A New Beginning?

Yes yes, I’ve been quiet. Yadda yadda yadda as my buddy Sprocket would say.

I’m here now, aren’t I?

A brief summary since last summer :

My mother (Granny) came to stay for an indefinite period of time.  She’s no bother… looks after the balcony flowers and keeps us on the straight and narrow when it comes to tidying the house.  She’s gone back to Ireland for a break but will rejoin us soon, I hope.

Granny’s sister, my feisty, independent, argumentative Aunty Kathleen, died at the start of November, leaving the extended family with a lot of work to do clearing out her house.  It’s almost there… we expect to have it up for sale before the end of the month.

I had cortisone injections in my back which have helped me enormously (four herniated discs, in case you missed that. The result of a lifetime of disrespecting my spine. Who’s sorry now?).

I started working on the farm again, on a more or less permanent basis.  I’m job-sharing with a young lady who also has back issues – neck and shoulder in her case.  We do 3-4 hours per day, 3-4 days a week, feeding, bedding and providing whatever nursing type care is needed.  It suits us both.  I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to do it, but I love just spending time with the horses. And ponies. And donkeys.  And it pays my livery bill.

Looking after these guys is NOT a pain in the ass!

I haven’t ridden since I did the Mountain Trail clinic last July (eh yeah, sorry, I just realised I never blogged about it.  Maybe I’ll get to it later. It was fun.).  I’m afraid riding will set my back off. Right now, I can do everything I want, relatively pain-free.  I’d like to keep it that way.  It’s not that I’m afraid of falling off… I’m afraid that the movement required from my lower back to ‘go with’ the movement of a horse is going to be too much for me to cope with.

Sunset Years? Surely not yet…

I haven’t done any groundwork with my horses, either.  I don’t know why, I just have no mind for it.  So the Boyz are semi-retired.

I’ve been painting and drawing like a mad thing.  Loving it.  I’m ready to take commissions… here are my two most recent pieces as a sample.  I’ll do a full on advertisement post next!

The New Beginning referred to in the title of the post?  We’re buying a second house here in Reillanne to run as a holiday rental – Villa Amande.  Check out our Facebook page!  We have a steady trickle of bookings so far for Summer 2019.  We’re on HomeAway and SimplyOwners but if you’re tempted by the thought of an idyllic rural location with a private pool, contact us directly.  We promise to give you the best deal you’ll get!

We have a butt-load of maintenance work to catch up with on the two houses, and are recruiting people who’d like to come and stay with us in exchange for work.  Mostly painting, some light gardening – and we must be finished by mid-April.  If you or anyone you know would be interested, email me on tailsfromprovence@gmail.com.  I’m recruiting via Facebook and Workaway as well, but I’d rather find people with whom I have some sort of connection, however tenuous.  Our first volunteer arrives on Saturday – she’s a friend’s sister, I’m looking forward to meeting her.

And that’s it.  I’ll keep the horsey twist going, but Tailsfromprovence seems to be morphing into an Art and Holiday Home blog.

A bientôt.

14 thoughts on “A New Beginning?

  1. Pingback: Bubbling Over With Excitement – Virtual Brush Box

  2. Well done on your decision about the house. What a great adventure! Unfortunately as Matt’s still full in work we take up the idea of coming down and workincan’t take yo idea of coming and working in the house. And that’s a shame, because he loves painting and is very good at it. It would actually be his idea of a holiday.Lol. maybe we’ll make it down for a holiday at some stage


  3. Crap on cats! Quelle horreur. Not to worry, however, as your dogs and horses are fantastic. Keep it up. Glad the cortisone helped your back. Once I get my knees sorted out, (new injections) I need to find a back specialist in these parts and see if I can get cortisone. Villa Amande is looking fab. Greetings to your adorable mother.


  4. Good to hear your news, Martine, I was wondering what you were up to! Sorry to hear you’re not riding, hope your back will improve and you can get back to it – work at the farm isn’t exactly a rest! Unbelievably, me and Pom (18 today) have at last found a marvellous trainer to come here and knock us into shape – were both fitter than we have been in years. Good luck with the letting, we did it for 10 years in the 90s … it’s such a different game these days since internet and reviews… Sometimes we despaired that holidaymakers forgot to pack their brains, but, on the whole, we met some wonderful people and it was a “nice little earner” if harder work than people think, especially if you live close by! Hope you get lots of time for painting and drawing, great to have such a talent to develop. Bon courage on all fronts ☺


  5. So sorry to hear about you back problems. Sounds like your making the best of a difficult situation. The new property looks great. Doddler and I are in Kansas City, freezing. It’s been a very interesting trip especially for Doddler who has never been to the Midwest. Tomorrow on to I hope warmer pastures, Las Vegas & Death Valley. Take care of yourself and a big hug to you and long suffering husband. See you in Spring… 🌎 Sprocket


    • Hey great to hear from you!!! I’ve been waiting for these amazing pictures on Instagram but there’s nought… you need to approve my follow request in order for me to see anything. Enjoy Vegas – not my cuppa tea at all but hey ho we’re all different. See you in the Spring, as you say xx


  6. Welcome back!! Wow, you really captured the personality of the dog..he’s almost drooling on the page! And the pencil of mare and foal..well done!
    I don’t know if there’s an acupuncturist in your area, but if you can find one and are interested, you may want to give acupuncture a try. It’s very effective for a LOT of things. I’m currently being treated every two weeks for osteoporosis. If nothing else, it does help with pain. But even if you don’t, at least keep moving. Take it easy but DO move. Your back will appreciate it.


    • Thanks, acupuncture is the one thing I haven’t tried. I’m pretty religious about doing physio exercises first thing in the morning and I know all about it if I miss a few days, like if I’ve been travelling. And the whole ‘keep moving thing’ is one of the reasons I love working on the farm.
      Thanks for compliment about Doug the dog! He’s MC’s dog – she who featured in most of my riding posts when I arrived here! In fact this is an Almost Finished photo – I forgot to take a finished shot before I gave it to her, and I’m waiting for her to send me a photo of him all framed up. And yes, I’m pleased with how he turned out 🙂 My first effort with Pastel pencils.


  7. I’ll be your first commission, don’t even have to wait for the advertising post. Seriously, I believe in supporting artists. That is, I assume you aren’t painting with golf leaf?

    Pick an idea from the blog & go to town. I’d be careful with cats. Some of them have passed on & I’d be too upset to appreciate a picture. Horses who have passed on I’d be okay with. Go figure. It can be a head shot, full body, showing, not showing, home team, ASB, pasture, jumping, saddle seat. Whatever amuses your artistic soul.


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