Turning of the tides

We timed it perfectly, by pure chance we arrived in time for the spring tide where it’s possible to walk from Bryher to Tresco, two of the islands in the archipelago of the Isles of Scilly.

It was a mass exodus of middle aged white people fleeing one island to another seeking asylum.

Wading ankle deep through crystal clear water in striped tee shirts, it was like the Israelites crossing the Red Sea.

One of the crowd


Asylum seekers

The real bonus was that everyone had gone to Bryher for the day and Tresco was deserted.



I am actually broken.

I have cleaned, painted, dusted, mopped, sanded, vacuumed, polished, raked, planted, assembled and scrubbed not in any particular order but a lot. This was my annual leave and was perhaps the least relaxing time I’ve ever had. Two weeks of hard graft and I’m ready for a break.

I’m looking forward to going back to work next week, I’m travelling to Brussels on Monday, back on Tuesday and meetings on Wednesday. I’m beyond delighted none of it will require cleaning!

It’s been an insanely stressful summer, from the sale and purchase which fell through to renovating a kitchen and a bathroom in France during the hottest summer in existence and during August when the entire country shuts down.

And yet somehow (with a few late evenings with a great deal of stress and sleepless nights) we have pulled off a finished bathroom and an almost finished but functional kitchen.

How? I’d say I have no idea but it comes down to extremely hard graft.

Our original kitchen with fruity tiles
Rustic cabinets and tiled worktop
New/original floor
Just missing doors and drawers
New ceiling height

It may not look that different but it is… or at least we think it is!


The inevitable point of saturation has been reached for the summer.

The point where you think you’ll never, ever drink another bloody glass of rosé again in your lifetime and you rue the day when you discovered that rosé comes in cardboard boxes and can be drunk en tap.

Yes yes, it’s always the same.

The regret, the summer weight gain from all the extra sugar, the winter spent losing the rosé roll and then the summer comes around again and inevitably the first glass of rosé looks delightfully cold, crisp and refreshing… and sure enough, it starts all over again.

Oh, go on then, perhaps just one more tiny glass for the end of the summer!

Star gazing

We have had some stunningly clear nights recently and with aspects looking towards Nice and Cannes, we have a wonderful of the night sky from our garden.

We were outside rounding up Agnes around 10pm when suddenly overhead a stream of brightly lit satellites appeared threading across the sky. I had never seen anything like it and it was completely mind blowing.

We’d heard of Elon Musk’s Starlink train but weren’t prepared for what we saw. Perhaps we had the perfect conditions or perhaps we hadn’t been paying attention before, but it blew us away with the speed, clarity and, the reality of it.

Is it intrusive, polluting our atmosphere, technologically frightening or is it genius?

I’m not sure but it was breathtaking and I wonder if we’ll see it again with such clarity?

Now where was I?

Oh that’s right, a couple of weeks ago we were in a mess and no surprise, we’re still there.

Our deadline looms and we’re still without a finished bathroom or kitchen. We’re still confident the bathroom will be finished (or are we?) but the kitchen, forget it!

I have ordered and cancelled one IKEA kitchen and taken delivery of half another one having apparently ordered a student starter kitchen the first time around.

I then spent a couple of days assembling all the units (except one which arrived damaged). I also assembled the bathroom vanity and have discovered the joy of an electric screwdriver. I quite like the assembly of flat pack furniture and think I may need my own screwdriver soon!

So we now have most of the kitchen units in the living room as well as the bath and sink vanity in the bedroom.

The kitchen doors and drawer fronts arrive after we leave and the worktop apparently won’t be installed until October or possibly November. Crazy bananas!

As for everything else, I’m now on annual leave which translates into annual clean as so far I’ve cleaned two fridges, one and a half ovens, sorted out our downstairs studio, cleaned out the goat room, emptied the scary nook in the garage and cleaned the cabana and outdoor kitchen. Now I wait for the rest of the building work to finish so I can try to get rid of the dust before we leave.

Did I mention we’re leaving on September 2nd? I suspect I did as we’re now counting down the hours rather than days.

On the plus side, the pool has been fantastic all summer and pool fear has abated. Thank goodness there’s a place to plunge into to rinse off the dust and enjoy a little calm in the midst of the chaos!

Progress, chaos and mess

It’s progress but it doesn’t look like progress and it’s chaos and it most certainly is chaos, and as for mess, well…

We are now living downstairs in the studio as the builder’s mess appears to be multiplying day by day. Eventually we’ll be overcome and he’ll have the whole house.

For the time being, I still have a safe room upstairs for work and that’s about it.

On Friday I asked the builder to have a bit of a tidy up. These are the after photos!

The bathroom currently
New mess
Elevated mess
Mess on a hot tile roof
Dining room and mess
Mess on the balcony
Mess with a view
Drive in mess
Mess unplugged
Deconstructed mess
Mess garaged

Sanity and sanctuary!

Back to France

Back to France for another stint at the coal face. Bathroom and kitchen installations with intermittent swimming and meetings continue this summer. Let’s not mention the kitchen!

We’re making good progress with the bathroom and I’m cautiously optimistic it will be finished in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime we’ve relocated to the downstairs studio where the temperature is cooler, there’s less dust and it’s quieter at 7am when the builder arrives. A win win situation!

The roof is back on the bathroom, the bath is in situ albeit back to front and the tiles are arriving on Monday.

Just a few taps to buy and we’re sorted!