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Fancy a swim with a fireman?


By dungy


Greetings green finger folk,
Weather first, its been “G” string weather here in fance today, a really hot one,
Ive been in the garden most of the day except when the local fire officer appeared with a question?

Now i have one neighbour just across the track from us and unless you shake her you’d never know she was alive “We never hear her” except for when she ask if we’ll feed her cat at 5 pm if she’s going to her daughter’s home.

To the rear is a couple in their 80’s and we can’t see their house in the summer because of the trees full of leaves,
and again as ive said many times is so quiet here I swear you could hear a mouse fart.

And thats it for any near neighbours, we only have six homes in the complete hamlet and they’re spread over about 5 mile.

So having explained all this you’ll understand that if any of these homes caught fire!!!!! Water to fight such a fire would be needed and fast.

Now we are all on meters here for the water we use and to fill the pool cost us,

The fire officer came to ask if any of these homes went on fire would we allow the firemen to use our pool,

Not to swim but take the water to fight the fire?

We said yes no problem and now our name is going on next years fire dept list of good dept people.

Im really pleased about that, the first english people here in this hamlet to get this “good local people noting”

(We are the only english full timer’s who live here)

So one day we may find a fireman or lady using our pool.

Have a nice one tomorrow folks ’it’s more sun here’.

More blog posts by dungy

Previous post: The end of another near perfect gardening day.

Next post: Well what a day,



No sun here, today, in (unsunny) Charente, Dungy...just loads more rain! But, it was really hot yesterday.

I was rescued, a few years ago, by the pompiers after I slipped and fell on the stairs, dislocating and breaking my ankle on the way. They were brilliant. And all of them volunteers.

We have hydrants, we don't need to offer our pool water...but, we always make sure that we contribute generously for their calendar, just after Xmas.

I don't know how long you've been here, but, you've done a good thing...integration! It's wonderful!

K :))

13 Jun, 2013


Hi Karen,
We've been in this house 9 years now but we've owned "whats our gite now" 12 years,
I remember when we first arrived and signed for the first place "Do you"? all that sitting in the nors office signing away paper after paper!
Anyway we we're the only brits in that small hamlet approx 5 km from our home now, and after signing and getting back to our "Now owned french house" we decided to knock on every door "again 6 houses" but we were'nt sure if anyone lived in two of them, "they did"
And introduce ourselves,
Everyone of the new neighbours really made us welcome and two families asked us to call on our next visit for drinks.
We had a boat to catch at 6am the next day and decided to drive the 4oo miles late the same day we'd signed.

That trip to the ferry seemed a lot shorter as all we talked about was what we'd signed for and the neighbours houses, We'd never been in a real french home and as all the houses around us we're farming related people it was our first sight of the real french countryside homes,
Im pleased to say these people have become real good friends and we've been to weddings and 3 funnerals all to do with our neighbours lives.

Like you we have our christmas visit and our calender delivered by the pompiers,
We really do enjoy living here, but i must admit we've seen so many x-pats go back to the uk,

I really enjoy countrylife, and the french slow pace and ive learnt a lot about the true value's of life.

Nice talking to you and hope to hear from you again.
Regards Dungy.

13 Jun, 2013


Hi Dungy

This is my tenth year, this month...and, the second house we've lived in. There was a time when I was in danger of becoming a serial renovator, but this one has been enough. The signings are quite comical really, aren't they? My signature never looks the same from the beginning to the end!

I loved the old village, though, and got involved with the social committee. They were going to elect me president, but when I said that I didn't think my French was good enough, they made me secretary instead! lol! I not only had to learn to speak French - I had to write it as well! Still, total was the best thing that could have happened.

Like you, I love the pace and way of looking at things which you only find in the countryside.

Lots of Brits come and go here too...and some manage to stay without ever having anything to do with the locals. Sometimes I wonder why they come.

Anyway, it's nice to meet you. Enjoy your lovely weather!
(am envious - it's still very unsettled here)


14 Jun, 2013


Hi Karen,
I had to reply once you said ref serial renovator,
Our first house was a dump when we bought it (in the uk) but had a field that had to go with the house,

After living with cement bags and all kinds of building materials around us for the first 5 years and trying to go to work all day!!!

"we said never again".

Then i saw an old cottage falling to bit's 'infact it was nearly derilict, about another 5 years and it would have been,
But it's location ie 1 mile from the nearest road and up a private track, no neighbours for miles, the views we're just to die for (you could sit on the loo and see "Bala lake" 7 miles away on a clear day,
A mountain behind the cottage & rolling hills for miles & miles, the only humans we saw we're the serious hill walkers every now & then. "Oh and sheep".

We bought it and had another 3 years doing it up, everything from new windows, heating tobe sorted, re-wire, the roof, etc etc etc.
but this time we we're both ready for the work and we didnt have to live in it while we did it up.

We found all kinds of natural features in that cottage and a huge fire place we didnt know was part of the cottage, while trying to see if this fire place was clear i found a pile of ginger hair coming from within the plater work and we thought it was part of a human!!

Lucky enough i was to find out that it was horse hair & the old way of bonding plaster and lime to walls,

As the weekends went on and every bankholiday we found more & more natural features to the building,

Then we bought what is our gite now,
"this to be honest only really wanted our mark on it and thats what we did,

and after selling up during the house boom we thought (or should i say "she who must be obeyed"
thought) after watchine a place in the sun every night, why dont we do it one last time but here in france!

Hence we bought the very place we now live in "what was going tobe the gite is now our home and what was our home is now the gite,

So when you said about seriously getting the bug for doing places up?????? I just had to reply,

Even now if we pass something that looks like with a bit of T.L.C it could be back to its former glory we're both thinking!!!!
I think you'll understand when i say "we try to save the old property market of france.
It's a crying shame to see some property just being left to rot.

So i hope you dont mind the quick reply "but i think you know we're im coming from"
We say never again but many times we see something and get the bug all over again.

Have a nice evening,
Regards Dungy.

14 Jun, 2013


Hi Dungy,

I know EXACTLY what you mean! You see it as it is and you see it lovingly restored to its former glory, with beams and stone...and the garden all done...and a lovely little shady terrace.

These days, I curb it, though - no matter what...

It took me six years to restore the old one (which was habitable from the start)...then, just when it was finished...

...I saw this (our current home), accidentally, with no notion of anything...and had signed an intention to buy before the day was out!
(My OH works overseas...and when he asked the usual, "What did you do today?", it was, "Hi honey, I just bought a house!")
Imagine??? But, it was just too good not to, lol!

We put our old house on the market, thinking that it would take ages to sell and we'd have time (lots of time - the market had slowed to a standstill) - but it sold almost immediately.

So, we (well me, mostly) had to move into my beautiful wreck (with absolutely no sanitation - not even an ancient fosse) sooner than planned...

...and we've been living in the same conditions you describe in your earlier adventures. Three years...and it's still not finished...nearly...but, not quite...and it's only a cottage...!

So...I still see them...these wonderful "projects", and that bug always creeps back...but, I slap it down - quickly! lol!

The change in the inheritancy laws have made a big change around here...there's not so much being left to rot. In fact, one village has undergone a tremendous revival. It used to look so forlorn, but, now it's alive again...because the grandchildren are appreciating just what they have been left...instead of getting the shotguns out and refusing to have anything to do with the much-shared property.

Anyway, sorry to have gone on a bit, Dungy...but it is nice to find a like-minded soul!

Would love to see some of the photos of your house and garden,

best regards,


15 Jun, 2013


We both really enjoyed your chat ref our shared interest in saving every run down property here in france,
We've been sitting in the garden until it turned dark talking about all the verious ups & downs we"ve gone through by doing places up,
Like when our friends kept going on holidays to spain and the like & we spent our time doing the cottage up in Bala "mid wales,
They all thought we we're mad but we'd got the bug and never gave up until they we're finished and then had to live with friends telling us how lucky we we're to have such a lovely place.

But now like you we've got to the stage when we feel a bit tired a lot quicker than we once did and the other thing is if we do see something that stands out we think and an other big pay day to the nortaire's dept in tax.

Perhaps we're getting lazy but i enjoy doing what the other half calls pottering, in other words no hurry just take your time jobs.
But you must admit we do have a smashing life style living here.
We're off to a brocante tomorrow and at this brocante is a car show, ive been car mad since i was a lad so this part of tomorrow im looking forward to seeing,
the brocante side is more for the boss, she loves the looking and i get fed up with seeing glass after glass and
general costly junk,
But i do like the rusty counters, tools/ Old bits and pieces most men like.
So think of us when your having dinner tomorrow.
Regards dungy.

15 Jun, 2013


Lord,'re a barn emptier!

Hope you got some nice bits! :)


16 Jun, 2013


Hi Karen,
Well we went to the brocante in a place we"d not been to before and it was advertised as having approx 40 stalls,

The drive there was really nice, through some smashing country lane's
We went through a very old village that still had its outdoor washing stones and a rinsing trough all for clothing,
The brocante was very good for once and some real good prices being offered, but as you know if your not careful you end up with piles of stuff you'd never use,

Infact we didnt buy anything today except a cool drink.

We decided to go to this smaller brocante because the other larger one that was on today was 80% full of knew stuff for sale and to us thats not a real brocante.

I did see one or two thing's i thought of buying but then decided not to, one was and old looking mantle clock, it was huge, black marble "no key" but the lady said it worked, Anyway i didnt buy it.

Its been really hot here today and ive done little in the garden except another two circles around the fruit trees cleared and the soil fluffed up and tagets sown.
So its been a bit of a lazy day.
Whats yours been like ?

16 Jun, 2013


Well, Dungy...I cut the grass! There's not that much of it...but, what with the edges and the cleaning up - it took me nearly all day!! What it lacks in width, it had more than made up for (with all this rain and sun) in height. I'd love a little tractor...but, sadly, I don't think they make one small enough - turning it would be tricky. One of my neighbours has a little robot. It just pootles about all day and he charges it at night - heaven! But, at 2000€, it's a bit of an investment...
...especially for so little grass.

And it was roasting here, too!

Not today, though. Well it was in the morning, but this afternoon the temperature plummeted and it rained - again...

I was at a brocante a few weeks ago. I don't go very often, these days, because they've all been more like vide greniers recently, lots of rubbish - or new things (you're right)...and the good stuff has been too expensive. But, it was refreshingly good! It was only a little one, maybe twenty stalls. I bought a really big copper jug, about 50cms tall (25€) and a little hand-made copper bowl with handles (15€).Not bad, I think.

I almost bought an ancient cauldron on its original stand and a funny wee salt-glazed jug (with a missing foot), but, I didn't. Kinda wish now that I'd got the cauldron...

Hope you're not kicking yourself for not buying that clock! lol!

The weather forecast is really awful for here - for the next ten days...this is the worst spring (what spring?) summer, in the years I've been here...

You're up north! How come you're getting all the sunshine?? Send some down here! lol! ;)

17 Jun, 2013


hI karren,
It's boiling here 'honest' really hot,
Ive also been cutting our grass it takes 4 hours including doing the edges but it looks nice when finished,

Ive a ride on "grey colour" and the cars grey colour, and the boss's car's grey coloured,
so grey plays a big part in out french lives,
But inspite of having the ride-on we still need a walk behind one to get in the places the ride-on cant get at.

But ive the answer to your lawn problem, it really will do a first class job every time, cost nothing to run, quiet, no smoke, it so good it doe's the lot almost talks to you
"but only in welsh" its a sheep.

Talking about Brocantes i honestly think the smaller ones 50+ are better then the huge ones,
We know a woman that goes to every single one she can get to, even three in one day, she suffers from that problem we're people store lots of junk, she honestly cant move in her house, im serious.

About three weeks ago we went to a brocante and i saw a metal workers anvil (have i spelt that right) anyway its for hammering metal into shape etc,
I was going to get it but the car was so far away from the site we would have had trouble getting it to the car so i didnt buy it,
Im really sorry now as ive not seen one of these on the sites before.
The plant stall on yesterdays brocante was very costly,
21 euro for a very lame geranium hanging basket,
and tom's plants 3 euro each but they looked half dead.

We did see one stall with about 200 miniture loo's for putting a bar of soap in (by the sink)

But who the hell wants to offer your guest a bar of soap in a mini loo???
But this little village did have an adult loo for the use of!! "But no paper or seat".

It's getting that way that we're thinking of having an in-car kit for brocante days out ie loo paper, and tea making kit.
Well it trying to rain here and ive me blog to do so until next time,
Be good.

17 Jun, 2013

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