Thursday, 21 August 2014

They never told us about the Snakes!

After a good night's sleep, we slept until 9 am. 

Today we decided we would try to find the septic tank. We don't have running water yet but there was some water in the cottage toilet cistern. I had flushed it away but we couldn't work out where it went!!

When you buy a French property, there are several inspections and reports that have to be carried out (at the vendor's expense). One of these reports is all about the septic tank (fosse septique). Unfortunately the septic tank wasn't found but the report indicated it was probably between the side of the cottage and the road. This area was very overgrown with long grass and several small trees that had seeded there.

So we prepared to do some strimming!

We thought this might be the septic tank but it turned out to be the water meter.

Water meter cover

By the way, I know it looks like Chris is doing all the work but I'm doing all the clearing and fetching of the vegetation onto the tarpaulin!!

View down the road

The strimming resulted in a couple of tarpaulins full of vegetation but no septic tank. 

We tried various methods of locating it such as poking the ground with a stick to see if we came across anything concrete.

After a couple of hours we gave up looking but at least the frontage was much clearer now.....

......and we found the water meter! 

The water meter

Whilst Chris was strimming, he spotted some tiny lizards on the cottage I quickly took some pics.

I hope we didn't scare them all away!

Later on, Chris put a good padlock on the cottage door. Carrying on from the sweeping yesterday, I attempted to mop the cottage living room floor. There was so much mud that I decided to give up until we have running water.

Great pic of a muddly floor and a bucket!
About mid afternoon, we were at the back of the property. I still can't believe how many blackberries there are here....

Suddenly I heard a shout from Chris. I ran over to see what was wrong and there was a snake, plain as day! Right near the brambles that I had been cutting last night! I managed to get a quick photo before it slithered away into the thick undergrowth. It was an adder (vipère) and they can bite if threatened or trodden on!

Luckily Chris had seen it before he stepped on it!

Adder in the grass
Chris was a bit shocked as he doesn't like snakes. I don't mind them though and we both agreed that although it had been a little scary, it had beautiful markings! I'm pretty sure it had been basking in the sun as it was very hot day.

We'll be extra careful in future.

Adder in the grass

After dinner, we did some research about adders and what to do if bitten. It would seem that Spencer is most at risk as dogs go charging into the undergrowth and then get bitten on their muzzle or legs. We knew where the nearest vets was at Gourin. Apparently it's important to act quickly and get your pet to the vets as quickly as possible. Then they can usually be treated.

I hoped Chris would get a good night's sleep and not have nightmares!

I don't remember the estate agent mentioning anything about snakes!!

Thanks for visiting!

Maggie xx


  1. What a romantic (seemingly) adventure to restore an ancient property! Although the pictures tell the real story of all the work! It will be fun to see your progress.

  2. I'm with Chris, I don't like snakes either. That's especially scary that it was a poisonous one. I'm sure clearing the overgrown vegetation will help discourage the snakes from hanging around too close to the cottage. Those blackberries look juicy and delicious. I used to pick blackberries as a kid for my mother's blackberry jelly. Yum.

  3. I pray that you and Chris do not clear out too much of your wonderful brambles! I hear that they make exquisite Brandy in addition to the cobbler you mentioned. I envy you two; not only living over the great pond but now owning a wonderful farmhouse out in the countryside of France to boot. Best wishes to you both on the improvements.

  4. I see now you were using a weed whacker....I need to use one. Scary snake...I'm always on the look out for me and the dogs. Yes...the floor is going to take some work but are those ever gorgeous tiles. Do you both speak French? I am loving this blog! You guys should write a book about it later when you're all done but take good notes now!

  5. Eeep! Snakes! Do be careful. Another thing you might need to be wary of (especially with the dogs) is the Processionary Caterpillar ( We are surrounded by pine forests and need to be aware of these little blighters.

  6. Yikes! Snakes! Poison snakes! Be careful, Maggie! You have a good attitude and you will watch for them. Prayers for sweet Spencer. I hope you find the septic tank next time.


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