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Hope you had a good week.

Sorry to miss you last week, I managed to get a weekend off to visit Reims to go Champagne tasting and galivant about in the mountains amongst the vineyards where an early harvest was in progress. The grapes look amazing, several producers told me they thought this might be a vintage year!

At home it’s been a week of celebration! Finally, finally, finally – the roofs are done. This week we had a bit of a mad sprint to the finish. It feels good. Well actually it aches, I’ve carried thousands of tiles up the ladder spurred on by knowing next week – no roof work!

The neighbours have watched in alarm and bewilderment as we worked through summer – you’re not supposed to do that here. August is for relaxing, for taking time off. Since we are the only Brits in the village, our quirky ways are a source of amusement to the locals. Over the years they’ve seen us replace 37 windows, 13 doors, lay what must be dozens of tons of concrete and gravel in our attempt to turn a neglected shell of a farmhouse into a home. We’re winning. Not quite at the finishing post, limping to the end with an assortment of broken bones, pulled tendons, cuts and bruises and electric shocks (him not me). We’ve dealt with an obstinate septic tank, trees growing into the house and falling down walls. I used to keep a book of all the jobs we needed to do (I’m a Virgo, and a compulsive list keeper), but even I gave up when I realised it was never ending. Each day, our neighbour at the bottom of the hill Jean-Claude visits his belle-maman who lives next door to us and gives us his verdict “Bit hot for work today” that was most of June and July. “Bit wet for work today” that was August! Basically, there is always a reason to avoid work in summer it seems.

The next job for us is the back of the house and it’s a fairly big task, the extension roof needs replacing (did I say no more roof work?!), walls need rendering and the one-acre garden has become a bit jungle-like. But that’s all for next year as we’ll stop at the end of September as I’ve got a book to write!

Whatever you have planned, wherever you are, I wish you a bon weekend,

Bisous from France,

ps Top photo is Azay-le-Rideau in the Loire Valley…. And if you love gorgeous photos of France, having finished the A-Z of France on Facebook, join me for a whole new A-Z on Instagram

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