Wednesday, 22 May 2019

First strawberries - last lunch

Invited to join our friends and neighbours Pauline and Denis in Barrou for lunch on Monday. We are working in the garden at the Old Walnut Mill as no guests this week and it was their last lunch before heading back to the UK yesterday. We ate alfresco with part of our contribution being the first strawberries of the season from our garden - yummy!

Tuesday, 21 May 2019


Came across a new phenomini here in the Creuse valley...scarecars - old wrecks planted in the middle of fields to deter the birds. Cheaper and less noisy than a bird scarers perhaps.

Monday, 20 May 2019

More pleasant Chambon

We visited the brocante at Chambon yesterday on a rather dull day which affected the number of stall holders but we had the pleasure of being shown around a wonderful 15th century house by a local artist who has his studio there.

It was like stepping back in time!

With it being so quiet from a stalls point of view we headed over to the racecourse at La Roche Posay to check theirs out...similar sort of affair but was good to get out and about and meet friends doing the same thing.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Barrou as part of a grand tour...

We said goodbye to our Australian guests on Saturday, they had visited us as part of a seven week trip that has taken them to Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Netherlands, Belgium and here in France. As they left they were kind enough to say that their stay at the Old Walnut Mill had been the highlight of their trip so far! 
Here is their comment from our guestbook:
18th May 2019
Thank you Jim & Pauline for providing such a lovely cottage for our stay - a real 'home away from home'. We appreciated having a few essentials in the fridge on our arrival, the outdoor area that was alive with blooms, a really comfy bed ( we'd like to take it home with us), a well equipped kitchen and all the 'mod cons'. We have loved wandering the Loire Valley and coming back each night to such a welcoming home.
Your warm hospitality deserves a special welcome. Jim, you are the best travel guide ever! Your suggestions made all the difference in what we were able to see and do. Pauline thank you for your kindness. It was such a pleasure to get to know you both.

Jan & Richard Smith

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Pleasant surprises...

On our way back from Chedigny on Thursday we made a slight detour to a village we had never visited  just outside of Loches. The village of Ferrière-sur-Beaulieu is one of those places you see signposted but never visit as there is no need to go through it to get anywhere else. It is small but has a lovely little church and a surprisingly large restaurant, 'La halte forestière', for the size of the village.

As we had arrived at midday we decided to try it out for lunch. It was typical of lunchtime menus here in Touraine but very tasty and at 13 euros for three courses plus wine plus coffee, excellent value. We got talking to the friendly lady who served us and explained that we would have liked to have seen inside the church but it was locked and the Mairie was closed exceptionally so we could not ask for the key. She said that was not a problem as the adjont to the maire was having lunch in the restaurant and she would ask if he could help. As we were leaving he interrupted his lunch to go and open up the church and asked us to close the door behind us as we kind was he?  

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Roses preview for our Australian guests.

Our current Australian guests at the Old Walnut Mill are leaving on Saturday for the next part of their seven week European tour so will miss the Rose Festival at Chedigny. They took our advise and had a sneak preview yesterday after visiting Loches market. The images here are theirs.

They were kind enough to say that the climbing rose in our courtyard would give some of them a run for their money!

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Before you go...

A friend who had seen our 'project' at an early stage suggested we show some 'before' pics of the hallways we showed yesterday. Anyone who knows the history of the property will know that is not as easy as it seems - as they did not exist before. When we bought the house it had lain empty for the previous eight years as a renovation project that had been started but not finished. 

You actually entered into what we assume was going to be a long narrow dining room with a small kitchen at the end of it. There was a door at the bottom of the stairs which another friend suggested we should remove...and we did as it allowed light to flood what was going to be our hallway.

We narrowed this 'room' to create a hall plus give us a large storage cupboard (right) and somewhere to run the masses of new cabling needed.

The kitchen at the end is now our laundry room.

The hallway that now connects the main hallway to the downstairs shower room and what will be a bedroom again did not exist as it was part of what we assume again was going to be the salon with a toilet off it. 

We borrowed enough of this room to give us the new hallway with access to both shower room and future bedroom.