We’ve been at our workaway for almost 2 weeks now and have settled in very well. Juliet & Tim are really lovely people and it’s wonderful that we all get on so well. Our week days have been spent outside working with Tim. So far we have put up some barbed wire fences, split and stacked wood, driven a dumper, pushed a compactor, shovelled gravel and tidied inside and outside the barn. In the gîte Tim has been building at one end of the barn, we’ve cleaned windows and painted a room. Juliet has been cooking up a storm, making fresh bread each day, homemade dessert most nights and we even had a 3 course lunch on Sunday with seafood entree when one of their friends visited. We’ve also loved sampling the various soups, beverages, jams and other accompaniments made from their fresh produce.
Our spare time has mainly been spent just hanging out with Tim & Juliet. There have been several visitors who have popped over for tea and cake. Juliet often meets up with 15 or so other English expats to walk in local areas. We joined them on Wednesday for a leisurely 5km stroll along the picturesque Indre river. Earlier in the week we had our first foray into driving on the other side of the road in a car with right-hand drive. We managed to tour through La Châtre, our closest town, and some of the other local towns without any dalliances on the wrong side of the road.
Saturday night was definitely the highlight of our social activities. The four of us went along to a ‘Pot Luck’ where everyone brings along a plate of something to share. A big crowd of about 50 people turned up. There was a good mix of French and English people. Mingling between the nationalities seemed limited as not many were keen to speak in their non-native language. We mainly chatted to a few of Juliet & Tim’s English friends. The fascinating house also held a great deal of our attention. Gerard, the magician, had plastered his walls with various movie posters and he had filled his space with musical instruments, old movie projectors and a few bookshelves packed with cds and dvds. Even his furniture was a talking point, especially the crate he’d adapted to be a coffee table. The best feature was the cinema he had built upstairs, complete with projector, 15 vintage chairs and a large screen.
We weren’t there for a film however, we were being treated to some live music by Bev and Keith. Bev has a great voice and clearly had experience performing. The songs were mostly sung in English, but they threw in a few French songs including Comme d’Habitude (or My Way as we know it) at the end of the set. It was punctuated by Bev’s gorgeous teenage daughter Georgie singing and playing guitar. She had a more folksy type style compared to her mother, but her voice was incredible. The host followed with some magic tricks. His performance was entertaining both due to his own pizazz and the reaction of the French part of the crowd. The eccentricity of his house and the wonderful music made for a thoroughly enjoyable night. It’s probably also one of the only times I will ever say I regret not checking out the bathrooms which were reported to be decked out in Disney, recipes and who knows what else. (Apologies for the photos from the night, they’re from my phone, not the camera)