About Music and Zoe, an English couple who have been in France since 1999.

Originally set up home in the Alps where between them they ran a woodworking and a chalet building company, taught in 2 International Schools in Switzerland and had 2 children. Living in the snow for half the year was magic. Clearing the snow from our track not so magic until the Rhino came along and made it all a bit more fun. Lake Geneva became a perfect place for the summer sun and fun was had by all. Plenty of projects (some pretty grand) and many happy customers down the line, the Limousin called. Less snow for certain, more green and a larger piece of the Earth to work on, even a lake. So here we are a few years later with our newest enterprise – la maison – a tweeked version of the old, taking forward our way of life with the skills and experiences that have got us this far.

Now working from a purpose built workshop (built by Music and his right-hand-man Pierre with a little help from Zoe), we are underway taking on building, renovation and woodwork jobs for people in the local area as well as building up our homemade range of (amongst other things) wooden and willow items that you can find for sale in our shop. The garden still manages to get a bit of attention and the grass always need cutting around the lake and the tree plantation… A couple of years ago we embarked on a project to change the status of the lake from ‘eaux libres’ to ‘eaux closes’ which I am pleased to confirm we have achieved, you can see the progress on our news page of the website.  All this means that we are now finally able to offer carp fishing breaks here at ‘Birch Water Carp Venue’ and 2019 has proved to have been a good start to this venture.

Oh and we have had great success with making home cured hams, jambon sec and saucisson, even chorizo and pâtés and terrines: from local pigs and locally caught deer – chevreuil, cerf and daim. No doubt the kids will have great fun camping out this summer as much as they can along with our visitors who enjoy the peace and the space when they are here – except for when the kids (big ones included) are beaming around on the quad bike which can be a bit like being buzzed by a large blue buzzy thing. We’ve now added a little motorbike to the stable which is also great fun.

2019 was the 4th edition of the Festival Glandon (already) that we have taken upon ourselves to organise (along with an incredible crew of helpers), a great success but unfortunately wet, you can’t win them all!  Have a look at our news page for the photos.

Zoe x

 

 

 

Sunny Birch Water

Just showing off my photography skills, not really – anyone can do it with these brilliant phones that take nice pics.  So we’ve had some anglers since May and they’ve all had a good time here, caught some good fish, … read more…

leFestival Glandon 2019

Here we are again, another year has passed very quickly, the preparations for the 4th edition of the festival have been going on since the beginning of the year and everything was going swimmingly until it rained!! The only wet … read more…

Les Collecteurs

A band has formed, they’ve been practicing together now for a few months and are really good.  Music, Finn, Teddy and Léo, excellent fun at La Popote chez Olivier the other day. Les Collecteurs go go go.

The Hangar Nantes

A quick day trip up to Nantes with Finn and a couple of mates to have a go at scootering (or trottinette as it’s called round here).  A really nice set up, one of the best indoor skate parks in … read more…

The Angler’s Rest

A nice addition to the fishing is a couple of compost loos and The Angler’s Rest, a place to relax when the angling gets too much! A really nice place to have a BBQ and a natter.

New kitty Gina

Well it wouldn’t be the same without a few kitty shots, meet Gina our new pussy cat, she’s great and extremely photogenic don’t you agree! Oh and I nearly forgot to mention that she’s really a tiger and very fierce…

leFestival Glandon 2018

What a whopper, everything fell into place nicely and didn’t we all have a bleeping good time.  The weather was kind, the bands were popular including the Trois Cafés Gourmands who, in between booking and playing, got really famous across … read more…

Cabane du Lac

The cabin is ready, lots of hard work (but who cares about that), a bit of planning and lots of shopping! Really pleased with the result, it is a proper process of suck it and see, working with what we’d … read more…

Snow!

Wow, fancy that, maybe not that deep by Alpine standards, but definitely crisp and even and very icy beautiful…

Milau viaduct

Wow, what an amazing sight.  On the way down to the South of France for a wee holiday we get an extra treat of seeing this beauty!

MiniFest 2017

What a triumph, our second music festival, what a great bunch of people it brings together, the organisers, the volunteers, the bands, the technicians, and everyone that came to watch and have fun. Our first year at the stade worked … read more…

Where’s the water gone??

Quite dramatic to see the water drained from the lake.  The level has been lowered by a very large siphon system over the dam wall in order to carry out necessary work so that we can change the status of … read more…

The cabin’s coming!

Work has started on making the cabin a more habitable lovely place at the end of the lake.  We’re planning to do it up so that we can rent it out and let others enjoy this little bit of peaceful … read more…

New ad

We’re advertising for the first time in the magazine of the Syndicat des Étangs de la Haute-Vienne this year. We are members of the group which exists to inform and help lake owners deal with the legislation and to liaise … read more…

Sophie’s Christmas

Sophie came up with a set of drawings for our Christmas card this year, although we’re not sending cards this year, it’ll be more of a Christmas email. So I put them together with a message and sent them off … read more…

UK trip

Just back from a fab trip over to the UK for the Toussaint holidays. We got the Dieppe-Newhaven ferry for the first time which was a success too. We started with a quick stop in Rowland’s Castle out the back … read more…

Cormorants and Coy-poo

Well, these really are making a nuisance of themselves round here. Perhaps they really are delightful creatures/birds and truly deserve their place on the planet, but why do we have to have quite so many. AAAAAAARGGHhhh… The cormorants turn up … read more…

Fence moving

Fence moving, ditch filling and ditch clearing – call in Bernard Delaune with his swing shovel and it all becomes very easy, just stand and watch. We have been wanting to move the fence that we put up around the … read more…

Ségur-le-Château

While staying here over the summer, Cousin Emily took some lovely photos on an outing to the nearby medieval village of Ségur-le-Château. An impressive little place with a lot of history and character. A couple of nice restaurants, a Monday … read more…

Glandonbury 2016

Well, tis done and dusted. We’ve just about cleared up and everyone has now gone home, things are pretty much back to normal. Normal now includes having put on a great music festival! It was brilliant and enjoyed by everyone, … read more…

Festival preparations

Well, preparations are seriously underway. Bands have been booked, the sound and lighting company too, the porta-loos have been reserved and we’re hiring a security firm to keep things sensible 🙂 The posters, flyers and advertising banners to put at … read more…

Moving out

The job that we’ve been working on here at the workshop finally reached a crunch point today when the structure of the modern design woodland lodge and all the support and foundations sections were dismantled into kit form ready to … read more…

Second attempt to siphon

Well a couple of months later and the siphon is up and running again and the lake is emptying well.  It is due to rain which will put the whole process back again however hopefully not as much as it … read more…

Glandonbury

Well, as promised, ‘le Festival’ otherwise known as Glandonbury is finally here. The 30th July this summer will see a day of music and fun at our place, over in the field that runs down to the lake. We’ve set … read more…

Workshop upgrade

When you’re busy, the last thing you need is to finish jobs ‘at home’, not least because it’s hard to find the time. However, two jobs that really needed doing have recently been finished and the result is great, well … read more…

Grand designs

It’s been really busy round here recently. Since returning from a week skiing in Chatel last week things are heating up. Some quotes still out and others returned with the go ahead. One project has the potential to be rather … read more…

Disaster at the dam

Well how crazy is that, the nicely emptying lake filled up over night thanks to the ridiculously heavy rain we’ve just had. Unbelievable the speed at which it has filled, quite unbelievable that the lake ever got as low as … read more…

Pipes and siphons

Last week a lot of effort and head scratching went into making a siphon to take down the level of the lake so that we we will be able to get on with the ‘derivation’ work.  Although a relatively simple … read more…

More concrete

The other day preparations were made to the improve the second half of the floor of the outside, undercover part of the workshop. A bit of levelling and shuttering and a delivery of concrete completed the job. Tidy work too. … read more…

Handball sponsors

Having got involved with the local Handball club through Finn, we were pleased to be one of three sponsors of the under 13 shirts. Our logo is one of two on the back. The club put on a little ‘reception’ … read more…

Arcachon

A little outing for the end of the year to Arcachon on the west coast. A magnificently sunny, warm day to spend at the seaside.  It takes about 3 hours to drive there and we left in time for a … read more…

Handball

Handball is pretty big in France. I didn’t really know what it was until I came here.  Recently at our local sports centre they have been putting on pro league 2 matches which have a great atmosphere. Finn plays hand … read more…

First snow

It’s definitely got colder here having had up to now a pretty mild Autumn. So it wasn’t really a surprise that when we got up this morning at 6.30a.m. for the collège bus we were greeted by a layer of snow … read more…

Lyon

Short trip to Lyon with Sophie to meet up with friends. The same weekend it turns out that Paris was on the receiving end of a big dollop of grim.  We, on the other hand had a lovely time and … read more…

Vulcania

Back in June Finn won two tickets to go to Vulcania having been the meilleur vendeur of his school’s tombola tickets. Hoorah! So I spent yesterday taking him and a friend there before it closed for winter. If you are … read more…

Gone fishing

Once upon a time two fishermen went fishing and they caught some big fish. They had fun camping in their bivvies and cooking their food, enjoying the good weather and being occasionally disturbed by the beep beep of the bite … read more…

Halloween

Well, we love a bit of Halloween around here. We had ghoulish buns and green slime cocktails, bats in the house and a large smiling courgette to see visitors in.  The kids found some like-minded friends and cobbled together some … read more…

The summer

Well here’s a taste of our school summer holidays this year, quite a whirlwind of travel and amusement: biking in the Alps, a day trip to Collonges-la-Rouge with Sophie, another basket course here in St Yrieix la Perche with Olivier … read more…

Stencilling

To make the most of having built and supplied St Yrieix la Perche with their swanky new buvette (bar construction), I have stencilled our contact info onto the barge boards that run along the front of it. It says buvette … read more…

Piles of wood

It has come to my attention, whilst having a wander around, that there are loads of stacks of wood everywhere (not that surprising for a wood workshop I suppose, but noticeable al the same). Some in the workshop and some … read more…

Busy busy busy

There has been a lot of work going on in the workshop and out on site. A couple of new gazebos in oak, a double garage and an extension. Plus an interesting construction for the local town – a demountable … read more…

School bees

Well, I had been helping out at a Concours de Petanque in our village and just as I was going back through the primary school playground I came upon a fire engine, stabilisers down, ladder fully extended. Well it wasn’t … read more…

Fruity

It’s that time of year when everything in the garden and in the hedgerows grows like crazy and all of a sudden there’s elderflower, strawberries and cherries by the bucketload if you have the time to do something with them. … read more…

Adieu oaks

Very sad to say that we had to cut down the two large oak trees that stood at either end of the dam last week. They had become high risk as if they were ever to be uprooted by strong … read more…

Gazebo update

A couple of photos of the beautiful oak gazebo made a little while ago now completely finished and in use. The clients used a light oak treatment to bring out the natural beauty of the wood and to give it … read more…

Changes at the dam

While some of us were gadding about on our holidays, a lot of hard work was going on back at base. In connection with the changes we want to make to the lake are the changes we are now obliged … read more…

Devon in May

Short break back to the homeland. A few days of blindingly good weather when we got out and about mixed in with the rest sitting around drinking tea. The woods with an impressive show of Bluebells, the crystal clear Start … read more…

Paul Bocuse

Came across this little piece in French Entrée about the chef Paul Bocuse. He is very famous in France and you can find a couple of plates from his restaurant near Lyon in our online shop click here and also an interesting and … read more…

wattle border

Since we pruned the willow I have been meaning to do something with a bit of it. So I decided to make a simple bit of edging for one of the vegetable plots, to stop the grass encroaching. It was … read more…

silver birch sap

Well, another first here at la maison! we’ve been drinking the sap collected by tapping a silver birch tree or two round the lake. At this time of year the sap is rising in trees and plants and in many … read more…

unbelievable sunset

Not in any way enhanced by a photo editor, the colour in the pictures of this sunset the other day are phenomenal!  Not a lot more to add really except we didn’t get to see the eclipse that many of … read more…

porcelain components

Well, this area is very famous for its’ porcelain and there are shops and factories all over the place. However something I didn’t expect to see when making a quick visit to our preferred outlet was a display of electrical … read more…

annual willow prune

Once a year jobs seem to come round very quickly like this one to prune one row of the willow. Cut with a chainsaw and then gathered mostly for the bonfire, some saved for edging the bottom beds. The idea … read more…

time to fly

The end of Feb / beginning of March is the time the Cranes migrate back to northern Europe across France. Every year they pass overhead here and again this year it was quite spectacular. Day after day of cawing as … read more…

Flashdance comes to Glandon

Not maybe what you were thinking, but we do have a welder in our midst. Music has been putting his welding skills to the test in order to fabricate a set of steel grills to go at the outflow of … read more…

our birds

Well not exactly ours, but we do play host to quite a wide variety of birds here at the lake. Over the last few years we have noticed a pair of Egrets (Héron Blanc in French) fishing and perching around … read more…

winter walk

Taken a stroll or two around the lake recently. It looks stunning with the heavy frost and the sunshine we’ve been having and as usual the lake did freeze for a couple of weeks.

a look around the garden

After a reasonable year in the veg patch, there’s not much going on now, just a few sprouts and parsnips, beetroot in the tunnel and the odd carrot. The bottom willow bed is looking colourful. The artichokes might be a … read more…

baskets with handles

Finally got round to putting handles on some baskets I had made a while ago. It’s not the best idea as the willow dries out and becomes harder to work with, but a bit of brute force and I got … read more…

work in the Alps

A little job completed in Châtel in the French Alps. A solid wooden structure which will have a roof to provide cover for 4 cars from all that snow that’s going to fall in a couple of months. It will … read more…

Angloinfo publicity

Last lot of English language promotion of ‘la maison’ for the moment. We are on the directory pages in the windows, kitchens and new build sections, with a featured listing in the building, construction and renovation section. Plus for a … read more…

more adverts

See, I told you it was the season for this sort of thing – we have just put adverts in the ‘French news in English’ newspaper, The Bugle www.the bugle.eu, for the summer months. The Limousin version has been going … read more…

recent advert

here is our advert placed in the relatively local publication ‘etcetera’ serving English speakers in the Haute Vienne, Charente, South Vienne and South Deux-Sevres. Also available to see on their website www.etceteraonline.org in June back copy.

workshop in production

It’s windows galore over in the workshop. A couple of jobs for replacement windows and the workshop is being put to the test and put through it’s paces. Everything seems to be working well and the speed of production is … read more…

willow pruning

There are two rows of willow in our willow hedge in front of the house and every winter we chop one whole row down – to just above the ground. We alternate this each year and the subsequent growth is … read more…

a bit of folk

Something to cheer you through to Spring. A fab bit of plucking and fiddling folk music from The Rosinators (UK Bluegrass band) from my repertoire. You might find a certain person here playing this at half speed on a good … read more…

roof on

Well, the workshop is really coming on. The roof tiles are on and the velux windows are in. Heavy rain the other day and no leaks, hooray. Waterproofing on the walls before the ‘bardage’, but first the underfloor heating and … read more…

nearly there

Just finishing off a couple of baskets with handles this time. Shortly to be added to the shop listings.I used some fresh willow to add an extra bit of colour. The handles have not been wrapped yet, but apart from … read more…

big flowers

Well, due to a fear of killing off the pot plants that are still outside now it is getting cooler, I have brought a couple of them indoors and this little beauty seems to approve and has grown some fantastic … read more…

basket base

I thought you might be interested to see how some of my baskets start. First, I make a round base that looks a bit like a wheel with spokes sticking out from usually 7 sticks. Then I weave (it’s called … read more…

warmer weather

Well lots more rain, some sun and warmer temperatures.   Building, digging, planting, weeding.   putting up pictures, moving cupboards.   kittens!