In those first few days we thoroughly toured the grounds with the dogs. I remember the weather being extremely pleasant, surprisingly, as it was still January. We later learned that it had been a particularly mild January in the Loire Valley that year. One day walking in the front park we noticed that in one area the trees seemed to have been planted in an open ended square shape. Most peculiar, we thought! So we investigated the area and began to scrape the leaves and earth away with our feet as the ground felt quite hard beneath. To my amazement I uncovered a white painted line; We got a shovel then and began to uncover a full sized hard based tennis court!! UNBELIEVABLE! Particularly as the agent hadn't a clue that it had been there. It was still in a reasonable condition but, obviously, had no net or fencing ; it went down on to our growing list of must do's!
We re-contacted our friend Archie who agreed to come over for a three month period to work alongside of us and , shortly, our daughter Victoria and her boyfriend would be moving in to work with us as well. So that would be 6 workers ( including Mum)!! Our first project would be to create a separate living area for Mum, who, at that point wanted to be independant. There was a great area on the sous sol , lower ground floor, which had previously been for staff. It consisted , a salon with doors opening onto the garden, a tiny kitchenette and a WC/shower room--ideal! That would be Archie's first job. Meanwhile Vicky and I ( & Mum) would tackle the huge entrance hall. We needed to strip off all that horrific paper and remove the old varnish off the original floor tiles.
These are not a good quality photos I'm afraid, but this is in the entrance hall--it shows the awful paper peeling off; That fireplace is enormous, but doesn't look it in the photo.
Above photo is the front door . Dwarfed by the camera, and more of that ghastly paper!
We were becoming used to the big space little by little and getting to like it. The problem most of the time was finding each other, because once one of us went ' walk-a-abouts ' it might be half an hour before they could be located.
I used to end up at the end of nearly every day in the lovely old stables, dreaming of having a horse, or two...............................