Back from our trip to visit the little fishing hut down in the heart of rural France. Where I found out rural France shuts on Sundays and Mondays, and closes on the others days for ‘Midi’ lunch hour, more like lunch hour and half. First part of the trip out of St Malo was a five hour drive down to the Charente. Most of the journey was motorway through flat landscape. Hubby had said it was going to be a boring journey, I thought as I’ve not done the trip before it wouldn’t be, it’s never boring going somewhere new. He was right. I got my knitting out.
Finally arriving at the gates of the property, you could hardly see them from the over grown brambles and ivy. Luckily hubby had brought several tools with him, not having been to the hut for six years, he didn’t know what state the place would be in, or if anyone had moved in.
The driveway he had laid was covered with moss and lined with primroses, more prove that no one had moved in. Then the hut came into view, this is the first time I had seen it, and it looks better than I had thought it would, after months of being told not to expect much.
The key hubby had found was luckily the key to the hut. I was surprised to see that it had two good size rooms. There was evidence of mouse droppings, but not much. We brought everything in from the car and kept most of in their bags, until we could give the place a good clean. There is fresh water supply to the place and turning on the outside stop tap; we found a lizard had made the hole in the ground its home. As everywhere was shut we didn’t have any food, or milk, apart for a cheese roll I had packed for the journey and teabags, of course. That night we set up our airbed, lit the fire, lit the candles (no electric in the hut), tuned the shower radio into a French music station, and eat half the cheese roll each with black tea.
Next morning, we went along to the supermarket for cleaning products and food. Popped into the local town, where everything was shut. Back to the hut, leaving the food in the car, we set about scrubbing the place top to bottom. We unpack all our things, lit fire and candles, and cooked dinner on the one ring camp gas stove, and went to bed early listening to radio.
Tuesday, back to the local town, which was open, but by the time we had got there they were shutting for ‘Midi’. Oh great. I mention to hubby how come everything was shut up and no one, and I mean no one was walking around the couple of villages we had travelled through, he said ‘It was Midi’, I said ‘What all day’. Poor man, just looked at me and said ‘You really are not the right person to bring somewhere, where there is nothing to do, are you?’ ‘Nope’. Then it started to rain.
Wednesday, rained all night, but after three nights of having a fire the hut wasn’t as cold as it had been. I had planned to do some film photography and brought my kit with us, as I did know there wouldn’t be much to do. I thought I could be creative with different cameras and films, but not in the rain. Hubby had caught on the radio that the rain would pass, and said ‘Why don’t we head for the coast?’. We did about two and half hours’ drive through more flat landscape, out come the knitting again. We got to the coast, no one around, parked up, walked onto the beach, yep, gorgeous, in the summer.
Stayed five minutes, started to rain again, then drove two and half hours back. Lit the fire and candles, cooked dinner, and went to bed with a head torch to read.
Thursday, MY BIRTHDAY yippee. Raining. I had brought the birthday cards that had arrived before leaving, and with a cup of tea on the airbed I opened them and displayed above our fireplace. We went into Poitiers, just got to the market place as it was shutting, then all the shop started to shut for Midi. We found a café/restaurant on the main square and had a wonderful medium rare steak with French fries, but on a cold plates. Raining on and off. Not many people around, and not being a shopper (loads of clothes shops) we headed back. That afternoon hubby wanted to check on the farmhouse he spent five years renovating, and to see if his elderly neighbours were still alive. The farmhouse was amazing, could see why he didn’t want to sale and move back to UK. The elderly neighbours were still alive, and still had all three cats he left behind 10 years ago. Back to the shack to light the fire and candles and have a supper of cheeses and bread. Looking at the fire roaring in the fireplace, with the candles flickering romantically on the oak mantelpiece, I thought ‘Is that really a safe place to put my birthday cards’.
Ok I won’t bore you with the rest of the week. And to be fair March in the rain, with no electric, a hut that only has a fireplace and a sink, you’re not going to find much to do. The main reason for going down was to see what we can do with the place in the future, and that was a success.
Once the place has electric, a small shower/toilet room, double bed, cooker and fridge, path down to the river and a veranda overlooking the valley with BBQ area. It will become a lovely relaxing ‘get away for it all’ place. Especially for fishing, and even a writers/artist’s retreat. Also, families, the hut will be able to sleep up to four, there is plenty of room for a motorhome to park up and tents to pitch in the grounds. You could even sleep on the veranda under the stars, as it gets hot down in the Charente, it will be amazing. Looking forward to working on this exciting new project, and we have a name for the place.
Welcome to The Little Fish…………Le Petit Poisson.