Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Back from wintry France

We arrived back from France last night, after, errmm, what should I call it.... an interesting 10 days at the cottage. Well, let me explain -

Winters in our part of France can get pretty cold, thats what we love though, distinctly different seasons. And normally it isn't a problem. We go to the cottage in the winter knowing that for the first day and half, it will be pretty cold in the cottage, while the very thick field stone walls absorb the heat from the central heating radiators and the open fire. After that, once the walls have adjusted, its very cosy, and we can do without either the fire or the central heating.

However, we hadn't realised that our particular area had had a prolonged spell of very cold weather, between minus 15 and minus 20 C, and the cottage was VERY cold when we got there. It was minus 2C inside! Again, not normally problem, except.............. everything had frozen solid because of the long spell of icy cold weather. Bit of a nightmare, lol. Andy spent the first two days with fan heaters and hairdryers trying to defrost pipes, the toilet, taps etc, only to find that two of the copper pipes for the central heating system had burst, and the water cistern for the toilet had split. Oh joy. My hero did get the hot water system ( which is separate from the central heating, fortunately ) going on the second day, so we had hot water for baths, showers, washing up etc. No. 3 son Nick and I spent our time huddled in front of the fireplace, feeding it wood like crazy and doing not much more than crocheting ( me, not Nick, tehehe ) and watching films.

For the first few days, the temp outside dropped to around minus 12C at night, and didn't get much higher during the day, but then things got a little warmer, only minus 3 or thereabouts, and it snowed! And after a few days, we actually managed to get the temp in the cottage up to a summery 12C, woohoo. And towards the end of our stay, we managed a positively tropical 20C, even without the central heating working, lol. Those French fireplaces are darned efficient. Warm enough to finally invite some of our neighbours round for the essential French apero ( drinkies and nibbles before dinner, which is very late in France ) on Saturday night. We are so very lucky to have such wonderful neighbours. We spent a fabulous evening with them, laughing so much that my jaw was still aching on Sunday morning.

But thats enough waffling from me, I'll show you a few pics. Firstly, meet ......... THE SLUG! Tehehehe, Nick had been wise enough to bring his sleeping bag -

DS thought it was a little unkind calling him a slug, lol. But come on, it does rather look like a giant green slug!

Things were definitely looking up when it started snowing -

And once the cottage was nice and warm, the doggies didn't need to snuggle under a blanket, they just curled up on top -

Sunday evening we spent with our dearest friends Frank and Christine, who had very kindly invited us all ( yep, including the doggies ) to dinner. Monday morning we packed up and made our way back to the UK. Despite the little disasters, we thoroughly enjoyed our time at the cottage. Next time we go, it will be a lot warmer and my hero DH will fix the central heating system.

I did miss out on making my Tag Tuesday tag and my inchies for Every Inchie Monday though, so I have some catching up to do. I managed to make last week's TT tag this morning and post it on the TT blog. The theme was Valentine's day, and this is my somewhat hastily made tag -

I made one of the inchies as well, but haven't taken photos yet. Hopefully I will be able to get the rest of the inchies, as well as this week's tag, done tomorrow.

I did bring a few bits and pieces back from France, which I will photograph tomorrow as well and list. Fingers crossed that the weather will play nice and give me plenty of nice light.

Until then, toodlepip xxx


Queenie Believe said...

Looks like a fun time was had... once things warmed up a bit.
Beautiful tags!
Have a great day.
Always, Queenie

annouchka said...

I enjoyed your post so much that I thought I needed to leave you a comment. I'm French and I experienced this winter with pretty much the same feelings as yours .... I had a good laugh reading your account of your stay in France... I even thought of making of your story a reading exercise for my students... well, in fact, maybe I'm going to think about it again... I'm going to go on with the reading of your blog. Thanks for the laugh!


Salma said...

ooooh, ich würde dich ja echt gerne bemitleiden und sagen "was IHR da alles mitgemacht habt" - aber: ES GEHT NICHT! :D
euer cottage ist einfach so unglaublich süß und schön, ich glaub, da würd ich es auch bei -12°C aushalten *haha*

ganz im ernst: die fotos sehen so toll aus, da würd ich am liebsten meine sachen packen und nach frankreich fahren... *seufz*

naja, wie auch immer - ich freu mich, dass ihr trotz all der scherereien eine schöne zeit hattet :)

liebste grüße

PetraB said...

It might have been cold but it looks so wonderfully wintery!. And your hasty tag is so pretty and lovely.

Dorthe said...

Oh my dear Liz, what an experience,how very unfurtunate for you-- but good you came there, before more disasters had occured-
I can see you there, covered in blankets and close to the fire place, bussy crocheting in between the film watching, :-)
I`m thankful for you that your husbond made it for warm water.
It is looking so very beautiful there,OH what a wonderful nature around- and so gorgeous in snow.
I`m glad to "have " you back home- and see you posting,-
the tag is sweet and romantic-so wonderful with the little blings inside the hearts.
Love to you-

Debby said...

Your son may look like a slug but he is a smart one. He looks warm.
We used the have a little cottage and I miss it so much.
Yours is adorable.....but I bet it was a bit cold for awhile.

suziqu's thread works said...

A slug inside a sleeping bag, dogs comfortably on couch, you and son huddled around the fire crocheting makes for a desperate attempt at keeping warm! Not at all funny really arriving to find all that had happened - it does really make you appreciate a warm cosy home when it's all working well!
So sorry for your beginnings but some happy endings too!
Your images of the cottage in the snow are so delightfully gorgeous Liz and your Tag for Valentines - hearts to warm a dear heart!
Glad to have you back in blogland sweet friend!!!
Go visit my blog and see what I have done with those divine little gifties from you. I was so thrilled to open my parcel - love every bit of everything - you are the sweetest and sending you a big hug and thanks,
Love and more hugs,

Anne Lorys - Fiona and Twig said...

Brrrrr, looks too cold for me! But I am a Texan, after all! ;-)

How have you been, sweet friend?


Sharon Morrison said...

I love ready your blog! I like the caterpillar! He looks warm and toasty.
I love snow and cold and it looks like you had your share in France.
The heart tags are darling. Make my creative juices flow!!

Pretty Ragged Threads said...

Your post is a delight. I can just picture it all. So glad you finally got some warmth. The pics of the cottage in the snow are so pretty. Looks like in spite of all the troubles you had a great time.
Hugs Jackie

Rhonda said...

Oh my goodness this sounds COLD...brrrrr. I love your story, though, staying warm by the fireplace, besides, you are in France. Woo Hoo....fondly, Rhonda

Solstitches said...

I just found your blog via Suziqu's and oh I just love what I see.
This tag is so beautiful.
I'm a new follower feeling inspired!


Lynn Stevens said...

oh my gosh Liz, I had no idea it got that cold there! Thank goodness for the fireplace. Does make for some interesting memories though!'
hugs Lynn

Alexandra Eitel said...

Ist das ein zauberhaftes Häuschen meine Liebe, keine Wunder dass ihr so oft weg seit. Und deinen Knuddeltieren scheint es ja auch gut zu gefallen im Schnee.
Deine Fotos sind wunderbar!