Jim and I have spent two exciting and busy summers at the Moulin du Cout. 7-8 months in both years. We have have many visitors and some workawayers. We have busied ourselves in the house and the domaine, painting, repairing, making things and creating some changes. There is still much to do. 
We have also involved ourselves with our French neighbours as far as our lack of French will allow and made some British friends who live nearby. We have taken many trips out into the country as far south as Albi, Carcassonne and Auch, seen the Millau bridge and visited many Foires and Vides Grenier. We have had a great time and hope to repeat the experience for a shorter time next year.
However, Matthew intends to put the Moulin back on the market next spring so our days spent there may be numbered. Although we shall be sad not to be able to visit in the future we understand and approve the reasons for selling and hope that it is successful. At least we shall be able to make the other holiday arrangements that we have had in mind for some time.
The following blog shows some of the changes we have made to the house and domaine over the years and tells of some of our exploits and interests.

Work in the house
Most of the inside of the house and the gite has now been painted white, either by myself or Matthew and it is a great improvement. However my plan to get workawayers to prepare and revarnish the outside woodwork largely came to naught. Mostly because during their stay the weather was fine and they all preferred to work outside in the domaine and, let's face it, it was an unattractive job. Perhaps next year. 
The living room
Part of the kitchen
I have now made five quilts for the beds - one more to do if I have the time.
Quilt made for the main bedroom
Quilt made for a single bed in the gite
The bottling of fruit, the pickling of walnuts and jam making have all been done with success and I still wish that we could have gone ahead with a plan to get a few chickens but we knew that we would have a problem with foxes and Rufus.

Some construction work has taken place outside. A pergola was quickly constructed this Easter which looked good when decorated with bunting for Peter's party. It now has a grapevine  and kiwi fruit growing up it.

Jim has almost completed the extended terrace which has been formed by knocking down the wall alongside the steps and building out over the fosse septique. This latter can be accessed when necessary by a large trapdoor in the decking.

Work was also started in October by Jim and Matthew to construct a Japanese Anagama kiln. Unfortunately lack of time and heavy rain prevented this getting finished and it will have to wait until next year.

With help from Jim, Tony, one of our visitors, mended the roof over the mill using replacement tiles. A job that badly needed doing.

We have planted several fruit trees in one of the fields - now termed the orchard, naturally, and the gite border has been reconstructed. A few trees have been felled, either to provide timber for other projects or because they were growing in the wrong place.

Considerable work has gone on in the original vegetable garden to restore it to production and we have benefitted from this effort in fresh produce and exercise.

The nature walk from the house to Peter's Place has been kept open and a further path opened up across the crags although this still needs more work to make it safer for the less agile. Fencing has been erected in many places to keep animals in/out or for safety reasons by the river and the seat at Peter's Place.

Our experience, this last year, with workawayers (young people who give of their time and effort in return for board and lodging) has been both enlightening and helpful. It has been good to have young willing hands to do some of the heavier work and we have enjoyed their company and conversation. Thank you Ben, Yan, Bart, Amelia and Dan. If we return next year I shall hope to have more.

Anyone stumbling across this blog who feels they may be interested in a possible purchase or, at least, would like more details or a viewing can contact me by email: readingdog@me.com. and I will get back to them.

The gite will continue to be for rent during the months of April, May, June and July 2012 unless family or friends are using it. Again, email me for information and availability.


The Gite is for rent next year 2012 from about the middle of April to the middle of July.

Here are some pictures and details:

The accommodation comprises: stairs to front door (own entrance), which opens to kitchen/living room with fridge, washing machine and gas cooker. Table to seat 4.

Two views of the kitchen/living room

Hall with shower room off with separate toilet.

Two double bedrooms, one with double bed, the other two single beds.

The furnishings are basic but cheerful. The rent is low.
€150.00 per week March and April, €200.00 per week May to September, €150.00 per week thereafter. Gas and electricity included.

The house and gite are set in 8 hectares of field, forest, and river which is available to explore. It is quiet and peaceful. Come and get away from the hurly-burly of city life.

Read the rest of the blog for further information about the site. If you are interested contact: readingdog@mac.com.


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Le Domaine

The mill lies in the bottom of a deep valley in 8 hectares (20 acres) of fields and forest. There is half a kilometre of trout stream including a weir controlling a mill-race that feeds the millpond. There are four fields in the valley bottom and one on the shoulder of the hill where Coquette grazes, sometimes with a foal. Rocky crags in the valley sides have accessible flattish tops from which there are some fine views. Most of the domaine is woodland, mostly of sweet chestnut and oaks with some poplars in the valley bottom, walnut trees and several fruit: apples, peaches and cherries. The sun reaches into the valley from the east in the morning and from the west in the evening, when it is delightful to walk along the riverside track. There are resident heron, buzzard, woodpecker, tits, songbirds and a hoopoe has been seen. Deer, hares and a wild pig have been spotted in the valley.

Views of the Buildings
The approach showing the barn ahead

Entrance to the Gite

Mill and Gite beyond

View across the millpond

View from the top

The Environs View across the lawn towards the house

View from field towards the house

View of field from the other direction

Walk along river to the 'beach'

A crag - the site has many rocky outcrops

View down the river from the lawn

Another view of the river


The modern building (built 30 years ago) comprises the main house and a gite. Both have their own entrance.


The house has an entrance hall with bathroom and separate toilet off.

The bathroom contains bath, shower, washing machine and dryer.

There is a large dining kitchen equipped with a woodburning stove, dishwasher, electric cooker and fridge freezer.

The living room also has a woodburning stove. Off this room is another room originally part of the mill and is at present used as a study.

Upstairs there are two double bedrooms with fitted hanging cupboards. and a toilet. From one of the bedrooms there is access to the roofspace which has two windows and could provide further bedrooms. Both these rooms are now painted white.

There is room for another single bed (or one double) in this room.

At the kitchen door end there is a serre - useful for storing the logs, muddy boots and lunching in on damp days. The entrance to the mill is on the left.
The kitchen/diner has a fridge/freezer, washing machine and gas cooker

There are two double bedrooms, a shower room and a separate toilet. This double bedroom also has a large cupboard.

There are two single beds in this room and clothes storage


The Moulin du Clout is reputed to date from the time of the French Revolution over 200 years ago. The purposes of the mill were to grind grain into flour and to crush walnuts in order to extract the oil. Four milling rings can be seen, three with traditional millstones still in place and the fourth a stone crushing wheel in a circular trough. The driving mechanism, in the basement below, used four separate horizontal mill-wheels of a type unusual in Britain but still in use in France. Two of the four wheels have been removed to make way for the culvert that drives a modern electric generating turbine. The remaining two can still be seen and might be restored to use. One of these would drive the crushing stone. Much of the mill machinery, including hoists, hoppers, drive shafts, belts and a massive gravity press remain in place.

The electric turbine was installed in 1979 by Moteurs Leroy Somer. We have seen it working but we have not used it. It is capable of providing most of the power requirements of the mill except the heating. There is contact with an engineer who is familiar with the plant.


Moulin du Clout is about a 20 minute drive from the town of Maurs 'the Nice of the Cantal'. A pleasant place to shop with a Thursday morning market, cafes, restaurants and all the usual sorts of shop. The Tour de France came through in 2004 and 2011.

A panoramic village with a chateau (uninhabited) and a fete in September. there is a good walk from the village, around the chateau and back.

A stunning architectural gem although a bit touristy. A good day out but get there early as parking is a problem.


An attractive village that has a Chestnut Museum and hosts a famous chestnut fair and festival in October. It also has a good restaurant with chestnuts featuring on the menu!