We seem to have new pets, this time in the form of earwigs. 

It’s a bit strange but suddenly we have earwigs strolling across the living room floor. Of course we’re happy to have a floor for them to stroll across, and we’re happy they’re not rats but it does seem a bit odd to have resident earwigs. Having said that, they’re not staying and an earwig is easier to dispose of than a rat.
In France however, we have cockroaches, big ones. Each morning large cockroaches appeared on the kitchen floor, rolled over on their backs and seemed to die. I suspected they were living in the flour in the boulangerie which doesn’t bode well for bread eaters.
Perhaps it’s the summer of infestation!

Ready for Summer

I have cycled to work for a week now with helmet and high vis backpack intact. 

While I am beyond less than stylish, I have avoided commuting, avoided smartphone culture (double thumb or single finger texters defining one’s age), saved at least thirty quid but most likely fifty, and saved at least two hours of my life. It’s a preferable form of transport.

There is a lovely ride home along the canal along the smart (or right) part of Regent’s Canal where there’s no rubbish and canal boats aren’t allowed to dock. It pops up in St John’s Wood and from there it’s an easy ride home through Maida Vale. On a sunny spring evening, how nice to stop for a glass of wine at the Truscott Arms before continuing on and avoiding death by bus.
The weather has been extremely sporting over the past two weeks and with temperatures around 20 degrees, so far I’m a fair weather cyclist. 
May the weather and the cycling continue. I’m ready for summer!

When is a door not a door?

When it’s a kitchen… obviously!

While the ironing board wasn’t bad, the ante has been upped and the kitchen is now a door. Living the dream!

View from the “kitchen door” where outdoor cooking takes place. It’s a long way from Venice or Chalk Farm

 Paint in the living room… very pretty and almost feels like a real room!
Letad’s temporary office… 

On wheels

I’m am now a cycling commuter and it’s brilliant!

I’ve timed it perfectly to coincide with the two hottest days of the year as temperatures hit a heady 24 degrees in London today. Far too many white people turned pink but I had wheels and rode to Kings Cross for lunch, because I could. 
My morning route takes me through St John’s Wood, Primrose Hill (bliss) and down Camden High Street. My old stomping ground. It took me about twenty minutes and cost nothing. Fantastic!
Going home I took the slightly flatter route around Regents Park and back through Maida Vale. A bit longer but still, pretty speedy as I made it back in under half an hour. 
It’s a little hard to look stylish but as I’m resigned to wearing the same clothes for the next two years, it’s not really a problem.

Ironing and Grilling

As Letad has need of a desk, I have relocated the kitchen to the ironing board in the back bedroom. It’s fair to say it’s not ideal. 

Last night though was a deliriously warm spring evening and so with an outdoor sofa and table, we set up the Cuisinart grill and dined al fresco. 
It was really quite civilised and to sit outside in London in April, a wonderful thing. We even had a mosquito so it felt quite tropical. 
Either that or we’re living in a swamp!

Walls come tumbling down

Sunday and after a welcome sunny day in London on Saturday, we set off to get the furniture out of storage. 

It was a little premature but a large storage bill arrived and so rather than pay it, we decided to shift everything into the back bedroom. Everything except the sofa that is. 
I had been worried about how we were going to get the seven foot long sofa into the living room and sure enough my fears were not unfounded. 
It made it through the front door, squeezed around the corner and stuck fast in the doorway. Letad removed the doorframe and the plumber who was over reconnecting the water gave the sofa a huge shove. 
Like a cork out of a bottle, my beloved Liberty sofa popped into the living room taking a large chunk of plaster and the door lintel with it. 
Back to dust and rubble as the wall was broken. Some swearing may have ensued. 
Still, the sofa was in and hopefully not damaged. The idea then, to put in a bigger door so we can get the sofa out when the time comes otherwise it will be:
For Sale: Sofa and ceiling rose with two bedroom garden flat attached.

London bound

With the champagne drunk, the picnic eaten and the house left immaculate, the last shower was taken and we set off to Nice airport.

It was hard to leave but we have work to do and the Flat with the Most Potential awaits us in Queen’s Park. It’s time to start thinking positively and Money Pit has served its purpose as a name. We’re into Phase Two Renovation. 
And so we bid adieu to the Côte d’Azur with plans to return soon and set off back to our other reality. 

Champagne and picnics

What better way to spend an afternoon than sitting on a beach with a bottle of cold champagne and a picnic. And what’s better than doing it twice?!

As the return to Money Pit inevitably looms on the horizon, I shall be looking at these photos and remembering the past two days. And then I’ll be booking tickets for the summer escape.

Day Tripping

After a few days of relaxing, cleaning, cooking but mostly eating and drinking over Easter, we decided to head to Montpellier. An area I’d wanted to see, we drove through Arles and the Camargue (Nîmes and Marseille would have to wait) as we did a little reconnaissance. 

We stopped for morning coffee in Arles where temperatures were decidedly cool. We admired the Roman ruins and then set off across the Camargue.

The Camargue is an area known for pink flamingos, wild white horses and salt flats. Sure enough white horses and pink flamingos appeared right on cue but the area didn’t seem as wild as I’d heard and much of it seemed to be farmed including the salt flats. Still, wild pink flamingos are a pretty good sight!
We stopped for a delicious lunch in Aigues Mortues where lots of bull was on the menu… and moules frites luckily. And so replete, we left the Camargue and headed off to Montpellier.

The third largest city in the South of France, Montpellier was the only city not founded by the Romans. Not sure why but I suspect the Romans knew something we didn’t. A student town, it seemed young and hip and we soon discovered weed culture going strong.

Montpellier wasn’t instantly appealing however urban sprawl eventually led to a historique centre where we found what we were looking for including an Arc de Triomphe and an intriguing cathedral with two large pencils at the entrance.

We sat in a small square dappled with sunlight and discussed the merits of Montpellier versus the Côte d’Azur. Sadly Montpellier couldn’t compete and so we set off home to the azur seas and skies of the Côte.
A very good day out!