27 May 2018



Roughly this time last year we spent a week in the little town of St Emilion, staying in a lovely little gite in the middle of town.  I wrote about the holiday at length and the gite was beautifully appointed and very stylish.  What it lacked in the practical it made up for in bucketfuls in style and presentation.

We now find ourselves back in the same area, this time just outside Bergerac, for another week and in another gite.


  Chalk and cheese is the expression that immediately springs to mind!


When choosing somewhere to stay, we were led by the needs of our puppy Hugo.  Daisy is in the cattery (wearing her best “we are not amused” expression) but we had to bring Hugo with us, so we looked for safe enclosed garden and somewhere nearby to be able to take him for a walk off the lead without having to get into the car and drive a long way.  This gite has a small enclosed garden and a nice walk in woodland and around a small lake close by.



The style of the gite was described as traditional French so it’s full of big old fashioned furniture.  The kitchenette and bathroom are basic, which is fine, although some of the motley collection of crockery, pots and pans have seen better days.

The disappointing thing is that the gite is right by the road which at times can be very busy, including Sunday morning when presumably people are heading for the nearby boulangerie which opens very early!   

However, Hugo loves it!  The nearby walk around the lake – the reason why we booked the gite in the first place – suits him just fine.  Hey ho.



Changing the subject completely, we recently managed to solve a longstanding problem with our house in France.

The house is in an area where we have very hard water.  We have had to use filtered water in the kettle and coffee machine to prevent the visible bloom of white limescale that eventually causes them to fur up.  Also water softening tablets in the washing machine and salt in the dishwasher to avoid the unseen build up of limescale that would inevitably cause them to stop working too.

Years ago, when we lived in our old house in the UK, we had a koi pond.  Blanket weed is a problem with koi ponds.  The koi love it but what any koi keeper wants is to be able to see the koi – just knowing that they are there under a thick layer of blanket weed is not enough!  This problem was solved completely when we fitted something called a Water King, a magnetic device that structurally alters the calcium in the pond water so that the weed cannot attach to it and therefore can’t grow.  Now that we have been reminded of it, in the promotional material for the device it was mentioned that it can also be used for removal of calcium in domestic water supplies.  Also that larger scale versions are used in municipal buildings and institutions, such as hospitals, to keep the water pipes free from build up of limescale.

A recent conversation with a friend who told us he has something similar in his water supply jogged our memory and so we looked into it and sure enough – the Water King is still available for use in domestic water systems.  No need for a water softener and constant use of salt or chemicals – you just fit it to an existing piece of inlet pipe and the job’s done.  Not only does it prevent the formation of limescale, over time it will also remove limescale deposits from items already affected.

It has been a huge success.  A month after we fitted it we no longer get build up of limescale in the kettle so we can assume that all our other appliances are free of it too.  Our wine glasses are sparkling and clear instead of bloomed with white spots.  Not least of all, our three toilets, which have taken me years to get clean, scrubbing and treating with anti-limescale products, look positively pristine.

Long live The King!!