La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like we did and like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Friday, March 01, 2019

The Holiday Home @ Le Mas d'Ayen -The Bedrooms

Where we now live also includes a holiday rental house or gîte, as it is called in French.
We were lucky enough to have been left the charming furniture of said gîte by the previous owners, and while in keeping with a country atmosphere, we found that with a few changes it could become even better.
Take a look.

The main bedroom has been completely refurbished, except for the curtains. A new bed 160x200, mattress, bedlinen and 2 new bedside tables. All other furniture, lamps, paintings, etc we've had for a long time.


We didn't touch the walls, nor the floors,  because they where beautifully done by the previous owners. The furniture that was here, we just moved to the second bedroom, as you will see later down below.
First, a few more of the main bedroom.




As I said, it looked beautiful before, but I just had to put my own stamp on it and add some personal touches.

The second bedroom looked like this, with the wardrobe on the opposite wall from the two single beds. One of these beds has been moved to the spare room of the main house.

The wardrobe got moved to the other wall, with a writing desk next to it. The two single beds from the main room are now in here. The rug is added for extra cosiness

The bed that stayed, will serve as a 'daybed' or 3rd single bed if we have 5 people staying.

The two beds from the main bedroom are now adorning this one. The red and white bedlinen I already had. I still have plenty in the pipeline for this room, but it'll have to wait just a bit longer, because next week the new kitchen in the main house will be installed. 

And after that, a few tweaks to the gîte's bathroom, sitting room and kitchen. Well, who am I kidding?  The kitchen will get a back door, replacing the existing window, a terrace and steps leading out into the garden.

I'll keep you posted.
Patricia xxx...x

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Perpetually Cold

Chilled to the bone. I'm irritable and in a constant state of snappiness. Because I'm cold !
I know there are many, many people in a worse state of cold than I am, but I can't think of that right now.
We've moved to the south of France and I want to feel some warmth. In all fairness, it is more bearable outside than indoors.
Our house is draughty. Uninsulated floors with cold cellars underneath, gaps under and around the doors, single-pane windows.
We have one gorgeous woodburner in the sitting room, but it can't keep up with the cold in the house, and we can't keep up with bringing the logs indoors.  The other rooms have electric heaters, which we don't use too much, because if we boil the kettle, or use the washing machine, etc. the fuse will blow.

I'm not sure if we made the right decision by replacing the woodburner in the kitchen with a range cooker. It is a stunning beast, granted, but it doesn't radiate much heat.

Now we've made up our minds to install central heating, but until that happens I'm wearing several layers, including two thick jumpers, mitts on my hands (fingers still cold) and a scarf around my neck. I've closed off most of the gaps under the doors (with rolled up throws) and hung some curtains at the most offending one. Double glazed windows have been ordered as well as new outside doors.
Next step however is insulating the floors.

I would say, roll on summer, but no, we've still too many projects to start and finish before we can open up our campsite ! Oh Jeez what have we taken on ?

Patricia xxx...x

Friday, January 18, 2019

Irma's Room

My mum is arriving today ! She seems to be in good spirit (on the phone at least) since her last ordeal. We will pick her up at Toulouse airport around noon and I can't wait to show her the guestroom in which she will holiday.

Except for the new bed, the rug and the ceiling light,  we used what we already had. Oh, and the rug isn't staying.We will find another place for it eventually and buy a more suitable one for Irma's room.

Thanks for popping in.
Patricia xxx...x

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

And so it is ready.

I've been spending many days  creating the website for our new venture. Only the English version has been published so far, as I am still working on the Dutch and French sites.

I have to thank the previous owners of Le Mas, Arie and Bernadette, for giving me permission to use some of their pictures for the website. It is a bit hard to try and promote a place for summer hols, if you only have the chance take  photos in the bleak midwinter.

So please take a look and browse. Report back if you see grammatical or spelling mistakes, or if you find the flow of the site a bit meh.

The link :  Le Mas d'Ayen

It was fun to draw out a plan of the campsite. Have a glimpse below.

Thanks for visiting

Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Wanderer Returns

To this blog, if probably only for a while.
Also, we have returned to France. To live. Maybe also only for a while, who knows what the future holds, but let's settle down first and unpack some boxes.

I trust everyone has had a lovely Christmas (or whatever it is you celebrate), and let me, at this time, wish you all the best for the upcoming brand-spanking New Year !

What has happened ?
We sold our house in Ireland and moved just over a month ago into our new abode. Well, the first few weeks we spent in the holiday cottage on the property we bought.
The Département Corrèze is where we've settled and we're still finding our way around and trying to install ourselves and prepare for our upcoming big project.
The project being, running a small campsite (25 pitches), a holiday let, and bar/resto for holiday guests.
The land, the buildings and the surrounding area are all beautiful and I will tell you more about all of this in a later post.
At this time it is very difficult for me to write this post as I am already missing my dearest friends in Ireland (you know who you are), my mother hasn't been well and at the moment our dog Millie is at the vets, where she has to stay till Friday, at least.

The cats have found their groove, as you can see, even though they haven't been outside yet.

Blackie would like nothing more than to go back home,
but then Santa Ikea arrived on Christmas Eve with some sofas.

He couldn't believe his luck when the arrival of a sofa could make it into 'home'

I am about to start work on a website for our new adventure and will post a link on here, once it is ready.  From then on I think it is time to really round off this blog, as it has come full circle. It started its life in France, almost 12 years ago and there will be a blog on the new website too.

Until next time,
Patricia xxx...x

Monday, September 17, 2018

All About Cats

When our our kitten Pixie/Gypsy  left one evening never to return, a year ago now, I was so, so incredibly sad for weeks (still am), that my mum suggested I adopted another kitten.
Woah there ! Bert had always said, if a pet died or disappeared there would be no replacement for a while.
I, however, thought it would be a good idea.
And, my mother said, if you get two, you'll be entertained all the time, because they will play with each other and they will have so much fun.  Bert protested, but was overruled by two to one.
Off we went, my mum, my friend Sophie and I visited the local cat rescue and came back home with two male, ginger and white kittens.
Meet Alfie & Louis, who came to live with us October 2017.

Mischief, always full of mischief.

Louis (left) & Alfie (right) - look at that scrunched up little face.

 Watcha doin' mister ?
Helping with the reupholstery !

Keeping Blackie company. Poor dog had his paws attacked many a time.

 There I was thinking, I'll make them a big christmas present to play with. Maybe they won't be eyeing up the tree.
I was wrong !

Granny time !

 Louis, clean as a whistle. Alfie, not so much.

 Taking turns.
Louis, who loves to crawl into his little den, but also loves a blanket to curl up under.

Here they are now, just over one year old and they have given us lots of laughs so far.

Louis is a real hunter and we'll often try to save his prey, not always successfully unfortunately.
Alfie goes more after small fry, like insects, a piece seaweed, a mussel shell or a clump of grass.

That's it for this post. One year in the life of the ginger twins.

Patricia xxx...x

Monday, September 10, 2018

When You Turn Your Back for Two Seconds...

A courgette (zucchini) will turn into a big fat marrow, or monster, to be precise.

This very large specimen is 60 cm in length and 16 cm diameter and weighs an astonishing 10 kg !
I prefer my courgettes petite, but I'm really, really, really loving this huge masterpiece. I guess courgette soup is on the menu for the coming months, at least.

Patricia xxx...x
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