Our home already had a "car park" for the gites; but I use the term loosely. A patch of flattened hard core was not really a welcoming site. Something needed to be done.
We didn't want to use tarmac or anything formal against the backdrop of our beautiful gites so we needed a cunning plan, a few odds and ends and a good neighbour.
First came the good neighbour - who drove me in his van to the timber yard where a faggot of wood was acquired. I have seen this wood around the area used for building sheds and the like. It is the outsides of the tree that are shaved off when the wood is being cut into planks. It has a beautiful bark coat left on. So that was loaded up (and rather fortuitously I spotted out the corner of my eye some timber squares that were fantastic quality and it turned out nearly half the price of far less inferior ones I had spotted in the shops - so a return visit is on the cards). Anyhow, the good neighbour came into his own again (let's face it the car park is really down to him) and he gave me several sheets of old tarpaulin to cover the enlarged space to suppress the weeds. Tonight the children and I have spent a couple of happy hours putting down the said tarpaulin, edging the area with our faggot of wood and creating a planter over what was - how can I describe it - a huge pile of rubble!!!! It started to rain but we were not deterred. In fact, it was quite wonderful - that light almost fragile rain that barely seems to touch you but still leaves you soaked. A hot shower and a hot cup of tea later and life feels good. Tomorrow is exciting - we get to fill the planter with compost and plant out some of the sunflowers and lavender cuttings that have been growing over the spring. A trip to the builders yard later in the week will complete our new car park - which we will love dearly as we made it ourselves. Perhaps next year we will put a pathway down to the gites too to complete the improvements. I wonder what odds and ends I can use next time.