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Heroes & Heroines - A Tribute To Team Lys

We felt we wanted to pay huge respect and massive thanks to all the people who helped us along the way in our mad panick to get the cottage finished in time to be able to let it out as we had hoped in Summer 2013. All working out of love and not accepting any kind of payment - just good feeding and watering and sometimes a roof over their heads! You truly are our heros and heroines!

Although we had a plan, we didn't account for being let down by the first mortgage lender and therefore being delayed by 3 months.

If it wasn't for the following people being so amazing and selfless, we would never have done it - your support has been and continues to be truly overwhelming and so massively appreciated - THANK YOU, from the bottom of our hearts!!!

So, here it is - your moment to shine.....


There from day one, pretty much every Monday - working your socks off with us all the way up to dinner time, which would then be followed by a French lesson!

Happy to be paid with cups of tea, chausson pommes, lunch (in the sun when possible), dinner (in the sun if possible) and the odd 5 min dip in the pool just before dinner if you could with everyone else thinking you were mental because it was so cold!!

You even moved in for the last week and grew a beard whilst working into the early hours with us to get everything done for when the first guests arrived (yup - my timescales were a little tight - but we did it! Just!!)

Thank you so much forever!!! We really are eternally grateful for all the massive hard work you put in, especially without obligation and with no pay!

Below: The first ever job of creating the gite - the window installations. Here is the first one being cut - and there was light!

Below: 2 window openings - mid December and feeling a little cold!

Below: Insulation going up!

Below: Plasterboard going up. So much measuring, cutting, screwing, filling and sanding! By far the worst part of the renovation for me! I hate plasterboard!

Below: New hole made and wooden stairs are in - Simon is doing a celebratory breakdance

Below: After all the measurements and adjusting, the spiral staircase is in!

Below: Time for a bath! Not plumbed in though, but at least we managed to hoik it up the stairs!! Very heavy!

Below: And there was light!


Mum, you are always there at the end of the phone for any advice I need - always!! So, it was no surprise that with us moving to France, with your eternal wisdom, knowledge, experience and amazing French language skills, I would be on the phone to you daily - sometimes more times a day than you would wish!

Thank you so much for your never ending support! You were also there for us every Monday that you could be, along with Simon without fail - even with the fact that your life is just as hectic!

Thank you for making the time for us! You would look after Summer which would free up our time to get on with the job in hand and not have to worry.

Multi-tasking, you have helped with French admin issues, got hands on when Summer was taking a nap and made sure that tea and food was free flowing to keep us going and so I didn't have to worry about it! You were even there for marriage guidance when times got tough and the pressure and fatigue got a little too hard for us to handle!! ;o)

Thank you forever and always!

Below: Mum getting hardcore with the hardcore!

Below: Helping with the filler! Urrgghh! Filler! And still a smile on her face! :o/

Below: Mum's turn for a relax in the bath! :o)


Dad, you helped us massively even before we made the move! If it wasn't for you, we would have been homeless when the original mortgage offer fell through and we had nowhere to go. You did not think twice about offering us to come and stay with you, even though there was no real estimation of how long that would be. Not only did you welcome us into your home, but you let us store abosolutely all our belongings there and put up with it with no complaint whatsoever.

3 months later and there you were again, helping us move and even going it alone and driving a van over full to the brim for us. (I will never forget how stressed out you looked that day after 6 hours of driving and not knowing where the hell the house was!! Got there eventually!) You also helped us out 2 weeks before the big move when my car was written off and you instantly replaced it! (phew!) One of the great things about having a mechanic as a Dad! ;o)

You stayed on to help move us in and then returned a further 2 times to get stuck in and help with the work, when you could have just been taking a well deserved holiday (you work hard enough as it is!). We will never forget what you have done for us and how generous you have been and are forever thankful!

Below: Dad tackling the 2 acres of garden, even though he has bad hayfever! The old french lawnmower we had bought had unfortunately given up the ghost - even after many attempts of trying to fix it, so Dad gave us his and took the other one home with him to fix and use for his garden (I know who got the raw end of the deal there!)

Below: Blood sweat and tears in the hot sun! Waste not want not! Dad and Uncle T (Team Stoate) welding old metal cattle grills to recycle and use as boundary fencing, separating the gite garden from ours and making it safe for the littlies. Once finished, it would take hours to sweep the area clean with the use of our patio brush which had all of I think 3 bristles???!

Below: Cutting the pieces to length and making the gate to the higher barn garden.

Below: Always time for a pose! ;o)

Below: Soaking wet after a torrential rain shower, it is a job well done!

Below: After a hard day's work breaking out the dungeon rooms (what was our downstairs bedrooms), revealing a fireplace and fixing the pool table, time to relax and put it to use whilst enjoying a well deserved cold beer in what will be the new kitchen!

Below: Team Stoate just having time before they leave (and after a lot of encouragement to Uncle T, who doesn't like having his picture taken) proudly showing off the new, improved and repaired by hand barn door, complete with lock!

Uncle T (for Tony) - The Machine!

Where motivation and drive is involved, uncle Tony could put us all to shame! Being the oldest member of the team (which I am sure he won't mind me saying - doesn't look a day over 21!), he totally proved to us all that age doesn't mean a thing where energy and drive are concerned.

As I would be coming down the stairs in the morning for breakfast before taking Summer to school, he would have just finished breakfast and be sat in his overalls, ready and raring to go!! There was just no stopping him!

He doesn't do things by halves either! For example - one thing which needed doing was the ivy being removed from an entire extrenal wall of one of the larger outbuildings. We all sat together deliberating about it over lunch. After lunch, I went out to get some materials and when I arrived back, the ivy had gone!! Apparently, all you need is the use of a landrover, just drive away from the wall with ivy in tow and away it goes!!

He visited with my Dad twice (as pictured above). Each time, he would literally ask for the to do list and away he would go - no job too big or small and a tick against every single job by the end of the week!! Amazing! Thank you Uncle T!!

Below: Who says living on a building site isn't fun!? Summer getting a wheelbarrow ride from Uncle T en route to the kitchen wall, where he was pointing.

Below: Uncle T doing a spot of pointing

Dad Patton

Another person who offers us constant advice and guidance - you have been a constant support to us. Like my mum is to me, you are the person who Scott would always contact for advice and just to hear your thoughts on matters with the experience and knowledge you have is invaluable.

We do not think we would have been able to get here without you (especially as you helped us load the lorry - so half of our belongings would have been left behind!) ;o) No, honestly, your help, support and belief in us has got us a long way.

Only having a limited amount to stay with us, it still didn't stop him getting involved and lending a hand. With us being full on with the house, he decided it was time to tackle the shrubs and hedges in the garden. We have since found out that everything grows at about 10 times the pace of England, so this was much needed and helped us a great deal! Thank you Bob!

Mum Patton

You might not think you have anything to be thanked for, but believe me - every fry up counts and any help in the kitchen never goes unnoticed!! :o) You saved us time and looked after Summer while she wasn't at school while you were here. Even though it was only a few days - it helped us to move on with things and gain on time when we needed to. Thank you. x


A good friend of the family and also living in France, near to my Mum and Simon's house, Roger managed to get roped in somehow! We did not expect it at all and still owe him big time! I am sure we will be able to repay the favour some day soon! Thank you Roger!

Below: Roger helping with the endless cutting and fitting of the wooden battening which the plasterboard would then fit onto (you can see Roger helping Simon with that part above!). Roger also helped with furniture adjustments right at the end to make sure everything fitted right!

Cousin Trev

We were very shocked when we got the phone call from Trev, saying that he would like to give up a week of his time to come and visit and help out. We felt awful that we could not even offer to pay the cost of his flight, but he was yet another one that was happy to help, as long as he was fed and watered! Chocolate must be available at all times where Trev is concerned!! ;o) It was his birthday week aswell, which he did not tell us until he arrived (the day of his birthday!!). Not having that - must celebrate!

Trev joined us at the time where we were laying the floor and fitting the kitchen and was an amazing help! Thank you Trev!

Below: Trev hard at work with the monocouche on the kitchen wall

Below: The boys laying the Kitchen floor

Below: Trev cutting the tiles to size

Below: The boys trying to work out the kitchen units - at least it wasn't Ikea!

The (Holiday!!??) Crew

All of the following mentioned people are family, who booked their holiday in sunny France, thinking that that was what they were going to be having.

On finding out that we were a little behind (as in - the first guests were due to arrive in a week's time and we still had a great deal of finishing to do!), they all gave up their own holiday time to come and help.

This obviously made us feel terrible, but without their help, we would no way have been done in time! We were totally blown away by their want to help and their efforts to make it work for us.

Sista Sledge Kayla Stoate (and Ickle Bubba Rocko)

Yup! 6 months pregnant with my nephew, Rocko and there was still no stopping this girl! It was overalls on and away we go!! Even when she cricked her neck and was in pain, she still wouldn't stop!

Actually there with us doing the mad final rush clean on the day of the first guests' arrival having just thrown the last bucket of dirty water, the last thing she said in rather a panicked voice was "where is the mop bucket!?", just as the guests were walking down the drive! Not so funny then, but it is now! How fine can you cut it!!??

Definitely would have still been cleaning for a long time after they had arrived if it wasn't for you sis!! Thank you - you are da bomb! ;o)

Below: Kayla rocking her holiday outfit! Yup - 6 months pregnant! I know, doesn't even look pregnant at all!!

Below: Kayla and Cuzza Claire hugging it out on their painting holiday, rollers in hand!

Below: So- what to do with the old kitchen which was supposed to one day become a family bathroom? A playroom of course! Green for the grass, blue for the sky and then everyone can add their little painting at the end! Can't actually turn towards the camera as neck jarred!

Below: The Playroom taking shape and a couple of posy photos - couldn't resist!

Below: Kayla and Rocko's personal playroom wall painting. (Electrical socket now fixed in wall!)

Our Beautiful Niece, Tallulah

The second youngest member of the team at 6 years old, Tallulah, self appointend herself as cleaner and was even able to paint a picture on the playroom wall - none of which was obligatory - she just wanted to help. We are a very proud aunty and uncle and were very lucky to have her help. Thank you Lu-Boos - love you lots and lots! xxx

Summer Bear

What can we say!? You have totally blown us away with your constant positiveness, understanding and ability to adapt. You have helped Mummy and Daddy so much along the way - in ways that you will never know. Thank you so much!! We are so proud and love you so much gorgeous Curly-Woo! xxx

Above - two of our favourite parts of the house - Tallulah and Summer's beautiful paintings in the playroom. We love them! Thank you girls! xxx

Cuzza Claire

Cuz, thank you so much! For you to have to give up a day in the prescious sunshine and pick up a roller for us when I know how much your holidays mean to you and how much you worship the sun, we are so massively grateful!! Thank you! x


Another painter in the team! Thank you Iona for all your help and also keeping Summer entertained so we could get on with things! x

And Even After The Summer Was Finished, The Help & Support Continued!...

September 2013 - The Arrival of Team Groundforce

Yet more members of the family arriving for a supposed "holiday" and unable to stop themselves from getting stuck in with work around the house. Even more unpaid support! A labour of love they say!

Mum Miles

Throughout this whole experience, you have constantly kept the contact with us to make sure we are OK and check how we are getting on. Cards and letters of support you have sent have always made us smile and given us that extra motivation and get up and go. One of which actually became a bit of a mantra for me - it was the card with the tiger on the front that told us to keep the eye of the tiger and focus on the goal ahead. Your constant belief in us has been such a great support.

You are without a doubt the ring leader! Unable to relax and just take a holiday, suddenly my wellies have gone missing, trees and bushes are being cut back and weeding is being done!

And with that, Fred is up a ladder cutting brambles and Aunty Rose has her gardening gloves on attacking the rose bush (appropriately so!).

Thank you all so much! We loved having you here and you made our jobs for the next season so much easier! x


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