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Marcolès Monday (Coup de Cœur – Part Seven): Anyone Who Had A Heart

Surprise! Surprise! It’s Monday and I am keeping the promise I made a couple of weeks ago to devote each start of the week day to bringing you stories of our quite possibly never ending renovation project in le Cantal deep in la vraie France profonde. Until I moved to the US to spend the whole of 2016 this had been an occasional series chronicling the tale of the renovation of a former medieval watch-tower in southern France …..

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Actually, it’s no surprise because I do always keep my promises and I never ever say anything I don’t mean. Voilà! This tiny billet-doux is simply an introduction to the continued saga. For the rest of the week I will post a previous installment a day, bringing us neatly to next Monday when I can pick up the reins and relight the fire which I know must be burning with heated anticipation in your bellies at the thought of this cornucopia of delight even before the Christmas fun frolics and fantastic festival of over-indulgence really starts. Just call me a truly big-hearted girl as I scatter my glitter freely and seemingly without restraint.

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Rules of engagement …. this is NOT a renovation blog. Although I have renovated several old properties including an Art Deco flat in south west London, a 17th Century cottage with Georgian facade in Oxfordshire, a 19th century village shop, a Victorian farmhouse in South West Ireland and, my personal triumph, a 1950 ex-council house which I sold to a couple who were disappointed that I had replaced the windows, so convinced were they that they were buying a vintage farm cottage. Trust me the original metal cased local authority standard issue frames were not pretty and, have further faith, the Georgian-bar, double glazed lovelies were not only elegant but equally importantly stopped the rampant leakage of heat from every aperture. There is a crucial link between all those projects and the jobs I later undertook when running my own business helping others maximise the potential of their property for sale. I have worked always with budgets ranging from microscopic to frankly non-existent. So non-existent, in fact, were the finances of most of my clients that I failed to follow through on collecting my own fees. I felt their pain you see, when the sale of their home was prompted, as it so often is, by one of the fabled real estate ‘Three D’s’ – Divorce, Death, Debt. They smiled, I starved … it’s a theme in my life.

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The same funding method applies to our place in Southern France. It is a labour of love and sweat and pain and tears and virtually no money and so far we have been at it for more than three years. Apart from a pot of gold which is basically … well basically just a pot. Peer closely into this vessel and you will see cobwebs, dust, possibly even fossilized spiders and other unidentified creatures and once bobbish bits, but you will spy not so much as a farthing in hard cash and no flexible plastic friend either. Apart from this entirely useless and not even decorative receptacle, there is the issue of HB² – this is ‘The Husband with Two Brains. My husband for the avoidance of doubt. He and his brains are mostly to be found flitting all over the planet doing oversized brain things with astrophysics and radio-astronomy but he’s a rare sighting in France. Those who have experienced trying to undertake a project that then reveals itself to be an increasingly major spiraling upwards to a breathtakingly vast project, from afar with no budget to pay others, will surely sympathise. Of course, I am in France and originally and until this year the apartment we rented was 2 hours North of the house. Now I live in Grenoble and I am more like 6 or 7 hours East. That and the fact that there are things that I am simply not physcially strong enough to sensibly tackle. I’m always looking for sneaky tricks to make myself a littler slenderer but squished by falling masonory is a little extreme, I rather feel. It means that I only do the things I can do and presently I visit about once every 5 weeks. There is a reason for the cadence. If you are good and behave very very (and indeed very) well, I might be persuaded to share the logic.

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So here’s the nub. I’m not here to advise or pose as an expert. What I do is tell stories and the Marcolès stories are intended above all things to be entertaining. As you read the stories, you need to bear in mind that I am writing retrospectively … that we agreed to buy La Maison Carrée (The Square House) in 2013 but didn’t take ownership for a year and it was a further 9 months before we got the keys; that the house is considered the jewel of a very tiny and perfectly formed medieval ‘city’ due to its being the oldest building in town and that we consider ourselves custodians of it for our lifetime.. By the way, technically for reasons I may explain in a post it is a City not a Village despite having a head-count of less than 500 inhabitants. For us the town and their sensibilities are paramount. Is it fay to feel that we were meant to have this house? Crucially considering that we bought it even though it sits literally plumb centre of the cité when our natural habitat, given our collective inner hermit would be an uninhabited island or at the very least the middle of entirely no-where, high up in the elements where you feel nature and have no choice but to go with her …. I jest. Sort of. No really, I’m joking. I think. Actually, face facts, I am decidedly not joking.

I SO enjoy your comments and take gently delivered and kindly meant advice well and to heart so please do join in and spritz the commentary with your own wisdom and experience but don’t expect me to be the very brilliant Gill at Côte et Campagne who IS an expert and is renovating on a tiny to nonexistent budget and who, with the stoic, good-natured support of her partner Trev has achieved nothing short of a miracle of a rescue of a small village house. Gill is an artist by training and it shows, Trev has taught himself to be a true artisan with all things wood. Take a look …. they humble me. They also renovate and repurpose furniture and other things …. I dream of the day when I am ready to go into a buying spree of frenzied proportions in their shop. Be still my frantically beating heart.

And on that note … overcome with my own ability to create such gleaming lustre as I sprinkle my fairy dust and strive to make the world a shinier place, I will leave you to prepare yourselves for my bounteous gift of 6 episodes in 6 days of ‘Coup de Couer’ – the story of a couple driven by love, insanity and absolute and mostly unswerving certainty that it truly and really WILL be beautiful. Eventually.

A demain mes amies ….

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PS: The title is a Cilla Black Song ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ …. the aforementioned Gill will understand why I picked Cilla. Apart from the reason that must be hers to share, she (Gill, not the late and hugely lamented Cilla) and I share a notion that houses have spirits, souls if you will, and sometimes those pesky buildings are reluctant to cooperate – in fact sometimes they can be downright unhelpful and even entirely resistant to the tender efforts of well-meaning rescuers. Thoroughly stubborn and suspicious …. these are not love-affairs for the light-hearted, in fact sometimes one feels that the house would rather lie and decay into the ground than accept the attentions of it’s enthusiastically amorous new owners …. here’s Cilla at her finest as your bonus:

Anyone Who Hard A Heart

Anyone who ever loved, could look at me
And know that I love you
Anyone who ever dreamed, could look at me
And know I dream of you
Knowing I love you so
Anyone who had a heart
Would take me in his arms and love me, too
You couldn’t really have a heart and hurt me,
Like you hurt me and be so untrue
What am I to do

Every time you go away, I always say
This time it’s goodbye, dear
Loving you the way I do
I take you back, without you I’d die dear
Knowing I love you so
Anyone who had a heart
Would take me in his arms and love me, too
You couldn’t really have a heart and hurt me,
Like you hurt me and be so untrue
What am I to do

Knowing I love you so
Anyone who had a heart
Would take me in his arms and love me, too
You couldn’t really have a heart and hurt me,
Like you hurt me and be so untrue
Anyone who had a heart would love me too
Anyone who had a heart would surely
Take me in his arms and always love me
Why won’t y

DionneWarwick

145 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh, it’s a dream – a fantastical wonder of a house! I really can’t wait to see more. My mother has made a living of buying, renovating and selling on old shacks. She’s pretty good at it, so good that I can never understand how she can bear to sell each dollied up beauty. I think it’s far better to take as long as it takes and let this house absorb you into its fabric as you make it your home.

    Liked by 3 people

    December 11, 2017
    • You are such a treasure! And I need to meet your mother …. I feel the beat of her heart and I feel yours. This will never be sold. We will keep it forever. The plan is that we will have another house which soothes the reclusive souls but we will spend time in this one and when we aren’t there we will let others stay and enjoy the quiet delights of a hidden village in a part of France that is slowly dying. But not on my shift! I am planning a meeting with M. Macron where I outline my plans to save rural France. Watch this space (and in my head that is a real notion). As I run this series from where we left off to present you will see that your final comment is exactly what we have (eventually) conceded is the only way. Go with it as Tom Ferguson of Gubbeen once and wisely said to me (when referring to child rearing but you know – if the hat sits nicely, you should wear it, I feel!)

      Liked by 3 people

      December 11, 2017
  2. What a pretty house you have. Am looking forward to seeing and hearing more. I can only hope that your house will be as compliant as ours (so far) in allowing us to assist it. I don’t think anyone should care how long it takes, just as long as we enjoy and show respect. N’est-ce pas?

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • You are SO right …. it’s not the time, its the journey or something or other! This house has had its moments when I have felt it was just going to collapse inwards and be done with it. But when I listen (and I suspect your house knows you are listening hence its compliance), when I listen I know what it wants and I must say that she is the best judge of what is right!!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
  3. Such a beautiful house..and i meant it from the bottom.of my heart..i have always wanted to build a house with similar theme and materials but our weather here won’t permit me to do so..so i ended by building a Spanish -Meditteranean inspires house with materials built to withstand our crazy climate….i also been wanting to visit and well i must admit live in France..i love French and Italian cuisine…and sometimes I’d like to think i am a Europian born in another continent .
    Lol..and believe me my blood type is even that of a Europian…

    Liked by 3 people

    December 11, 2017
    • My dear Mich … when this place is finished we intend to allow friends to stay and enjoy it when we are not there. Take this as an invitation to you and your family to come and sample the real deep heart of France. Except that I will be there to welcome you. I would absolutely love that. Hugs to you from France 🤗

      Like

      December 11, 2017
      • Ohhh my you just don’t know how i have been wanting to go there…my kids too love every bit about France…we’re displaced …lol..we should have been born there ..

        Liked by 3 people

        December 11, 2017
      • Get saving. It will be at least 3 more years before we are ready so plenty of time. Write books of your poetry. You have such a talent. 😊

        Like

        December 11, 2017
      • Thanks Osyth…we are actually saving on a travel to Europe…for now we can only afford to travel Asia…

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
      • One day. And one day I will get to Asia ….

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
  4. “. . . Burning with heated anticipation”.

    You sure have a way with words.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Thank you, Ray …. that truly is all i need and want to hear. I shall now glow quietly in the corner, content that my work here is done 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
  5. Your house is beautiful already, as I have already told you. Ours is bloody ugly outside, but it was never pretty , ever, so we have no set “look” or period or style to aspire to or duplicate.
    It will be my idea of beautiful when we are done. Trev says he doesn’t have any ideas, That’s my job

    Liked by 3 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Trev and HB2 will wile away many happy hours comparing notes 😉 You have always told me I have a beautiful house. We have a long road to making it so again (old M. Smoke and Mirrors certainly fooled us) but it is worth the effort to get to the vision. You, because you are an actual friend, know what the vision is. I’m a story teller so the rest will have to watch it unfold. And we have at the very least a further 3 years to go before it is vaguely habitable but it WILL be beautiful ….

      Like

      December 11, 2017
  6. This is all fine and good, BUT we need more info!
    Who is the person with the clown nose?
    What drew the crowd in front of the house?
    Is that you in the spotlight? I love the lamp outside. An outdoor living room?
    What are the poster boards? A business? Details! Give them up!
    Also, are you able to drive up to the house to deposit groceries?
    I have read back posts on your blog but I’m not all the way to the very beginning. Looking forward to your series. Nothing beats a little real estate eye candy.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Answers…. 1) we have a Fête every Quinze Août which is based around street theatre and music (I will write a post and reveal his all – though frankly he revealed quite a lot all by himself … that was 2014, I think) 2) The crowd was drawn by the same event, however the picture is a reference to the fact that we are on the guided tourist trail and that it is not unusual to have a crowd like that gathering … we are the only monument historique in the village 3) Yes, that is me – sprinkling fairy dust as I go …. those patterns on the house were entirely created with my thoughts 😉 4) What poster boards? I don’t have a business any more …. not formally anyway 5) we can park where we like and generally leave the car to the side of the house. However, when I am mayor, this will stop. No more cars in the village. It isn’t pretty. I’ll start posting the 6 previous tomorrow and then it honestly is my humble promise that there will be a weekly post until we are caught up. It is frankly the War and Peace of renovation stories …. the emotion and heartache will have you spellbound and she is a pretty house. How are the madeleines coming? Did you have your party yet?

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
      • I refer to photo #2, where there is a little flag and two boards that resemble those for a resto menu.
        The party was a success. Lots of smiles. I made too many madeleines–a double batch would have been plenty (I quadrupled it), but as they were fresh, the extras went straight into the freezer for enjoyment later.

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
      • Aha! We allowed the village to use the house as an Office de Tourism for a couple of summers. That will certainly be a post in itself. Suffice to say I felt warm and beneficiary then horrified and finally relieved – roller coaster stuff and because I am British I mostly felt I had done something wrong … we apologise professionally which is not at all necessary here. I’m very glad your party went well (I couldn’t remember if it was last weekend or this. Those madeleines will certainly be handy in the cold weather when a more substantial apéro snack is called for!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
    • PS: We only own what the walls stand on … even the flower beds are the property of the town. The mayor, who is wonderfully twinkly and flirtatious has told us that we will be able to have an outdoor space – living room would work better than dining al fresco given the proximity of our delightfully ‘interested’ clutch of old ladies and my sometimes individual approach to all things culinary which might shock …. all ahead but before 2020 as he may not stand for re-election and I don’t want to lose my opportunity 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
  7. It is so lovely to see you back again in fine flow. Your house looks a delight and I can see why you bought it. Looking forward to reading its story and seeing plenty of photographs.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Thank you Brigid. I read it to my husband before I published and he said ‘you have your voice back’ …. now reading your comment I feel quite tearful because it is true that my flow became very disturbed and it is lovely to have it recognized that the cork has been dislodged! By the way – your book was a big player in getting me through that dark spell. Thank you will never be quite enough 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      December 11, 2017
      • Goodness. Thank you for your kind comment. I think moving home if like being uprooted. It takes time to create new taproots and feel centred again. x

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • My pleasure – I speak only the truth X

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
  8. Might be a stupid question and I have most probably just missed something but why are you living in Grenoble and not in your gorgeous house.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Oh keep reading as I post the previous stories and progress through the last two years week by week …. it’s not a stupid question at all – it is simply uninhabitable particularly in winter (sans chauffage). Stay tuned and thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
      • That explains it! You need to get that sorted ASAP and move in. Life does not always go the way we plan and you need to live in it and experience its history as much as possible.

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
      • Sadly we actually can’t for the moment. It will be in semi-mothballs for the next two years as we run up to my husbands retirement and get our house in Massachusetts sold. I am conscious that I come across as a bit odd but around March/April next year all will be explained and there is a reason for our discordant lives – certainly not any delusion that we have time on our side. In the meantime we do what we can on a shoestring and delight in slowly uncovering the story of the house which is something to be bottled. They generally are! Thank you for your thoughtful and kindly felt comment 🙂

        Like

        December 11, 2017
  9. The Dream to Reality. One of life’s great pleasures!! Looking forward to following your progress Osyth.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • If progress it is! It has mostly felt like two steps forward, one back on a good day and one forward TWO back the rest of the time. But isn’t it the case that the real joy is in the journey? I tell myself this very firmly and often!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
      • It is the journey as the end is such a short pleasure. So it is definitely the journey. You will get there, with much sweat, swearing and lack of patience 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
      • Have we met? You clearly know me well!!!! 😃

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
      • I just know what it’s like doing a renovation though not as challenging as yours!! Using a sledge hammer on a wall to remove gib board when in a not so pleasant mood is such a release 🙂 So is the coffee and chocolate afterwards!!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
      • Sing it sister ….. bash, gasp, caffeine, chocolate …. better than meditation any day 😁

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
      • Amen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
  10. Hugely entertaining, as always; beautifully photographed; and full of promise to come

    Liked by 1 person

    December 11, 2017
  11. I’ve always found that having to work on a budget to do something like a renovation makes me appreciate the end result all the more, because I had to put my own blood, sweat (lots of sweat), and tears into it.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • I did have a spell of working on some extremely upmarket apartments in Monaco and on the Côte d’Azure which led to a huge pronext in Switzerland. As much as they were great to do the rewards were no-where near as great as the shoestrings. All hail blood sweat and love …. those are the real ingredients of success I think 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
  12. My friend, you wrote SO MUCH about everything that’s dear to my heart that I could only reply in a novel of my own (which I won’t do….). I think I could simply roll it all up in what my family (incl my son) are saying at my every new house adventure: So, you will be buying another ruin?
    Which is SO unfair, as we’re only at our 3rd house (1884/1430/1920). But right NOW I’m thoroughly fed up with renovations, spending money we don’t have, making ends meet one way or another (often another), I can’t tell you…. But, by all means, ask me again tomorrow; I might have seen another pile (une baraque, comme nous disons souvent) who desperately cries out to me to do some miracles, give it a lot of TLC, and surrenders to the house’s every whim and sigh!
    And there is absolutely NO question: Houses, even flats (appartments, call it what you like) HAVE souls. I could tell several stories to prove this. Seriously (for once!)….
    I am sure I shall come back to this post again and again, encore et encore un peu plus. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings, experiences, for sharing your dashed hopes and the never dying love for these projects – I was also in love with your Grenoble flat – it all makes SO much sense. Kindred souls.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • I hope you will hop over to Gill’s blog … I think you would really enjoy her posts (if you don’t know her already) …. she is not a fluffy make it all sound so delightful, my life is perfect kind of blogger which I really value. Your houses sound wonderful and yes, you are exactly as I am – I say never again every single time but guess what … when a house beckons, my eyes mist and my memory fades and off I go again. If I had the money I would rescue so many houses. It is so rewarding but boy do you have to have the back-break, heart-ache tears and terrors before you get there!!

      Like

      December 11, 2017
      • So I DID actually find you and this 7th post only it was ‘so long’ ago!
        Therefore I will not tarry and hop on to part 8 straight away – before I close my eyes for a few hours of snatched and certainly not undisturbed sleep…. Sweet dreams!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 19, 2017
      • Et toi aussi 💤

        Like

        December 19, 2017
  13. Your post will bring me great entertainment whilst holed up in London. It would feel quite a responsibility being the keeper of such a lovely building – all eyes are upon you it seems. Happy retirement to your husband and hope your sale times right and you can continue to settle in France and save the rural outposts. Near us, a charming town is in the throws of agricultural abandonment. Its such a shame. The town in its heyday must have been a thriving place, but the installation of a highway bypassing it, left it to a lonely future. And the youth are not so enamoured by cow farming as their parents. When you march on Macron, let me come too. Apparently we live in an area that is very rurally quiet for the French. Our barn IS La Nourrice, with fond memories by the daughter, now 83 of her parents living and working in this and in the La Petite Maison – we also bought – a wood turners house.
    When you take on these old buildings, you feel like a custodian of time, and an obligation to raise that phoenix. Even when the pennies are rattling round in the piggy – I am sure with your enthusiasm, imagination and down right grit – your make all the properties amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Vast tranches of France are dying. It is the greatest sadness. In Cantal more people move out than move in by quite a factor and I know le Creuse suffers equally. You are right that the young are not wed to farming and in other places industries (notably cloth merchanting etc) have died leaving ghost towns in their wake. But if we can make one place better, put our hearts and souls into the rescue then we can be pleased with our selves. You are doing yours, we are doing ours and though a tiny gesture it is at least something. Emmanuel M, I have a lot of time for I just want him to wake up before its too late to the plight of most of France outside of its perimeter

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
  14. Jenny Adams #

    I consider myself lucky to have been one of the first of your friends to see La Maison Carre. The outside was beautiful even then and will be even more so with further TLC from you. But oh the inside! The previous owner, whom I am pleased to say I never met, had no taste and no empathy for the building! Thank goodness you were very quick to remove what he had despoiled! She (La maison) seemed to breathe a huge sigh of relief! She will be stunning! xx

    Liked by 3 people

    December 11, 2017
    • She will be, Jenny and the good thing about taking so much time is that we have actually really been able to feel her, reveal her and understand her history. Had we gone in with contractors I doubt that our present plan would have surfaced and I am confident that our present plan is what she wants!! Still no heating though so definitely not a place to winter-over xx

      Like

      December 11, 2017
  15. Sprinkle away with your fairy dust. I’m so happy to be reading about your Marcolès adventure and will pounce on the next instalments. It’s a wonderful looking house and the town/city looks delightful. I love the idea that you feel you are custodians of the house; that’s exactly how we feel about ours. I often wonder who will live in it in 100 years’ time and hope they will bestow as much love on it as we do.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • I have always loved reading about your house too and am entirely unsurprised that you see yourselves as custodians too. So much of the impetus for buying the house was it’s history of which we knew a little but discovering more and more is a joy, to be part of it’s fabric going forward is a delight and I certainly do hope that others in the future will feel the same way.

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
      • I look forward to discovering more of your house’s history with you. It sounds fascinating.

        Liked by 2 people

        December 11, 2017
  16. jdraymaine #

    Medieval indeed. I so long to live in a quieter time, a simpler existence. A time of horse drawn carriages and carts, simple food cooked with care and attention, and most of all true friends to share it all with. I see our thoughts intermingling in the halls of time with the same intentions and goals, the same rainbow starting at the front door of your home and ending on the deck of my boat. We will share each others abodes in time and encourage each other past the still moments when we struggle. Finally, I cant thank you enough for your support and good will and if you close your eyes and listen you will hear me whispering good will from the cold northeast.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Thank you for that most wonderful comment. The last sentence has me in tears. We WILL share our homes and it will be the greatest of delights. Isn’t it quite wonderful that two people from different parts of the world can have the same dreams and ideals. You are one in a million, John – I’d pick you as my friend in an era!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
  17. The man with the clown nose revealing quite a lot in 2014 sounds worthy of a sentence or two. I wonder if the frame he’s holding enters the tale?

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • The frame is certainly part of it, Peter and other things. I will write a post about the festival – we go whenever we can so I have plenty of pictures to scatter and believe me French street theatre and comedy is quite startling on occasion!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
  18. Great story and beautiful pictures!

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
  19. Thanks for the Cilla 🙂 Labours of love are like that—laborious. Race you!

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • We have SO much to talk about when we sit huddled in blankets chatting in the hopefully near future. Race me? I’m very competitive so I hope you have a good strong gauntlet 🙂

      Like

      December 11, 2017
      • Anyone less competitive than me is impossible to find. Gauntlet? You win.

        Liked by 2 people

        December 11, 2017
      • *struts with chest stuck out and then realises this was not actually a win* …. I kid you. We will both get there in the end and sharing the struggle and strife (and it blinking well is) is good for the spirits, I am sure 🙂

        Like

        December 11, 2017
      • It was a capitulation on my part 🙂 We’ll get there. If I survive this winter I might consider joining the Antarctic Survey as a helper.

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
      • My husband is building an observatory in Greenland … I’m sure he would value a poet on site

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        December 11, 2017
      • Every observatory needs one 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        December 11, 2017
      • He would wholeheartedly agree!

        Like

        December 11, 2017
  20. Your house is lovely and what a charming village, too! Restoring gems like your your beautiful La Maison Carre, is truly a labor of love. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Thank you – it was a real coup de coeur though I must admit there are times when I wonder what on earth our hearts were doing! She will be wonderful when finished – sadly there was an abusive owner but happily we are a stubborn pair and we won’t give up until she is shining and proud again.

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
      • Looking forward to hearing more of her progress. I’m sure that lovely house is happy to have such caring owners now.

        Liked by 2 people

        December 11, 2017
      • I will write her history one day when I am absolutely confident I have it straight but the amazing thing for me is that she has been almost exclusively lived in by women. In fact my husband is only the second man ever since 1824 though I guess in her first incarnation as le tour seigneurial she would have had a bloke in there!

        Liked by 2 people

        December 11, 2017
      • How interesting and special! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
  21. Arby #

    Thank you for sharing this – beautiful words and photos as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Je vous en prie, Arby. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and your last two words ‘as always’ mean a great deal 🙂

      Like

      December 11, 2017
  22. Pan #

    I grinned reading your comment about your future mayorship, because you probably will and will have full support of the city car ban..

    You do know the photos you take are art, right ? My favorite in these are of the steps adorned with flowerpots..

    You are an expert and the further you go into this renovation you get “experter”..

    Glad to see you posting, especially on one of my favorites.. 💛

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • My dear Pan …. first of all, please know that these posts are dedicated to you … we had SUCH fun with the shower and such, right? This week you get a re-run of all those including my flashing husband. Second, he (HB2) is convinced I will be mayor …. watch this space because he is fairly smart and tends to make good predictions though I quake at the thought. 3). Thank you for being so kind about my pictures and that one is my absolute favourite too – it’s not actually my house but it was just so pretty! And 4) I am back on my feet after a bit of a blue period (not Picasso more Depresso) and my promise is that we will speak this week if you are taking calls. Hugs to you my dear friend. Really warm hugs to a woman who slays me with her extraordinary courage 💛 PS: I’m watching a programme on French Channel 7 – the last in a series on the East Coast of the US. We are in Maine. And then you are there. Kismet. True wonderful kismet x

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
      • Pan #

        I’m happy you are feeling more yourself.. You’ve got too much vim and vigor for depresso blues.. Your call will be most welcome my friend..
        Looking forward to these flashback posts, especially the comments from people who haven’t yet experienced the shady and odd person you rescued this landmark from, and the reluctant shower flasher.. The unique walls and equally unique townsfolk.. The photos, which always seem to be perfectly aligned with the mood and tone of your tale.. There’s some good reading ahead !!!

        Liked by 2 people

        December 12, 2017
      • Thank you. Just thank you 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
  23. What a lovely house! Enjoyed this blog. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Thank you Stevie …. I’m so glad you enjoyed it and hope you will enjoy the retrospective and the future installments as much. It’s just a bit of light story-telling really … every word true as is my wont.

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
  24. Beautiful shots, Osyth, and written with love. I lived in a metal prefabricated house in Glasgow and I remember how awful metal windows are… 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Oh my heart … a girl that understand that reference. Truly dreadful and built to encourage the ill-winds to blow straight into your house rather than repel them!! So please you enjoyed it …. its a saga 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      December 11, 2017
      • We had no central heating, natch, and the ice patterns on the windows were spectacular. Never want to experience it again, though… 😁

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • Truly ghastly! I revisited how ghastly last winter in Marcolès- although the windows are pretty no heating made it arctic … not sexy sleeping in two pairs of tights under trackies, two layers of jumpers, gloves, two pairs of socks and a bobble hat!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • That is not sexy…even if you put a ra-ra skirt on top. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

        December 14, 2017
      • I looked akin to the Michelin man – the teeny tiny ra-ra wouldn’t flatter!!!!

        Like

        December 14, 2017
  25. What a beautiful house, we’re looking forward to the future installments, have a nice evening !!

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
  26. What a lovely place and can’t wait to see more Fiona!!

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Thank you Lynn …. it is lovely and I hope every one will enjoy the stories – I just hope to entertain a bit now that I’m through my ‘blue phase’ xx

      Like

      December 12, 2017
  27. Dear Oysth – The pictures of your lovely community are wonderful. Your cottage is so charming. I’ve never done any renovations to a home so no advice from me. But, I have a feeling you are a very resourceful person and you will find the ways necessary to complete your task. I look forward to your coming tales from France.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 11, 2017
    • Thank you so much Sharon – coming from you, compliments on my pictures are high praise indeed. I can so see some of your work on the walls there. It is a lovely building. If you stick with the story you will find out that it was not always treated kindly and we have really decided that we must undo the bad things before we bring it back to life. This is quite hard for me as I absolutely can SEE now what I want to do and am having to be very very patient as we go through this process. Thank you for calling me resourceful …. I hope that cap fits!

      Like

      December 12, 2017
      • I’m sure it’s going to be quite an undertaking. I think writing your progress in the blog is a good way to not get ahead of your self. I know what you mean though, the creative ideas must be whirling around and there’s excitement to get started.

        Liked by 1 person

        December 13, 2017
      • The horrors were well hidden and only revealed once the ink was dry on the contract but far from seeing that as a bad thing, I am glad because it meant that we blithely went ahead and bought and weren’t put off which we might have done if forewarned and exercising a modicum of good sense!!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 13, 2017
  28. Good to know this house will never be sold. And I found another common trait between us—failure to provide invoices.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 12, 2017
    • Haha! I just couldn’t charge people when I knew they were struggling and that taking a portion of their profit meant less for their family. Soft hearted through and through and I’m glad you are the same in some perverse way. Downright decent and nice we are!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 12, 2017
  29. The falling masonry diet is a new one to me. I, too, am always looking for ways to look more slender. I’m in if you are….

    In other news, your photos have given me wanderlust. How absolutely picturesque!

    Liked by 2 people

    December 12, 2017
    • It’s a sealed deal. You realise we may go viral with this idea …. I’m feeling fortunes in the making 😉

      Thank you for the very lovely compliment on my photos. It’s pretty much a lovely place. When it’s done we intend to let special people stay in our absence. Based on the masonry you are now unwaveringly one of my people 🤭

      Like

      December 12, 2017
  30. Such a beautiful home, I think I’ve seen it in a dream. A lovely dream where I didn’t want to wake. I join everyone else in saying “Yippee, more is coming!”
    I’m in total agreement with you that homes have spirits. When the housing market crashed nearly 10 years ago, several homes in our area were abandoned and somehow you knew, even before you noticed the people were gone, or the weeds had taken over the yard, you knew the house was bereft.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 12, 2017
    • Thank you …. she will be lovely, is lovely but like me a little the worse for wear at the moment. I am certain she will be thrilled to know she has featured in a lovely dream ….

      Your words about all those abandoned places literally pierce my heart. Houses, homes, are built to cocoon their people …. when they are left their purpose is gone. I always feel the relief of the place I am in when I get back from days away and the sadness when we pack up to leave for good ….

      Liked by 1 person

      December 12, 2017
  31. This looks like a beautiful place. I can’t wait to see the inside. I can almost picture the possibilities. You must have so much fun and I can’t wait to hear about it. As for houses having souls and telling stories, yes of course they do. I live in one. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    December 12, 2017
    • It has beautiful bones, was somewhat abused and we are striving to bring her back to her best. It is fun and I am hugely fortunate to have the opportunity. Her history is quite something. I’m glad you agree about the souls of houses …. interestingly no-one has disagreed so far. This makes me happy. As does your comment – thank you 😊

      Like

      December 12, 2017
  32. A lovely introduction, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the Neverending Story. Well, the rest for now, that is. From the pictures it is clear why you fell in love with the place, even though the interior probably isn’t yet as spectacular as the exterior. I admire your determination, which is fuelled by this being a labour of love. Hopefully, not one which will be lost! I’ll try and keep up with the episodes, promise!

    PS I’ve never been a fan of Cilla. Just saying 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    December 12, 2017
    • First things first. Cilla. The young Cilla, the girl that sang that song I think was a no-brained for John Lennon to push into the spotlight. It is fair to say that she became a caricature of herself as she progressed through life – I find that clip particularly interesting as you here her enunciating her words to mask her Scouse accent whereas by the time she was doing ‘Blind Date’ and Surprise Surprise’ she was so Liver that I’m not convinced those from Merseyside even understood her half the time. But that song, I do really love. No apologies from me. I just love it. As for the never ending story – loves labours will not be lost on my shift but we are looking at a minimum of 3 more years of toil so might as well make it fun, n’est-ce pas? Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      December 12, 2017
      • Sorry, but I never really took to her. There was a nasal twang to her voice that grated on me, and I never forgave her for massacring You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling. Still, it would be a boring old world if we all liked the same things, wouldn’t it, and that song was probably her best. And I’m looking forward to the at least three years worth of updates on the grand design. At least you don’t have Kevin McCloud looking over your shoulder and tutting all the time 😊 xx

        Liked by 2 people

        December 12, 2017
      • She had quite an impactful nose, tis true. You have to remember my husband is Scouse so in my case it’s fortunate that I liked some of her early work … I’m with you on YLTLF and this was certainly her best. Moving swiftly on … I actually love Kevin because he’s so bluddy predictable …. tut. Tut. Tut. Tut. It’s going to fail. It will never work ….. reveal – it’s a triumph as I always knew it would be! Wonderfully constant though if I was in the room with him and his oversized ego I would have to verbally punch him in the groin! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • Now that you’ve said that, I’m rather hoping that you invite him along, as that would be the best ever ending to an episode of the programme. Possibly the last ever, if your aim was good 😂 xx

        Liked by 2 people

        December 12, 2017
      • Perhaps I’ll write to him …. it always amused me that he is SO pretentious and yet comes from Swindon!!!! xx

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • Does he? I hadn’t realised that. Probably had his mind addled by driving around all those crazy roundabouts 😊 xx

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • Magic roundabouts I’ll have you know …. a bit like magic mushrooms in their effect on drivers 😂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • I know, they have one in Hemel Hempstead too. I keep waiting for Zebedee to leap out at me. Common factor: new towns, lunatic town planners. A very strange feeling that you’re going round the wrong way xx

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • I’ve driven round the one in Hemel …. I have also witnessed Americans (who really do not understand what they call Rotaries) attempting to negotiate the one in Swindon …. happy days, good laughs!!! Perhaps THAT’S the answer for old Orange Chops 😂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • Just think, he might be left in it on a continuous loop. We can but hope. We have the best roundabouts, the yuuugest rotaries. 😂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • Actually snorting with laughter now!! Xx

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
      • It’s quite an image isn’t it. Serves the racist dotard right for demanding that he comes over here. xx

        Liked by 1 person

        December 12, 2017
  33. Oh I love how you sprinkle your fairy dust Osyth. Your stories are truly captivating. You have such a beautiful place there, looking forward to the updates. Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    December 12, 2017
    • Every day this week and then weekly on a Monday – how disciplined am I!! You are far too kind to me but I am very happy that you enjoyed my nonsense today and look forward to your views on the story as it unfolds (let me tell you … not straightforward nor planned!!!) xx

      Liked by 1 person

      December 12, 2017
  34. Oh how beautiful, and what a treat we are in for these next few days! Can’t wait to read more, and since I am late catching up – I already see a 2nd installment – woohoo!

    Liked by 2 people

    December 12, 2017
    • This serves me right me for going through my comments backwards! I left a completely dotty remark on your comment on today’s episode so please forgive me! Hopefully the posts will provide a little light reading in your very busy life …. I honestly don’t know how you do all you do!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 13, 2017
      • I didn’t think it dotty! – but then not really sure what that means! LOL! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        December 13, 2017
      • Oh dotty is a very good English word – we often apply it to old ladies who make no sense!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 13, 2017
      • Lol

        Liked by 1 person

        December 13, 2017
  35. A great read Osyth, with the cherry on top: Cilla whose voice is now reverberating in my brain together with Maurice Chevalier singing ” Ah yes, I remember it well” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    December 13, 2017
    • I’m so glad ou enjoyed it …. that song sung by Cilla is one of my absolute favorites but now it’s my turn to thank you for switching on Maurice Chevalier in my brain …. how I love him too!

      Liked by 1 person

      December 13, 2017
  36. Looks like a project of the heart… I love these. The patient, pas a pas approach; the waiting until just the right thing is uncovered… be it a beam, a bit of panelling or just something that you don’t yet know where to put it but a place will unfold; the blend of serendipity and scrupulous search. This ignores of course the aching backs, the toe that never grew straight again after you dropped the cast iron wash trough on it, the semi-permanent tattoo of greasy dust on your skin and behind whatever bits of nails you have left. However that is all piffling stuff compared to the vision you keep snug and warm in your heart. I am really looking forward to reading all about it and sharing, vicariously a little of your life. I love your way with words so it’s a double treat. and feel fortunate to share it. Bring it on, gal.

    Liked by 2 people

    December 13, 2017
    • What an absolutely wonderful comment – full of truth, wry humour and empathy. I am always humbled when a writer I admire compliments my own writing. All I can say is thank you and remember I admire you too. Oh! And! My daughter has finally sorted me out with being able to read Kindle books on my iPad. So I in turn have the joy of downloading your books and getting properly stuck in. À bientôt 😊

      Like

      December 13, 2017
  37. Explains so much, satisfies not enough – I’m moving on to Part One with much anticipation! Can’t wait to read more!

    Liked by 2 people

    December 15, 2017
    • Aha! Good… that was the intention!

      Like

      December 15, 2017
  38. I love this pretty, quaint and beautiful stone house with its charming location. You sound happy with future hopes and it will all turn out as you envision, dear heart!
    I think your husband is extra smart to have married you to create excitement and creative energy in a while other area. Living here and then renting or time sharing it out is an excellent choice, Fiona.
    I missed quite a bit while previously preoccupied. . . Thank you for everything single loving word and all the positive energy you sent my way to pass on to my brother. I am thankful your brother was successfully healed and believe Randy will slowly become this, someday. 💞 Best wishes in the place where your husband will be and I do think you both deserve a happy ending in the future time he retires. Hugs, Robin xxxxxxx 🍷🍾🍷

    Liked by 1 person

    December 18, 2017
    • I told my mother about Randy the other day on the phone and she will keep him in her thoughts and prayers also. She remarked that we were SO lucky with my brother and that it is a question of where the head is hit because the brain is so complex a structure. But he WILL come through this. You will have your brother back and in the meantime you do have the continued thoughts and prayers of my family xx

      Like

      December 18, 2017
  39. Want to express my gratitude for introducing me to Cilla Black. What and amazing powerhouse with such an exquisite range…. raw to subtle. Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    December 21, 2017
    • I am delighted to make the introduction. It was John Lennon who insisted the management of the Cavern club in Liverpool give her a spot and see how she got on after he heard her singing as she worked …. she was a cloakroom attendant with dreams of being a star. Her story is amazing and I love your description of her voice ….. I grew up with that voice on the wireless in the kitchen. When she died, the nation mourned …. she really was considered a national treasure. A good woman with an awesome talent

      Liked by 1 person

      December 21, 2017
  40. Places like these always make me think of Beauty and the Beast! It’s such a nice place to visit! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    December 22, 2017
    • It is very much like something out of that story. In fact when I first moved to Auvergne I sent pictures to my daughters and said ‘who am I?’ Belle they all replied 😉

      Like

      December 22, 2017
  41. Oh I am so excited to get started on the next several post…..I have my pumpkin crackers and cottage cheese to dip them in, my excitement is over bearing……the little rock house with the beautiful red shutters is shouting to us all…look at me, look at me….I turn my head away and she yells it louder….I can hear her from where I am sitting on the west coast….she will eventually come around to share your love….shes just been through so much over the long list of years….but I know she loves both of you for taking her in….she even looks like she is standing taller and brighter…..giver her time my friend…..she will accept your love willingly……okay on with the stories……yay your back….!!! LOL XXX

    Liked by 1 person

    December 25, 2017
    • You have it nailed. She will come round (is slowly) ,… I used to say of my children ‘let them come to you ‘. It’s the same but the reminder is goood because I often forget my own wisdom xx

      Liked by 1 person

      December 25, 2017
  42. Ali #

    Your house and it’s surroundings look so pretty. The light is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 26, 2018
    • Thank you Ali …. it is a lovely village and one day it will be a lovely house inside as well as out. We have had to take it right back to the stone inside, stripping off concrete that suffocates and eventually causes critical damp problems. But it will be lovely and the village and area are gorgeous. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      February 27, 2018

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