October 2022 – French lessons

The garden here is lovely, full of trees but unfortunately lots are dead and crowding the area. The garden has not been tended for many many years. So we got lovely Paul, the tree surgeon, in to tell me what was dead, could be saved or just tidied up.
Paul has done half the garden so far but it will be an on going relationship as certain trees have to be cut through different times of the year. However, it’s like the first haircut after Covid – really needed and wow what a difference already. Paul has said the remaining trees now have room to shine… arrr ……he loves trees.
Unfortunately a really big oak has died and I was upset to know this would have to be cut down… Paul suggested cutting so far down and making it into an outside table in that part of the garden … loving Paul’s work!! Great, feel better about that.  Watching a tree surgeon at work is scary and amazing. Paul scales the trees like a skinny squirrel. We now have a mountain of logs and chippings to sort.
Oh my gosh… I hate cement, truly. I know it’s fantastic stuff but when you’re the labourer raking hardcore and liquid cement at speed its “merde”.
To make the floor for the new large studio in the grange (barn) and terrace for the gites,  two lorry loads of cement were needed. By the way the lorries could not get through gate so they had to go by the side of the house and Alastair had to cut two massive branches off a tree for them to get in. The whole village came out to watch… I think the village has slow days) Four of us raking it out as quick as possible before it sets and it’s still 24 degrees here in October. In the Grange, it felt like 30 …but it is now done and  just needs under-floor heating and a skim… “I think I’m shopping that day Alastair…”
So I’ve started my French lessons with Paul and Matthew who run Maison Belmont, a lovely trendy little B&B in Eymet. There are 6 at the table and I am not too far behind everyone. Thank you Nicky Sage for French lessons back in Haywards Heath.
I try and use my French everyday even when they try and Google translate on me… you will listen to my broken French with a Brummie accent! Actually everyone here is fantastic and they do wait for me to gather my words and try, so all positive at the moment.
The village I live in is lovely, not too small with a beautiful church, lively pub and strong community.  Everyone got together for a Halloween pumpkin night at the Salle de Fete on Monday – with food and drinks and chat. It is important for us to attend these events and get involved with our village. I intend to open the house to locals for art not just visitors or clients.

We have had the living room and bathroom wall papered – joy and happiness as something actually happened without disaster or delay. 
The living room was dark so I have chosen a light deco design to keep the tradition and style but lift the room. More pictures on Facebook when finished but a little sneak peak now of the room being done.
In the bathroom we are going wild – art deco pink and a large panoramic ..will show final pictures on next blog – here’s a few before and in progress shots.

We need a French historian to go through all the amazing papers and documents in the house some from as early as 1790’s… so I will be trying to find one to help us and looking into Henry Becq. Henry was the son of Madame Becq and a celebrated interior designer. Henry had boutiques in Paris and Chelsea. His designs, furniture and drawings are throughout the house.

With love from France – a bientot
Leesa, Alastair & Cersei xxx

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