So we went to France for a bit of a holiday, mainly to visit Magali's nieces, but also to do a bit of work on the house.
Yes, I know I started exactly the same last time but I swear, the same thing happened! This time though it was also to see Magali's sister as we hadn't seen her in a while. We had time to relax and have fun as well as eating and drinking lovely things (as one does in France) but we also got a lot of work done on the house.
Magali on a flying fox at L'Etang Leisure Park in Brissac
We started on the garden on the right of the house. It was a continuation around the corner from the previous time we were there. The garden by the house was full of weeds and vines and the trees were pretty overgrown. At the back was a pile of wood that had come from the tree that had fallen the previous winter. So we weeded, cut and tidied and the result was pretty satisfying.
We also go to work on some of the furniture that was left in the house. One being a lovely wooden table that we sanded down and painted so it could be used outdoors. While we were working on it, Magali's Uncle and Aunt arrived and recognised the table and told us that it was the table they were given after they were married to have in their home over 50 years ago. They said that Magali's great-grandmother had had the table previously so it could be 100 years old! So we both started worrying that we were now ruining a great heirloom...luckily, it turned out ok and everyone who's seen it says it looks great. Phew.
It started to rain a bit so we moved the table into the hanger so I could continue painting. I had heard a noise earlier that sounded like a kitten meowing but ignored it as there is a cat on the property so just thought it was her. While painting though, I heard the same thing and looked around and saw a little kitten coming out of the wood we had planned to move the next day! I called Magali and we were about to pick him up when we saw another one! Magali's family came to the house having visited La Mine Bleue and we had to show the girls as well Magali's dad so he was aware of them for the next day's work.
We had gone out in the morning to get some supplies and when we returned from our shopping, Jean-Guy and Michael (Magali's sister's partner) had already started clearing the wood on the right, leaving the kittens where they were for now. We started stacking the wood they had already cut and swapped inside for outside when there was more wood to be cut. We had to take the kittens out of the wood and we placed them in a box with rags in front of it so their mother could still find them. Eventually she came back and then she tried to place them back in the wood! Magali took the kittens and called their mother and placed them all in the garage where it was quieter and safer for them. Luckily they liked their new home and they stayed there for the rest of our trip. Now we have three cats already at Le Boulay.
We continued cutting wood that was good for the fire, piling up what wasn’t and removing weeds and nettles from the area until it was all flat. We had to use the tractor at one point as some of the wood was so rotten, we couldn’t move it with spades and rakes alone. The result is pretty amazing.
Michael and Jean-Guy were then using their chainsaws and weed cutters to cut back some more of the trees that were starting to be a bit dangerous. One at the back of the garage that was near the well and falling on to the roof of the hangar. And another that was around the electric cable to the house. They were a great help and we got a lot done thanks to them.
Magali, Jean-Guy and I all returned the next day to do some more stuff around the house. We used the tractor to help move concrete rabbit cages so we could turn them into a BBQ. It took longer than we thought and ended up having to finish it the next day as Jean-Guy needed to use some more tools. We finished it the next day, it's pretty massive but looks really cool. We'll paint it in the future but looks great for now. We still have loads of the rabbit cages on the property, so if anyone wants a really cool and recycled BBQ, let us know!
Magali and I spray-painted an old lounger and chair to give them a new life as well as sanded another table to paint at another time. We started working on the garden in front of the garage as old black plastic had been put down to stop the weeds growing but it was no longer effective so needed to remove it. While doing that, we spotted our second snake of the trip! Luckily they’re only small so I tell myself they’re just big worms to stop myself from freaking out…
We went out for the afternoon to take some old books to donate to L’Arbre Verte, an association that sells Bric a Brac to help other people. We also went to get all the drinks and food in preparation for Magali’s birthday party in September. Most excitingly, we bought a mattress! No more airbed for us! Jean-Guy helped Magali bring it to the house in his car as it’s much bigger than our Clio, and while they were gone, I was trying to restore one of the bedframes. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish before they returned.
We tidied the hangar we originally cleaned as part of the working bee, finished off the chairs, and cleaned the house. Time passes so quickly and it’s great how much we do but there’s always more to be done. At least it’s not too long before we go again. Thanks again to everyone who’s helped us and see you soon. Bisous.
The Tibetan Peace Flags my mum gave us