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We felt the first crisp air of autumn last week when we got out of bed and opened the scullery door — after a very warm, sunny evening on the terrace the night before. It was fair warning. Liam jumped on his bike and cycled, and I began pulling out what was done in the garden. Still holding off on the basil just a little longer — we ended up having a great crop thanks to our friends in Seattle who were here tending for a week, pinching away…thank you Hennesseys All!

Today it’s the hearth. We’ve stripped out everything around the fireplace, I’ve painted the brick and south wall a soft butter creme, and the new Aarrow Ecoburn 11 woodstove arrives from the UK off a boat to Caen, this very afternoon.

In the meantime, we’ll heave the huge oak lintel we’ve oiled into position over the mantle, and finish laying the underpinnings for the terracotta carrelage we’ve got stacked here to lay out — probably tomorrow.

The only missing piece is a sheet of copper. It’s a little tricky to find but I am optimistic:) That will be the reflective wall behind the stove, sealing off the dark hole of what was, and filling the room with the warmth and glow of what is.

All being well, we’ll light our first fire (we don’t need one yet but ceremony matters) on Sunday.

We’ll keep you posted, and you can join us in our first roast!