Restoration skills and an old French House.

I had ceased teaching and when the  opportunity arose for us to buy an old house in France.  it seemed the right thing to do next. Invest in ourselves. It was based near the town of Josselin in Brittany  in a small village next to a river.   The French Adventure.

The old house had not been touched for over twenty years. The previous owner just walked out and left everything including his clothes hanging on the back of the door. Mind you he was known for standing naked on the bridge after he had enjoyed a bottle of wine or two. Maybe he just forgot where he left them.

My husband had to continue work at his regular job, however, he was able to make regular visits to work on the old house, often doing grotty jobs like spraying the loft for woodworm and such like.

A large amount of the time I spent on my own  Radio 4 was my constant companion. Many a day found me joining in with conversations on Womans Hour or talking to the wall.  Great conversations abound.

The day started with a walk around the lake, breakfast, four hours of hard labour a cooked lunch, another four hours of stripping back walls, painting, decorating and using just about every skill I had learnt on my course to create a great house. On idea was to use the backs of A4 pads, cut them into the size of tiles, paint them to look like delft tiles and attach them to the back board of a disused fire. they were then grouted and varnished. This gave the illusion of an old fire place for just a few pennies and a couple of days work. My evenings  involved cooking another meal and for some strange reason I never understood at the end of the three months I was a stone lighter.

The Villagers were fascinated to learn about the mysterious  English woman who was always working.   Waves from the Bridge, foods and flowers left on the doorstep, fish from the river were their offerings.  They were  kind and welcoming.  Additional help came via a friend who had been on the same Restoration course as me and the daily end of day reward was very large gin and tonic followed by another and excellent food..  Sleep came easily.

The house was finished on time  full of wonderful furniture bought from the local  brocante   all completed on a low budget.  We enjoyed the house for a few years and let it go.  It was a great house, great project and great adventure.

Then it was back to the UK to  focus on the new Kruger Interior Business, restoring our old cottage all of which kept me busy for the next ten years.