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A Year in the Rire!

And what a year it has been! In many ways we have done so much, accomplished loads. However there is still much to do so we cannot be complacent, nor too please with ourselves. Not yet anyhow.

Christmas has been and gone and here in le sud one could blink and miss it. The French are not as full of the Christmas spirit as the English, or is that the Christmas tack? The shops do not start trying to sell you Christmas goods until at the earliest late November, Christmas cards are not sent here and if you do not go into a major town the villages are quite subdued. Luckily there is always one nutter who covers his house with outrageous lights. I love it!

The other thing that is quite different here is that, although they do give presents they are not as important here and the average spend is less. However, and this will come as not great surprise I am sure, their average spend per head on food is 3 times that of the UK! Eating well and drinking fine wine is of utmost importance in France, quite right too. The celebrations start on the 24th, as with all catholic countries, and continue on into the 25th. Going to a market is essential at this period as they are a feast for the eyes and nose. We met up with Garth and his family on the 24th at Narbonne Market and it was superb. Foie gras, oysters, shellfish galore, cheeses, wild game, dried fruits and sweetmeats abound. It was really lovely, no pressure to buy Aunty May some stupid gift that she doesn’t want, it’s all about enjoying a convivial tine together with fine food and wine, what better?

The house has taken a back seat recently as Chris and I collapsed into an exhausted heap over the Christmas period. We have been catching up on a lot of sleep, tea drinking and an old friend, reading. What luxury. We were supposed to have a workaway called Peter with us now for 2 weeks. But he kept changing the dates and was getting complicated so we cancelled him. To be honest we are beyond organising and hosting anyone right now, so we have decided to have January to ourselves.

Chris has a lot of client work to do so I am going to take on the plastering with the help of Garth, Junior and Jamie all of whom owe us a days work. God knows what the results will be like, rustic I fear! In fact 2012 will see us concentrating a lot more on our businesses as we can no longer afford to work so heavily on the house. We will have to slot the renovation around paid work. It has been great to be able to accomplish so much but it is amazing how quickly you get through money when you are not bringing it in and all you are doing is spending, spending, spending!

Here is a reminder of what it was like in the beginning and what we have accomplished…

The house at the beginning
Demolotion of the false ceilings
Creating windows in May
Building walls in June
The start of the heating installation, August
Windows and doors start to go in ready for autumn, September
More openings for windows, September/October
Strawbale wall in the workshop, mid October
The first burn of the eco heating system, mid November
Electricity, plumbing and painting mid November/December
A bath for Christmas!


  • Brett
    Posted January 2, 2012 1:32 pm 0Likes

    And 2012 will be even better!

    • lamaisondurire
      Posted January 6, 2012 7:33 pm 0Likes

      Let’s hope so! Bonne Année to you and Wink, hope the skiing is good

  • Sharon Maynard
    Posted January 6, 2012 6:31 pm 0Likes

    Hi Emma and Chris. Feliz anos neuvos! So good to hear that all still going well with you guys – we think of you often. Me and Jay are now based in Spain and keeping busy. Kind of in the same boat – trying to find funding for land…… so if you know of any French banks that have rubbish security let us know. We’ll come and visit with balaclavas in hand!!! Jay said that you can come and help us if you want as you’ve got so much spare time on your hands – only 5 hours a day!!!! Joking aside – good luck with 2012. One day we will return to see your good work. Lots of love, Sharon and Jay xxx

    • lamaisondurire
      Posted January 6, 2012 7:35 pm 0Likes

      Aaah Bonne Année to you two, lovely to hear your news. Have you quit Jersey for good then? Jay have you got your sights on a vineyard? Chris says we will be there to help, once we have finished here!!! Not long then….
      Look forward to seeing you, even if you don’t want to graft, come and see the changes!
      All the best

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