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  • Writer's picturePaula Dalton-Kirby

Bonjour et bienvenue - L'été est arrivé

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Hello and welcome everyone - Summer has arrived here at Finders Keepers France. Despite the past few months preventing our guests from arriving and enjoying what I believe to be the most beautiful time of year, it has allowed the gardens to flourish, the wildlife to roam and of course it has allowed Darren the freedom to invent. We have even welcomed Claude back to Finders Keepers. Claude was one of our feral barn cats that lived in Shady Rest with Sunflower, Dumpy and Ginger. He disappeared back in 2018 however has decided to show his face around the grounds. It is early days yet as he remains feral however is enjoying his breakfast and evening meal, from a distance might I add, but hopefully with some TLC he may settle back into life here at Finders Keepers and decide to stay this time.

We have been open for a total of 3 years and every year have a plan to upgrade the facilities as and when money allows, trying to keep the grounds and properties rustic whilst retaining the French charm and quirkiness. This year has been an odd year. Money has been limited due to the lack of guests but this hasn't stopped Darrens motivation and inspiration.

In my last blog I spoke about the chickens and their new spa. Well, it is now in place and so popular Darren is having to design another. Watching 22 of them squeezing into the spa can be amusing however due to the very hot weather it has resulted in one of the ladies sustaining sun stroke and ending up in Darrens 'relaxation area'. Yes, he does have a 'relaxation area' set up for any ill animal that comes our way. 'Lady' as we called her at the time stopped eating however was able to drink, resulting in weight loss and lethargy. So she spent 2 nights in the 'relaxation area' receiving home cooked hot meals and a morning bath with a massage. Thankfully, after 2 nights of indulgence and pampering she was ready to be reintroduced back to her sisters. Due to the heat Darren has now installed a fan in their coop which is working a treat. No more worries for now....... Between me and you, these ladies have a better standard of living than we do, and so they should.

Following on from the chicken spa they are currently waiting for the development of the 'cooling zone' which will be a wet pebbled area with a cooling spray waterfall. This will help to keep their temperatures down during the up and coming hot weather plus provide them with unlimited cold water to hydrate. Photos to follow. Their egg production remains fantastic and proving very popular with the neighbours, with all proceeds helping to maintain the grandeur they are now accustomed to.

The development of the formal rose garden is fully underway. All plants have been removed and planted elsewhere within the grounds. The path is down and the fountain is up and running. Stage 2 is to start the planting which will consist of hedging shrubs aligning the paths whilst roses fill the main beds. However for now this has been put on hold whilst Darren moves on to his next design, an idea that sprang into his head whilst in bed. Here is the formal garden as it currently sits.

This new idea I hear you say, the one in Darrens head? Well........ Back in 2017 we redesigned the front garden to Marcadis Gite, installing steps and a cactus rock garden. To improve this we have decided to enlarge the garden incorporating the raised bed area in front of the gite. The idea being that the lower terrace will be home to an outdoor sofa/relaxation area with mood lighting whilst the raised area will be the dining area with table and chairs, BBQ and outstanding views of the chateau and grounds. A small stone wall will surround both gardens planted with lavender and ornamental roses. The idea currently remains in Darrens head therefore only visible to him, however I have no doubt it will be an amazing improvement to the garden itself. The work is underway from today with a deadline of mid July, ready for our first, yes first guests of the season. Fingers crossed.

Well that is it for June's Blog. I am hoping to be able to update you monthly from now on if things carry on moving forward as they currently are. We are hoping to accept our first guest of the season mid July after sadly losing all of our previous guests due to the virus. We are thankful to have August fully booked and I have no doubt that once borders start to open both September and October will start to fill. If you are wanting to take time out to relax and recharge take a look at our website. We would love to welcome you to our small part of paradise - I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Thank you once again for listening. I look forward to updating you again in July about the gite garden, formal rose garden and our incoming season. Oh and Claude if he decides to stay.

Take care, stay safe and à bientôt.

Paula et Darren


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