As some of you may know, I’ve just come back from a fortnight or so out in France. Not for a holiday in the sense that you would usually expect though! Its a bit convoluted to explain why we were there and what we were doing but I’ll go ahead and try. We have a (semi) tumbledown house in the middle of nowhere (Really. Look on google maps– if you zoom out and out, you’ll see!). My parents bought it nearly 30 years ago and we have been going out there ever since.
As a languages teacher with a coach driver’s licence my dad did a school exchange with the village nearby. He and my mum met people, and eventually ended up buying a house. It was in a complete state, like many of the houses and farms in the area- noone working on the land, no modernisation on the house. It is rustic- in the true sense of the word, not in the Elle Decoration sense. There is no plumbed-in bathroom. The electrics often try to assassinate us. The land constantly acts like it is overrun by triffids, whcih we have to hack and burn each time. There is damp in the walls and floors due to being built straight on the dirt. And yet it is the most beautiful and peaceful place on earth for me. It is set on the top of a hill, overlooking a chateau and with barely anyone around. It always a ‘fixer-upper’ and one day it will be incredible. Anyway, with two teachers as parents, long childhood summers were spent out here, sitting in paddling pools, swimming in rivers, picking blackberries and making dinner on the open fire, seeing friends, eating copious amounts of food and running around in the fields and lanes. It is only as I am growing up that I realise how lucky we were to have that in our childhood.
When my dad died, the place was getting into a fairly sorry state- we hadn’t being going out regularly, the roof was reaching its last straw, the damp was getting worse and the extension my dad started was still half finished. And did I mention no plumbed-in bathroom? With my sister and I suddenly made part owners, we and my mum had to make a decision about its future. None of us could stand to let it fall down so work has begun. A new roof, windows, a completed extension and a huge clear out have all been done. It is halfway through transitioning into an amazing home, although it isn’t very pretty right now. I think we are all somewhat overwhelmed by the changes we have made, the work still left to do and the sheer amazingness of what it is turning into! It is surprisingly compelx to work out the order in which jobs need doing, and when we cn afford them. I wasn’t expecting to be helping fund a project like this at 24 but it is so worth it. I just wish I had more to give to it, to help with my impatience to see it finished! Next year the bathroom goes in, and the surrounding land is being levelled, 2 huge milestones, just in time for some big milestone’s for us too- my 25th and my sister’s 30th so you can be sure that we are having a big old shindig out there nect summer! It may well take until my sister and I are nearing retirement to be actually completed, but until then I’m pretty sure we will still be spending the weeks here, enjoying the space, the place and the people. Knowing that this place will always be a home of some sort, no matter where we all may end up in the world, is pretty amazing. I love it.
The view from our house. I never get sick of it
Talking after supper outside, watching the sun set
River swimming. This spot is just perfection
This is Nelson, our friend’s incredibly dribbly and gigantic Bernese Mountain Dog. He is a softie
Our old, broken barn doors. Soon to be turned into our new living room window.
Hillbilly Hotel, all mod cons. Setting up the paddling pool in our field, complete with old sheets and ladders for shade. Pure class and luxury here. It even chills your beers
Sunhats abandoned at the end of a lovely day
A little place to sit amongst the flowers at our friend’s fishing pond
Charolais beef cows in the field opposite. They are always curious about what we are doing.
Anyway, if you’ve made it to the bottom of this huge post, I’m amazed! I hope you liked this little look at my other home.
P.S. For any archeology/history geeks out there, Chatelperron, our village, is where a number of prehistoric tools were found and is considered an important stage in the evolution of man. Pretty fun knowing that we are living where our prehistoric ancestors also lived…