February 2007 Renovating our house

The renovation work on Stank's house continues

Plaster work in kitchen going well.

Our work renovating seem to ever expand, we had booked the plasterer to remove artex from ceilings and walls, but as we progressed over the weeks we found more walls needed plastering - clearing up was a nightmare after these boys. I enjoyed painting the new plaster once it was dry. John's birthday turned into many nights of celebration with our family & friends & invitations trying new restaurants was a joy, so many good ones.

Friend David's 40th birthday was a special celebration - as it was John's birthday too.

We enjoyed David's party which was celebrated at Leeds United football ground - 250 guests much food and drink - it was so nice celebrating David & John's and sister in law Sally's birthday, it was so nice to catch up with John's family & lots of old friends. I love this photo of David and his sister Julie, we all enjoyed the evening very much as you can see from photos.

Back in Carcassonne - Keith on board fire damaged Elsa B

Sadly on John's birthday 3rd Feb a boat caught fire in the harbour in Carcassonne, the fire was caused by the boat's chimney, sadly, the owner lost all his possessions - his beloved boat was almost reduced to a shell again.

A huge sadness fell on all involved for quite some time, help was given to Keith from everyone around him at the time, the shock of losing his home and boat was too much to bear, a huge sadness indeed. Keith is busy trying to find a boat builder to tackle rebuilding Elsa B... or whether he should try to find himself another boat, the boat will possibly go back back to England or Saint Jean de Losne for all repairs.

Work continues on our house - work rest & play is what we say... time for a cuppa anyone!

Friends & family lend a hand... we could see a difference each day. During February we had some really good weather which was not the case back in France, friends kept us informed of all the events back in France. the Moet was in safe hands with David & Renate.

Sheila mean time was doing ok after coming back to England for her hip operation. I spent a good deal of my time on the telephone with solicitors and bank and driving around looking & ordering all the material's we would need this month. John was busy with all the work inside & outside of the house, and for most of the time he was happy, except when he hit his hand with hammer... the air around was blue.

Valentines night - friends Pam & daughter Nicky & Paul & myself and a few party people too.

Our next social event was valentines night which was held in the Oracle Bar in Leeds... a pink & red charity event, organised by Paul & John's brother Tony they raised a lot of money for different charities by holding an auction, everyone had a wonderful time and it was very well organised indeed.

Friends Mick & Pam bid for a Leeds Rugby Rhino's shirt in the charity auction - then presented it to John's sister for son's Joe & Tom who are rugby mad, what a night it turned out to be, Susan's face I shall remember for ever.

It was back to work day & night on the house for a few days before our break - we also had some shopping to do. We needed tee shirts for our sunshine break, (all our summer clothes are on the boat).

Not too much notice for this trip - one of those phone call's... Philip said we are off to Morocco do you want to come? Myself & John, my sister Sharon, husband Tommy also sister Kathy, husband John all said YES so brother Philip & wife arranged the whole trip for us all, what a star. Sadly Michele's brother & partner had to back out at last minute.

A welcome break in city of Marrakech in Morocco was a wonderful tonic

John & myself

Philip & Michele

Sharon & Tommy

Kath & John

All eight of us met up in Manchester airport, our cars collected at the airport departure doors, Philip's arrangement, every thing about this trip went wonderfully well, good hotel, good food, no one got deli belly either (a worry) .....five wonderful days exploring city of Marrakech - Morocco.

A snooze first the boys said... my brother Philip's mouth open - catching flies for lunch!

Marrakech is one of the most talked about cities in recent years and now we see why. It's a real mix of the medieval and modern - from designer bars and renowned restaurants (we found a very good French restaurant). Lots of snake charmers in the main square and the ancient souks around 260 alley ways - all within the medina, we were foot sore, wonderful gifts to take home... no end to shopping here. A city like no other, we felt very safe being in a group, though we had one or two moments of being hassled.

The focal point for exploring was the central square, the Jemaa el Fna, an extraordinary gathering place and the social centre of a city, that at dusk offers a scene little changed since the dark ages.

We found the square to be amazing especially at night when around sunset, the food & eating market opens up - plenty of seafood and tagine joints, it was just an amazing site to see as we wandered around this square.

Main Square of Jemaa el Fna this 1st photo taken around sunset, also snake charmers setting up.

Philip & myself enjoying a Marrakech back & neck massage

We lost our way and Philip asked a policeman directing traffic the way to The Palace we were to visit - Policeman left his job directing traffic, at a very busy inter-section, leads us the way to Palace, via his cousins herbal shop... we thoroughly enjoyed the visit and learning about herbs and spices of Morocco, needless to say be bought a few to take home of course.

Philip and myself enjoyed a massage in the back of the herb shop... where in the world could that happen, we floated out, the rest of the family had wished they had tried the massage too instead of watching us. One of those happy moments we still made it in time to visit the Palace too.

Many storks nesting in the main square - eating out was a pleasure too.

Visiting the Alas mountains - buying ourselves gifts here... Sharon bought a tagine pot.

We hired a mini bus & driver, then a guide for a walk in the Atlas mountains, we did not want to get lost. We dressed for the snow, but the sun was out and it was so hot on the day we went walking, it felt good the mountain air after the hustle & buzz of the city. We enjoyed touring exploring and spending time with each other, we all agreed we would come back again. Philip & Tommy will be back in the summer for a four day walk.

Back at the house in Stank's - friend Rob has a week off work and helps with us with Kitchen

We feel we are getting to grips with all the work, we can see many improvements on a daily basis as it is coming together, we could not have done the kitchen with out Robert's help he was an angel and had many good idea's.

We have a tenant for the Conway house now we have finished renovating, it's been all go this winter - new tenant wants to move in middle March...