Guest blog by Fruitcake @barjan
The day after our signing (also our wedding anniversary) we awoke to a lovely, sunny, crisp, frosty morning after a really cosy and warm night, it turned into a really warm day.
After breakfast we got into our work clothes and spent the whole day clearing the rest of the rubbish from the well and clearing the ivy from all over the ruin. We stopped for a salad lunch and to have a chat with yet another farmer who uses the passage (track) He remarked that we have worked hard and looking at the ruin said, with a “You must be mad” expression on his face, that we still had a lot to do! Slight understatement but we laughed with him! When he discovered that we have no mains water connected he went to great pains to make sure we understood that we must not drink the well water. I assured him that we had brought a tank full of water with us. He again stressed that we must not be tempted to drink from the well and even offered to fetch water from his home if we needed it! We were very touched by his concern.
I saw my very first red squirrel!!! How amazing!
We ended our day’s labours by a nice fire eating a warming stew and talking over our day’s events, toasting some bread on the embers of the fire before snuggling up in our warm, cosy bed!
After another good night’s sleep we awoke to yet another glorious, frosty morning and Mr. F. put up in the loft the hardboard we had brought with us, he was really pleased with the condition of the timbers in the roof space.
We had an explore round the area, found out where some of the shops were and back at the cottage stacked all the good roof tiles, that we’d salvaged from the well, the stable and the ruin, ready to store away in the loft.
Our last day, after a frosty start, was yet another glorious day, so hot for March! We shopped for goodies to take home, called into Jean-Paul for some apples and he told us that when he grubs out the trees he will leave them for us – brilliant! Our own supply of apple logs!
After lunch we hoisted everything up into the hayloft, Mr. F. replaced some roof tiles and made a door for the hayloft. While he was doing that I cleared away undergrowth from the ruin and made a wonderful discovery, a beautiful flight of stone steps at the end! We were so excited by this discovery! They’re beautiful! I carried on revealing them bit by bit.
When the sun got too hot we stopped for a nice cold beer. Yet another farmer stopped and we discussed the work we have to do, the passage, the access, the orchard and, of course, the sunshine. I really think that we are a great source of curiosity to our surrounding neighbours, they view us with a definite mixture of puzzlement, disbelief and I think a little bit of admiration!
I planted some bits of shrubs that I’d brought and we stopped after 7pm to tidy up and load onto the van all that we could, ready for our journey home the next morning.
We really didn’t want to leave after four glorious days, lots of discoveries made, lots of friends made and so very cosy in our room with it’s green, slimy walls.
We didn’t sleep so well that night, probably the thought of leaving the idyllic lifestyle, so had an early start, loading on the van things to go, putting up in the loft things to stay and Mr F. secured the door. We left the kitchen units in the room although there was no lock on the door. We took back the sickle to Marcel, complete with the new handle Mr. F. had put on to replace the worm ridden one which had snapped like a carrot! He was thrilled and we promised we’d see them again on our return in June. We left with a very heavy heart to make our way home.
We were stopped for a routine check by the gendarmes on the way and when we were asked what the purpose of our journey had been we replied “Camping!” they did except this reply though I’m not sure what they thought we needed the ladder for, which was strapped to the roof rack!
It all seemed so noisy and busy on our return and we just couldn’t wait to get back to the peaceful existence we’d enjoyed.