The Chateau 2013 part one

The chateau is in the centre of Courcelles – sous – thoix and is run as a guest house by Frederic and Isabelle and they and their parents live here. It has been in their family since 1900 and was passed down through the womens line.

It was originally built In 1638 and was internally renovated in 1900.
It has a pigeon tower and a disused building which is bigger than most peoples houses.
The Chateaux which is run by only the brother and sister duo is now a guesthouse that also serves food.

Isabelle’s cooking is fantastic and how she prepares everything herself i’ll never know, back home it would take atleast three people to do what she does alone.
The land surrounding the chateaux belongs to other farmers and Frederic with orchards, cows fields and a donkeys field.
Twice a day you will see the cows being hearded down the road to be milked and back up again and you will more likely see a tractor on the road rather than a car. The locals are friendly enough but with a population of 45 we did get a few stares. The bizarrest thing here is when you stop you really can hear the silence. It’s wonderful. The nearest store is 7km away!

In Thoix, the next hamlet, there is another chateaux that is about 200 years older than Fred and Isabelles,  it still has a moat and the local chapel is its next door neighbour. The two hamlets are very pictureque and very french!


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Labour and birth story

Friday 26th May, I went into hospital as I was having some reduced movements with my little boy. I had the same thing at 31 weeks so was expecting them to tie me to the machine wait around for about half an hour to be told everything was fine and to go home. However what actually happened is that it was a hot day and my blood pressure was up so they wanted me to stay until it came down, it didn’t. They gave me some pills and said because I was 39+4 that they would be inducing me the next day. My blood pressure went straight back up (in shock) so they decided to induce me then and there.

So after midnight i was admitted on to the ward and given the pessary to get things going and had a sweep….fun times.

At about 4am i woke up in quite a bit of pain as the pessary had actually slipped down. The midwife popped it back into place and i managed to sleep through the night. The next day i was having some contractions so i kept moving all day long. If things don’t go into full-blown labour they only check your cervix after 24 hours and i was determined not to be in any longer than i needed to be, so i was walking up and down the halls and bounced on the exercise balls just to keep things moving along. Like i said i was having mild contractions and then when my husband left me at around 9pm they stopped completely….fun. So into bed i got awaiting my examination at 2am. I set an alarm and when i woke up went off to find someone to see how well i was doing.

I was 3cm dilated and the midwife did another sweep to see if she could get me going at more speed and said as soon as someone was free and a room available I would be going down to the labour ward and have my waters broke!! Terrifying haha! She said it would probably be in the morning so i text Andrew to let him know what was happening and went back to bed to try to get some rest.

At 5am I was woken up by a health care assistant to tell me i was going down stairs now. She had to repeat herself about 3 times as i was still pretty much asleep and in shock i think!

So I gathered my stuff and went with her,  i was worried that i wouldn’t have time to ring Andrew as i wanted him there when they broke my waters but the midwife assured me she wouldnt do anything until he got there. By the time everything was set up and ready to go it was 8am there is a shift change at 8:30 so we all decided that we would wait until the new midwife was there so that i wasnt being examined and then examined again 30 minutes later.

The new midwife Rae couldn’t reach my cervix to feel how dilated i was or to break my waters, i guess for me its a little “longer” in there ha ha. She went out to find someone with longer fingers and returned with a Registrar Ken. He broke my waters in about 3 seconds flat and didn’t hurt a tiny bit. They gave me an hour to see if my contractions started naturally or id have to go on the drip as it appeared my little boy had opened his bowels inside… nice one kid! So the hour came and went and the contractions did start but not of any kind of intensity they were hoping for so i went on the drip. Now up until this point i hadn’t touched any pain relief although they did keep offering me gas and air. About an hour after the drip was put in the contractions started and BOY did THEY. My contractions were in the top of my legs, my hips felt like they were being pulled apart so i very quickly picked up the gas and air nozzle. It is a weird feeling the gas and air, a little bit like your tipsy, i’m not sure it did loads for the pain but it got me through another hour or so… then the contractions got too painful and i wanted something better… so i was given diamorphine…. i was being sick and mooing like a cow although Andrew my hubby said i sounded more like an owl hooting but despite all this i was also quite comfortable, once the contraction stops all the pain disappears… its very strange! I was in labour for about 9 hours in total. Due to the hip contractions and the drip i was strapped to a machine to monitor baby’s heart rate and couldn’t really move.

I remember getting the strangest urge to push although i felt like it was too early…. so i tried to stop myself from pushing but not being able to stop myself. For me it felt like when your retching… like your body just taking over and not being able to stop it. At this point i had been pushing for an unknown amount of time when my little ones heart rate started dipping to the point where the midwife was concerned so she buzzed for back up, as she did alarms started going off everywhere… and two of them had nothing to do with me and everything to do with another 2 women in need of assistance pretty much at the exact same time.

Time became a priority in what felt like 20 seconds the room filled with people running around and moving things and setting things up. I needed emergency assistance, the two other women were taking up the theatres so there was no where for me to go, they turned my room into an emergency theatre, i dont know if it was the panic of the situation or not but the diamorphine started to wear off. A consultant came in and was all dressed ready to intervene, i was going to have a forcept delivery. On my next push he was going to help me get my son out. The pain was incredible, the feeling strange and stomach turning but i didnt care my son needed to be born. The consultant said he needed to cut me to help get Henry out, i didnt care. On the next contraction a midwife pushed on my stomach i pushed with all my might and the consultant dragged my son out by his head.

Henry was placed on me for a few seconds but was quickly taken away and put on the resuscitator. He had a problem with his breathing and a suspected broken clavicle so was rushed down to neonatal where he would be well looked after.

Once my placenta was removed i wasn’t in any pain whats so ever, its all very strange…. but hey i guess that is mother natures reward for putting you through such an ordeal. The consultant started sowing me up and he apologised for being so rough with me but it really was a priority that my son was delivered asap, i didn’t care, i still don’t. Yea when i think back it does sort of make my skin crawl remembering the feeling of it all but it was to save my son… Id do it again tomorrow. The labour itself really wasn’t that bad and i will go into my next pregnancy with no fear of that… the drugs definitely worked! Which in itself must say a lot and give any expecting mother some hope.


The chateau part two


Bonjour, so far our time at the chateaux has been amazing. The work is light, easy and enjoyable so as far as that is concerned its a breeze.

The work we do have to do is just basic house maintence really, we wash up, hoover up and help in the garden, of course we do slightly more than that but i shant bore you with details. The house is a beautiful example of french life and put that along side Fred and Isabelle and you have a winning combination.

The food is amazing and ive never had any of it before, we have  had local delicacies which we have taken pictures of to show you. Crepes with a filling of seafood, pear tarts and more stuff that i wouldnt even be able to describe you as i havent got a clue what it was….it was however fricken tasty!


When we arrived at Amiens to cycle the 33km to Courcelles-sous-Thoix i started to get very nervous, with it being our very first helpx experience we really did not know what to expect but thank god we did try out helpx as its all been such an amazing experience, fred and Isabelle are the kindest people that you could ever hope to meet as soon as we arrived we were welcomed with open arms and were immediatley put at ease. Isabelle doesnt really speak much English so certain tasks she would have to demonstrate what she wanted us to do, the way she likes things to be done, like peeling mushrooms. I can honestly say i have never peeled a mushroom before but oh well it was an experience. On one of the more boring tasks i had to do, which was ironing (it has to be done everywhere i guess) i was listening to some music on my phone as i was alone and Isabelle came in to clean the mirrors and out of no where she started singing the song i had on, all the words in English, i couldnt believe it, was the funniest moment at the chateaux we for me anyway, i think Andrews favourate moment was when we had just arrived and he was helping fred put the chickens back in the coop to which andrew asked how many chickens there where and Fred just said i dont care, maybe eight, eight i think, doesnt sound as funny as it was but that is just Fred is…no f**ks given. They have to get on and do their everyday tasks and they just dont sweat the little things. The french way-Its almost good.

I feel that England could benefit from this philosopy… take some down time and as long as its almost there your on the right track and the little things arnt worth bothering about =D

Anyway our stay at the Chateaux went by so quickly and i am very thankful for their hospitality and their patience with our lack of french.


Adding the photos to the blog page isnt a strong suit of mine so i apologise for its terrible layout but atleast you get to see and be jealous of where we stayed!

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Throw back Thursday