Some of you may recall that waaaay back in the summer I posted a picture of my windows just as I was about to start to renovate them.
It took some time as I quickly established that the paint was lead paint and, it appears, it eats Nitromors paint stripper for its lunch!! But I persevered whilst my lovely husband was at work, scraping and sanding, scraping and sanding. The heat on the front of my house in the summer was over fifty degrees but that did not put me off, although the paint took a long time to dry, I think it was so hot it was drying and melting, drying and melting!!
I decided to go the whole hog and do both the outside and inside and here they are the finished result. Not just downstairs but the upstairs windows too.
Those who have followed my blog for some time will remember that it was sooooo cold in our house last year, literally we were freezing. But the windows have all been sealed we have the wonderful eight kilowatt multi-fuel burner in place and our house is not only toasty but we are burning a lot less fuel.
No wonder we were cold last year all our heat was, quite simply, going up the chimney because it had not been sealed. For those of you thinking of buying an old house in France take our advice, prioritise your wood burner and make sure you have the chimney sealed, or, like us, you will quite simply be burning money! It was a steep learning curve! Our burner is working so efficiently that it is now heating upstairs to eighteen degrees which means we don’t have to have the heaters on all the time in the bedrooms. Apart, of course, from when I am sitting at my computer composing my book (Yes I write my blogs to you primarily at my desk upstairs, as well)
We have not finished there, oh no! We are now going to buy wool insulation and seal the cellar all around the edge and across the beam in the middle, so that when that winter wind blows this year it won’t be blowing up into our living room, mmmm no more cold dinners for us because they last year they were cold before you got to eat them!
But the main thing that I wanted to say is that this house is being renovated with love, our love for our new life, our love for each other, and the love our friends have for us.
Do you remember when we moved in and our kitchen looked like this:
Check out that funky sixties wallpaper!
To this as the renovation continued!
To this as Rich began to build my kitchen for me ….
To this when he finally built the unit for my hob …
Well look at it now…… as well as the cooker hood, and my previously mentioned vide grenier buy of the gun cupboard, the shabby chic shelf, or the tiles that matched my colour scheme perfectily (ten for thirteen euros!!), also note the curtains. My wonderful friend Mary made them for us and brought them over on her last visit and the kitchen looks so big now…
And look at this unit now!
Poor Rich (I know I say that quite often!) he was up and down the ladder as Mary and I supervised the hanging of the bunting and changed our minds about twenty times, but I love it….
He has the pleasure of hanging the bunting that my friend Nic and her girls have made me once I have finished decorating the pantry and he is so looking forward to it (not!)
Now when I am in my kitchen I smile when I think of the love that went into making these things for us.
In fact throughout our house there are things that people who have come over to see us have made, or bought from the ever popular shop Action!!! Things that make me smile, the kindness of others…
Nic also made me this blanket, named Pauline after her late mum, and posted it to me from England to keep me warm in the winter …
I light the hurricane lamps and wooden lamps that Nic and Catherine bought me on their visit every night now the evenings are drawing in..
And every night I light up the rose lights that I have put around the wooden star that Mary bought me, it takes pride of place in my bedroom and will go up on the wall once it is decorated.
There have been people who have sent me bite pens, body lotion from Avon that also acts as a brilliant insect deterrent – a life saver for me this summer when I was sometimes being bitten twelve times in one go!!
Rich’s mum, who has helped us so much, not least sending us random parcels of Turkish delight and cooking sauces (sorry folks I can cook but cannot make a good cheese sauce without a packet to go in it!!)
My friend Catherine has only recently sent me a nail oil, because my nails are shot from the renovation and work I have been doing, and I could not find it here in France. (I am obviously not looking in the right place because guess where it was made- France!!!)
Nic sent me some embroidery pens when I happened to mention that I needed some as I am going to start my own designs. I could go on and on.
What have I learnt from this? For me a lot! I am not someone who accepts help easily, I find it difficult, from previous experience had come to believe that there was always an agenda, and now I have to believe that there is not. I cannot think any other way when I look at the help that kind people have given us this year, from supporting us with the roof to make it water tight to helping us with our vehicles, to helping us find work and giving us moral support when times were hard as well as all of the above and more.
Would Rich and I do the same for them? In a heartbeat. Thank you all.
I am saying this because it is easy to get caught up in the negative, which then creates another negative and as you know I am following the Tao now and I am saying to you all look at the kindness of others and ignore the negativity, don’t let it dominate your life, it’s easy to get sucked in.
I have a hole in my roof, a cesspit that leaks in the winter, and a barn that is falling down, but I get to walk around my garden with two live teddies every day,
I am surrounded by nature, the love of my friends, and not least the love of a wonderful man, I am blessed. Everything will resolve if you just open yourself up to the opportunities that could come you way I know I am.
Be happy folks.