Life at Kerjacob .

Life at Kerjacob .

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Let there be light and a staircase and a party !!!

So, the story continues.
The little window which was once in the blue bathroom grew into a bigger window.
You can imagine the noise, the dust and above all the hard work to make this happen.

The small window is enlarged.

The walls had to be propped as with old schist ( slate stone ) and stone houses of this period they were held together by earth and lime.
The hole has to be bigger than the frame and then built back up to it.

The window frame goes in.

The second window in the north facing wall was then added.
All work on the new floor was done, including Mr P installing underfloor heating, I am still amazed at how he works out how to do all these things and so does everyone else !!

The underfloor heating is in place.

The floor ready for the concrete.

Then it was time for the staircase.
This had been made for us by a local firm.
We'd been to see the oak , we'd seen the staircase being made, we'd chosen to have the acorns and now it was time to watch it being built, so exciting.

The oak staircase is built.

I walked up and down the staircase so many times that first day, so good not to have to come down backwards anymore and it just felt and looked so good.

So now we had the windows and the staircase so why the party ?
On the 12th December 2008 Mr P was 60 so of course we had a party.
Tables and benches were hired from our village hall.
Lights were strung up around the unfinished walls.
Heaters got the space warm and I began to plan the menu, make the invitations and then on the day of the party cook the food for about 24 of us.
A lot of work but such fun.

Mr P and Georges. 

Friends arrived, presents were given toasts were made and food was served.

The grand birthday table.

Nobody was in the least concerned that it was still an unfinished room.
It was a delight to look around at all the new friends we'd made and so many of them being French.

After the meal we had the entertainment.
Jocelyne and Armelle ,who sing in a choir, had prepared several songs, they both have lovely voices
and it was just so good, everyone enjoyed it.

Jocelyne and Armelle sing for the celebration.

Then it was time for Josette to perform, she gave us a truly French  experience and used the staircase to full effect !

Josette sings with her usual French glamour.

After we had some English performers and then finished off with Auld Lang Syne which everyone enjoyed.
I was so pleased to be able to celebrate with our friends  Mr P's hard work and  his 60th birthday he so deserved it.

Of course that wasn't the end of the work by any means...................

Friday, 27 January 2012

Then the walls came down !!

I left you in the last post with what was there before we could start to have a lounge and a proper staircase .............
A room with blue carpets on the wall, an elegant  blue bathroom ( !!! ) and a corridor with a brown carpet walled toilet which Pie loved for her climbing !

So what came next was demolition, dust, hard work again and again and again.
Mr P bravely set to and removed the tiles ( which we gave to someone who wanted them )
The he started to knock the walls down.

So that was the bathroom gone !

The narrow staircase, which  I always came down backwards,
led to the upstairs space and our bedroom.

Next to tackle was the corridor , the toilet and the horrible floor tiles.
Of course before we could get rid of the toilet a new one had to be built.
Then of course all that had been demolished had to be removed and taken away.
In our old house there is no way other than a ramp, wheel barrow and hard work.

The metal frame is the platform where the bath used to sit.

The last of the walls gradually disappear.

Please ignore the dates on some of the photographs - they're not correct.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

So this is what we began with !

In many of the magazines, photographs and blogs from beautiful old houses in France everything looks wonderful.

The reality for some of us brave souls was slightly different when we found our coup de couer.
That is the dream that we'd searched for.

When we came here over 8 years ago and found the house there was so much to be done.
I cannot tell you how horrible we found it inside but the shell was wonderful and we knew we could make it lovely. 
 These photographs show you the reality of what would become our lounge finished for Christmas 2011.

This was the horrible fireplace.

The walls of the bedroom were covered in blue carpet, the mice loved to live behind that !

Lovely blue carpet and elegant panelling !!!!

It won't then come as a surprise to you that we slept in our caravan for six months and then another six months in the kitchen.
I still remember carrying the mattress in every night and carrying it out every morning.
I must say sleeping in front of the dying flames of our woodstove was lovely and very romantic.

After a year we had a proper kitchen and the beginnings of an upstairs bedroom - in what would have been the storage area for hay etc.

The white door led to a bathroom.

The bathroom

There was a corridor that had a  toilet - the walls here were covered in brown carpet.
Pie especially loved to climb the walls in there !
Her own private climbing wall.

The corridor with equally lovely tiles !

The area you can see to the left was our ' wardrobe '.

In the next post I'll show you the next stage in our work.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Winter comes with such beauty in nature.

Yesterday we woke to bright sunshine, blue skies and heavy frost.
Nature must have decided it was about time winter began.
For many of the animals and plants it would have come as a great shock.

The frost also brought beauty to the simplest of things.
These are brambles tipped with frost.
They look so beautiful.
However I can't help but wish the frost would make their survival harder as they certainly make gardening difficult !

The wood stove is on and keeping things warm, the sunshine is streaming in through the windows and I'm unpacking all the books that have been unopened in their boxes in the barns here for the last eight years.
So many lovely books and so many little memories written inside them which bring a smile.

Soon they will go in the bookcases and soon I'll be able to show you the photographs of the lounge.

This photograph below gives you just a little idea with what we started with but actually the reality was much worse - if you can imagine it !

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Our cats appear in print !

Last year we were asked if a photographer could come and take photos of our cats in their home setting.
We said that would be fine.
The photographer in question was Rachael McKenna ( nee Hale ) and she was working on a new book about French cats.
We were delighted to receive our own signed copy of the book in December with two full sized pages showing our cats, Tortue, Pie and Samuel.

How wonderful to have our lovely cats in print and also to own such a wonderful book.

Thank you Rachael and thank you to our cats.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Making the ordinary extraordinary.

One of the presents I bought for Mr P at Christmas was bought in Holmfirth in Yorkshire.
This area attracts many artists and craftspeople and at Christmas ( and other times of the year ) there are fairs where the most wonderful pieces can be seen and bought.

This piece is made of all different kinds of things all of them being wooden.
I just loved it and knew that Mr P would too.
I would like to know especially where the little wooden man came from and what is his history.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Ending 2011 at Manoir de Kerledan

On the 29th December of 2011 we went to our friends at Manoir de Kerledan for supper, staying the night and having breakfast and lunch.
All of course wonderful.

The house looked lovely and the perfume from the hyacinths wafted across each time I walked past.

This boar's head is actually a tureen which was brought back to France from England as hand luggage on the plane !!!

There were two pots of helebores gracing the table, their fresh green leaves and delicate flowers a reminder of what a mild winter we've had so far.

These baubles sparkled away against the crystal and everywhere white candles added to the glow.

Just love this big bowl of shells, everywhere at Kerledan there are beautiful things to see.

A constant favourite are the white orchids, so elegant.

It was a chance also to meet Graffiti who is the newest member of the family - she is just a delight, full 
of life and energy.

Today has been a quiet day after seeing in 2012 with French friends last night.

The wood stove is glowing away and keeping us warm, the cats are curled up and we've had roast lamb that used to be grazing at Kerledan ( a half sheep was our 2010 Christmas present from Penny and Peter who own the manoir.

I am ready with many new ideas in my head, I have health and happiness and I wish everyone out there a very happy 2012.