Friday, April 15, 2011

5 Years




Last week we celebrated living in our house for 5 years! This is longest I have lived anywhere since leaving home. After trawling the Limousin countryside for weeks, we were unsuccessful in finding the right place. I remember the day so clearly. We arrived at the property with the estate agent and I was completely uninterested and dis-hearted. So much so, I didn't even enter the house for a while. I didn't see the point, as it probably was going to be another thumbs down. The best part for me and what I will always keep with me was walking into the dining room and being hit with the old, musty, damp smell. Sounds awful, but it wasn't at all. It was sort of homely and welcoming. The furniture hadn't been touched or moved and even slippers and shoes were left out. It wasn't creepy but homely again. There was something about the ambiance and spirit which instantly made our minds up.

We later discovered that the house belonged to a very happy couple - the Durands. Their family had lived here for generations and even once owned the house next door too. Bit by bit we discovered more about them. The old man was called Louis, but was known by everyone as 'Petit Louis', even though he wasn't 'petit'. He was married to Marie-France and together they had 2 sons. Sadly, Louis died of Alzheimer's disease and Marie-France died within a year of losing her husband. They left so many treasures that there are too many to list. Photos, recipes, sewing implements, tools etc. Even now we are still finding things, albeit small. For example, I needed a strong needle for making my rug, but before taking a visit to the shop, I knew I'd find one in Marie-France's sewing box! Scott still finds tools he needs for the garden and work. It began to get ridiculous. It felt we were meant to be here. Many years ago, Scott and I got our cards read at a festival for a bit of fun and were told many true things including we would live abroad one day. On one of these days,  Scott was clearing out the hay in the barn for insurance purposes. There was literally several tractor loads. We had 5 or 6 men helping, but it was Scott who found, lodged in the centre of a hay bale, a diary with his date of birth - 1975 printed on the cover. Why he felt the need to look at this bale when all the others were thrown regardless into the tractor. It was like somebody was telling us that this house was meant for us?!

People still talk about Petit-Louis. He was know as the medicine man. The locals came to him as they would a doctor. The local GP spoke very highly of him. He carefully planned our garden and most of the flowers in my photos are the ones he planted. He was so well known that when we first moved in and needed to arrange a doctor, wood, materials etc, all we needed to do was say that we lived in Petit-Louis' house. No directions needed. It gives us great comfort knowing that we live in a house which contains so many happy, loving memories. I hope we live here another 5 years.

8 comments:

  1. This story of your home is a beautiful one.. It reminds me of my own childhood house, wich was (and is still) full of old things left by generations in the attic.. A treasure..

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  2. Really enjoyed reading this, I didn't know about the diary, how lovely. See you on Monday, can't wait x x

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  3. Really looking forward to Monday :) xxx

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  4. wow - i love this story! what a great one to keep for the record as you've done so well. have you ever met the durand children?

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  5. As we're getting ready to clear out my parents' house, this post gives me hope that someone will someday move in and love the house as much as my parents did. Such a lovely story you shared. :)

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  6. That's so lovely. I love the feeling of houses that have history, and lifetimes of stories. You are so lucky to have found it !!

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  7. This is such a beautiful post, Andrea. You definitely have an affinity with this home and the photos are very moving - I can't believe the previous gorgeous family left so many of their little possessions lying around!I love that you know their story and only have to mention whose house you live in to get a doctor etc. A great story x

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  8. {I've missed loads of posts!} This is so lovely, it sounds very much like you were meant to be there, the photos are touching, they have very kind faces. It's great that your loving family are now building your happy memories there!xx

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