Showing posts with label fra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fra. Show all posts

Monday 21 May 2018

Bourganeuf, Limousin: 15 - 21 May 2018

Bourganeuf, Limousin: 15 - 21 May 2018

Our journey
The journey to the housesit was very short - just 10 km from the aire at Bourganeuf, where we waited out the weather. So it was a short hop on Tuesday afternoon, mainly along minor roads through forest and meadows.  We pulled up outside the house at about 3pm. The owners had helpfully provided an accurate map and GPS co-ordinates, plus a street view image of exactly where to park, which made life much easier.

The house and area
The house is a beautiful old water mill which has been tastefully renovated. It’s in a small hamlet surrounded by forest and wildflower meadows, with a couple of neighbours not too far away.Some of the original parts of the mill are still visible, particularly in the bathrooms and the basement area.  Outside, the area where the water wheel would have been is still visible, with the water cascading down beside it.  The owners have done a great deal of work, including adding a full length raised deck to the rear, which is south facing so gets lots of sun.  As with most houses in France, it comes with a lot of land - and I mean a lot!  It must keep the owners really busy with keeping on top of the garden, pruning trees and cutting grass.  They also have a separate gite up by the road, plus a swimming pool which is used in the summer.  There’s a large poly tunnel next to a vegetable plot and the chicken run and a much larger stream runs down the bottom of the garden.  There are loads of trees surrounding the house, so lots of birdlife too.   We didn’t explore too far as it was so relaxing just staying at the mill, although we did see lots of the surrounding countryside while waling the dog.


The Pets
We really enjoyed looking after the pets.  The owners had mentioned in our pre-sit phone call that the dog - Freddie - had been rescued and didn’t get on to well with other dogs and people.  They said he could be a bit loud when he first met people until he knows them, but he was fine when we first turned up.  He doesn’t like his paws touched, although he doesn’t mind a tummy rub and tolerates a brushing to find any ticks that may have grabbed hold when walking.  He was absolutely fine with us and we really enjoyed his company.  He turned out to be calm and quiet and was very excited at meal times!

There were also a couple of cats - Pocus and Tinkerbelle.  They too were calm and content, spending most of the day snoozing on the sofas.  Apparently they’re well known for bringing in little presents from the countryside, including live mice!  But we didn’t have to deal with these.  They weren’t really cuddly cats but liked to come over when they felt like it.  Pocus liked to sit on my lap and watch when I was sat at a table typing on my laptop!

The two Shetland ponies - Attila and Grace - were kept in an enclosure in a separate field a short walk from the house.  They were always pleased to see us at mealtimes.  Grace in particular liked to try to get to the hay, which was kept the other side of a fence and covered up!  They took little effort apart from feeding, watering and scooping quite a lot of poo each day - great for the garden!

Finally, there were two hens and a cockerel called Dave!  They had an enclosure in the garden and, well, did what most chickens do - scratched about.  I fed them a few worms from the garden which they enjoyed.  The hens presented us with two large eggs each day.

Freddie chilling on the deck



Grace and Attila 

Dave and his harem!
 Our days
We didn’t do a great deal, apart from look after the pets.  We’d been on the road in the van for over 10 weeks by the time we arrived, so we were more than ready to escape from the confines of the van for a few days; we enjoyed sleeping in a large bed, having sofas to stretch out on and a hot shower!  We arrived a day early so the owners could take us through the pet routines, which is always helpful. Most of our time was spent in the garden and on the raised deck, plus our daily dog walks.  We did a bit of gardening to keep ourselves active.  Evenings were spent chilling out watching some TV and reading.  It was very relaxing.

And to finish
The owners returned after their 5 night break and we did a quick handover with them. I’d cooked sweet and sour vegetables with egg fried rice for them, as they’d had a long journey and I’m sure they wouldn’t want to cook when they got home, so having a meal ready helps them (and it’s one of our USPs when house sitting).  This was their first experience of Trusted Housesitters, so hopefully we did OK and haven’t put them off getting other sitters in the future!  We have a plan to make a fast run to the northern coast of France, to allow us a week of sea and beach time before crossing back to the UK.  After a long time on the road, putting down roots and relaxing in a lovely house for a few days was just what we needed.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Vers on the Lot

Tuesday 1 May 2018 - Day 58

The weather’s better today and is forecast to improve gradually over the coming days.  I know I bang on about the weather but, living in a small van, it pretty much dictates what we do for the day and whether (no pun intended) we spend any time outside the van, or are cooped up inside, when three paces will get you from one end of the living space to the other.

Anyhow, we slept well at Puy L’Eveque and walked down to the small market by the Marie, just a few minutes away.  We bought some eggs plus some fruit and veg and another delicious loaf from the artisan boulangerie (Cathy snuck in a strawberry tart too!). We dropped these back at the van before walking down through and around the narrow streets and steep steps of the medieval centre of this small town, down to the river.  Our next overnight stop in Vers was plugged in but on the way we saw a sign for “Le Lac Vert”, so detoured off.  We passed the lake and drove through the small village of Catus.  Just as we were leaving I saw the small village market and noticed an aire over on the right, so we doubled back and parked up.  It was a lovely spot right in the heart of the village and by a small stream and weir, the stream leading down to pass the lake.  We followed the path down and walked around the lake before finding an old road leading up the hill through old oak trees and wildflower pastures.  It was a lovely walk, plenty of flora and fauna and no humans - just how we like it!  Back at the van we enjoyed an early main meal and a brew.  We thought about staying over, but we’d seen all we wanted to and carried on to Vers, although there are some lovely walks based around Catus, so we’ll probably return.

Vers is a lovely quiet village on the banks of the River Lot, with the D662 road running through.  The village is between the river and sheer, very high limestone cliffs that tower above the road; this is typical along the whole valley and we’ll explore more over the next few days.  The aire was a bit difficult to find; we found the area, but the actual parking spot wasn’t obvious.  We’ve parked on what was the old tennis court next to the closed railway station, with the platform just behind me and the railway lines beyond that.  We walked around the village (which didn’t take long) and up a steep path to a viewpoint looking over towards the river.  A few circular walks start at the church, so we’ll give one of those a go tomorrow.  As we walked around, we came across the quintessential sight of the locals playing boules (or pétanque) down by the river.  On the way around we found the municipal campsite, right down by the river.  It only opened for the season today but already had several vans on it.  This is an ideal location for walking and cycling, so we plan to move to the municipal campsite tomorrow and stay there a couple of nights.  I’ll have a cycle along the D662, which lies at the bottom of the cliffs and follows the river through several villages, with overhanging rocks and tunnels.  It’ll give me a chance to check out our next stops and even possible wild swimming spots if the warm weather does show up.  Tonight we’re staying on the aire; we’re currently the only van here but experience has shown that others sometime show up later in the evening. Someone is supposed to come around and collect the €5 fee - they’ve not arrived yet (now 2030) so perhaps they’ll come in the morning, but not too early I hope!  PS - Cathy enjoyed her strawberry tart with a cup of tea, sat on a wooden picnic bench on what was the station platform.

Puy L'Eveque and the River Lot

Vers from a viewpoint

Boules....or is it Petanque?

Vers aire