Renovating a house in France

Well everyone has been asking why and how did we begin our journey on renovating our house in Malicorne Sur Sarthe. So I have decided to write about it in my blog.french house 002

Paul and I drove up to the house early one morning to meet the estate agent and one of the owners who had driven up from Nantes. As you can see it was in a pretty bad state. Having  laid empty for 40 years due to family squabbles. We were quite nervous but excited at the same time not knowing what awaited us inside.

The evening before we were given some great advice from a couple whose gite we were renting. They said when you open the front door if it makes you smile buy it, if it doesn’t walk away as you will never finish it. And as you guess it made us smile you will wonder why when you see the next group of photos

These photos are just examples of some of the rooms. Every room in the house had ceilings full of mould and falling down. Paper from the 1920s hanging off. What plaster there was on the walls was crumpling. Down stairs in the 3 front rooms where every you placed your feet they broke through the floor boards. And to top it off skeletons of dead birds where everywhere.

There was no plumbing electricity or heating in the house just some old iron radiators  with holes in and an old rusty water tank.french house 048

This is the front door. You can see the plaster crumbing the minute we walked in and yes we did buy it. The French used to call us the crazy English especially as we did most of the work ourselves.

It’s been a while

Hi its been a while since I have written on here. I have had a busy few weeks.

We have been working really hard on the allotment only a couple of disasters the bugs really seem to love our cauliflowers so no cauliflowers for us. Our parsnips failed so we have sowed a new line and miracles of miracles there is growth. Potatoes are coming along nicely even dug a few up for potato salad yummy. It’s our  courgettes they seem to have supper power.  Over night they seem to have tripped in size so I think it will be a lot of chuckney making for me.

On the chicken front I am sad to say that Molly has gone to chicken heaven. As you can guess Sophia was very upset so off I went and bought her not one new friend but two meet Maggie and polly my 2 new ginger rangers. They have all settled in very well and producing lots of lovely eggs.




Getting ready for my exhibition

It’s been a very busy few weeks getting ready for my exhibition in the Corsham Tourist information centre on 1st June until the 30th. And as part of the Lacock art group I am exhibiting at the Allington country farm show on the 5th June so a busy month.  I have hardly put my painting brush down.

I have also been having great fun experimenting with my paints adding lots of water and just watching the colours flow. These 4 paintings show how from just blobs of paint I was able to build it up to the final painting of a mother polar bear and her 2 cubs I have named this painting mothers love.

Eric first walk

Hi I would like to introduce you to Eric. He has had his very first walk today which was fun. To begin he was not overly sure about leaving the house so that took about 2 min’s with his head stuck out looking around. Don’t get me wrong he has been out before but always in my arms this was different a big step. Finally we got on to the street. Lots of slow,slow, quick ,quick,slow. Lots of new sights and sounds a 5 min walk took us 15 which was perfect. We are now home and he is fast asleep in the sun. All to be repeated this evening. 20160405_153638


Well to be living the dream I have started an allotment with my husband brother and his partner. You may ask why four of us but as my blog goes along you will realise why. I will give you a hint we have never done this before pure novices and its a very large patch. So on Sunday morning Nick and I went along with measuring tapes and note books to plan  what we are going to grow. There is a huge amount of vegetables to grow and not just one kind of each but loads for example orange carrots white carrots rainbow carrots, carrots for idiots (guess which kind we bought) carrots for professional growers the list goes on. When you actually get to the planting stage its all about depth and spacing. So last evening off we go with tape measurer (very professional) and on hands and knees we measure we dig we plant. So far potatoes, carrots (orange) leeks and parsnips it took hours. we left there on a high full of hope and planning our future recipes.

First blog post

20151107_164606-1Hi this is my dog Dylan you might wonder why he is blue. I suppose its because he can be. As I go along you will soon realise that I paint all animals in bright colours.. In real life he was a chocolate Labrador who followed me around and was always by my side. So my daughter called my studio Dylshouse and the name stuck.