Manny's Blog

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

Autumn sunshine – October already!


IMG_4063So September came and went in a whirl!

I spent a glorious, laughter-filled week in Faro with my lovely Mum…


– All (literally all) Joe’s family gathered in York for his Mum’s 80th Birthday; we had the most wonderful precious weekend, with all our lot staying in a beautiful Airbnb farmhouse – Owl Cottage


Family came from far and wide; Malaysia, Germany, Sweden, us from France; and others from all over England – it was such a happy occasion and just lovely to see so many cousins and partners re-united and re-connecting – a triumph!

And a fitting tribute to a very special and much-loved lady! Happy Birthday Jan!


In other news, Harry and Armel have just moved from Paris to Uppsala near Stockholm for at least 4 years. So exciting for them both. Armel has a PhD research position at the university there – they both love Sweden, and were keen to return if they could (they spent a year there a few years ago) – so they are thrilled. In fact Harry is going to delay his departure for a month or so (having spent the last few week finding a flat and moving in, he returned to France this week). He’s going to go all out to get his driving licence, as he missed that crucial moment of lessons while at school and hasn’t been in the right place for long enough to take it on over the last few years. Now he’s determined to tick it off before this next big Swedish adventure gets underway. Poor Armel will have to manage without him… but lucky us get an unexpected chunk of Harry-time!

Bethy’s now back in the UK, stuck in to her second year at UCA. She’s just released a very funny You Tube video she shot with her brothers at the end of the summer –  a side-step from her weekly song releases: British Bois try makeup

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 00.08.41.png

And so to the house…

Much of the work over this last month has fallen on Joe flying solo – What he’s achieved with only weekend and sporadic help from me, Arty, Luke and Harry beggars belief!

First we levelled and laid the studio floor – it feels so solid now!


Studio above – workshop below… Now you see it…


Now you don’t!

The mezzanine starts to take shape:


So next,  Joe single -handedly made the holes in the stone walls for the huge cross beams to rest in, and put the first beam in place… first offering it up to mark the positions for the mortice and tenon joints, then cutting  the joints and hoisting and lowering the cross beam into place using the electric hoist and an old chain hoist.

Arty and I have helped with some of the others, and I honestly can’t imagine how he managed it alone!!


The space feels amazing! So open and well proportioned!

Take it to the bridge…

And so, with the main beams in place, Joe built the bridge to access the mezzanine – it will have views directly down to the main arched door – and is thrilling to stand on…


We’re now waiting for the ingenious composite beams to be delivered to floor out the mezzanine… they are lighter, stronger and therefore take up less space between sitting room ceiling and mezzanine floor. So while we await their arrival, we moved on down to…

The sunken bathroom!

Can’t tell you how excited I am about this part of the design of the house – it is so original and surprising. We uncovered this perfect stone under-ground space when we needed to take up the damaged wooden flooring, and Joe has designed the most stunning bathroom, with a sunken bath cast in concrete which will have steps leading into it and a massive Italian shower.

The pipe work, and first levels of concrete have been laid and are drying as I write – here’s a little slide show of the process so far:


We’ve had most of our windows made now, and delivered to the house in Bas where we are painting them before installation – they are beautiful! We’ve just finished the undercoats on all of them and I’m in the process of sanding them down before we paint them. I can not wait to see them in place – and take down the sheets of plastic which have been keeping us dry since we started work on the house!


I think you’re kind of up to date now – oh except for the very flattering news that my blog has been chosen by Feedspot as one of the Top 25 Living in France Blogs on the web… Have to say it gave me a real buzz to think that anyone other than friends and family have stumbled upon my blog!

Top 25 Badge.png

The weather has been so beautiful that we’re still eating out in Solignac …


Bye for now, and thanks for reading!

PS… one last pretty Autumn shot of the field:


Continue Reading


  1. Karen Alcock says:

    OMG Manny you and Beth have the most BEAUTIFUL voices ….

    1. mannyatkins says:

      Aw – Thanks Karen… I’m seriously in awe of the way Beth sings and tells a story with her songs!This is her weekly offering released today:

  2. Osyth says:

    Beth is a brave girl and that video made me hoot! Chapeau to Joe for getting that beam in place on his own – just wow! Chapeau to you for your award – richly deserved and I am sure many more will join in and enjoy your story. This weather is glorious though I think here in Grenoble we are due a little dip at the weekend before it takes us back to balmy sunshine and blue skies. However, I do remain a little concerned that the French have a saying that a fine and warm October means a freezing cold February ….. my experience over 4 years in Cantal was that it was exactly right … lovely Indian summers and icicles on my eyelashes in Feb! I wish you many more weeks of al fresco dining đŸ™‚

  3. mannyatkins says:

    Thanks Osyth! Me too!

  4. David Umney says:

    Just fantastic Manny. Loving watching the house develop

Comments are closed.