Survived… in French

So last night I went along reluctantly to the French conversation meetup and amazingly I survived! 

I wasn’t the worst and I wasn’t the best but I understood some of the conversation (not all) and I spoke (not a lot, but more than I thought).

I had a glass of wine which I clutched like a drowning man and next time would probably order a large glass instead of a small but all in all, I enjoyed it and will go back next week… je pense!

Terrified… in French

Back in London, it’s cold and raining and feeling very Autumnal. A far cry from the heat of the South of France!

In a moment of madness I arranged to meet up with a French conversation group and am going to my first chat this evening. My brain has frozen and I don’t think I can remember anything.

Of course now I don’t want to go. I want to go home not struggle through an hour and a half of excruciating embarrassment because I can’t say anything! 

And did I mention it’s cold and raining?!

The Grotto of Le Rouret

I have been researching walks around Le Rouret and discovered there is a Bois Communal (a local forest) in the hills above the village.

It was proving elusive until I found a walking path to the Camp Roman and the Baume Robert, a cave formerly known as the Grotto of Le Rouret.

Agnes and I set off. After a few dead ends we found the mouth of the cave and started slowly walking in. We had a small light from my phone but it was very dark and as we went deeper, it was darker and colder.

Into the mouth of the Baume Robert

We wanted to keep going but we weren’t brave enough! Apparently there is a grotto inside, an underground river and stalacmites. I’ve seen photos so when we feel a little braver, we’re going back.

Then again, it seems it’s more than I thought…

Agnes and Monsieur Le Crapeaud

This morning I learned a new word.

Agnes was barking excitedly and scraping at the base on an olive tree. There was a rustle, a large rustle and a very large toad appeared. He was a big fellow, a browny yellow warty chap, to be honest not the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen. I may have shrieked a little.

Dog went berserk, I grabbed dog, toad hopped into another corner. Dog and human left the building (we were anyway) Hopefully toad has relocated. Toads have nasty poisonous skins, dogs are not very intelligent.

Crapeaud is French for toad. It hadn’t appeared in my vocabulary list but I suspect it will be an easy word to remember. 

If I see Monsieur Le Crapeaud again, my first words will be Oh Crap… Oh!

The Second and Final Coat

I am not a perfectionist!

When it comes to painting I’m all for slapping on a coat and standing back to survey the results. A few cushions, a jar of lavender and Bob’s your Uncle. Instant gratification!

I had procrastinated on finishing the cabana until I could procrastinate no more. Big T was spending the weekend in Wales to celebrate several birthdays and for reasons I could no longer remember, I had decided to stay in France. It seemed I had nothing left to do other than to finish the cabana.

The original wood shed

And so I finally did it. A second coat of grey and the cabana looked a far cry from its original rustic wood shed. At some point we’ll need to replace some of the old wood as it’s now held together with paint, but hopefully that’s next year.

The final coat

That’s it. Project Cabana done!

Finishing projects

I have finished sewing cushions, six done and a table runner which was deemed overkill but used up a remnant. So that’s one project done!

I painted the bed with the second coat and just have a little final touching up to do and then it’s time to finish the cabana. It’s been a productive holiday, the house is really starting to look good and I’ll be heading back to work next Tuesday. 

Now all we need to do is work out how to get the Little Dog back to London at the end of September!

Stitched up

Another day, another half finished project!

I had to take a break from painting. I now have the bed and the cabana waiting to be finished and I am suffering from paint fatigue. I can’t pick up another paint brush!

Pity poor Big T who, having finished the shutters is soldiering on bravely through the window frames and anything painted brown. He’s a stronger man than I.

I decided to spend the day sewing the lovely striped French fabric I’d bought into outdoor cushions. It had been a while since I’d done any sewing and even longer since I’d sewn a zip so all things considered, they worked out pretty well.

Horizontal or vertical…

Of course I still have another two to go!

Time for bed

Having made a good start on Project Cabana (with everything now waiting for a second coat and having slightly hit the wall) it was time for a break… back to Project Studio and the painting of the bed!

Where it began
Work in progress
Getting there

 Everything now seems to be at the second coat stage. Time to finish some things off!

Painted legs

As suddenly as it vanished, the internet suddenly reappeared without any warning. 

Suddenly we’re reconnected and back in business as it’s been extremely tedious trying to work remotely. Hurray, celebrations all round!

To celebrate, I painted the legs of the pine dining table cream. We’re not big fans of varnished pine and it must be said I have a low boredom threshold when it comes to painting and need a variety of projects on the go.

Before…shiny piney

After… with Instagram filter

With a free table and a pot of paint, well, why not?

Paint it greyer

Continuing the theme…

On Wednesday I met a woman in a car park to do a deal. It was all very surreptitious … it could have been drugs but of course, it was homewares and handicrafts as it turned out she’s living the dream as she owns an old mill and upscales furniture.

I bought two cans of Annie Sloan chalk paint and stowed them carefully in the boot of the car. It was time to paint some more stuff grey!

Returning home we had a fruitless exercise in trying to get the internet up and running again. We have been without wifi for over two weeks now and the frustration is certainly starting to show. We’ll have to try another tactic as waiting patiently isn’t working well.

And so in order to salvage the remains of the day, I painted the rest of the outdoor kitchen grey. We had found tile paint in one of the hardware stores and rather than retile the existing and very dated blue and yellow flowers, we decided to have a go at painting over them.


The end result was great. For a small investment we now have grey tiles with a slightly embossed flower pattern. 

Painted greyer

The rest of the plaster was painted from butter yellow to cool grey and started to feel much more integrated with the rest of the cabana. It’s still very rustic but perhaps slightly less than before.

Of course I have to do a second coat, not my favourite thing as I’m all about instant gratification but I’m sure it will be worth it.

Another relaxing holiday in the South of France!