So as we are freezing in our house (we always knew that this winter would be the learning curve, and boy have we learnt!!!) with the drafts coming up from the cellar, and the drafts coming in from our beautiful old windows that, no, we won’t be changing because we’re those weird type of people that love old houses and think that, if possible, the original windows should be saved and not replaced with plastic, and should be preserved if possible. (But ask me again when I am seventy two and I might have changed my mind!).

In the spring and summer we  will be  painting, and making them totally draft proof (well as draft proof as possible, I think that I am being over optimistic there!)   so we don’t freeze (as much!) next year.

In addition lets not forget the front door, which we love, and I had painted just in time to save it from any further damage this winter, but boy is it drafty. We will look at that as well but I may have to admit a defeat on that one, that’s a watch this space. You can see from the picture below that it is a lovely door (apologies that this is a ‘before’ picture as it has been worked on and now painted a lovely blue colour) and it  gives you an idea of why we would want to keep it (well those other lunatics that like old things like us). Alas though I am not sure if this will be possible in the future and may change (when we have some money!!)


So there’s enough work  and I haven’t even touched on the cellar, and the gaping one inch gap on our external cellar door!! Allthough at least it lets the air in which is a good thing given our current situation (watch this space for another post later in the week.) . Or the fact that internally the cellar leads directly into our pantry come utility room, which in turn leads into the kitchen, with the drafty front door, so I think that you are all getting the picture that it can get pretty cold in our house!

But do you know what? We are happy. We always knew it would be hard. As a lovely lady who Rich has started gardening for said “living in France is living a paupers life”. But I, personally, still find it a much happier life to the one I had in England.

As we were freezing we decided to do some work in the garden as there are many many trees to chop down to let light in. So last week I found myself at the top of our chemin with a bonfire burning away, looking around, slightly in disbelief, that here I was living in France, in the winter, in my garden, with a bonfire on the go. I don’t know about anyone else, and I welcome all my readers from France, but it still shocks me sometimes that “we did it!”

I felt so relaxed, in my welligogs (wellington boots to the non lunatics like me), said ‘de rigeur’ old tracksuit bottoms, two fleeces, two pairs of socks, with two mad Welshies and the occasional spot of rain. I was happy.

I stood looking over the fields from the end of our chemin (see picture below) where our bonfire lives, looking  the vast expanse in front of me and thought “wow” I did it.


Rich worked so hard cutting a hedge of overgrown fur trees, and now the light into our house is amazing, this is half way through, and the photo  also shows you the lovely, but extremely drafty old windows; as you can see much work to be done, as there are three of these to strip and draft proof!!

Look at our view from our front room now!!


I can honestly say that I felt so renewed and refreshed after a days hard work in the garden, in a different way to how I ever felt after a hard day working for the NHS and getting nowhere! I loved it. The dogs loved it and below is picture of the two mad Welshies, snuggled, after their busy day in garden, do you think they’re spoilt?!



So to end, and for all those who are thinking of making change I always said that I would give the good with the bad (wait for the next post!)  winter here is hard. I wear two pairs of socks indoors, along with my fleecy slippers, and, at times, my feet are still cold.

But when I look out of my windows does it make it all worth it? Yes it does.

Winter in the Mayenne.