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  • Writer's picturePaula Dalton-Kirby

Bonne santé

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Bonjour et bonne santé.

I hope this finds you all safe and well. It would be wrong of me to tell you that Darren has certainly pulled the winning straw during this lockdown period. However; I know where I would rather be right now.

Like most families at this current time, no matter where in the world you are all you want is to be together. I am still residing in the UK due to my nursing/military career with no return date in sight, whilst Darren remains in France maintaining our property and business. It is true to say, despite being in the South of France it is not all 'plain sailing'. Having 16 acres of beautiful gardens to meander through is lovely; however, we are a business that requires constant maintenance which is not great when everything is in lockdown and you cannot get the products you require to move forward. It is certainly a bonus that Darren loves to garden as that's all he has been able to do. Due to this the gardens are looking the best they ever have and he has been able to complete tasks that have been outstanding for a while. The time has come that he has now run out of gardening things to do, so...........

Due to boredom and frustration his imagination has now ran wild and he has started inventing things from items he has found around the gardens and inside the outbuildings. The first being our new archway leading into shady rest. Due to not being able to buy wood and wanting something with character to match the barn, why not use an old vintage cot? Still in the making and only 50% finished here is a sneak preview. More photos to follow once complete.

Chickens - Well where do I go with this one. These ladies have been well and truly spoilt during lockdown. Firstly they received a new spa which is a hole filled with fine compost and ash for bathing in. Happy with their bath and regular visitors to it has made Darren re think its design. To allow them to use it all year round he now wants it to be undercover. Not happy with just an umbrella, no.......they have to have a wooden bandstand in keeping with their plus chateau style coop. Yes a chicken bandstand made from an old wooden set of bunk beds. Also, not yet completed, here is a little sneak preview. More photos to follow once the roof has been tiled, it has been painted and is in place. Yes you heard correctly, a tiled roof!

Honesty stand - Then we move onto the honesty stand which is finished and functioning incredibly well. We average 18-24 eggs a day from the chickens, which as you can image is a large amount just for Darren. So we decided that we would design an honesty stall/stand where guests/neighbours could go and help themselves to fresh eggs daily. After chatting with the neighbours it was decided that we would set a price for the eggs (half the price of the shop eggs) and all proceeds should go back into the chickens so we could support them and also rescue more if the opportunity was to arise. It was decided, 2 € a dozen. Our problem now was to get the wood. Due to lockdown we were unable to purchase any from the local stores therefore had to use a kitchen cupboard in the short term. This was to change when one of our neighbours kindly donated enough wood for Darren to plan his design and get going. We promised Deb our neighbour that we would send her regular updates which I will share with you below. The stall has now been operational for a few weeks and is so popular that we are getting visitor from far and wide. High quality freshly laid eggs for half the price of the shops, perfect. Plus it enables us to use the money to feed them on the best quality feed and ensure they have fantastic chateau standard facilities at all times.

Finally, last week Darren decided he wanted to move our 4 guest bicycles out into the courtyard to allow guests the opportunity to gain easy access at all times. This meant that he had to design and make a bicycle stand for them. Not deterred, off he went with his welding machine and voila. I must say, they all look very smart side by side and it certainly has done the trick.

Well for now these are our largest changes with photographs to show. Darrens has many, many other projects on the go (which have had to be put on hold due to the lockdown) so many more updates to follow. Currently he is turning one of the outbuildings into an equipment store, another into a reception/shop, developing the formal rose garden, upgrading the gite cactus garden, plus upgrading the potager with a potting shed and more composting bins. So as you can see, he is keeping himself busy and safe during this lockdown period, and should we ever get to welcome our holiday guests I am sure they will love his new developments and make use of them.

Thank you once again for taking time to read our blogs. It is very satisfying for Darren when he receives comments about his designs and he also gets to see people using them.

We have everything crossed that we will be able to welcome guests this year however in the meantime, stay safe and we will provide further updates when we can.

Merci et a bientot

Darren et Paula


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