Off to La Rochelle first thing to meet Wife's brother and his wife who are joining us for our second week.
On the way, we passed a shallow pond that was covered with egrets and herons. I reckon there were maybe 15 herons and at least 50 egrets there. I managed to frighten them as I treid to investigate further.
Wife with her "amusing" french sign at the airport. La Rochelle is such a small airport that people actual come out through a marquee tent.
Early afternoon, there is the delivery of two bikes from a local hire company and I have been coerced into taking Andrew out for a short familiarisation ride. He has become a mad-keen cyclist, often riding well over 50 miles on a Sunday with his club. I haven't ridden much for a number of years. However, the stunning countryside around our house has put an idea into my head that I might bring my road bike down here and do some cycling when I'm down over the winter decorating
A quiet day at the house for everyone. While they sat by the (slowly improving) pool, I took photos of some of the brocante stuff I'd bought and worked on a possible referencing structure
At least it was hot enough to be by the pool all day - in fact the temperature has crept up into the low 30s so far. No one has fancied a swim yet though (as the pool is also very cold still)
In the afternoon, I took some new photos of the house with its pagoda cover over the terrace. I really need to update some of the website photos. It is looking so nice now that the weather has improved. I need to paint the shutters now there is a chance of some good days without rain
Today is focused on a day out at St Emilion, just over an hours drive away to the south. This is part of Wife's plan that A and J see something of the local tourist sites while they are here.
They soon found a speciality chocolate shop and somewhere offering wine tasting. Linda bought me a birthday bottle of wine for E70
This shop also had some very expensive bottles, such as the various vintages of Petrus which cost over E1500 each
We did manage to find the shop for Chateau Petit Gravet and arranged a tour for later in the afternoon, so A and J can find out how wine is made
While I took some stuff back to the car, I came across 12 Ferraris parked near our car - very nice too
Lunch was at one of the well-known street cafes in town
Wife and I with our favourite Ferrari
Our wine tour was late afternoon and most enjoyable. Back at their shop, I decided to buy a bottle of their 1962 vintage. This would have been harvested about when I was conceived and bottled about the time I was born
Finally I have started painting the shutters over the french windows (not called "french windows" in France of course, and actually not very common in France either). All the panels have had a coat of primer.
Into St Jean where we arranged some photos for the painting holiday website - Wife with examples of her art in front of the actual location
And on to St Jean market, where we buy various bits and pieces and enjoy all the seafood on show
Back at the house for lunch - the pool is definitely improving
This evening we had a meal with Grant and Karen who manage our property and live just the other side of St Jean from us. I pulled out all the stops to do rather a good meal and everyone seemed to have a nice time.
More painting of shutters - some panels have had a coat of green now
Also the first pool use - though it did take me 20 mins to get in it as it is still very cold
A trip to see the neighbourhood donkey this afternoon - he likes carrots but is not very keen on the other salad stuff we took him - parhaps because of the bits of onion in it
Out this evening to Royan for the much anticiapted seafood supper
A quiet day - the morning's highlight is a trip to the Leclerc supermarket
In the afternoon, Wife and I went to Emmaus where we sent E40 on more brocante stuff and a fur coat for Wife
While A cycled huge distances this afternoon, I went to Ecoyeux to look at it as a location for the painting holidays. Along with another village nearby, it could work out well
Highlight of the day - a long lunch at L'Annexe in St Jean. This is probably my favourite restaurant in St Jean. I had foie gras followed by Mussels. And I had forgotten that the dessert menu was full of ice creams
Back to La Rochelle airport where Wife is also travlling back to the UK today
I then went to a large Brocante at Ronces des Bains on the coast near Isle d'Oleron. Spent another E500 on some decent enough stuff. I think we can definitely say that sourcing stuff isn't going to be the problem I thought it might be
So I have one extra day down at the house and can spend the morning with Grant and the team. They are in for most of the next 3 weeks and so big progress and big bill are likely. While Steve the electrician worked upstairs, one door has been hung downstairs, the old door way blocked in and the second new doorway cut
And the deviding wall is being built between the downstairs bedroom and what will be the new bathroom
Loads of electrical wiring in place
But so much work to do still