View of the house across the lawn

Sunday, October 10, 2010

1.     THE PLACE
4.     THE WORK

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Moulin du Clout is an old walnut mill with attached modern house and gite situated in a picturesque valley of the river Cele in the Auvergne.
The mill lies in the bottom of a deep valley in 8 hectares (20 acres) of fields and forest. There is half a kilometre of trout stream including a weir controlling a mill-race that feeds the millpond. There are four fields in the valley bottom and one on the shoulder of the hill . Rocky crags in the valley sides have accessible flattish tops from which there are some fine views. Most of the domaine is woodland, mostly of sweet chestnut and oaks with some poplars in the valley bottom, walnut trees and several fruit: apples, peaches and cherries. The sun reaches into the valley from the east in the morning and from the west in the evening, when it is delightful to walk along the riverside track. There are resident heron, buzzard, woodpecker, tits, songbirds and a hoopoe has been seen. Deer, hares and a wild pig have been spotted in the valley.

This is France Profonde. Life is simple here and we mostly make our own pleasures. We have no swimming pool, no games room (although that is being considered for next year) and no television as yet (either French or English). We have no near neighbours - the village is about a twenty minute walk up hill and nobody speaks English except us and another couple who have a holiday home in the village. The village has no shops, bars or restaurant - those are all a twenty minute drive away.

What we do have is peace and quiet and beautiful scenery. We are quite happy here and if you are the right kind of people you will be too. If what you like are bright lights, noise and late night dancing this is not for you.

The modern building (built 36 years ago) comprises the main house and a gite. Both have their own entrance.

The gite (where I expect to accommodate you) has a livingroom/kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom with shower and separate toilet. Some pictures are below.

View 1 of living room/kitchen

View 2 of living room/kitchen

Bedroom 1 with double bed

Bedroom 2 with 2 single beds

Our names are Jim and Brenda and we are old - well elderly anyway but not lacking in ideas, energy or enthusiasm just stamina. We are living here although the property is owned by our son, Matthew who lives in Antwerp. We are British and do not speak a great deal of French. Jim's is the best and getting better.

We have a dog, Rufus. He is a young WhippetX and rather excitable. He takes a while to get used to strangers when he does you are his best friend.

We are doing our best to maintain and improve the Moulin and it's domaine. There is a lot to do and we need some help.
The idea is that you work here five hours a day five days a week, unpaid, for an agreed time. We suggest in our case a week or two from the middle of May. This is a time in which we are less likely to have friends and family visiting us, when they will want to stay in the gîte. Check out our calendar.
It does not matter what age, nationality or sex you are so long as you are capable (not necessarily skilled) and willing to do the things we want you to do. And are honest and friendly.
In return we provide free accommodation and meals. At this stage I expect that you will be staying in the gîte especially if there is more than one of you.  Breakfast food of cereal, fruit and toast will be available for your use in the gîte. I would expect to give you a light lunch of soup/meat/cheese and bread and a cooked evening meal.  These will be served in the main house. Tea and coffee always available. Wine or beer in the evening. We are not vegetarians but I can cook vegetarian meals. Any other dietary needs can be discussed and considered.
We do not smoke and would not wish you to smoke in the house.
As you will be expected to work five hours per day five days a week plenty of time will be left for enjoying yourself. Here are some ideas:
The weather can be very pleasant here in summer so just lounging around in the sun with a book and a glass of wine may be enough.

There are one or two walks in the neighbourhood and up to the village. If nature is your interest there are flora and fauna to be discovered and perhaps photographed.
Silver-Washed Fritillary
Wild Rose
Fishing - there are small fish and crayfish in the millpond
Cooking and eating pizzas using the bread oven.

The bread oven
Just a few bits left!
You may be a keen artist or writer - here you will find peace and quiet, perhaps even inspiration to further your talents.
We have an assortment of books, games and jigsaws if you are interested in these.
We have broadband - bring your laptop and log on.
We have radio, videos and DVD's No T.V.
There is always conversation.

To explore further afield you will need transport. People do cycle here but it is VERY hilly and we do not have bicycles. We only have one car and it will not be insured for others apart from ourselves.There is no public transport locally although there is a train from the nearest town.
However if you come by car, or hire one there are a few local attractions worth a visit. At weekends it may be possible for us to transport you somewhere.

We do have a telephone but mobiles do not work here in the Moulin because we are in a valley. You need to walk up the hill to the village to get a signal.

There are a few projects that we have in hand, but they are too much for us to complete on our own.
1. The window frames, whilst basically in good condition, need sanding down and revarnishing. In many places the putty needs to be replaced. Some of the windows are high up and you would need to work from a ladder or perhaps a tower scaffold.
There are eighteen windows, of varying size, a set of French windows and three external doors. Some of the windows have shutters also needing some treatment.

2. We have an idea to establish a boules piste in one of the fields. We have written instructions how to set about this and the plan needs discussion. We should also like to set up a badminton area adjacent - not a proper court, but a net stretched across a reasonably level area.

Site of boule piste and badminton area
3. We have made a start with a nature trail around the domain. This has involved hacking at the brambles and using a strimmer to carve a way through. In other parts some form of steps need to be constructed and perhaps a rough, but solid handrail. The trail needs to be continued across a further area so that evenually it may be possible to walk all around the area fairly easily.

4. As previously mentioned, the mill no longer functions but the buildings could do with a clearout and some attention given to the workings/machinery where practical.

5. A vegetable garden has been established and although Jim is quite happy to work this himself some help occasionally may be needed. We garden organically.

6. Other jobs might include, tree lopping, pruning and log sawing.

If you are interested or have any futher questions about the Moulin or the work here - please email us at