20 December 2011


Looking back at our photo album, our stay in Le Grand-Pressigny in April this year was very floral.  The weather was exceptionally good, if I remember, too.

APR 2011 - a

Dinner on our little terrace, just an hour or so after we arrived for the first visit since the dark days of winter.

APR 2011 - d

Our Judas trees were in full bloom in April.  Such pretty flowers ~ it’s a shame they make so much mess later on.

APR 2011 - e This poppy was in Nicole’s garden, I think.

APR 2011 - fAnother bunch of flowers left on our doorstep by Mme André.

 APR 2011 - g

APR 2011 - h APR 2011 - i Some pictures of the glorious spring flowers in the park at Descartes.

APR 2011 - r 

Flowers in a container in the village square.

APR 2011 - zc

And last but not least, the climbing rose on our front wall was in full bloom to welcome us back to our little holiday home.

11 December 2011


two little girls 1

This little girl was born in January 1928.  She was a shy country girl with a mischievous sense of humour, the youngest of eight children.

She married a handsome sailor, had two children herself and worked in a knitwear factory where she once mended King Farouk’s underpants.  Not many people know that.  She rode pillion all over England, Scotland and Ireland on the back of a BSA motorcycle.  She loved her home in the country and enjoyed holidays in Cornwall and Scotland with her sailor.  She once went to France but didn’t reckon much to it.  She died four days before Christmas in 2002.

two little girls 2

This little girl was born on the 11th December 1951.  She was a bit of a tomboy and spent most of her spare time climbing trees, collecting tadpoles and playing cricket with her male cousins.  She seemed to spend a lot of time in a sidecar attached to her dad’s motorcycle.  She went to university, has skied down mountains, dived the ocean, sailed, windsurfed, canoed, ridden a Harley-Davidson all over Europe with her husband Nick, and once drove a steam engine.  Not many people know that.  She has a little house in France and almost as many friends there as she does at home and is really looking forward to her next visit.

She misses her mum on the day she turns sixty but she is looking forward to her family coming over for her birthday.  It’s roast lamb and tiramisu for lunch, two of her favourites.  Happy days.

8 December 2011



At the beginning of October there is a festival in the next village, Le Petit-Pressigny, called “L’Art et Lard”.  It’s a mixture of food stalls selling all kinds of interesting local produce, and all manner of artwork, displayed here and there all over the village.


This year it was a miserable day weather-wise but we had fun, bumping into friends old and new and seeing what was on display.  These two are some of my favourites.

The artwork that was for sale was generally quite pricey but we could easily have bought lots of it – if we had the wall space.  In the end the only thing we bought was a small bottle of locally made walnut oil !!  Happy days.

27 November 2011


When we furnished our little house we did it mostly in one go three years ago, bringing all the furniture in a large transit van from England, all in one weekend.  You can read about that here.

This year we decided we needed another piece of furniture, some kind of large glass fronted cupboard to store our crockery and glassware.  This was so that we could have it all nearer to the kitchen, saving having to walk across the living room with trays precariously piled up with stuff after each washing up session.  Plus the fact that the little sideboard was crammed full and getting down on our hands and knees to winkle things out at every mealtime was becoming annoying.

Just like before, we spent some time searching furniture shops, vide-greniers and second-hand shops in France and found nothing that was even remotely the right size to fit where we wanted it to go, not to mention affordable.  So we came to the conclusion again that if we were to avoid spending a lot of our precious holiday time shopping for furniture, we should have to buy it in the UK and somehow get it over to France. 


The furniture we bought only three years ago is now discontinued.  We were rather disappointed about this, as they did have the perfect cupboard in the range.  We considered buying it at the time but thought we would never need it.  Now we know we should have bought it in the first place.

However, the store we got it from had a cupboard made for us to our own specification for about the same price as we would have paid for the original.

You can see how we got it to France.  The wrapping started to unravel half way down the M1 but we bodged it back together and the cupboard arrived in perfect condition.  Much easier than hiring a van or towing a trailer.


We’re very pleased with the new cupboard and it’s full already.

19 November 2011


When we were chez nous in October, we went for a walk along the track that goes behind the ruined château at Etableau. 


It was a mild but overcast day but we had a lovely walk and there were some surprises along the way.


Nick and Lulu spent ages searching for arrowheads in the fields next to the track.


Then we came across this huge pile of silex that had obviously been picked out of the earth by someone.


There were all kinds of fascinating things in it, including these old bones.  We wondered what animal they came from.  Any suggestions ??

But we didn’t find any iphones !!

Have a bonne weekend !!

12 November 2011


On our last Sunday in Le Grand-Pessigny I heard a familiar roaring sound outside.  It was quite early in the morning, probably about 8.30am.


I was still in my dressing gown when I dashed outside with my camera, just in time to see a hot air balloon drifting towards our terrace.  I waved to the people in the basket and Lulu barked.

It passed low over the house and seemed to barely clear the château.  I scrambled into my jeans and dashed up the hill to see if it had landed behind the château but it drifted off into the distance, quite low over the fields.  In the quiet of a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, you could still hear the roar of the burners as it disappeared over the horizon.

11 November 2011


nov 11th2

Four years ago today it was a Sunday and Remembrance Day.  Also Nick’s birthday.

nov 11th1

We had owned our little house for two days and were staying in the hotel in the village while we bought some basic furniture, such as a bed, and got the house ready for us to spend our first night there.  That would be tomorrow.

war memorial

Our only friends so far in the village, Barrie and Lucie, invited us to join them in watching the November 11th parade through the village.  We were amazed at how big an occasion it was.  The parade and the villagers gathered round the war memorial behind the church and there were speeches.  All the names of the village war dead were read out and there were tears in the eyes of many of the people around the memorial, including mine.  It was incredibly moving.

Afterwards we joined everyone for drinks in the salle des fêtes and were introduced to Alex and Nicole and their two little girls, Isabella and Amélie.  We were made extremely welcome by the people of the village and Barrie also introduced us to the Maire. 

It was a bitterly cold day, in great contrast to the unseasonably mild November we are having this year.  We were well wrapped up in warm coats and woolly scarves.


Afterwards we wandered back up the hill towards the château and to our freezing cold and empty little house with a very warm feeling inside us.  Maybe it was the wine we had shared with all our new friends but I think that was the point that we realised that this village and our little house at the foot of the château were something really special.  Something we hadn’t bargained for when we thought we were just buying a nice little holiday home.

9 November 2011


It is four years ago today that we bought our little house in Le Grand-Pressigny.  Those years have flown by and we have grown to love the house and the village in a way that has taken us by surprise.

These before and after photos speak for themselves.  It was a neglected, unwanted and unloved little cottage and is now a cosy, happy place for us to spend our holidays.


Le Salon




La cuisine.




La chambre principale.




La terrasse.




Le jardin.




La fenêtre cachée.



There are still things to do.  The bathroom will be refitted and the hot water tank moved into the cellar, making lots more room.  The cellar will be made into a cleaner, more useable area for storage.  The staircase needs decorating.  Then it’s finished.


And then we can just relax and enjoy it.


I would like to say a huge “thank you” to Alex and Nicole of Les Limornières, who have done a fantastic job of looking after the house and garden for us.  They have also worked very hard to bring about its transformation.  Without their help we would never have got it this far in four years.

5 November 2011


I never tire of the view towards the château from the village square.

a quiet evening

When we were chez nous in October I was sitting with the customary apéro outside the PreHisto and was lazily fiddling with my camera. I found a couple of settings on it that I had never noticed before.

sqare 1

This looks like it might have been taken in the early days of photography. Apart from the stylish metal chairs, that is.

sqare 2

I took the same picture again and it could have been in the 1950’s, even with the metal chairs.

Nice, but I think I’ll stick to the colour settings. Mind you, at least I didn’t have to post off the film, and wait a week for the pictures to come back before I could make my mind up !!