Saturday, 9 November 2013

Two weeks in France - some highlights


As it is Wife's first trip to France for a while, we traveled down her favorite route which is Portmouth-St Malo on the mid-evening boat, so we can have a meal in the restaurant.  We have bunk beds tonight and I am on the top one.  Would the crossing be rough and I fall out - not this time

We stocked up LeClerc in St Jean for three days in the house - there is such a lot to do

Our first night treat is a trip to Les Cabanon in St Jean for dinner - two delicious steaks


First work is on the bedrooms in Petits Chats - principally the floor.  This is reasonably precise work, but actually very enjoyable to do.  And progress is quicker than I had expected.

Also up today is work on the main bedroom of Cadran - initially painting the ceiling white and then working on the numerous repairs to the walls and priming reading for painting next visit.

The house has already descended into chaos as we sort through everything.  The wardrobe below is too big to go up the stairs and will have to be dismantled.  The rest of the stuff below is a collection of beds plus packs of wood flooring.

My DIY camp is at the bottom of the stairs in Cadran - more chaos


A morning visit from Grant for an initial catch up and check we were happy with the most recent work.  He is snowed under this week so we will see him again next week when we are planning a trip to Saintes to buy lots of bathroom stuff, electrical things, etc


St Jean market in the morning - highlight is the delicious duck moose pate.  We also buy chicken skewers with a curry sauce - not perhaps the most french thing

Over lunchtime, we went for a trip out with Dave, the estate agent, to see two properties.  One was a finished house and gites for around E300k and the other was the run-down farmhouse that I've been too twice before.  As expected, there is insufficient enthusiasm at this stage to take on the latter


A very pleasant evening out in St Jean - Wife visited the dress shop where Daughter bought lots of stuff over the summer, then several drinks at Ellis Park, where it is warm enough to sit outside, before an evening meal at L'Annexe.  Excellent stuff all round


We have acquired a new house cat - a petit chat indeed.  Against my better judgment, we have decided to give it food throughout our visit.  It has been holed up in the garage, but now prefers to sleep on our terrace during the day so he can try and get food off us whenever we come out of the house.  He is very friendly though.


A day out today.  First to Saintes and a trip round the market down by the cathedral.

Then to the Isle d'Oleron, one of the best places to visit in the local area.

At St Pierre we stumble across one of the finest patiseries we've ever seen.  It would be worth coming to Oleron just for that.  While we are acquiring products and admiring others, daughter calls and is very jealous.

Then to the very tip of the island.  The tide is out and the Atlantic breakers are way off in the distance.  We generally prefer it when all the rock pools are exposed.  By picking our way through the various pools, it is possible to get to the edge of the sea

Next stop is America


More work on Petits Chats, this time it is wood flooring in the back bedroom and landing area.  Not a bad outcome, but loads of work still needed to do all the detailing required


Two bedrooms in Petits Chats are now trimmed up and basically ready for guests.  Such a contrast to just six months ago when we started work on the upstairs

This evening we had a trip out with Grant and Karen going to the Jacobins restaurant in St Jean.  We had thought this was just a pizzeria, but it is actually a full restaurant, and very good too.


Our last day on this trip and a brief walk up to the nearby vines.  They have all been harvested of course and the leaves are turning brown rapidly

On our drive home we manage to take a wrong turn at Tours and only just make the ferry - odd as we haver done this trip loads of times before - another sign of approaching senility