Thursday, 21 August 2014

Au vent......?????

Work continues on the final stages of the renovation of our house. The inside is finished but we are busy with various jobs outside including the building of an outside toilet and shower room. Next to this I am constructing what the French refer to as an au vent, or covered terrace. 

This week I have been busy with the oak frame for the main structure and next week I hope to complete the roof.

Hmm that looks about right!

So having chopped some mighty mortice and tenon joints lifted the very heavy oak sections into position the first stage is more or less complete.

That's a good job done.
 Next stage - the roof and then complete the stonework etc.

Historic French high chair?

We do try and accommodate the various requirements of our many guests over the summer months here at Les Deux Platanes. 

Next week we have a couple arriving with a small child that would benefit from using a 'high chair'. We have a cot but not a high chair so we decided to try and locate a chair locally and within the week an email arrived, high chair spotted requires some TLC!

So having crossed the palm of the seller with a few euro I began the relatively easy task of renovating the chair. Not being an expert on high chairs I was impressed to see how the chair operates and it appears to be of a typical French design. Our local French friends have a similar chair and it is over 60 yrs old.

Coat of paint, respray and some transfers and it looks just fine
However this chair is a 'convertachair' - see below!

Amazing, a quick fold and you have a play desk!
Nice pictures Maureen!
So there you have it, refurbished high chair, hope the little guest likes it!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Having been visiting this tiny hamlet for nearly 40 years we have a close relationship with all our French friends and neighbours. During the winter months members of the hamlet 'events commitee', (a committee in the very simplest terms) organise a number of 'Tea Dances' in Chatillon and the profits from these dances fund some community events in the summer. 

On the 2nd August we held our annual 'mechuoi', a lunch and dinner with boules and card games in between. We are always involved in the preparations and running of the event during the day, its wonderful to be part of the community something that unfortunately we do not always find in the fast paced life in the UK. Mechuoi has its origins in North Africa and roasting a sheep over a log barbecue is central to the events dining experience. So at the crack of dawn the fire is lit and the sheep from a local farmer is put on to roast. 

Both Maureen and I were there at 8.00am sharp to help prepare the event, this despite being out the night before until 1.00am, All the helpers had a pause for breakfast at 9.00pm, the offal from the sheep is fried along with garlic and herbs and sandwiches of French bread made ----along with the statutory glass of local wine. We then set up the trestle tables, lay the plates etc and hang up the bunting. On top of all of this we also had new guests arriving at the cottage so had to escape the preparations to give the cottage its normal thorough clean and prepare....a busy day indeed.

All the locals from baby to grandmas in wheelchairs start to arrive around 12.15pm with much hand shaking and kissing all round. This year the aperos were made by the local children supervised by some adults produced a startling collection of tasty morsels which was all washed down with some very nice lemon / sugar / Sauvignon apperitif especially made by our neighbour Alain.

Everyone sat down for the starters and then the sheep was removed from the spit and carved for serving.

This, of course, is France so the afternoon meal continues with cheese, multiple choices of desert made by another local family all washed down with copious amounts of local wine. Around 6.00pm we stop eating etc and the Boules / cards games start....

Yes you have to have staying power to survive the day. This being a Saturday we also had new guests arriving so once settled in they were invited down to join the evening meal. You can spot them here looking rather pensive although Joshua who is 14 is putting on a great smile. 

Our new cottage guests having arrived late afternoon were invited to join the evening meal, Josh is putting on his best smile.

The eating, drinking and festivity continues and by 1.30am we were finished - a wonderful day with wonderful neighbours and friends, it is indeed a privilege to be involved. Next day we were up bright and early to wash dishes and clear away tables etc.