We’ve had a lovely Christmas.  Tools have been put away and the crib board has been resurrected!

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Christmas Day at La Biochère

Christmas morning dawned with a stunning sunrise…

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Tea and pain aux raisins for breakfast before settling down in the living room in front of the fire…..

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to open our presents – with Colin’s help……

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We were totally spoilt by everyone – thank you!

We thought we’d keep it simple and have a roast chicken for Christmas dinner, so once the bird was in the oven, we went for a little stroll up and down the lane….

View from up the farmer’s track…

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Down the lane….

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The stream was in full flow and the cows seemed to be happy wading in it!  M Fouquet’s cows have been taken indoors for the winter, so we only have Hervés cows in the immediate field for company now – # 2679 is still keeping an eye out for the odd windfall!

Back home and dinner was soon ready, once the table was laid and candles lit…

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We spent a lazy afternoon and evening watching films in the comfort of the living room – the effort to get it finished in time for Christmas was so worth it!

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Boxing Day

When I went downstairs to sort the cats out, it was just getting light but the moon was still up, just….

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Colin had spent the night out, so slept for most of the morning in the sunshine in the kitchen next to the new cushions from Mum and Dad!

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Jim was happy sleeping next to his water bottles and Mouse was settled in the living room….

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So, after a day off and relaxing, we thought we’d do a few ‘little’ jobs!!  We’d bought a splash-back for the hob and were keen to get it up to save it getting accidentally damaged….

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Et voila!

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And Edward put up one of the shelves and boxes we’d bought from the brocante at Fresnay…

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It was nice to get a few more bits and bobs up and out of the way and, in case you’re wondering, the box holds candles in the main section and matches in the drawer 🙂

Le Plage

The next day, we had a little drive into our nearest village, St Germain de Coulamer, where we discovered their recycling and refuge area – much nearer than Izé, where we’d been going to previously.

Instead of going straight back home, we took a drive over to the lake at Sillé le Guillaume and had a stroll along the shore line – it was so peaceful…

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Surprisingly, the catkins were coming out – it’s been so mild here (and everywhere else, it seems) – just reading this morning that daffodils are flowering in Pas de Calais!

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Other little jobs

To be honest, I’ve found it hard to stop doing things around the house, well, specifically in the kitchen….

Once the splash-back was up, I decided to wall-paper the canopy – it had previously been painted with some sort of wood treatment, so painting it directly with emulsion didn’t work….

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I also wall-papered under the canopy, which houses the extractor fan.  Sadly, it didn’t stick and was hanging off the next morning – I discovered that the under-canopy was so greasy, the glue couldn’t stick, so I had to re-do it.  Second time around I was successful and once painted, it will make it even brighter over that section of the work top.

And as I had some glue made up, I thought I’d just line the fuse box cupboard, which Edward had kitted out with shelving….

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We decided it was the perfect place for the condiments, and other bits and bobs!

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First visitors

Some months ago, we bought a three-piece suite from an English couple via AngloInfo.  The settee and one of the armchairs are in the kitchen.  We kept in touch with the couple, Ruth and Kevin, who have been really helpful with contact details for reliable tradesmen and yesterday we had them come and visit for a cup of tea and cake…

So the day before, in my nearly finish kitchen, I did some baking!  It was lovely – the kitchen layout works really well and I could find everything I needed really easily – what luxury!

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Victoria Sponge at the ready!

Oh, and I made this for New Year’s Day…

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We had a very enjoyable few hours with Kevin and Ruth – we have quite a lot in common – Kevin and Edward are magpies (both like to collect wood for projects) and Ruth and I both like crafts and making things.  We showed them the barn where Edward’s workshop is and my studio will be, with time.  They later sent us photos of Kevin’s workshop – Edward certainly has something to aspire to now, it looks fantastic, even I’m envious!

We’re looking forward to our next meeting with them 🙂

Getting creative

When Kevin and Ruth had gone, I brought the sewing machine downstairs – I have a few sewing projects lined up, not least the curtains for the doors and windows.  It’s been ages since I’ve done any sewing, so I started off small….

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I thought this small piece of fabric would be ideal for…..

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A much needed draft excluder – perfect (well, it will be when I’ve added the zip for opening)!!  I have enough fabric for the other door too, so that will be something to make this afternoon 🙂

Farewell to 2015 and welcome 2016!

So, it’s New Year’s Eve.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our first few months here in France and hope that we shall continue to do so.  We have dates booked already for friends and family visiting next year, which we’re really looking forward to – hopefully the DIY in the house will be done in time!!!

Wishing one and all a very happy, healthy and peaceful 2016.

Julie, Edward, Jim, Mouse and Colin ♥

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