Saturday, October 26, 2019

Bike and Wine Tour

Today we set off in the dark morning with just a sliver of moon lighting the way, crossing the mountains and coming down again into the Corbières valley, a region famous for wine making in this part of France. 
It was a bike ride and wine tasting. 
The short ride was 76 kilometers, about 47 miles, with 4 wine tastings and lunch included.

Our friend Steve is  practically a professional biker and his wife Lou also rides well on her nice bike. 

Earl and I have heavier bikes called hybrids. We like them but felt the drag of them today. 

Our first stop, about 8 miles in looked like a visiting circus with all the multi-colored bicycle gear. 



The wine looked nice and I had flashbacks to the Beaujolais Nouveau we would snap up at Trader Joe’s in November but the wine did not live up to my expectations. 
We hopped on our bikes for 25 more kilometers




 to Lagrasse where we stopped for a snack, ham and butter on baguettes, soft drinks or wine.
Back on the bikes to Terre d’expressions for more wine. This one was called Premeur, still a new wine. 


Our last gasp of a ride before arriving for lunch, 12 kilometers. 
We’d ridden 61 kilometers, when we sat down for lunch, noodles with pork, meatballs and sausages. 


Plus more wine. 


The wine tasted better each time, but maybe that just came from tiredness. 
We had cheese and dessert at the end. 


All of this for 12 euros and a little sweat equity. 
It was a beautiful day and we both needed a break from working — Earl on the house and me teaching. 
Now we’re sitting in the sun while Lou and Steve cycle the 15 kilometers back to the car. They’ll pick us up and we only feel slightly decadent choosing not to ride the final 15 k.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Renovation in France

Our life
This picture of Earl and me standing in our reno zone house pretty much sums up my life, except I look way too happy.
We’ve had some small accomplishments. 
Thanks to our friend Jules, the floor in one room is tiled. 
Don't you love the electrical wires hanging in the middle of this picture?

A few special tiles which some people are still complaining about.
We have a working bathroom with a new sink and toilet in the upstairs. 
I have a place to teach and Internet. 
The bedroom is unpainted but the bed is put together. 
And yesterday we received our bed from Amazon and got it out together.
Earl has done a lot of tearing up. Hopefully now we’re at the building back stage. 
Watch for updates as swiftly as a builder renovates... JK. 
I’ll try to post more frequently than that. 

Saturday, October 05, 2019

France Life

My friend Delana messaged me on Facebook and said she could wander over to my blog to catch up on our home renovation, and I thought, uh oh.
I didn’t blog at all in September as we hurried from Columbus to Florida to France. Then after we arrived, it’s been breakneck speed working on the house, teaching every afternoon, squeezing in drinks and dinners with friends we missed over the summer. 
We’ve been house sitting in France for 3 weeks while we work on our new house. But today, although it’s far from ready, we moved all of our French belongings into our home. And we drove to Perpignan. 

The weather is always gorgeous in Perpignan “le centre du monde” or the center of the universe as Dali called one of his paintings set in Perpignan. 
Now we’re on the train to Barcelona to meet Tucker at the airport, so all work must stop while we live in the renovation zone. 
What has happened in our house? The linoleum was pulled up in the kitchen to reveal gorgeous tiles. We’re still working to make them look their best. When they’re wet, the color is deep and beautiful. 
I painted this room which used to be the kitchen.


We’re calling it the cozy room because it has a giant fireplace and a door that cnl close it off from the rest of the house. I plan to put a pullout couch in here in case we need an extra, extra bed some time. 
I also painted the back of the cupboard to match the chair rail. The bottom of the cabinet will need a new wall before it’s painted. 
We have a refrigerator, a stove, a washing machine and microwave. You not the refrigerator is hooked up as we await a floor, electricity, plumbing and cabinets in the new kitchen before we can fully unpack.
Earl tore out part of the wall between our living room and what will be our kitchen. There were electrics there and now they dangle in the middle of the doorway. 


The former utility room has been water-proofed, the floor raised and now our friend Jules, plus Earl have been working on tiling it. 


We’ve purchased a blue leather couch and a stately chair. We received a green floral love seat. But our living room, the salad n, is full of boxes of tile and mortar. 
Upstairs, Earl tore out a closet and part of the wall between the two bedrooms so we can eventually put another bathroom there. 
Jules painted the guest bedroom, in anticipation of Tucker’s arrival,  then I followed up with a second coat. It looks very blue, but once the room has more furniture it shouldn’t be so overwhelming. 


We bought this bed with drawers underneath for 30 euros on a Facebook post. 
In the master bathroom, our builder Kris and Earl installeda sink with three drawers underneath for storage. Then just yesterday, Kris added a toilet so we don’t have to go downstairs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. 
Friends have been so generous, offering meals, places to stay, tools, advice and help with the renovation.
I can’t list them all because I’d be sure to leave some out, but the list of people who will be sharing our hospitality once our house is finished is quite long. And we’re so grateful.
A rainbow as I drove from a trip to the home improvement store. 

Foiled Travel Plans

Is it just us or are travel plans always complicated? We had planned to go back to the States for Christmas and stay for Grace's weddin...