Thursday, 31 July 2014

A week in pictures

Well, the visit from two of Danny's sons and their families, that we all looked forward to for so long, has come and gone!  Danny and I had worked very hard in the weeks leading up to their visit and if you remember, in my last post, I deliberately didn't include any pictures as we wanted the new pool and its surrounding area to be a lovely surprise for them.

So, this is what it looked like before they came....we were ready!

As the title of this post suggests, it seems pointless for me to write about the week when I can show you better in pictures, so here we go.....

And finally, if it works, a video clip of Paul and Joe having a night-time swimming race!

So, hopefully, the photos give you a taste of what our week was like.  When they leave, the house and garden seem so quiet and empty.  But at least we are left with loads of happy memories!

Until next time, à bientôt!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Calm before the storm...

This is a very short update but Danny has imposed a photo blackout!  Why?  Because the storm we are expecting tomorrow is not a thunderstorm (we had those this last week!) but the whirlwind that is two of Danny's sons with their families arriving for their annual holiday with us!

We have been even more busy than usual and where the pool and the garden looked rather stark the last time I posted on here, it now looks like a "proper" pool.  But Danny doesn't want to give anything away and wants our guests to have a lovely surprise!  Hence the photo embargo!

The week has not been without its setbacks!  Danny was just getting into his mowing routine when the sit-on mower decided it would move no more!  It wouldn't go forwards or backwards!  To cut a long story short, Danny tried and failed to mend it so we got it up onto the trailer and took it to the local shop that does repairs, servicing etc.  We are hoping to have it back next Tuesday or Wednesday and I suspect either Paul or Joe will be having a go at mowing!!

Anyway, do look out for my next post as I expect to make up for the lack of photos with an abundance of them next time!

À bientôt

Sunday, 13 July 2014

A frenzy of activity

You may have guessed from my absence that we have been very busy of late.  There is nothing like an impending visit from friends and/or family to focus the mind on getting things done and that, I confess, includes housework!  While I like the house to look nice, I rather resent spending time on what is such a futile occupation!  Futile in that with three long-haired moulting dogs and two fairly aged cats, the house never looks very clean for very long!  But one of my dearest friends was coming to visit (for the first time) for a long weekend and it spurred me into action! 

At the same time, the terrace around the pool was being finished and Danny helped John firstly by mixing the adhesive and ensuring that John had a constant supply then later by following John as he did the 'pointing' (like tile grouting but different!) and sponging off the excess.  It was quite hard work, especially the sponging as Danny had to kneel or sit on the terracing and, more to the point, had to get back up again!  But I know that he enjoyed it because of the camaraderie that developed between him and John, as much as anything!

So, since I last wrote, the terracing plus the pathway from the new kitchen door to the pool area are now finished.  Our digger man came back and levelled the earth around the terrace and most of the "mountain" of earth from the original dig has been taken away.  The earth that is left still needs to be levelled but it is in an area away from the pool itself and we are due to have that done at the beginning of next month.  (It's amazing how busy our digger man gets!)

This is how it looks right now...

All of the earth you can see to the left and in front of the grey chairs will be seeded so that the whole area will be grass.  Unfortunately, now is not the time to sow grass seed!   So our summer visitors are going to have to put up with what might become rather a muddy area (and we might have to put up with the dogs getting rather muddy paws!!)

It's not very obvious from the above photo but going forward from the area in front of the grey chairs there is a slope down into the terraced area.  There is also one on the right hand side; the area this side of the pool house.  Both of these will be planted with shrubs but.....yes, you've guessed it, now is not the time to plant shrubs!!!

Still, at the moment, Danny has managed to cover one of the slopes with membrane.  This will stop weeds growing through and earth sliding down into the terrace if we get heavy rain.  We can't do the same to the slope on the right side as we need to add some top soil first and with other more urgent jobs needing our attention, that will have to wait a little while.

While I was in my 'housework frenzy' Danny managed to get the kitchen finally finished!  There were lots of bits and pieces that he had to do; the pipes to the new radiator were an ugly brown colour and Danny repainted them white.  This doesn't sound much but he had to do four coats of paint to get them to look right.  We have tiled skirting in the kitchen (and hall and utility!) and Danny had to fix some around the new alcove created by the new door.  He also fitted out the alcove to the right of the door with shelves so that I can display some of my cookery books.  Then there were various little bits to do, like touching up bits of the white ceiling where splashes of green paint had gone!   And finally, he cut the new doormat to fit its designated space!

While our digger man was here we asked him to move a stone trough that was near the small patio outside the lounge doors.  This trough was probably a "lavoir" or 'washtub' at one time and the previous owners had put a few large plants in it.  Ever since we moved in and planned to have a door from the kitchen to the garden, I have had my eye on this trough as a potential herb garden but I wanted it nearer the kitchen.  Well, now I have it there!  Later in the year I plan to dig out the plants and reposition them (probably into the flower bed I call my 'eye' bed) and then I can get it ready for planting herbs.  I am so looking forward to being able to just step outside the back door and pick some herbs while I'm cooking!

We shall probably paint the trough in the same colour as the walls, when we paint the new wall - as you can see, it's still grey rendering!!

So, gradually things are coming together.  There is still a long way to go but the garden is beginning to look less like a building site now!  And when friends and family visit we know they don't mind how it looks!  As I said at the start, my friend visited for a long weekend and she loved the house, its garden and the area generally.  And to finish, here are a couple of photos from that weekend.  As usual, Liam makes his presence felt!

By the way, this coming week we will be getting out the garden furniture and we will be putting things on the pool terrace (at the moment it looks rather stark and bare!) all in readiness for family visiting very soon so look out for my next update!

Until then, à bientôt mes amis