Our final week at Le chateau… .

We returned to the chateau on Sunday evening (6/6/16), after our mini vacances, refreshed and ready for the next tasks that would be thrown at us!  The weather had improved and we awoke on the Monday morning to bright sunshine and clear skies. Yay!  Now that the music festival has ended, the apartments have been furnished and most of the investors have returned from whence they came the majority of the work that needs doing is in the grounds of the chateau.  The large bulk of the work is done by a team of guys who come once a week to cut the grass and strim some of the grounds but there is sooooo much to keep on top of that we weren’t going to be short of things to do.  Our first job was to clear the ivy and weeds from the front wall at the top of the chateau drive and to cut back any low hanging branches from the trees lining the drive and strip them of all their ivy.

Cutting back the vegetation on the approach to the chateau.

We spent two days working hard at clearing the ivy on the trees on the right hand approach to the chateau.

Clearing low branches and ivy from the trees.

You can see in the pictures the difference – the ‘naked’ trees on the left!

It took two days to clear one side – 30 plus trees in all!
Trees now ‘naked’ of the ivy!
We’re leaving the trees on the other side to the 4 kiwis who arrived on Wednesday!
Now there’s a man satisfied with himself!

Tim was finally able to unleash his new speedos and have a dip in the pool on Tuesday.  He bought new trunks before we left the UK as in France it is forbidden to wear shorts in the swimming pools. It was a real treat to swim in such salubrious surroundings.

We had the pool to ourselves – and it is heated too!
Tim learning French after ‘work’ – I think he’s nodded off though!

Wednesday saw us clearing the area behind the Helpx accommodation which is affectionately known as the ‘Hi-de-hi’.  I set to with the lawnmower and Tim broke out the strimmer, or ‘whipper-snipper’ as Jenny called it!  I think whipper-snipper sounds better than strimmer so it will forever be known as that from now on!

I didn’t have to do all that grass!
Clearing the land behind the Hi-de-hi with the ‘whipper-snipper’!
Dumping the waste vegetation, from behind the Hi-de-hi, in the woods.

We had another  trip to the Super-U on Wednesday as four new helpers from New Zealand were arriving that day and we needed to make sure we had enough in to feed them.  Tim particularly liked the basket trolley thing which we hadn’t noticed on our previous trips. He looks like a true pensioner ready to do his shopping I think!

Bloody pensioners holding me up when I go shopping!

Thursday saw us dealing with all the weeds on the pathways in the chateau garden.  Jenny had been beavering away for the last two days treating the weeds with a mixture of vinegar, salt and washing up liquid which kills them without the need for pesticides.

Vinegar, salt and washing up liquid mixture to kill the weeds!

However, with a garden this size, hundreds of bottles of vinegar were needed.  Jenny can probably be seen on every CCTV camera, at every supermarket in the Loire area, clearing their shelves of white vinegar!

Only another 2 miles of path to go!

Our final job on Thursday was a trip to the local recycling area 10kms away in Longue-Jemelles to dispose of the last load of packaging from the apartment furniture.

Recycling all the some of the packaging from the apartment furniture.

We called it a day early on Thursday as it was our last day at the chateau and we went for a tootle on a couple of chateau bikes.

Tim on Jonathans retro bike!

We called in for a beer at the local tabac in Vernantes villageon the way back.  This drink was courtesy of my friend Claire in the UK who had wished us luck for our travels with a card containing Euros – that’s my kind of card!  So, thank you Claire:)

Cheers to Claire for the drink:)

Jonathan and Michael very kindly took Tim and I out to a bistro in Saumur on Thursday evening for a slap up meal as a thank you for the work we had done over the last two weeks at the chateau.  We were able to sit outside in balmy temperatures and soak up the French ambience!  The food was superb and a real treat for us to sample the kind of food France is so famous for.  We both agreed that the dessert was the best deconstructed lemon meringue pie we had ever had!!

Bistro in Saumur -sorry should have got a picture of the four of us but forgot to get the camera out…….again!

Thank you so much guys, we have had a superb time here at the chateau and have felt very privileged to have been a part of something so special even if for a short while.  Jonathan, Michael, Jenny and David have been tip top hosts and have made us feel so welcome and involved us in everything that has been going on at the chateau.  It’s an experience that neither of us will forget and we are so grateful to everyone including Eric (handyman)and the two cleaners (one was called Michelle but I’m not sure what the other one was called – sorry) for helping us practice our near non existent French over our lunches together – you were all very patient! Thanks:)