, we will not and as our French improves we will be able to integrate into the local community.

Is that relevant to this post, possibly yes? the heading, where am I going here.  Well parents complain that the french system is too rigid, to geared around achievement, possibly it is.  However they seem to live under the illusion that this is all so different in the U.K.  There they say is an individual approach, special needs budgets geared towards ensuring those atypically academic children meet their full potential.

Well I say bollocks! My eldest had dyslexia, it was ignored.  Why? because he is so damn bright he managed to read in spite of it.  If you are ticking the boxes the British system doesn't care if you are reaching your full potential or not.  Where is the problem then you might think? Well the problem is when you find yourself in  secondary school, in english, history any wordy subject amongst your academic peers but due to the support you never got you are no longer one of them.  Your grammar, your spelling it just isn't up to the challenge and you lose confidence in your own ability.  A downward spiral ensues, why learn, why do your homework, why not be the clown of the class, put up a front, tactics all of them because the system failed you despite having a parent who constantly raised the issue and asked for help.

My third son also has dyslexia and dysgraphia like his brother.  Like his brother support was not forthcoming in the U.K despite my constantly alerting teachers to a problem with his reading at home.  In school he was rarely listened to, good grief no, where was the need the boy could read, a job for his parents, better spend time on those who could not or whose parents would not.  Not until his last year there, when reading tests were administered by a professional, moi, as opposed to a volunteer reading coach and it transpired that he was in the bottom third percentile for reading did he finally bet some extra support. Too little, too late and probably because being a teacher myself I had raised his head above the parapet.  Too many have I seen in my capacity as a parent volunteer and as a teacher going un-noticed or sacrificed to a policy of special needs budgets being spent on a vain attempt to get every child, no matter how academically capable, hitting a level 2 or level 4, a deemed average level. Children should be encouraged to achieve to the best of their ability, not some government politician's arbitrary idea of what everyone should be capable of.

.. And so we move to France and within months the school requests he be tested for dyslexia, recognized despite his limited french and in conjunction with information from his knowledgable parent.  Tested he finally is at a reasonable cost which is all refunded. In the U.k it is expensive so unless the school does it only parents with spare cash can contemplate it.  Not something one does with a limited budget and if one is not confident with one's own diagnosis and certainly not an option for many on low incomes.

.... And he has dyslexia, he has dysgraphia and he now has funded weekly sessions with a lovely Orthophonist ( speech therapist) and finally he is starting to read willingly, those nightly battles and tears of frustration both him and I, a thing of the past.

As an aside also despite the so called rigidity of this system, children sitting in rows facing the teacher, silent rooms passed whilst walking through corridors, programs followed with crossed T's to dotted i's,  they love school and they are excited by what they learn.

Their brothers on the other hand supposedly in the 'fun' , ' child centered'  international system well that's another story....

Thursday, 13 March 2014

.... work out what to do with my once beautiful but now broken mirror.

Last week we had two glorious days of skiing.  Early nights and even earlier mornings a necessary evil.  So on one such night being woken up to a decibel breaking crash was not in the game plan.  Mike jumped out of bed, Sherlock dived under and poor Lily, our beautiful Bengal who'd chosen that night to join the motley crew upon our thankfully super kingsize, dived over headboard and onto window sill.

The floor now littered with glass scattered around my upturned mannequin and prostrate mirror.  The culprit astutely hidden and in no hurry to reappear for fear of being marched straight back to S.P.A from whence he came by one irate, 40 plus, male, owner. 

No longer full length glass to peruse oneself pre venturing forth each day. Sadly an all but empty frame with sole glazed corner reflecting back feet and ankles, cankles not, my best feature peutêtre but not terribly practical. 

Alas bin I think, cela vie at least it wasn't this one.

Phew that Wii game was exhausting.
Lily enjoying a more restful sleep.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

... let you in on a secret

Thank you google maps
Alec aussi for showing moi screenshot.

An Old House  may be ours, fingers crossed, touch wood and all that.  Best laid plans .....  the intention was to wait, to hang fire not count our chickens, 70's edition of First Aid in English has a lot to answer for as does my mother.  However bedrooms have been bagsied, sofas selected, Christmases planned. It has a drawing room to die for.  Cool went out the window as competition entered the ring.

U.K sale still chugging slowly forth , still no tie ins no deposits no anything to stop our purchasers fleeing into the night, leaving us high and dry and sans funds to buy this wonderful abode or at the very least a deposit to cover costs already ensued.  However we are nearly there. A final form winging its way, okay optimistic that, dilly dallying across the channel; international post being what it is, random.

Once done that magic word, exchange and then corks pop, celebration time proper and despite knowing the french system will be long and arduous, at least both parties will be committed,  I hope,  moi, I most definitely shall be in all senses of the word.

Ohhh and it comes with a lot of  brown stuff.

Monday, 10 March 2014

.. write about ponds and pools.

My older boys returned to school today, the younger have another week off, frustrations of having one lot in French system and the other in an International School.  The sun shines so we will spend time in the garden and walking Sherlock.  Almost tempted to open pool.

The pool has been a bone of great contention.  When we moved here it was on the must have list of requirements.  Back in blighty Blakeney we converted a pond into a splash pool.  The boys were using it for inflatables pre-conversion so to avoid catching dysentery or some such when also diving in to retrieve treasures thrown by youngest, then toddler age, we emptied out flora and fauna and added some nice tiles and a couple of chlorine tabs.

Small it was, bad the weather was, great fun still for boys and friends and unfair to move to better weather and not one have.

Who needs a beach?

So we rented a house with pool but arrived at a house with swamp.  Green it was and green it stayed those first few months and cross was I and offspring too.  Frustrated,  we closed it down for winter in the hope that all would be resolved come following spring.  It wasn't, not even after a full on raving middle aged loony mother, shouting match, with recalcitrant landlord, witnessed by mortified off-spring one not so sunny day.

So a formal letter was sent, this is France, threats of withheld rent made, and finally come July in time for the long summer break we had a fully functioning pool,  if a bit rough around the edges literally;that concrete needs filling.  And there, on lounger, lay I for the best part of two months; car issues have their advantages, another blog peutêtre .  I do love France.

The boys on the other hand, after all their bloody moaning, had to be blackmailed off their various
electronic satanic beasts to use it!

Summer 2013
Amazing what happens when the internet is turned off.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

...sort through our ski stuff

Holidaying with four boys can be a tricky endeavor and unfortunately or fortunately some would say for many years living on low funds choices were limited.  Thank you Mother in law for accommodating us in you cosy West Country abode and that Longleat Center Parks treat we so enjoyed.  You aussi Tesco satan for many but four boys consume much food, wear through many socks and pants and points equals prizes, equals two weeks Cote D'Azur stay at a delightfully small, family friendly caravan park.

However the payback for spending most of the week sans hubbie mean't increased holiday budget, choice entered the equation.  We chose to ski.  Always the cheapest week, not that flush, but conveniently the quietest.  And then we moved here thoughts of weekends spent slewing down slopes, glistening white planned.

It hasn't worked out quite that way, things never do.  Our rent is high, school fees equally so and the joy of an almost full time hubbie comes with a cut in wage.  Nether the less it is vacances and we will ski, if only two days we can manage.

That said an offer has gone in on ' an old house' , school fees will be halved and the slopes an hour closer.  Fingers crossed, now that sounds familiar.

My how they have grown.
10 year old still fits in youngest jacket.
4 years later!
Great for the budget though.

Monday, 3 March 2014

..... shop for Alec's dinner.

Yesterday was Sunday so just like the great one I too took a day of rest.  Sunday for us is also test day.

It's not just moi that needs to get speaking this tricky lingo.  So too do the hubbie and four boys.  The youngest two have a bit of a leg up as they attend a French school.  The eldest not so and their apathy towards acquiring said skill partly contributes to my disappointment with their establishment of not so great learning.

So to help us all we have a verb of the week and we have to learn four tenses of chosen verb.  The winner gets to chose a four course meal of their choice and the loser gets to be footman and scullery maid for this grand repast, too much Downton peutêtre.

Last week Alec was the lucky one poor Elliot the not so.  The carrot and the stick it has to be.  Does it work?  Well put it this way Elliot may not be choosing this weeks supper but neither is he tidying up.  That not so pleasant task will be left to the eldest. Unfortunately it often is, genes will out poor Tom.

Suffice to say I like to ensure I never have to, as I mentioned at the beginning of post, everyone deserves one day off.

La semaine prochaine,
We revisit aller.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

.. watch Downton Abbey.

It's a tad miserable outside, been like it for days now and I hate gloom.  Also feeling a bit weary as our house sale in the U.K drags slowly forth.  Survey done yesterday and as the country has been flooded for the best part of the year and when not flooded being blown to bits, I am not feeling too optimistic   about the chances of a 6 month empty, 18th century house with a large treed garden coming out unscathed.  So feeling on tender hooks till this part of the tortious selling process is over.

 Also on Thursday we optimistically put in an offer on ' an old house ' and we haven't heard anything back.  I was hoping to pre-empt a second viewing that is happening on the property today.  My gut instinct is that we have gone in too low.  It could work we could save thousands which will be needed for the renovations but we could also loose it all together.  Our fall back option appears to have disappeared off the internet, cela vie.  After the day I had yesterday things are looking decidedly  dreary.

So why Downton, why today?  Well being a mother of four boys T.V viewing is oft of the macho variety.  Zombies, action heroes, horror, war movies, you get the picture.  Very occasionally though I manage to commandeer this state of the art monstrosity that graces, not! my living room wall.   Rarer still there are times when a son shall happen upon my presence there sit himself down aside of me and appreciate a change of genre.  For the second time this has happened with Downton.  'Alas, Alec '
no2, son watched the first few series avec moi and now no 3, Sam has gotten the bug after happening upon my latest xmas special and recent series binge.  So a request he has made to view all from start to finish,  and who am I to argue with that delicious  prospect.

My beautiful old home in Gloucestershire,
Sadly will have to say goodbye,
Curse those bin bags though!

Friday, 28 February 2014

..try to communicate with French police

I shall have coffee with a friend and speak French,  this is what my title should have been.

Ambitiously phrased of me.  My french is severely limited.  It was the one O' level I failed, shouldn't have opted for it in the first place but the alternative was welsh and scarely under the circumstances being that I am welsh, that was even worse.

So here I am a year and a half of living here later, with two children in a French school, still as rubbish as I ever was.  I can proudly say I understand more but that was never going to be difficult, nothing to something never is.  The sticking point is speaking.  People who know me laugh in my face when I say I am shy but that is because they know me and I do like to chat.

However my chat often consists of throw away comments and witty responses, with the odd rather volatile debate thrown in for good measure.  I don't do small talk and always feel rather ridiculous when I try.  I am also much better one to one if I am honest especially when in the company of a master of the art of chit chat.  Finally as mentioned previously I talk fast and frankly prefer it when others do.  So little wonder why the speaking french bit is going nowhere.

This can't go on though.  We intend to stay here and will hopefully be buying a house soon which will require renovating, haven't managed to buy one yet that doesn't so why change the habit of a lifetime.  A kind friend has bravely volunteered for the unenviable task of helping me learn.

 So today I shall go to her house and we shall drink coffee and we shall speak French, after the police have left that is.  Bikes stolen from the garage last night and now left to deal with it all using my serioulsy inadequate French.

All done
Hubbie will be pleased,
Won't have to,iron own shirts next week, darling.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

...sort out my laundry room

French houses, unlike british houses, don't appear to have boot rooms.  Okay many british houses don't have them either but most have an utility, a place for washing machines, wet dogs and dirty gubbings alike.  Never worked for me, two opposing needs lumped into one room.  Too many crisp clean sheets soiled by muddy paws and earth clad floors.

In France they have the baunderie, easy to remember ' sounds like ....laundry', throw back to my teaching days there.  It more often than not is situated upstairs, convenient for discarded clothes, not convenient for dirty boots and wet dogs, hence the obvious segregation.  Unfortunately mine is rather a large room, unlike back in blighty where it fitted a machine and ironing board,  and as in all large families there is an accumulation of stuff and that stuff must be housed. Not in an attic where stuff never needed again and xmas decs live, things  that may be useful stuff. Material for projects planned, not done, grown out clothing that will another conveniently birthed son adorn.  Mouses live protected from killer cats. Every house needs an indoor garage in my opinion.

So stuff therein accumulates and spreads, gets rummaged through and dropped.  Frankly it all ends up in one big,messy muddle that yours truly has to sort on a too regular basis.  Put off for far too long today it will be once more tackled and this time it will stay organised.

She doth jest of course!

A brave before photo.
So no backing out now
Might need to do some ironing?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

.. listen

Whilst running around like a blue arsed fly, it is Wednesday after all, MJC and all that.

I talk but do I listen? How many of us truly do?  I talk too quickly, trying to get my words out, make my point before eyes glaze over, a cup tips, a phone buzzes, a door knocks, a child/ adult interrupts or in this house a mad scrabble to the door with cat in arms mid pee.

Time to lead by example.  Time to silence the mobile, close the Ipad, put aside the magazine the book - maybe not that, another day an explanation. Laptop temporarily but perhaps conveniently broken.  Cleaning can wait, it always does, never a serious distraction.

Time to just sit and listen....... once I have posted my blog of course.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

..wash sheets and tell you about Sherlock.

The sun is shinning, an excellent washing day, bleached white sheets waiting since the big stay to billow forth in the breeze.  Lots of white sheets in this abode a continual cycle of on and off both line and bed especially since....

....the arrival of Sherlock!

When to France we did set off, a beautiful English setter accompanying us amongst a motley crew, two adults, 4 boys, 3 cats and guineapig 1.  Sadly Sassy the year did not see but her present to us after an impromptu stay had she at S.P.A was Sherlock.

When bereft of her company a thought was there of all those who would not be retrieved when her I did after brief, very brief soujorn.  So off we went, boys and I, and three did see that might be ours.  From out of hat a noisy Gordon came but me I was a little sad for scruffy black my heart had grabbed. Next day both hubbie dear and I did return to collect the barker chose but fate did play its clever hand. Dear hubbie made a fortuitous error when cage number he did present t'was wrong and out they brought for us to keep, young scruffy black, oh happy heart.

The boys a name had already thought for a boy if that was what we brought and sure enough no better fit.  For here he is all black and mucky on my sheets all crisp and white.  But happy soul he must be from concrete floor to luxury and moi aussi for love him I do, the aching gap near filled.

Our S.P.A rescue dog.

Monday, 24 February 2014

.. actually post my blog and show off my Annie Sloane painted mirror.

My intention is to try to post everyday.  All about discipline and carrying through on projects planned.  So yesterday's blog was all written up and ready to go but internet, as it does, let me down.  So today I shall post yesterday's shall.

Last weekend I did nothing bar reread a long running and favourite blog, to pinch a phrase, " you know who you are" .  Granted I had just enjoyed a wonderful but exhausting two weeks hosting my family, two of whom have significant mobility issues and was feeling the loss of their company.  Was that excuse enough?  No me thinks.

But read I did and inspired I was to get up off my arse and write my own.  So know every day I set a task, it makes me write, it makes me do and it makes me happier.

So yesterday I swept up leaves,  pruned roses, even though I could not smell them and as the sun shone bright, the air was warm we barbecued.

Today though I shall have a friend over for coffee, she who visited an old house with moi and can I show what I have achieved.  But not my blog of course.

Troc Mirror painted in Annie Sloan Paris grey
Silver gilded. 

Saturday, 22 February 2014 to Grenoble

 ...along with husband and four boys.  A school our destination.  One in which we hope our boys will thrive.

For big mistake we may have made when from their Grammar school we took.  Outstanding t'was , it churned them out those boys in droves with great results and sent them off to institutions proud.

International though there school maybe it's standards are not quite what they should. Worries fill my muddled head and so consider options would.

The problem is that I have found goodly schools for younger two,  French they are and so much more have they to offer than the other.  Bilingual now their options grow but French schools are a motley crew and who knows on them what I might bestow then rue.

Picture not mine.

Friday, 21 February 2014

... visit an old house.

..that peutêtre will be the final one as our sale chugs slowly forth in Grande Bretagne.

Four we have lived in, four bought in varying states of disrepair but marginally less so each time and each time just as we reach that final stretch a new kitchen or stair carpet or window perhaps, up with the sign and off goes we to another project another dream.

The last we thought for keeps but jobs change and one gets tired of raising four children alone. So in went renters and out went us to this our rented french abode which truth be tell could do with our magic or my magic touch for now it is me that renovates and he that pays with money earned from long hours and travel spent oft away from us.

Frustrating though to hold back thoughts of rooms to swap, floors to lay, walls to paint, baths to fit and kitchens to design. But no, alas, for that would line another's pockets and I must work for me and mine so wait I will.

Yesterday's did.
One chevet in Annie Sloane duck egg.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

... paint in Annie Sloane duck egg blue

Not that I am wearing it of course.  I love to paint.  Not delectable landscapes, moody portraits, madcap moderns.  No not I, for I love to paint walls, windows, floors, and furniture, even sofas.  The first three are out for the moment, more on that tomorrow, so furniture I shall paint.

France not only the land of the baguette and pastry but also abundant with brocante, read junk shops, flea markets and Troc no less, with a plethora of old and semi old brown furniture that no discerning modern madame would deign give floor space to.

So off we trot both friends et moi to buy it up and paint it free from landfill, bonfire and Troc eternity.

Today's lucky rescue, upcycle call what you will is a bargain chevet, last Saturday found at Les Puces a favoured haunt for all things cheap and brown.  Some smart stuff too so if in town take a stroll down said canal where all things linen and industrial alongside do reside.

I had once thought to make a go of selling on what I bestow with splash of paint.  But ambitious folk have got there first.  The market fills, the hitherto cheap gets dear here, a place renown.

Ah! a tip off I have received.  A place untapped, ripe to be explored, markets brimming, people giving it away for sure.

Will I act, go for it, grab the opportunity?  No not me for alas! Alec! ;) I am Procrastinator Extraordinaire and I shall just paint this today instead.

15 euro find,
Mustard jar 8,
Les Puces du Canal,
Salad bowl moi :)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

... rush around like a blue arsed fly.

because it is Wednesday and as yet the Rythmes Scolaire remain solidly free Wednesday for me and mine.

So lie-in, feet up and a sneaky lunchtime glass of vino in order.

Alas! Alec! whoops him again, she doth protest for today is the busiest day of all for home mother's here in France.  We have violin, we have guitar, we have piano.  We have to collect those poor oldies who have only a half day to fit in tennis, badminton, escrime, drama or any other hobby or leisure/not, activity they care to pursue.

The MJC car park buzzes as we vie for spaces, all skinny latte and useless for us poor souls endowed with good reproductive genes ensuring of need for full cream beasts to cart around our offspring.

What's that I spy nay one brave soul entering now though more rapidly exiting with chunk of trailer in tow, oh fool thee!

So think of this you politicians from above with experience not of this one special day.  When else can all this happen?  There goes the evening glass of wine whilst head over homework bent, the Saturday family outing, the Sunday walks and visits. Sunday schools emptied for football pitch.  Memories of a Britain left.

I do digress, so roll on ce soir, dear little ones to bed shall flea and I shall poor some wine.  For now it is time for me.

Gluten free carrot cake.
Yesterday's did was yum.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

... make a carrot cake #sansgluten #glutenfree.

We live in a world were # is the definitive precursor to all things written?

Another time peut-être.  I digress.  Since moving to France, the land of baguette and all things pastry I find I have an intolerance for all things gluten. Alas, alec ( whoops no that is a son!) bring on the violins she weeps but no not moi.  Bake I must and bake I did, she who did not bake before, and therein hidden talents did I find.  Tarte citron, tarte orange, my own recipe with a dash of Grand Marnier thrown in to the mix, have all joined my repertoire of tasty desserts.  A necessity in a country so poorly served with Gluten free treats.

But my youngest, him who graces my profile pic when at his cutest a time fast gone, has put in a request and so today I broaden my scope and today carrot cake it shall be,
 #glutenfree. # sansgluten of course.

(pic of a horribly gluten full chocolate cake )

Monday, 17 February 2014

...start blogging again.

It's been a while but then t'is all in the name and I did get locked out of my old blog.

So to start afresh, in pastures new, both here and France, to be exact.  From little acorns .. and all that today my blog shall be short and sweet,

 adieu until tomorrow.