Manny's Blog

Sharing our French adventure as we live and work and renovate our forever home in the Haute Loire.
‹ Go back

Our first Christmas in Solignac! What a momentous thing! Absolutely loved every minute of it! Before we go any further, here’s our Bethy’s wonderful Christmas video for this year – rounding up 2018 for us. We think it’s her best ever! I have to confess that with Arty on his travels, and so much of the year with close family far away, it’s one which brings me to tears and smiles in equal measures!

Here’s our December in a nutshell…

7th Dec – We moved in to the house!!! – Arty, Joe and I spent our first glorious night in our new bedrooms!

10th Dec – Arty and Cass set off to Canada for their ‘gap year’ adventure in the early hours of Monday morning – Christmas on Vancouver Island for them, house-sitting and looking after the owner’s alpacas while he is in Mexico!

2.30am and off they go!

14th Dec – Poor Joe cut through the end of his finger on the circular saw (eeek) making a mirror for the bathroom – he was operated on Saturday 15th… not allowed to use it at all for 4-6 weeks. Enforced rest – much needed but mightily infuriating. It’s been a very painful few weeks for him, but it’s healing nicely, so now it’s just a matter of patience and courage!

What a shock – my poor Joe!

15th Dec… Beth home!!! So wonderful to have her home for Christmas, and such a treat to show her all the changes in the house since she left at the end of the summer!

Bethy’s home!

Christmas Eve – Harry and Armel arrived from Sweden (after a few days with Armel’s family) – Let the festivities begin!

Armel and Harry

Christmas Day – Luke and Marie join us for the day – they’ve taken over the lovely apartment we’d rented for the last year – so are now only 10 minutes away!

Christmas in Solignac!

December 29th – Beth and I flew back to the UK – (I’m spending a few days with Mum)

New Year’s Eve in Blighty!

So now you’re up to date, it’s New Year’s Day, and I’ve finally taken a moment to log our pre-move (and post-move!) renovation achievements – as you can imagine, it’s been pretty full on, and free time has been a rare and precious thing!!

Verrieres and blinds

We managed to get all the panes of glass fitted and stuck in to the windows and the shower screen. It was no easy job and extremely sticky! I now need to seal each and every one of them – it was something we’d hoped to get done before Christmas, but hey ho! I shall be on it as soon as I get back from the UK. The venetian blinds we’d ordered arrived just before Christmas and they look sensational! I love the shadows they give.

Bethy’s window – looking along the mezzanine into Arty’s room
And from the other side!
The shower – (that one has been sealed!)

Another staircase

When we moved in, we were still using the old farm ladder to get from the ground floor up to the first floor. Although we were used to it, I still had to descend backwards, and it proved tricky to carry things up and down – I was trying to imagine bringing the turkey up to the dining table using the ladder, and all the plates down etc.

We decided it was a good idea to buy an off-the-shelf staircase until Joe builds the big main staircase from the elm we now have. For me it was a really important comfort, now that we were actually living there. As it happened, of course, it has been much easier for Joe with his injured finger to be able to go easily up and down stairs. I’m really glad we did it. Again, quite a challenge for just Joe and I to lower down the main part of the stairs to meet the turned piece! Joe’s supreme logic and understanding of physics enabled us to do what I thought was going to be impossible!

These were the old steps –
Stage one of the new staircase…
And they’re in!

Water on the first floor

Along with the staircase, we realised after we’d moved in that not having any running water on the first floor was going to be a big inconvenience, especially as we’ll be eating up there whenever we are more than just Joe and I. So after we’d got the stairs in, and just before Joe cut his hand, we bought and installed a simple low budget sink and unit. When the real kitchen goes in (designed and hand-built out of elm by Joe), this sink will be relocated – possibly to the outside kitchen. But that’s all in the future – for now we’re just very glad to have it installed and working perfectly!


Right, I’m going to get this up now before another day passes (it’s already the early hours of Jan 2nd!) I’ll leave you with a couple of little video tours as usual. I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas and New Year, and that 2019 brings you everything you dream of!

Bye for now x

Coming in from the main entrance
Sitting room
And up to the bathroom!
Happy New Year from the two of us!

Continue Reading

Previous post:

Next post:


  1. Rosie Jones says:

    So sorry to hear of Joe’s woes… I hope all is well very soon, I cannot begin to imagine the pain and his frustration over his enforced set-back. 🙁 Lovely videos and clever Beth, delightful to watch. Happy New Year to you all, may God bless all your endeavours. xxx

Comments are closed.