Firstly – as requested via Facebook – first billing goes to Dave’s aunt and uncle, Chris and Clint, who arrived with us yesterday for a week’s holiday in Hayloft. This is their second visit to us, the first being in February before we had started any of the refurbishments, so they have been able to see some remarkable changes.   Welcome to them – its lovely to have them back.

Yesterday we said goodbye to our Belgian couple who had stayed in Hayloft for a week.  They left some lovely comments with us on the accommodation and their holiday.  They also made full use of Dave’s catering ordering a frozen meal of fish pie in advance for the evening of their arrival.  They enjoyed it so much that they ordered a 3 course supper in the week (with boeuf bourgignon) and another frozen meal of Shepherd’s pie for their last night.

This has been another very frenetic week during which we have completed phase 1 of Priory and have guests settled in – a very nice couple with a lovely Labrador and a Lab / Husky mix who looks very hot in this weather

You may recall that we cut completing Hayloft fine before our first guest arrived (15 minutes), well we were almost closer with Priory and we didn’t have time to take any proper photographs so the ones on here are temporary and we will be updating the website during the week when we have been able to take some better shots.

We have not needed to do as much ‘major’ work in Priory as we have kept the kitchen units and bathroom suite although both rooms have been completely refurbished with layers and layers of paint to cover the pine lambris as well as changing taps, handles, fittings etc to revamp where needed.

We have replaced all of the furniture in the lounge and bedrooms; changed almost every light; had new curtains manufactured where there weren’t any and had some existing ones dry cleaned; repaired and re-varnished the old front door and replaced the external door to the kitchen and the result looks fabulous.

Paint, specifically white emulsion, is something we have used A LOT of and certainly more than we had initially anticipated and with all the painting we required in Priory we finished all of the paint we had bought in the UK and additional that had been brought out to us.

Very early on we were told by a lot of people that French paint is not very good and is incredibly expensive so we stocked up when we were in Portsmouth in February. When it was evident we would run out of emulsion we, seriously, considered ravelling back to the UK to replenish as we could get better paint at less cost even factoring in a ferry ticket. However, we thought we’d do a bit of French paint shopping and it confirmed what we had been told. There is cheap paint but we were advised against the very cheapest, but for regular white emulsion you can spend up to EUR 10 per litre! It seems you have to choose whether you have more money, for the expensive stuff, or time, to paint multiple coats of the cheaper brands. We had little of either so went for a mid-range brand and, to use an Australian gag about American beer, the consistency was like making love in a canoe!

However, with numerous coats it did what we needed it to do and have attached some before and after photos below.


Priory Kitchen Before - Holidays Cottages in FrancePriory Kitchen - Holidays Cottages in France








Living Room:

Priory Lounge - Holidays Cottages in France

Priory Lounge Before - Holidays Cottages in France









First floor twin room:

Priory Twin Before

Luxury gite family accommodation in Brittany










Eaves twin room:

Priory Eaves Bedroom Furnished

Luxury gite family accommodation in Brittany







We have rewarded ourselves with a few days off and a beer in the pub for the first time in a couple of weeks before we get back to completing Granary.


À bientôt.


  • leanne barratt June 8, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Never made love in a canoe so can only imagine!!!!
    Guys, photos are stunning. Very inviting..!
    Enjoy your well deserved rest.
    will let you know about the end of the month.


  • John Seaman June 14, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Dear Ben and Dave,

    I have enjoyed reading your blog and are most impressed by the amount of work that you have done. The photos look great and makes me think that the whole experience must be much more satisfying than client onboarding. Please keep in touch and we will plan to come out and stay with you once we have finished the bits and pieces on the new house.

    All the best

    Fran and John


    • Ben Dickins June 14, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Hi Fran and John,
      Fantastic to hear from you. Hope all is well.
      Life here is very enjoyable and we are certainly very busy but in a fun day and it certainly beats a number of roles I’ve fulfilled in the past!
      How is the new house – I had a quick look online when we got your change of address – it looks like a lovely home and I vaguely remember a connection with C.S. Lewis (or another author?)
      How are Oliver and Xavier? Well I hope, and having fun at school.
      We would love to see you out here – you would of course be very welcome. We aren’t back in the UK very often but will let you know when we have plans otherwise we will work harder to keep in touch electronically.
      As ever,
      Ben and Dave


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