French Property News magazine.

Black Diamond.

Towards the end of last year I was asked by the editor of French Property News Magazine to write an article for them about how we found our home, the buying process, the renovation work, Daglan village and the surrounding area. At first nerves took hold and I thought no, then on reading past blogs and our experiences, who could forget the arsenic paint on our toilet door, or the shower that kept me practising Yoga every time that I used it!, I thought yes I can write the article.

The editor loved the article and our pictures and it was published in the March issue of French Property News magazine and now the April issue has been published I can show my article in our blog for you to read. I hope that you like it.

Just click on the page image to open an enlargement in a new window (Use keys to override your popup blocker if needed).

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Heart of gold – Our first year in Daglan

I was reminded by our son that it was one year ago today my husband, son and cats began the long drive to Daglan. I followed by plane a few days later and the year has just flown by so quickly with some ups and downs along the way, we made it here and eventually so did our furniture!

When we look back over the year and through our extensive photograph collection, the pictures that mean the most to us are our pictures of the people here in Daglan, they are truly “the heart of gold.” We have meet so many new and interesting people that it is those people that stand out the most in our lives. From the very start of our new life here a warm “Bonjour” made us welcome by the doctor, dentist, government officials, the plumber and chimney sweep, our new friends who gave us lavender plants and friends that we have known for a few years thank you so much, it has been a good year.

Before I start to shed a few tears here are some of our most memorable pictures from the past year.

Le La VertDaglan fête was a time of celebration at Le Thé Vert.

 

Daglan fêteThe parade with our Maire in the middle of the picture, wonderful.

 

Sunday market at DaglanThe view from our balcony over looking the Sunday market.

 

Train A Vapeur De MartelI so loved this steam train ride, fabulous.

 

SunflowersPeople here have asked me what the weather was like in Blackpool during the Summer. These are a few words that I jotted down before we left England.

July in England. Billowing wind that has whipped up the many seagulls from the coast and has now drifted inland across the house tops and buildings of Blackpool. Then the sharp, stinging drizzle fell growing in strength until the grey clouds were turned into black sheets of unforgiving rain.

In contrast.

July in Daglan. Summer gasped upon the village like the mouth of a great oven. Even in the shade of the canopy in our courtyard it was too hot for me to sit outside for long periods. This was the time of flowers, butterfly’s and moths which would glide and dance around our growing vine. We took our walk down the lane beside the river Céou to see the horses, dragon flies and lizards much earlier in the day than during the Spring time. The cries of the cicadas seemed to become more insistent with each hot day until they hit a crescendo. This was the time for barbecues, for visiting friends old and new and to sit back and enjoy our first year.

WelcomeWelcome to the village party, it does not get any better than this.
 

Our first year in DaglanWe have completed a lot of decorating, DIY and renovation work this year, from the completely new bathroom, to the corridor floor, to painting the window frames, shutters, balcony, and veranda and much more too tedious to tell. Our next project is to focus on the rear of the property, however, a rest is in order as our son is arriving from the UK this afternoon. On second thoughts a rest might not be the right word, for I am sure a Cro-Magnon cave or two will be visited, canoeing on the Dordogne and we will visit our favourite medieval town of Sarlat.

A final word, if your dream is to move to France but you are feeling a little trepidation, a new country, different culture and way of life. Do not let apprehension stop you, go for it, you will never look back. The French love life and so will you, Bon Courage.

 

 

Problems of the undulating floor and walls of our corridor.

Old property in France does seem to have the same problems, the undulating floors and walls that meander at irregular intervals. Personally I love the quirkiness of our home, it has character but not so much when you are putting down a new floor covering along the corridor which runs past the bathroom and the bedrooms.    Paul measured the floor, the walls, the distance between the walls, scratched his head, and said “there could be a problem”.  The corridor zigzags past the bathroom, turns left by the stairwell then right to the long stretch past the bedrooms, you guessed it, the corners are not right angles.

DSCN1606To work, the first problem was the carpet which seemed to be stuck down with super glue. But not to be deterred Paul battled on, a centimetre at a time.
The second problem was, as I stated earlier the floor which is not level but kind of slopes down to the bathroom and then undulates down the main corridor. After careful consideration and several failed attempts at laying the flooring Paul started from the centre of the corridor and then worked towards the walls.

 

DSCN1612A good plan but frustrating when you lay a piece of wood down which is straight at one end and is up at the other. Another plan cut the floor boards into smaller lengths then jigsaw them together, it worked. You can see from this photograph how the corridor goes from wide to narrow and back to wide as you go towards the door to the veranda.

 

French propertyAngel, always vigilant for a game decided to play hide and seek with the box.

I thought that it would take weeks to complete the corridor but Paul had it finished in a few days, bravo.

 

The event of the year in Daglan.
IMG_20160811_154309bWe have four days of sleepless nights to come, the speakers for the music are usually placed at the corner of our home so very, very loud but on a positive note we shall certainly enjoy the parade, fireworks and the bands that play. Just hoping for rock music and we shall be happy.

Enjoy

The ups and downs of renovation

We have been working particularly hard the last three weeks renovation our bathroom. The first job for me was to clean the antique mirror that we bought at the brocante in Daglan a few weeks ago. After various checks on the internet it was found that washing up liquid in a bucket of water was the best idea for cleaning old gilt, so armed with a soft toothbrush I set to work one sunny afternoon.

renovationTwo hours later I had completed the back of the mirror the difficult intricate detail on the front of the mirror was yet to come. After informing Paul that dinner would be a little late this evening I set to work once more.

Another three hours work and the mirror was finished.

 

DSCN1418The original mirror from the bathroom was taken down and placed onto our son’s bedroom wall. A wooden frame was built and varnished to match the wooden bed on the right hand side of the picture.
 

DSCN1419Unfortunately Paul realised that the partition walls upstairs were thinner than the length of the drill, he had drilled through to the next bedroom. This is one hole there are three others. Never mind, its just another job on our to do list.
 

We were only going to re-tile one wall but after completing the one wall with new the tiles, the old tiles looked even more terrible so another two walls needed work, another trip to Sarlat this time for more tiles. Paul took off the old tiles and you guessed it, the plaster came off too. Back to the DIY store for plaster which took four days to dry.

DSCN1421Here is half of one of the walls with the new tiles the other half of the wall took longer to tile due to the undulating nature of our walls.
 

Next came the wall at the back of the shower and toilet so Paul protected the shower and toilet with plywood and cardboard. One tile fell off, hit the cardboard corner first, cut it and the plywood like a knife through butter and the result can be seen in this picture.

DSCN1422I am glad to say that a new toilet was bought on the next visit to the DIY store and is now in place.
 

DSCN1432Finished with no further problems and looking great. The wash hand stand was purchased from a brocante shop in Daglan that Paul renovated. It has a gorgeous marble top that cleaned better than we expected and is in keeping with the period of the house.
 
 

Events:- Not to be missed- Daglan Art’Ceou Exposition which runs from the 19th June to the 3rd July

Also, Fête de la Musique – 21st June in Sarlat throughout the Medieval town, for jazz, blues and rock music.

The One Of A Kind!

To be really honest, like many people who was scared while watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie “Psycho” in their early teenage years, I had developed a phobia to showers, in particular showers with curtains! So it was a little upsetting to have a one of a kind shower in our small bathroom in France.

To be fair it did not have a shower curtain but it was a strange cylinder shape that made you feel totally enclosed once inside, I should mention that I am also claustrophobic!

DSCN1127

Our old cylinder shower

 

However, I am not one to shrink from a challenge and into the shower I went, panic at first but then I was so busy trying to keep the non closing door closed to prevent the water going all over the bathroom floor, and at the same time trying to regulate the temperature of the water from freezing to boiling point that my fear dissipated long enough for me to have a shower.

Shower

Not a lot of room as you can see, it had to go.

 

After planning the layout of the bathroom and looking at and testing out showers! I must explain that in order to have a new shower in the bathroom I had to step inside each shower on display in the various stores we visited to test out my phobia, panic or no panic! The result is below, a new shower which is perfect, no panic at all.

DSCN1178

In with the new

 

Now all we need to do is to find an antique wash stand with a marble top and a hand basin to compliment it, remove the tiles from the walls and floor and replace them with something more to our liking, paint the woodwork. The to do list seems to be getting longer!

 

French News:-

Single-use plastic bags are set to be banned from French shops by this month, April 2016. A second law is planned for January 2017, which will ban all other kinds of disposable plastic bags including those provided for packing fruit, vegetables and cheese!

Also, a ‘doggy bag’ law has come into force in France in an attempt to cut down on food wastage in restaurants across the country, brilliant, although I do not remember leaving enough food to take home when I have eaten in a French restaurant!

No radiator leaks

We have returned from our renovation work on our home in Daglan France, with great news – no radiator leaks. I was ready for the annual flood of water which always starts with a small trickle and finishes with an indoor swimming pool, but no leaks, wonderful.

One of our tasks this visit was to make our home more “cat friendly”. This we completed with the help of bamboo fencing on the balcony, veranda and courtyard.

DSCN0772I plan to grow a variety of pot plants that will I hope, meander up and along the bamboo.

DSCN0804The large veranda at the back of the house is still in need of some loving care. We are hoping to replace the windows and install French door’s after our move to France.

DSCN0805More bamboo fencing? Paul relaxing in our courtyard on a gorgeous hot day.

https://ourfrenchdream.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/dscn0806.jpg”>DSCN0806And we partitioned the chaufferie – boiler room.

With luck the more obvious cat temptations are now less tempting … but cats will be cats.

On A Long Hot Summer Night

Now that Spring is here the thought of Summer is not too far away, my thoughts go back to the gorgeous days and warm nights of the Perigord last summer.

Castlenaud bathed in sunshineCastlenaud bathed in sunshine

a picnic on the shore We had a picnic on the shore and watched the canoes go by.

a swim in the dordogneSo hot that two dogs just had to go for a swim in the cooling water of the Dordogne.

This will be our last blog for a few weeks, we are going to France.
So once again our ‘to do’ list:-

1. Leave home after breakfast, awesome, the flight time has changed to one o’clock, so no getting up in the middle of the night.

2. Frantic rush in France to buy groceries at the Supermarket before it closes.

3. Check radiators for leaks, bucket in one hand and plumbers phone number in the other hand.

4. Clean and make up the beds, the house has been closed since last September but it gets so dirty.

5. We are in need of a chimney sweep before October so the hunt is on.

6. Order and take delivery of a couple of thousand litres of central heating oil.

7. Make a list of everything that we will need to buy at the DIY store-also a list for the market – shops will be closed for two or three days for Ascension Day ‘faire le pont’.

8. Visit friends

9. Work on the balcony-if sunny, it’s too open for our curious cats or make a boiler room door if raining, also too open for curious cats.

10. Enquire about a phone and internet connection

11. Visit Flea market in Sarlat

12. More cleaning and DIY

13. Our treat-visit Chateau de Hauteford

14. Paint the French window in the master bedroom

15. Visit more friends

Next blog on our return