Two years on - Spring 2018

In the run-up to our third year here point, I thought it was about time to update the blog as an absolute ton of work has happened on the renovation of Jasmine Cottage.

Before all that we have had an absolutely amazing time learning the ropes of living in France, also running a gite business with our small two-person gite. Socialising much more than we ever did in the UK with a variety of ex-pats and the lovely welcoming local French people. We have had many guests stay with us from France, UK, Holland, and Belgium. Some have moved close by and remain good friends.

A lot of family and friends have visited us which is really great as they get to experience what we love about living in France. We managed to squeeze in twelve friends that ventured from the UK for my fiftieth birthday, we had a week full of food, drink, and laughing, the culmination was the party in the big tin barn, two log burners warmed everyone up along with lots of mulled wine!

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We have raised three lots of rare breed Oxford Sandy and Black pigs for their meat, an amazing journey that we aim to repeat in the future, they are so much fun to be with and they enjoy human company. Our third pair caught us unawares as our two previous lots had been introduced to the sty and their area inside the electric fencing with no issues, the third pair decided to do a runner, through the electric fence, across our land past the pool and through the external fence, across the road over the farmers field and went into the local woods with me being in 'hot pursuit'. For the duration of the chase I was shouting out to Debbie so she could join the 'fun', eventually, they decided to snuffle under a holly bush, Debbie arrived and we made our move, she grabbed the smaller ones back leg and held it until I managed to grab a hold. I carried her back to the sty and her sister followed behind, we put them on lockdown for two days which seemed to work as they didn't escape again.

We also have four chickens, we did have six chickens but illness and an unknown predator sadly got rid of two! The fresh eggs that we get from them are an absolute delight, very tasty and very yellow.

We have had experience of the high-quality care of the French health service when Debbie took a tumble and fractured her elbow and wrist, fortunately, no operation was required, just rest and some physiotherapy.

Back to the renovation of Jasmine Cottage:

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We eventually decided that the small cottage shown above would lend itself to being turned into a three bedroomed gite. After a lot of planning and discussions, we got two French firms involved, the first firm removed the old roof, the next company then installed a cement and steel ring main around the top of the exposed walls then we removed an internal wall and the first company returned and fitted the rather beautiful new roof. Confident that this work had shored up the building and when finances allowed we plodded on. External walls have been pointed up using traditional lime mortar.

Internal walls have been sprayed with a lime/hemp mix that ensures the integrity of the walls, insulates the building and allows the walls to breathe.

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First-fix plumbing and electrics have also been fitted and first floor beams and flooring replaced. Downstairs we have cemented the ground floor ready for the underfloor heating system and tiles.

We are now ready for window fitting and the installation of the septic tank.

Hopefully, after the awful start to the weather this year, we will eventually see some sunshine and be able to carry on with the outside works.