Apologies for the prolonged exterior painting blog. Like those films that wend on and round and just when you think they’ve ended it turns out there’s still another whole section. Like The English Patient. Or Atonement. Or Legends of the Fall by the end of which I was shouting at the screen to anyone who came within of five mile radius of Brad Pitt “steer clear – they all die!!!”
And so it is with my exterior painting. I blogged about shutter colours vs wall colours way back here. And happily you all made suggestions, passed comment etc but as with all best laid plans I seem to have ended up nowhere near any of them.
My paint dramas taking my dreams of a dark cream wall with a white shutter from me – or HAVE they? Here’s how that looks so far…
And once the window frames have been painted white too – it might be calm, serene and sophisticated… So that plan is, to paint all the shutters white (and as they are all in such bad condition they probably need lots of base coating and TLC anyway – check out our Shutter A&E area
Always knew this bit of barn would come in handy for something?
And then – I can take a view. After a long chat with Serge we decided that it might be nice to do at least the doors in a silvery green to match the leaves on my burgeoning lavender plants. (Imagine that conversation in French?) But the truth is I really can’t decide. Anyone got any thoughts then do share. I’m a bit stuck!!
And so I have caught up with myself… The story of our house in France is almost up to date. Which is why my blog posts have become much slower. I could have told you about Uncle Richard and Stuey’s new year visit – of how we had ‘welcome drinks’ in the Salon to celebrate and then danced outside to Wham hits. But I suspect only we really find ourselves amusing and I have the photos on my phone for memories.!!!!
What you really want to know about are renovations. I’ve peppered this blog with personal tales more for my own benefit. A record of all that passed at La Maison while we were painting, varnishing or tiling. And a memory for the children who in the years since we bought it have hurtled towards being a bit ‘France is so lame….’
And this summer is Arthur’s last one before Secondary School. And if that weren’t milestone enough – we decided it would be the summer we paint the exterior of La Maison.
My Dad has passed comment about why we hadn’t ‘smartened up the front a bit’ before now. And my answer is always – when you have no loo to pee in or kitchen to cook in, nicely painted gates seem rather a luxury. And then we needed bedrooms to sleep in and bedrooms for guests to sleep in and extra bathrooms for extra guests and so the faded walls and peeling shutters slid further down our list of priorities.
But this summer with fewer guests than usual and no other major interior jobs to do, we earmarked it for project L’exteriuer…
And so my colour plans began. I decided to keep it simple with beigey, cream walls and white shutters. This would keep costs down (white eggshell cheaper than coloured and easier to repaint) but it would also keep the house relatively true to its history. After a thorough search and tester potstravaganza of fifty shades of cream I settled on one called doves bum or some such and took it to Homebase. “Oh no love – we don’t do colour match masonry paint,” said a helpful man. “But look, this premixed one is virtually the same – Cornish Cream” he added. And so I bought 80 litres of it. And we drove the 80 litres to France. And Peter could hardly wait to get started so on the first day of our Hols he painted a side wall – just to check I still liked it….
And it was dark yellow!!!!! Not cream at all but a horrid, dark, colour that would not allow the sunlight to bounce off it on hot days… I tried to like it, thinking of the 80 litres of it we had. But I couldn’t….
And Peter, who knows me well, knew that I would moan and complain for the next fifteen years if he continued painting the house a colour I wasn’t happy with. So we went to Bricot Depot to see if they had anything preferable. But that’s for another blog post….
I’ve blogged before about how hard it is to blog while here in France. Not because of dodgy broadband access or writers block but simply because I have no down time. I’m either preparing food, playing board games with the kids or doing basic DIY. (My husband will scoff at this but I honestly do wield paint brushes from time to time – or I do faffing about moving vases from A to B which constitutes valuable DIY in my book – I’m a whizz with a sconce!)
So I decided to blog quickly with lots of pics I’ve taken around and about but not shown you before. Mainly of the exterior. We have lots of fields and even a wood – and there are several outbuildings but we tend to use hardly any of it. The fields and woods are overgrown though Peter spends hours driving his ride on lawn mower around them, like Forest Gump.
And partly as we still need to keep an eye on our, or visiting children, the main action all takes place in front of our house. Which is half gravel, half weed infested lawn with two big hammocks strung between the trees.
And in front of the house is a big table and chairs we use for meals – we even ate out here one Xmas Eve. Sometimes in summer it’s actually too hot to sit out here. And besides, Peter hates sunlight and prefers a darkened room. But for me, this is where the holiday cliches come alive. Sitting around our big garden table laden with stinky cheeses and home made quiche.
And then there are barns, and funny disused bits of ground, and gates and doors that lead to other areas. And we hardly use any of it. But it looks pretty. So here is a lazy blog post picturing my grounds…