Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas update on the Hauwaert family

This has been a year of change for all of us, we moved down the road from our old summer house (with the blue shutters) to the Logis Vert (green shutters, of course!). The work to restore, stabilize and renovate the ruined house took about two and half years. We had three teams of workers and friends helping us out. One project was digging up the old stone floor and installing underfloor heating and then re-tiling with handmade terracotta tiles. Another was scraping off the old plaster and covering walls with three layers of natural hemp insulation and tradtional whitewash. Likewise, we redid the roof and added in windows at the back, where there were none. As the heavy work ended I was busy this year tinting windows to a traditional dark colour inside, painting the windows green outside, varnishing wood staircases and floors and ceilings and choosing paint and curtains. For anyone who has restored a house you’ll understand the high levels of stress the whole process creates, even when everything is on track! For anyone thinking about it, beware!! It takes over your life…and you talk about nothing but taps, screws, tiles or double glazing, even to total strangers!!!

View of the Logis

Jacques 40th birthday party at Logis Vert
We officially moved in on Jacques’ 40th birthday in August and celebrated with all the French family and my sister and her family, who were here on holiday. We cooked Mexican for 22 and all wore green for the occasion!! We bought Jacques a metal-detector because he was looking for treasure all the way through the work; nothing found so far….but you never know!!
Marc has grown a lot, way over my head now, and his voice has broken already. He’ll be 14 in January. He’s working hard at school in certain subjects, like maths. Homework is more challenging, hard to get him off Facebook or YouTube and he tends to start working at 9pm! He helps Jacques a lot with heavy DIY work and has learnt to make walls and dig holes! Nina started secondary school in September, she’s also growing fast and has same shoe size as me now. She loves school, works hard and is class rep. She’s still doing horse-riding on weekends and chilling out with her girly friends. Gabriel is also growing older, although he is still very cute and the baby of the family. He has a great male teacher this year, who is pushing him to read more. He loves football and plays twice a week. Sadly, he just discovered Santa doesn’t exist…so this year will be less make-believe, but he is enjoying being ‘grown-up’ and allowed to stay up till midnight on xmas eve!!
As for us, Jacques is still working for the same American company, he works from home two or three days a week now, good when he was overseeing the Logis project. My second book, on Bilingual Siblings, is published this month. I have several minor projects; teaching, writing, voluntary work, but nothing major, so next year I’m hoping to find a full-time job teaching English or possibly another book.

Here is the link for my book, via the publishers, Multilingual Matters (who give 20% discount)
http://www.multilingual-matters.com/display.asp?isb=9781847693266

Wherever you are in the world, have a wonderful christmas and good luck for 2011!!

2 comments:

Fiona Goble said...

Hi Suzanne and Jacques. So good to read about your life in France. I am so jealous! We are not doing our normal Dordogne jaunt this year as our friends are in Amsterdam. Tant pis. Lovely to see the family growing up. You're right. Gabriel is still cute and the others look great too! Love Fiona in Chorleywood.

Alice said...

Hello Suzanne,
Thank you for this update of your lovely family. Zoé and me read it with joy!
HAve a wonderfull new year.
Alice and Zoé