Bordeaux vineyards to fields of grain and vegetables in Vienne

January 2021

So after a lot of delays and stress finally the day has arrived. We’re moving to our idyllic watermill.

We had so many kind volunteers to help clean the house, the last stage of us moving our 18 years of clutter. Being ecologic we don’t like to see anything going to landfill. So not only do we keep everything of our own but we end up keeping bits and pieces that other people don’t want. After all, “it might come in useful one day".

Finally, with our army of wonderful cleaners, we are out of our old house with just a minute to spare. We have filled three box vans, a horsebox, a flat bed truck, several cars and trailer with a flat tyre, all bulging at the seams. We're a convoy, like the Beverly Hillbillies. We’re finally on our way up to sunny Vienne.

We were so lucky with the weather. We unpacked in the sunshine, then were able to start exploring the wonderful footpaths around us. After weeks of being neglected, Misty and Rico, our two dogs were so happy to go on proper walks again. Many plans were made in the first week. It's a lucky thing that we were flexible!

The vegetable patch plan had to be abandoned with the arrival of January rain. Each morning we checked the river level. Up and up it went.

Watermills are designed to cope with water. There was plenty of margin before the water reached the back door, but not so for the planned vegetable patch. So this year has become our flood assessment year, and then we can plan. It wasn’t all bad news though. We’ve discovered wonderful wild foods in the area such as wild garlic and asparagus and nettles. I’m sure we’ll have a bumper crop of blackberries, hazelnuts and walnuts by autumn. Our happiest discovery was access to a huge range of local food, fruit and vegetables, craft beers and cognac. These are all distributed by our local association. Perhaps we don’t need the vegetable patch after all.

Managing a river garden is a new experience, and we have already had our ups and downs, literally. However, we are keen and happy to learn. One great pleasure has been to see the abundant wildlife. We've seen the heron in the early morning and dusk, the occasional flash of the kingfisher, and the barn owls which raised their fledgelings in our bird box. We’ve seen a family of coypu down river. Now, we have our own resident coypu named Wally. He's considered a nuisance, but so cute doing the backcrawl to avoid the mill gate slide!

So we’re in and beginning our adventure. We're cleaning, painting, weeding and planting. We are hopeful that you will like what we’ve done. To come see for yourself, pick your dates, CHOOSE YOUR ROOM and come see what we've done.


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