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Quote of the day: ‘If you feel like you're losing everything, remember that trees lose their leaves every year and they still stand tall and wait for better days to come.’ Unknown

Four weeks to the day from my shoulder ligament repairing surgery. Prior to that day, I was told it would be an eight week stint of not driving and being trussed up like a turkey with the Sweaty, Smelly Sling.

So it was, that not very bright at all but definitely very early and bleary eyed, we set off to the local hospital for an 08h15 check up. Current X-rays in hand, the surgeon looked them over carefully before announcing, “You have healed so well you can start driving and doing proper physio. The infection has healed very well too, but continue with the burn cream to reduce the scarring.”

I was stunned and overjoyed, and walked out of the hospital feeling like I had passed an exam with flying colours. Feeling justified too in all the care I had taken with scrupulous attention to pre-and-post-spine-surgery care, as well as the post-shoulder-op care. Healthy, regular daily doses of many food supplements also, to ensure everything is working as well as it can internally. The only questionable dint in the health armour was that although I had cut down, I hadn’t totally stopped drinking alcohol prior to the accident. Since splatting myself on the tarmac though, I hadn’t touched a drop for five weeks, and in Cuba we hardly drank at all. My liver must have been a perky pink colour and overjoyed as I.

Getting into the car to drive for the first time in so long was beyond strange as a sensation. Despite having the OK to drive, my left arm was heavy and achy, reluctant to move naturally, needing a very definite mental push to do anything.

That was four weeks ago. Since then I have started physio sessions, twice a week at the clinic but also doing them here at home daily or twice daily, as I can manage. Nothing moves automatically but it definitely is getting easier.

In other news, house renovations are going at the thing closest to full pelt as life in Lot et Garonne allows.

There’s been a delivery of enormous bags full of insulation from Germany. In our drive to be as eco-friendly as we can, they are full of lumps of recycled, puffed up glass. It looks and smells like charcoal but apparently is a great conservator of heat and avoider of damp, while assisting the planet too. Guess it’s not so eco-friendly being they have to come from Germany, but France doesn’t seem to have cottoned on to it yet. Give it 20 years and a few strikes 😂 and they may embrace it.

We had a few problems with the truck getting stuck post delivery, but I’m sure the lawn will recover eventually.

Another massively terrifying expenditure but absolute necessity, was the new heating system which arrived the following day. This one winged its way to us from Italy. It’s a vast, swish wood burner that is so efficient it burns not only the wood, but the gases the fire gives off too. Accompanying it was the enormous hot water tank that will be connected to it, which will eventually run the underfloor heating in the gite, radiators (I repeat, RADIATORS as in central heating radiators!) and a plethora of pumps, valves, pipes and clever things to somehow join it all together.

Biggest logistical challenge though, was the third major delivery: the enormous sliding doors and window all the way from Poland. These had been an extremely long time in the ordering which is understating it somewhat. Ted Dziewanowski from Gdanska Fabryka Okien at in Poland has the patience of a saint and is also one of the most helpful suppliers I have ever had the good fortune to encounter. Thank you Ted. Highly recommended.

Getting them unloaded was one thing, getting them installed was another. They were in and out, and up and down like a whor…well, anyway they didn’t go in smoothly the first time! But they are in now.


Sound the fanfare once more!

Huge, huge news from yesterday is that Le Perchoir Gite has a new website. Again, that has been a long time coming and I have to thank Harriet boundlessly for her unending patience in all the stops and starts that got us to this point. Check it out:

And in other boring medical stuff, I am recovered enough to not only be back at my beloved pottery, but actually physically helping with work on the house.


It’s been a tough year but I have my life back.



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

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