Highs & Lows

Having just realised that it is the last day of February tomorrow & I am going out I had better get my nose to the grindstone & bring you all up to date with our February news. It’s a sneaky little month February isn’t it? Very short & often a bad month for us both weather wise & work wise as there s not much really happening in France. This February has lived up to its reputation big style with lots of highs & lows here in Chabanol.

Our very big low was the roof starting to leak. We have known for a while now that the roof needed re-tiling as every workman who has had cause to go anywhere near it has come down his ladder with that “I have just sucked a lemon” look on his face & delighted in telling us just how worn our tiles were. When the roof was last done in the 1960s the proprietors then had saved on the cost by re-using old tiles…& now of course those tiles are completely worn out. We have been trying to ignore it for a while now but when water starts pouring through the roof during heavy rainfall, you realise you can ignore it no longer! The sound of water dripping into buckets is not good for my sanity…not to mention my ability to sleep! The big problem is that we have very little spare cash so our rapidly diminishing savings are about to take a huge hit once again. However, having now got our three quotes done by three very good roofers, we are mightily relieved to find it is not going to cost quite as much as e had been lead to believe. Its still expensive but some of the horror stories we had heard were definitely scaring us to death & the reality is not as bad as we had thought. PHEW! So we have given the go ahead to our local man who is the guy who does all the rooves round here & is very good & now we have just to wait until he can fit us in. I am desperately hoping it will be before the season starts in earnest for us (he has said April) but my fingers are firmly crossed for that! Hey ho.

The worry of all the roof business has been affecting us quite a lot this month. We have both been really down at times & have both had colds too. Our sleep patterns have gone completely up the creek & neither of us are good without our sleep. Fortunately Geoff has been working hard & has also used a bit of the “slack time” he had as students took holidays (how dare they??) to get on & do some jobs in the gite. Although we didn’t take up the option to join Gites de France, we did take some of their comments on board & have revamped the kitchen a bit. It now just needs a bit of painting to be done & I have to say looks better for it! On the plus side also this month we have our first gite booking of the year for April (youpi!)& I have another for May waiting to be confirmed. Its always a relief to get the first one & so, now, I just have to keep Geoff going to make sure all the renovations are done before the first lot of guests arrive. We have also had a very clever scam enquiry to deal with which was not such good news. These people really annoy me as they waste so much of my time & also get your hopes up for a good booking only to have them dashed when you realise it is a scam. They are getting so much cleverer too - I can usually spot them very quickly now but this one looked so genuine. Very annoying!

When we were feeling really low this month we decided to cheer ourselves up a bit & took ourselves off the Royatonic for a couple of hours R&R in the warm water there. It was just what we needed...a bit of a swim, relaxation in the bubbly warm pools, sauna (for Geoff – I don’t like them) & a bit of chill time. It really is a great place. We also had Geoff’s birthday to celebrate which we did with a meal out at friends & Valentine’s Day too this month. We went out for lunch for that & once again had a lovely meal with not a rose or heart in sight as the French really don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day much at all.

I had yet another boost to the old morale one day when I discovered I’d won a competition on Facebook. Now I have to say at this point that I NEVER win anything so I was delighted to have won a lovely water colour painting in a promotion competition run by Susie Home & Mike Griffiths to mark their 10 years of doing B&B & art holidays in the Lot. I am really looking forward to its arrival now :)

By far the best “high” of this month though has to be my trip to the UK. My lovely daughter had realised that I needed a break & as our proposed meet up in Paris didn't look like it was going to materialise, she suggested that I went over to the UK, with her paying some of the airfare. I had a great week & really enjoyed spending some time with the kids. Matthew & Susie are getting very excited about the baby now & it was lovely to see the nursery & all their other preparations. Hazel had taken a couple of days holiday & so we had some “girly” time looking round craft shops in the Lakes & Carlisle which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was just what I needed to round off this difficult month really. Thank you children if you are reading this :)

I would like to think that now February is finished its downhill all the way to spring now. The garden certainly thinks so as there are crocus, violets, primroses in full bloom & the daffies are not far from flowering too However I have just seen a weather report saying that snow is on its way...typical! Lets hope that if it comes, it doesn't stay around long…& also doesn't make the roof leak again!