Lest I mistakenly leave you all sitting in your respective abodes thinking we are living a life of honey and roses....let me correct you.
To cushion the blow, of the merry vision I am destroying, let me begin by saying that as we sit on the white bench outside (pictured left), when the wind wafts from the right we catch the rich scent of roses....and as it wafts from the left we catch the sweet scent of honeysuckle...ahhhh....but then the thorn.
Here I welcome you to my pain. My kitchen has always been my kingdom. When nothing else is organized in life, the kitchen is. Our visitors know the sauce cabinet (yes, I had an entire cabinet just for all my sauces, and I am proud of this fact! A Saucetarian must have her tools of worship :o) ), the spice cabinet, the bakers rack packed beyond capacity with the yummies picked up, to try later, on our travels. All my various bric-a-brac for cooking in it's proper place. But me, in the center of it all, only having to turn this way and that while in the storm of culinary creation, knowing where and what I needed was a mere step away. All reduced via our recent move to this:
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
I can accept this 'vie rustique' (rustic life) because the light at the end of the tunnel is that once the dust settles after our many projects in 18mo-2yrs, I will have my kitchen kingdom again--only better, dreamier, tastier. As I peruse the magazines for renovation, visit the home shows, kitchen displays, see the array of top of the line pots (I'm a grown up now, time to upgrade from the pots I've been using since...college!) fondle the german, japanese & danish....knives (dirty minded readers!)....I must catch the drool before it drops, reducing my public dignity to nothing. So, I pretend we are on a really cool camping trip, and I just happen to have a couple of my favourite kitchen utensils (did I mention my small collection of knives are stuck to a magnet on the wall? akkkk!) and it is perfectly natural for flies to come and go through the windows as I handle food (no, the frenchies have never heard of SCREENS!!)...but on the plus side, Freya can tear in with muddy paws and tongue panting and no cry of indignation escapes my lips, because quite honestly, I don't have to care--we're camping!!
On that rustic theme let me introduce you to the luxury/not of our downstairs bathroom. Luxury because we have one upstairs AND downstairs (not usual in a 300yr old French holiday/country home), Not because the door only opens as far as you can see in the photo, the toilet sits at an angle in the room and the seat can't attach properly, so every time I sit down I swear I am going to fall in--which I'm sure I did at some point in my toddlerhood, otherwise why would I have the vague notion of what that feels like?? The decor is...well, I won't go there because in camping land it just doesn't matter....but it is a great place to rinse out the vacuum cleaner, wash our wellies (boots), water the plants and store our beverages (stay really cool!). In the future, when walls are knocked down and the room extended, we will have a retro-cool beton (glossy cement) bathroom/laundry room up to the task of keeping the M-J family clean and orderly.
Hodge-podge living demands creativity sometimes, and we refuse to be beaten down by the lack of facilities. See here our solution to not being able to set up the built in oven furniture--we may be camping, but I WILL have an oven folks, raw quiche is just not that tasty! So, the oven is turned to face the kitchen, solidly, yet unattractively installed atop the dryer, and the dryer camps out under the stairs--again let me thank the appliance gods for the invention of the condensation dryer...otherwise the one appliance I had to choose to live with (aurevoir my lovely dishwasher...waaahhhh), the washing machine--only plumbing for one solitary thing--would have left us with crispy jeans & towels, and clothes strewn through the trees in the garden to dry!! Dishwashing is done by hand, in loads, and we strengthen our marital bond with discussions over towel drying dishes :)
The rest of our life is packed in stacks of boxes (I'm still selectively unpacking the nightmare of four days we spent packing) that we built sub-walls with around various rooms. Thank goodness they are white...brightens the house without the need for repainting (snicker, snicker)...and will remain so to reduce any packing trauma we will have to endure in the coming year of our life as we finish the Grange project, move to it, and start on the house project and move back again when that is complete. The goal is to live with the basics, still have a semblance of a 'home' (used very loosely) as it will be a long winter and when we're stuck inside (we hope Santa brings us a BIG tv for Christmas) we don't really want to be camping anymore--"Aunty Em, Aunty Em....where am I?"--but, for the time being, when even a glimmer of despair rears it's ugly head in this paradise land of ours--I merely walk to the front door, take a deep breath of our clean country air, drink in the panorama of beauty (see pic) and all is right in the world, even the thorns.