It’s been two and a half years since I’ve been to the property we own near Pamiers. John was there eighteen months ago to sort out some of the issues that were eluding the agency. Whenever we arrive, after a period of absence, my heart is in my throat wondering what we may find.
This week was the first opportunity since we’ve been over here, to make the 40 minute trip. We had given Hans, one of the tenants, permission to make use of the barns and have not been charging extra for this courtesy, but now we need to reclaim some storage space for our belongings from the UK once our rental contract finishes at the end of April.
On arrival, the Leprechaun-like Hans greeted us with his usual effervescence and invited us into their Bohemian or hippy-style home for a coffee which he poured from a flask. Although we didn’t see much of the interior, it was clear they live very different life from ours. No TV, a huge daybed in the lounge and a strange arrangement of an extra wood stove feeding into our fire and making use of the chimney. Hans and Élodie have a little boy now so the whole fireplace corner was fenced off from the toddler. Happily they announced another baby is due in September, which means they are now ready and wanting to move on, somewhere closer to a big town. (We saw nothing, on this occasion, of the Pepitones, the tenants in the smaller house).
Across the road, the north barn consists of two lock-up garages; one twice the size of the other. Hans had made an excellent job of tidying all our stuff into five of the six bays in the larger garage and packed his surplus household goods into the sixth bay, leaving a good big space in the centre. He is still using the smaller garage for woodworking and the south barn is full of his metal-working stuff and a large van. He is going to have his work cut out moving all this to his new premises.
The main garden was looking good thanks to Fredo, the gardener we employ to keep the grass cut and the trees and bushes tidy. Violets and daffodils were putting up a colourful show in the rather overgrown front garden but real dedication or love is required to keep this area presentable. A little way down the road, we have a small vegetable plot with a functioning well in the centre but no-one has been growing anything there recently so that too is pretty untidy. I did discover another cluster of daffodils beside the well, which I picked to take home and enjoy. We only stayed long enough for John to improved lighting in the large garage. Not much point, at this stage, in rolling up our sleeves and tackling much more.
The following four days have given us glorious weather with temperatures peaking in the twenties. On a walk one afternoon I even got a bit sun-burnt. Each day I’ve completed a section of finger weeding in Colin’s garden; hard on the knees and back but giving satisfying results. Charles and Camilla are fascinated by my fiddling with the soil in the garden and frequently come to watch or help. They are particularly interested in the den I’ve inadvertently created for them by fixing to the fence, a large builder’s sack into which I decant the weeds.
This blog is based on truth but for privacy and security many of the names have been changed and some of the story may be embellished at times for dramatic effect.