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Wednesday, 29 April 2009


After so many weeks we feel very diffident about getting back to blogging. I feel guilty in fact – as if we had stood you all up.
After so many weeks it won’t be possible to fill you in properly about all that we have done and seen since our last proper blog so realistically we will need to start from now and cheat just a little.
We wanted you to know what the house was like when we first saw it, what we thought, and why we chose it over the others that we saw. Inevitably it doesn’t tick all the boxes on our list but no place could for anyone however we do feel more and more as if we made the right choice for the most important reasons.

Lets start our story a little nearer the beginning. We saw 7 properties around Marbourguet, near Tarbes on our first Monday here. They were all more possible that any we had seen previously – though rather more money. None was a complete wreck and all had gardens – my prime requirement. All offered John renovation work but all could be lived in without great discomfort. None gave us that necessary ‘coup de coeur’ that made us like it till the last viewing.
The agent’s pictures made this house look attractive. It was on first sight however disappointing, very small, and built right on the boundary by the street and the adjoining property has two ugly metal sheds on it right in front of the view from the windows. I decided against it at once. Inside however, the proportions were actually elegant and the rooms sensibly arranged. Most houses we saw that had additions and alterations had been ruined and made more inconvenient, this one had not. Inside it reminded me of a Cape Dutch house – dark wood ceilings and beams but not gloomy because of the high and large proportions of the windows - all this in a very modestly sized building.
It had been used as a holiday home. The front living room had two bedrooms off it with a shower between them. There are doors everywhere and a long corridor that leads to a large lean-to kitchen. This in turn goes into a ‘chai’ or lean-to shed with a mud floor that must have flooded. A staircase went up to an empty ‘grenier’ or attic (with crux beams) but full of pigeonshit and then surprisingly into a large study with a view over the garden from which we could see the glorious snow-covered Pyrénées. There were no lights but the rooms were quite bright even though it was winter.
The house had been empty for 13 years and ivy and Virginia creeper (No, not the notorious Creeper sisters!) had been allowed to grow over the front door. The garden was brambles and vines and thick grass even at the end of winter. It had pretty much been left intact – there had been a bonfire of rotted stuff from the house and a pile of abandoned grotty household bric-à-brac. The ground was a field with a shallow ditch around it but also an overgrown hedgerow with several quite big trees in it. All round the house are farms, over the road, a large house divided into three and the tiny village a good kilometer further on. It has a convenience store that sells bread, a school and a bar.
So here are the pictures from our first viewing – more to come later!

Friday, 17 April 2009


Dear Blogfollowers - if you have not given up on us both. we have so much to tell you but - my computer has been out of use and is still not up and running - more or less since England. So no blogs no photos and no internet.
We are fine - very busy with house but longing to tell you all about it!
Apologies but one of those things - will blog soon;
Miss you all!