A little bit Howard Hughes

I have become a little bit Howard Hughes by which I mean, obsessive reclusive.

I have eaten the same evening meal, and I mean exactly the same for five days. It might sound odd with scrambled eggs, black beans, avocado and a corn tortilla and spent my evenings chipping old nicotine-brittle paint off woodwork.

I’m trying to do something every day to keep things progressing, not matter how small, it means it won’t need doing again.

I hope this isn’t a permanent state. If I start going through boxes of tissues or washing my hands compulsively, I’ll have to stage an intervention!

Operation Bay Tree

For the past five years or maybe not quite that long, we’ve had a tall bay tree in a pot in London.

It’s fair to say it hasn’t been given much attention but has been able to survive on very little sun or nutrients, a bit like ourselves I suspect.

This week I discovered the Mansions are slowly killing the bay tree (also a bit like ourselves) as the poor leaves are dry and curled up and it’s a picture of misery. I can relate!

I have now launched Operation Bay Tree in the hope to save the poor thing. Plant food, water and a new location out from under a balcony so it can get the rain. I’m hopefully we can turn things around before it’s too late.

And a bit like ourselves, we are slowly inching forward with an end goal of Christmas for completion.

Summer commuting

It’s been a few weeks of summer commuting.

Back and forth between London and the South of France. Back and forth between a house with a kitchen and bathrooms, and a flat with a hot plate and a handicapped shower.

On one hand it’s nice to have the break, on the other hand, it’s harder and harder to walk through the front door in London.

Work has ground to a halt in London for the past few weeks but we’re hoping with new structural drawings for the removal of the world’s smallest structural wall, we can resubmit our plans and finally get things moving again. After four and a half months, I’m really ready to move on from the hot plate!

On another note things are progressing in France. We’ve been busy working in the garden, adding new plants, a new arch and my new pet project, a succulent garden.

We had a dusty, dead area under a balcony which was full of horrible spiky plants, the only thing which wanted to grow there. As it’s part of the walk from the drive to the garden, we wanted to make it nicer. And so the planting of succulents began.

To be fair, it’s not so much planting as sticking random plants in the ground to see if they survive.

We’ve discovered that we can rescue succulents as they grow “wildish” in the region so walking along the road and seeing an Aloe Vera is not an unusual sight. A few have been rescued for the garden and it’s coming along quite nicely.

We’re also on a mission to remove all ivy and generally get things looking rustic clean instead of rustic scruffy, no mean feat. Weeds are no longer charming.

There’s a stunning garden centre nearby which provides great inspiration and our catchphrase is “EGC” or English Garden Centre as we strive to achieve the same level of beauty and tranquility.

So it seems the summer of hard graft is set to continue as we have a couple of summer bookings for France which means we have more work to do.

The dishwasher has packed up so will have to be replaced. The carport almost fell down so is having to be rebuilt and we cut a hole in the bathroom ceiling so either have to remove the ceiling and replaster or patch it up. It all costs money and while we knew it would be a hard year financially, we’re haemorrhaging badly.

I have to say though that it’s not a bad lifestyle. Once we get through the refurb (by Christmas?) things will be brighter and perhaps one day we’ll look back and laugh at the trials and tribulations (or not!).

And then we’ll probably be looking for our next project (or not!!!)