Monday, 29 July 2013

Visitors - In pictures (Part 2)

As promised, here is a picture record of Joe's visit, with his family...Sarah, Diane (Sarah's mum), Paris, Lennon and Caleb.

It wasn't very long before our new swing seat was put to use......

....while work began on getting the new paddling pool up and running.....
During the week, there was plenty of playing....
...and swinging..

It goes without saying, there was plenty of eating and drinking!
Including another visit to the Vue du Chateau bar/brasserie...and here's young Paris looking very chic, with me and with her mum.....

We spent a morning (and had lunch) at the market in Coulonges sur l'Autize...

and Joe provided us with much amusement when he cut Danny's hair (even though he DID make a very good job of it!!)

I think the children enjoyed themselves as you can see in this selection of pictures....

And finally, I can't resist finishing this post with a few "special" photos, taken by Joe, which I just happen to love.  I hope you like them too.

I hope you've enjoyed this picture record of our recent family visits.  In the next day or so, I shall be updating the blog with the other things we've done in recent weeks, so watch this space!

A bientôt!

Visitors - In pictures! (Part 1)

I've been quiet, blog wise, for a few weeks, mainly due to the fact that we've had two lots of visitors this month.  First, Danny's son Paul and his family then, just this last week, Danny's son Joe and his family.

Rather than drone on about what we did, I thought I'd just let you see a load of pictures of their visits!  

This is "Part 1" - Paul's visit, with Anna, Molly and Lilly......

Just couldn't resist getting in the hole!

Now to climb out!

                                                 Who's he looking at/for???

 Molly, Lilly and Finn.... in the camper!

At the Vue du Chateau restaurant 

Fun in the paddling pool!
Note: This paddling pool was later ruined by kitten Cali.... well, we think it was her!  Put it this way, there was a leak somewhere in it which we could only attribute to a cat's claw and she was always on the edge of the paddling pool, using it as a water bowl!



The girls relaxing!
                                                        Liam has a cuddle!

Visitors - In pictures! (Part 2) - Joe's visit with Sarah, Diane, Paris, Lennon and Caleb will follow very soon........

Sunday, 7 July 2013

A brief update

Well it's HOT, HOT, HOT here, which is very welcome after the long dreary winter we had and the incessant rain of the spring and early summer.

Of course, it's just typical that I'm finding it way too hot to sit outside which is why I'm sitting here at my computer on this beautiful afternoon.  Don't worry, we haven't been this idle all day!  Danny has washed the tractor mower and his "ordinary" mower while I've been dead-heading and doing other general chores! 

For me, I think the best thing about this wonderful weather is how we can sit out in the garden until really late and the sun goes down.  Because we're an hour ahead of the UK, it stays light here until 11pm and at the moment, it's lovely and warm still at that time (well, I need to pop a cardi round my shoulders but a normal person probably wouldn't have to!!)

So, an update as to where we are with the pool and the doorways...well, there is good news and bad news!  The good news is that our digger man was true to his word and came Wednesday to re-dig the pool.  This is how it now looks -

You can just see where it's cut out for the steps at the far end of the "pool"
The bad news is that nothing else has happened.  Without going into a lot of boring detail, Danny and I sat outside on Friday evening and decided that we would find someone else to do the job.   For me, the most stressful part of this has been the constant waiting and hoping followed by the inevitable disappointment.  I have tried all the time to put it in perspective.  After all, this is just a swimming pool that most people couldn't even begin to dream of having.  But one thing I've learnt in life is that it's healthier to follow the path of least aggravation and parting ways with the builder seemed to be it in this case.  Once the decision was made, Danny felt better too! 
So, the current position is that we think we have someone else to do the job for us.  Out of the blue, someone has offered to do it for us. We'll still need to find someone to knock out the stonework for the doors but I'm thinking that I'll worry about one thing at a time!
So I have to ask you to keep watching this space..... or hole!!
On a brighter note, we have two of Danny's sons and their families coming out in the next few weeks so we decided to get out the paddling pool from last year to see if it's okay.   We did this last evening and with Danny's compressor that he bought a few months ago, it was blown up in no time.  Unfortunately our kittens couldn't wait to inspect it...

Each of the dogs had a drink out of it too but we didn't get any pictures of that!
On the subject of these kittens, Mo and Cali seem to make it their business to sleep anywhere.  Here are a couple of pictures to show what I mean....

Well, that's about it for now.  Maybe there'll be some better pool news in my next post!
Until then...à bientôt

Monday, 1 July 2013

A vistior, a fireplace and of course, a pool update! (Plus some other bits and bobs!)

Well, we've had another visitor at Chez Cleavely, as Mandy came to stay for a few days.  She helped me with lots of little jobs that I've not been able to do (like weeding!) but I can't provide any proof of it because the photos we have of her visit are like this....

I have to say, that France seems to work its magic on people when they come here so visitors always seem to go home far more relaxed than when they arrived.  Take note, those of you who have yet to visit!!

The big news is that we now have a fireplace in our lounge and it looks wonderful!  It looks so right that I think you wouldn't know it hadn't been there since the house was built!  On the day the work started, I was lucky enough to have been out at the hairdressers, thereby missing this lovely sight...

By the time I got home it had all been cleared up!  Hacking out the pillars you can see at each side of the fireplace proved to be a very difficult job but eventually they were removed and the far more interesting bit of building the "new" fireplace began.  This collage shows the fireplace gradually taking shape..
And here it is.... finished!  Well, as far as the building part of it goes.  Danny is going to paint the back with special paint then he's going to fit the wood burner we bought with the fireplace.

And so to the POOL UPDATE!
We are expecting our digger man on Wednesday and the plan is that he will dig the extra bit because we got the size wrong (see earlier post on that point) and also remove all the earth that has subsided into the hole during the weeks of heavy rain.  I can't resist showing you this picture of my kitten Cali, at this point, as she enjoyed exploring the earth that has subsided (probably best if you click on the picture to see it enlarged!)

Obviously the rainwater has got to be pumped out first so Phil (digger man) lent us a pump to get this done over the weekend. Danny sorted it out yesterday and (with apologies in advance to my darling husband!) I have made this collage of pictures of the operation! (Sorry, but the individual pictures can't be enlarged.... much to Danny's relief I expect!  But you should get a 'feel' for what was involved!)

Not quite what we expected as the first pictures of someone in our pool!!!
So what other "bits and bobs"?
Well, when the lovely weather arrived, Danny thought he'd better get himself a new hat - you have to protect the top of your head, you know!  Here he is showing it off!

I wrote last time about having ordered our new kitchen.  Well, we are hoping that the stonework that needs to be removed so that we can change the window to doors will be removed very soon.  We went out on Saturday and bought doors for it, together with a door for the doorway between the barn next to the house and the utility room-to-be.  So now, other than these doorways, we are totally ready to go, kitchen and utility room wise.  Here are the component parts of my kitchen, languishing in Danny's barn....
I like to end my posts on a positive note, so here are pictures from the weekend just gone when I discovered that we have four apple trees and two cherry trees in the garden.  I understand that winds destroyed the spring blossom last year which is why we didn't get this fruit last year.  I am so hoping to harvest the fruit so that I can fill my freezer with lots of fruit pies and fruit crumbles!
Tiny, perfect, red and green apples
Cherries, ripening.... can I get to them before the birds do?

And finally... here I am, sitting in the shade as it was unbelievably hot on Sunday afternoon.  Liam is keeping me company while I do the crosswords that Tony, my brother, sends me each week from the British Sunday papers!
I hope to be back soon with more news of the pool.... watch this space!
Till then..à bientôt