Last month I travelled to France trying to secure the permit for the restoration. It wasn't easy. Just what you hear - don't buy a renovation project.......especially a historic monument.
In brief, the dossier which explains in detail the work to be undertaken, is currently at the headquarters in Toulouse. I met with the joint directors responsible for authorising the building permit. And they understood the urgency of the works and the need to start before winter sets in. Nevertheless, it is still a waiting game. Plus another French August holiday season is looming!
But in an effort to remain positive, I have now focused my frustration on the garden. In particular the re-establishment of the jardin à la française. After some research I now acknowledge the concept of the french garden and the ordering of nature.
Harmony and balance and the use of terms such as parterres are inspirational and now have me thinking.
My first line of attack will be on the orchard. Over the past 300 years the orchard and other areas in 'le parc' have had their allée or promenades destroyed. A few missing trees here and there spoil the balance or symmetry of what was originally intended. So it's out with the old decayed tree stumps and in with the new. It might be some time before nature is back in order but it's a start!
Oh, I almost forgot. Naturally there is a vision for a petite champagne terrace. The idea fell into place quite simply. Recently I visited my friends, Catherine and her mother Marie in Blaye just north of Bordeaux. Now Catherine Tanvier might be an ex No 1 French tennis player but not much of a champagne drinker. But Marie introduced me to some boutique champagne houses and opened my world beyond LVMH. A few days later I finally discovered a brocante and succumbed to the purchase of too many pistachio green terrace chairs. I can imagine one day lazing, relaxing, sipping a piercing glass of champagne, enjoying the vista. I just need 11 friends to join me.....any volunteers!