Monday, 29 July 2013

A lovely weekend of sightseeing and at last the elusive CDI

Dave finally has his C.D.I contract (Contract Duration Indeterminée)  see find info on cdi employment here for more info on this type of contract. This basically means he is no longer on a short term contract but a full time employee with all the legal cover that this implies. It is open ended with no finish date unlike his previous contracts which were all dated with specific days for the contract to end. They could of got rid of him at the end of the contract with no reprisals, which would of been scary for us living here. So celebrations where in order and we are really pleased. 

 This weekend just gone we have had a great time. We took a weekend off working as Dave has had really long work hours's holiday time for most people here in France and the kids are off school, Dave has been covering some of the other guys work while they are on their holidays, even having a 3 am start one morning. 3 Am to clean lorries in the dark, mad eh. So this weekend we decided that we would have some time off and have some tourist time. So we started on saturday with a "grosse matin" which is a lie in. The first one Dave has had in a couple of weeks. After that we went to a little village called Le Vanneau in the Marais  Poitevin  also known as Venice Verte (green venice). There was a floating market going on there, the market is held once a year and the traders are out on boats with visitors going out on the boats to make their purchases, see this Tourism website with loads of info. We arrived a bit late as this place is a hour away from us (arrived about 1.45pm) and they where all starting to pack up which was a pity. 

These allotments are down the side of the waterway at Le Vanneau, what a lovely place for allotments .

 So we did some more exploring and found a village called Arçais which was lovely.  It is based in the venise verte as well and has lots of waterways which where all off shots of the main tributary. Most of these waterways are covered by overhanging trees and the effect is beautiful. The village boasts a good camp site, restaurants and a brocante, all of which were worth a look around. Luckily we didn't have much money on us or I could of spent a fortune in the artisan craft shops and brocante.

On our way back home we found something that certainly put a smile on Dave's face, a chainsaw carving exhibition. We got there on the last day so most of the carvings where nearing completion. Here is a sample of them for you to see. 

The village at which this was held is called Le foussais it's really a medieval village with lots of historical places.

This plaque is so old I couldn't make out the coat of arms. any ideas?

We finished off saturday night with a bbq in the garden. Fidget decided he wanted to get in on the act. 

Sunday morning we nipped down to the market at Pescalis, this is a large farmers market that is help every Sunday morning in summer. We spent too much, as is usual at these things and bought some lovely Loire valley wine, home made goats cheese in 2 different strengths and some galla melons. The melons smelt amazing, they were at the perfect point of ripeness - yummy. Just need some bread and the perfect french picnic was made.

Sunday afternoon we took a ride out to le Rocher Branlant. A amazing place with giant and I mean giant granite stones all tumbled all over the place and in the river. The place is really pretty and you get dwarfed by the stones, it is really tranquil normally but we were attending a vide-grenier and the place was packed. There were literally hundreds of stalls. 

This carved stone is really funny, don;t know what the monical is made out of.

i managed to buy a old soda syphon which i have been after for ages. We have got gas cartridges and it came with a key and was working ok. But the key / charger  is a bit worn so I have ordered a new one of the internet.

We finished the day sat up the field in the having some of the wine that we bought and reading a book in the sun :)

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Une grande soirée and other antics

It seems like ages since I have had time to write this. The last few weeks have been really busy with visitors. And with the rain in early to mid June we couldn't get lots done. Needless to say the work on the house has had been on the back step while we have been otherwise occupied.  We have only managed to get a few bits done, for example

One of the big jobs that had to be done after all the rain finally abated was clearing the back barn. Well barn may be a long stretch of the name really. It used to be a barn but the roof collapsed many years before we bought the place, it is now more like a jungle but we hope that soon it will be a lovely courtyard for us to enjoy in the lovely weather. But The first job was to pull up all the weeds and then try and find the floor under all the rubbish. This took a while but we got there and now it's reasonably clear. Before the transformation into a courtyard can be done however we first need this area to house the scaffold tower because as from later this week I will be back up on the roof recommencing the back of the roof. Such fun :)

We have also put a new temporary floor in the barn by the side of the house, as due to more pressing renovations needing to be done this area is on hold until it's roof is done first. We had to put a wooden substructure done and then lay a new floor over the top. This made a really nice area for me to put the twin tub and freezer and tumble dryer and other things.  Apart from the continuous and never ending job of cutting grass and land management that has really been all we have had time or suitable weather to do since the beginning of may. Thank goodness the sun has since put in a major appearance after the wet and occasionally stormy June that we had and we are finally starting to dry out. 

On a brighter note, we attended a friends 70th birthday party recently. They had a traditional French style party with a full 5 course sit down meal. 60 people came to the party and it was a good mix of English and French. The party lasted 12 and a half hours and everybody had a great time. Luckily a team of friends all helped with the set up of and clean up after the party. It was lovely catching up with friends we hadn't seen in a while and being able to chat to our French friends with less difficulty than previous years. It seems that the lessons are working . The evening culminated as many do in une chanson (a singsong) with everyone joining in. 

We have also had lots of family visiting, our daughter came over for a while and sadly it was raining for pretty much the whole time. We even visited a local château in the rain with umbrellas up We also had fun trying to cook lots of new recipes - most of which worked. But anyone who know's me knows that I'm not the most natural cook in the world. Dave's the genius in the kitchen , I'm normally more of a cleaner upper sort of person. 2 days after Ruth went home Dave's mum and step dad came over for 10 days followed by my 2nd cousin and then my cousin. This was quite a big step and was lovely for me as due to lost addresses in our parents time we had never met before. I think we look alike and it was great getting to meet them. Excuse me looking a bit spaced in the photo, we had had a long day (I'm on the left).

That's about all to report at the moment and next time should be full of lots of house renovation information. 

à la prochaine fois