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Welcome to our Terry(ace)!

26 Jan

Dear friends, this is a block-buster of a story!

This is the terrace on the middle floor of the house. It’s usually full of flowers and bags of rubble heading to the tip (aka. filling for Carol and Jeanot’s road). The terrace also provides the roof of the bathroom on the ground floor below, and until this week was also providing rain water for the bathroom floor! Too many leaky holes to repair so drastic measures were taken. Hence the block-bustering image below!

Jeanot destroying the old terrace

Jeanot with very long legs in the bathroom below!

More than 100 barrow loads of concrete rubble later…and Carol will never need the gym ever again…But just admire the results for a moment. As the new concrete beams and blocks are fitted neatly into the terrace, it’s strong enough to handle a few extra croissants and water tight for the next 400 years.

New terrace floor nearly complete

And then just like a beautiful grey cake, she is iced to perfection. Check out that smooth skim work everyone. Ready to welcome you.

da da!

But what’s that beautiful surprise embedded in the wall you ask?

Jeanot laying the tile

Jeanot keeping her level

This tile was brought all the way from Launceston, Tasmania. Made by Margaret’s father Terry in the 1950’s and until now lived in her mother, Nan’s garden for over 50 years. Terry was a great francophile and artist and as Nan left the family home we made a promise to relocate Terry’s duck tile to our french home. As ever Jeanot skillfully handles the work with the utmost care.

Happy worker (and watcher)

Worker and courier admire the artwork.

Terry's beautiful hand-made tile finally  comes to France

And here’s a close up.

Nan and Terry's duck

And the biggest surprise of all was Nan’s visit to Le Barry last year (more of these adventures coming soon). She is delighted to see Terry’s soul in France again. As are we.

ciao friends, with love, Margaret, Justy, Carol, Jeanot, Nan (and Terry).

Next week…Nan living it up at Ben and Lorena’s wedding!

Our heavenly stairway

31 Mar

Hola / Bonjour / G’day,

This week’s news is all about the ups and downs at Le Barry. Whilst the floods were drowning Wagga Wagga and the biggest earthquake in twenty-five years was shaking the artist residencies of Mexico City, things were going up and down, up and down, up and down in France.

Now happily reunited,  we are keen to share the latest happenings at Le Barry.

Big news: After four centuries, Le Barry now has the affordance of a stunning cedar staircase. Hewn from local timber and shaped by a local craftsman, our very own master builder Jeanot has locked this work of art into place. It took several days to assemble the stairs into the tight spot, but  Carol and Jeanot have now successfully (and beautifully) linked the lower two floors of the house. Sunlight now graces every corner of the kitchen. This, alongside Carol’s incredible work on re-pointing the kitchen walls has really lightened the room and pretty much, well, transformed it into a not quite finished kitchen/ diner!

As you can see the staircase arrived in pieces.

Staircase leaving Le Campmas.

Ready to assemble in the kitchen at Le Barry

It’s a tight space to fit a set of stairs but Jeanot worked out that we could drop the stairs just between the two kitchen doors.

Fitting the staircase, Le Barry

Starting from the bottom, Le Barry

Nearly There, Le Barry

Nearly There, Le Barry

Cuppa anyone?

Voila!

This staircase will revolutionise life at Le Barry. For one thing you will no longer have to face the elements in your undies when you are trying to either 1) get breakfast in bed for your lover, 2) refresh your Pastis, 3) take a shower. Now you can elegantly descend the stairs with champagne flutes in hand and your modesty intact, and all without getting your feet wet.

To close this post, we’ve mentioned the ups, there were also a couple of downs this week.

A minor incident with a chainsaw, thigh and falling tree. Followed by a near anaphalactic bee sting. The workforce was halved for a day, as Jeanot regained his composure at Le Campmas. No workers comp here.

Until next week. Onwards and upwards!

M and J x

Busman’s holiday / Kitchen antics

17 Sep

Hello revelers,

This week we have old and recent news.

Great news –  Tasmanian backpackers Annie and Ollie en route from Nice to Oktoberfest, called in to spend a few days eating with Carol and Jeannot. They made a site visit, looked for sanglier and hit the Cité with Carol. Great to have the first Antipodeans to visit the forest!

Bad news – Percy is dead. Until some weeks ago he lived blissfully with Polly in a lovely pigeon house at Carol’s house. He even had a son named Petit jeanot (so he wouldn’t be eaten). Then one day Carol went out to feed brekky to the family and it seems Percy ‘slipped’ from his perch in the night. All we can say is that Petit Jeanot seems happy with the extra room, so we’re not quite sure what’s going on there. We received this short email from Carol:

I forgot to tell you that we found percy dead yesterday morning. Polly is sitting on two eggs and petit jeanot seems to be fending for himself. It is very sad, we don’t know why he died. Love, mum xxx

RIP Percy x

On a brighter note, work is progressing a pace in the kitchen at Le barry. We have had to import the workforce to pick up the hard yakka as jeannot’s broken foot is still mending – did we even mention that? Poor fella. A tree fell on it.

Enter stage left…Toby (aka Justy’s sister Helen). She came for a holiday but opted to work. Go the Phillips. Go.

Toby sanding the stairs

We love them!

Working under site manager Carol, Toby has set to work demolishing the kitchen. This led us to a short but fulfilling reminiscence  of our recent kitchen antics…during our trip at Easter earlier this year when we took up our first in-house camping residency.

What's cooking good looking?

Cooking up a storm

Someone seems to sitting around on their backside A LOT. Oh those moody nights starring into an open flame…

IS there anything I can do to help?

And now, the kitchen has GONE!!!!! Thanks Toby and Carol x. You’ll notice they’ve left room for the new bar to be installed!

Very tidy workers...

Smash it Toby.

And not to leave the others out of the picture, here’s a happy snap of all the kids! Until next week x x x x x x

We are family... uh huh uh huh uh huh

Next week…The secret garden!

Spring into Autumn

27 Mar

So, another week passes in Le Barry and Le Wagga and Le Melbourne and Le Canberra. Busy busy jet-setting lives we lead! Finally, we are sitting down together to try and think of something tremendously witty to share with you all on a Sunday evening.

Hmm.

It’s spring at Le Barry and most definitely Autumn in Wagga. We have the pumpkins to prove it. They have the snowdrops and blossom. At Le Campmas (Carol and Jeannot’s home) it appears that Polly and Percy are suffering from some kind of S.A.D. syndrome, and two more pigeons are being sought this week to cheer them up and hopefully assist in the baby-pigeon-making-thing. Bob and Eddy do not appear to be suffering at all. Olga, one of Carol’s chickens died.

Spring at Le Barry. Why isn't this man working?

This week we have a great photo of Jeannot’s builders crack and Carol’s fine point work. As they continue to labour in love (apart from the odd chisel and trowel blow up on site), Le Barry is looking better than ever. Well, water tight anyway.

Jeannot removing the bedroom floor beam (not weight bearing or essential!)...Just means you won't trip over in the night.

Carol doing a magnificent job re-pointing the lounge wall.

Just to prove that we are living it up in the high life/ French style here in Wagga, we are presenting our final crop of Butternut pumpkins. There are 27. No need to count.

Eddy, protector of pumpkins and all things good in the world.

Breaking news! Carol’s just been to a vide grenier – french for ‘attic sale’ (will supply full report next week) and bought a big green arm chair for Le Barry. oh there’s deco lights, pots and pans, crockery and mockery, and so much more to be revealed in next week’s riveting installment, so sit tight and have a great week. x J and M

ugly or beautiful? who cares after a hard day on the trowel. And only 5 euros we hear you say! Incredible!

Stairway to..?

19 Feb

Dear friends,

This week’s post addresses a significant problem at Le Barry. Suppose you wanted to get down to the kitchen from the lounge but didn’t want to have to jump out of the 2nd floor window to get there, you’d probably be thinking…Let’s build a staircase which links the two floors, non? And that is this week’s challenge to the workers.

The first ‘step’ in this monumental task was to decide where to cut the hole for the staircase. Thankfully there is already a staircase leading from the lounge on the second floor upstairs to the bedroom. So, we are ‘extending’ these stairs down to the kitchen. In theory. Easy.

Look at this beautiful hole. Neat as a pin and ready for the next step…

Step two. How to make the staircase? Clearly we have no idea how this is going to happen, but luckily Jeannot and Jean do. Jean lives in the same hamlet of Le Campmas as Carol and Jeannot. He is a carpenter and has offered to accept the challenge of the new stairs.

Here is a photo of Jean (right), Jeannot (centre) and Barthas – the wood cutter (left). Barthas owns the local wood mill and is supplying the raw materials for all those working hands.

Step three. Decision time. There are two options for the wood. We can either build the staircase from local chestnut or cedar trees. We choose chestnut. Warmer, stronger and we think kind of sexier sounding near a wood fire.

But…

Alas, on the site visit, J and C discover that the glorious chestnut is all there but will not be ready for another year. And we may need to go downstairs in the next twelve months. so, easy. Cedar it is. Oh we LOVE CEDAR. fresh, hard, and AVAILABLE. x x x

Here are some images from Barthas’ wood yard in Miravel Cabardes.

And finally, the men select the wood.To be stored for a while in C and J’s shed.

may your feet tread softly upon our heavenly stairway.

Have a good week all. x J and M.

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