Monday, April 28, 2008

Plat du Jour en Famille

No response yet from the Mairie - I mean, its not like it is urgent or anything! It seem to be constantly raining so I guess they would not have been working on the roof, but we are hoping that they made it watertight - well as watertight as it was before they started !!

Anyway on with tales from France. On the Wednesday. which was a beautiful sunny day, GWE's cousin, aunt and cousin's husband drove over from their place to visit us and see what a mess we had got ourselves into. When she told me where their house was located, I checked the map and I thought it was 45 mins to an hour away, apparently it is closer to two hours away! But they enjoyed the drive through all the picturesque villages and it WAS a lovely day.

We met them in our village and showed them around the "project", they said it was all very reminiscent of theirs when they purchased it four years ago. Although their roof was sound, it was missing a lot of plumbing, mains drainage and electricity. They had brought lots of photos to show us their progress over the years. Four years later they do have beds, sofas and a fitted kitchen. J has been very resourceful recycling anything that anyone is giving away, she finds by the roadside etc. ! We, of course, are hoping that we can whip ours into shape a little quicker to fit in with our plans (doesn't sound like that is going to happen though does it!!!!).

Anyway we had not seen GWE's cousin and aunt for many years and had never met her husband so it was lovely catching up with everyone, we went to another little village close by, Les Grands Chezeaux, for a great "plat du jour" just 11 euros and then they left visit other friends. Promises all round to do it again as soon as we all coincide en France again. A lovely day. Our biggest regret is that we were so busy catching up, we didn't take any photos for the scrapbooks.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Red Tape!

Looks like we screwed up on the roof and the required red tape. Apparently work finally commenced yesterday, they had taken off half of the rear when M. le Maire turned up and put a stop to work because we don't have the required permits.
Having been to the Mairie and spoken with the secretary and with various builders we were under the impression that no permission was required just to renovate the roof, but permission is required for the windows (as these will be changes to the exterior) and we have submitted the necessary demande de permis de construire for those.
However, we were all under the impression that we could commence work on the renovation as long as the windows did not appear until we have the permis. As the windows will be the final component of the work, we were hoping that the permis would be in place at that point. The roofer was under the same impression. But apparently not in our village!! This Maire is newly elected so don't know if he just wants to make himself visible (!) - whatever we have emailed the Maire to find out where we go from here. It is upsetting as the roofer and his team have obviously committed themselves to our job and now cannot proceed PLUS we have no rear roof now.
I know for sure where I live we don't require permission to replace our roof!!

Tagged by Carolyn

Here goes, as a proud member of the Verbose Bloggers Club, Carolyn at Laughing alone in the dar tagged me.
You must only use one word answers..hhmmm

Where is your mobile phone? Handy
Your significant other? Overseas
Your hair? Bed
Your mother? England
Your father? America
Your favorite thing? Gardening
Your dream last night? Scary
Your favorite drink? Red
Your dream/goal? Health
The room you’re in? Bedroom
Your ex? Nonexistent
Your fear? Incapacity
Where do you want to be in 6 years? France
Where were you last night? Home
What you’re not? Slim
Muffins? Please
One of your wish list items? Comfort
Where you grew up? Europe
The last thing you did? Slept
What are you wearing? Pyjamas
Your TV? Off
Your pets? Friendly
Your computer? Busy
Your life? Hectic
Your mood? OK
Missing someone? Hubby
Your car? Dinked
Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
Favorite Store? Homesense
Your summer? Lazy
Like someone? Mostly
Your favorite color? Green
When is the last time you laughed? Earlier
Last time you cried? Recently

Join in if you want to....its harder than it looks!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The French House Continues....Pt 1

I am almost back to what constitutes for normal around here. The older I get (and as you know I am getting pretty old) the harder the jet lag hits. Plus I had to hit the ground running as I had a new listing to get organized when I returned and it has been a pretty hectic week ever since.

This is it - not so pretty now - but we have big plans. Note the big hole in the left hand of the roof - that was caused by the strong winds they had in February

Still to get back to our week in France, we arrived full of good intentions and a nice long to-do list however the fates conspired against us from the word go.
When we came over in November to close the deal we stayed at a lovely B & B and met a very nice couple with whom we got on very well and they were happy to help us in our search for quotes for the various works and recommend various artisans that they and their friends had used. To this end we left the keys (the only set) to the house with them so they could take builders and the like to the property to facilitate the estimates (or devis as they are referred to in France). Well unfortunately in the intervening period this couple split up and somehow the keys got misplaced.

This sunny corner at the back is a real sun trap and from here we spent many minutes standing (because we never got around to purchasing some chairs) surveying the view below

However, this couple did hand us over to another friend of theirs, H, who has been coordinating between us and the roofer (who he had recommended due to work he had had done on his place). H has been a god-send, speaks wonderful French and is the genuine article, a very nice decent person who just wants to help. We had arranged prior to our arrival to meet H and the roofer at the property first thing Tuesday morning, therefore we needed to break into the house to allow everyone access.

Promptly on Tuesday morning at 10 we all met to discuss the final arrangements on the roof replacement and installation of dormers and velux. This all went very smoothly with H translating all our concerns and the builder putting our minds at rest and we now feel confident that we are leaving this first step of the renovation in very safe hands.

H then invited us to dinner with his wife A and himself that evening and the four of us spent a lovely evening checking out their place and all their renovations. We also saw the work that the roofer had done for them, lovely quality workmanship.

They have a wonderful garden that they have designed themselves. A very traditional formal kitchen garden with lavender and box wood separating the beds. It was lovely and had me itching to get started.

Our little acre of France - not our horses ! Note the phone on the upturned bucket in the foreground, strategically placed in the hope of getting some signal!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oh What a Week that Was!

Hello, I'm back. Still getting over the jet lag and trying to get my brain back into real estate gear. Keep waking up at ridiculous hours of the morning and not being able to get back to sleep but not being able to concentrate well enough to blog either. What a quandary?! Anyway big news is that daughter got engaged while we were away (my one and only chance to be the mother of the bride - whoo!) and they want to get married this September !! So along with everything else, that is added into the mix - already stressing about venues and guest lists. Will post sensibly and informatively when my head has stopped spinning. I have spent a lot of the last couple of days catching up with all of you so not totally wasting my time. Back to normal service soon.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane

First of all thanks to Mean Mom for the "You Cheer Me Up" award, what a great start to a Sunday!  OK I have it on good authority that the roof will commence on Wednesday.    I was giving someone the rundown of some of the work we hope to achieve will en France, roof commence, fix toilet, set up some kind of kitchen, and it dawned on me that we really know how to push the boat out and celebrate a big birthday!  Do we know how to have a good time or what?
Still  I am very much looking forward to this week.  I have checked the weather forecast and it looks similar to here surprisingly, changeable, around mid-teens with some rain.  Accordingly have packed everything as usual, but of course there will be some shopping required.  An essential trip whenever on holiday. (Debs and Breezy where should I go in Limoges? So far we have only ever made it to the mall with the C & A and Darty - is there another part or street in Limoges that has slightly more exciting shopping - I am thinking shoes and clothes now, not toilet parts!?!)
Hopefully a side trip to a brocante and possibly the reclamation yard at Confolens, a visit with a cousin of GWE, some very good food and lots of red wine. What more could a girl ask for as a birthday present?
My mum innocently asked " so has GWE planned anything?".  I tried not to choke on the cookie I was scoffing at the time..........but maybe after 31 years he will surprise me.  What do you think ladies? (what was that - don't hold my breath?  do you know GWE?)  
I'll let you know.  

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Blog of Distinction

I was delighted to receive this award from Maggie May, in fact couldn't scoop it up fast enough. So now I humbly pass it along to some of my favourites daily blogs - note this list would include far more names but someone got there before me. So come on down and take it:

I never miss a day - I don't always comment, but I am lurking! Keep up the great work.
One more sleep till France, I know this for sure, because I won't be able to get a wink on the plane. Au Revoir, j'espere ecrire en France, peut etre. Eeeek - I knew I should have put more (some/any) practice in! A bientot!

Well whadya know !

blog readability test

My blog readability score apparently is "High School". Of course being of high school standard I have given this a lot of thought, and Carolyn at laughing alone in the dark is scoring lower (and there is no way I could be considered anywhere near as philosphical or intellectual). it is just that she has been blogging far longer than I. It's gotta be that as more blog entries are scanned the average "readability" gets lowered. (Come on - high school - do you remember what you were reading in high school !!)
Hence I am a recent blogger, so I have a smarter set of blog readers - no comment! :) It's obvious that you just haven't noticed yet - so maybe I should stop while I am ahead? Nah - I don't think so.
I know, I know I have GOT to get a life!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Good Day

Yup, today was a good day.  First I hung my laundry outside, so I knew it had the makings of a good day.  (First time this year - just making a note for future reference).
Agents' Open House on my current listing and lots of good feedback from my colleagues.
Lunch on my friends to celebrate the upcoming event know the one!
Got another listing, all set to start the day after I get back from my hols ...result!  I had been stressing over that one a bit in case they insisted it started before I went away, it would have been a little rushed.
Now if the right buyer will come along and snap up my current listing, that would be a great birthday present.
Blog of Distinction award from Maggie May (see sidebar) - thanks Maggie, I will pass it on.
Leftover curry for dinner.  Curry is always better on the second sitting and you've gotta love leftovers.  
Telly is not too good on a Thursday night, so probably an early night with a good book. Like I said a good day.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hallelujah!!! It's Here

No I am not referring to my French trip (but that is almost here - and I am getting very excited), no SPRING, it has officially arrived. I am sitting here on my deck (Aims), admittedly dressed all in black for some unknown reason, got the capris on, legs unshaven, toenails unpainted but loving it.
On my deck it is currently 20 degrees C !!! Yes 20 - and I am (Carolyn) living in the moment !! It is wonderful. Big dopey black lab is agreeing with me as he impersonates a big black carpet down by my (not had a pedi in a while) feet. The birthday list is growing longer as I write (gift voucher for pedi, new capris, new sunglasses....). It is heavenly, there is still a fair amount of ice in the pool, the grass needs a bloody good raking, little green shoots are peeping out and everything is alright in my world right this second. Sigh!! I do not intend to move for a while, I have my cuppa, laptop and a great read by Jodi Picoult (Picture Perfect) and it could be raining tomorrow. See ya!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fancy a cuppa?

Another lovely award is doing the rounds (brilliantly created by The Fixer) the "Good Chat Blog Award" (see my sidebar) and I am a humble recipient thanks to Mean Mom and Carolyn (over at Mean Mom and Laughing alone in the dark). Thanks so much for the invites - tea, cake and great company - who could resist. Guaranteed to be one of those occasions you just wouldn't want to end as we all head back to our keyboards (oh and families and real life ...) replete with cake, gossip and a feelgood aura.
I love this great female pasttime, especially the unnannounced and unexpected ones, I don't care if my house is tidy or not (and I assume all my good friends don't either). There is always tea in the pot, cookies in the jar and a sympathetic ear or a ready laugh (preferably both).
Being so far from my roots, it is one of the things I miss most. I can probably count on one hand how many times it has happened in the last three years we have been back in Canada. So in no particular order, here are some of my fellow bloggers that I would love to knock on my door some day for a cuppa along with Mean Mom and Carolyn:

A Mother's Place Is In The Wrong
Big Blue Barn West
Maggie May
Missing You Already
Mud Walls and Beams
Omega Mum
Rotten Correspondent
Sweet Irene
debra in france

Pop by anytime to pick up your award and have a cuppa.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Margot over at A Mother's Place is in the Wrong is waxing whimsical about an English Winter wonderland and snowmen today. That is not quite what we call it here in Canada when we get snow in April!!! Anyway no complaining. Yesterday we had our first glorious spring day and today is shaping up pretty well.
Living here in Canada you really have to treasure these days because literally before you know it, it is too warm. No honestly - regularly 30+ and very humid. Yesterday was 15 degrees C - fabulous. All the human animals were out of enforced hibernation raking, car washing, walking, jogging - it was great!
I absolutely love this time of year here, the buds are budding, the shoots are rising 6" at a time, it is amazing. And yes, we really did have a snow storm two weeks ago!! Now most of the (can't say white) grey dirty stuff has almost disappeared. Around our neighbourhood there are one or two piles left here and there but basically we are heading for another fabulous spring day.
Debra over a Us in France was saying how she loved the smell of laundry dried outside and I commented that hanging out laundry was one of my favourite things to do, the sign of a good day. Looks like I will be doing a fair bit of laundry this week. Simple pleasures :)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Some of My Favourite Things

I did not know what to blog about this week, I have begun stressing about the fact that I am about to go to France for a week and murphy's law of real estate says "plan something and you get busy" so not actually busy yet but stressing anyway. It does look like I am likely to get another listing next week (yay!) but my old listing is still hanging around. Anyway in a renewed marketing effort for the current listing I have been taking new photos and making new feature sheets and it gave me an idea. What about my life, my house. Well here goes a few snaps shots of my world and some of the "stuff" I have picked up along the way.

This first one is of my hallway, this chair has been re-upholstered by me twice, I bought it when it was down to the springs for $45 in Montreal back in the early '90's - it is Eastlake I have a dressing table in the same style. The quilt, also made by moi, in a quilting class, when we lived in Montreal. Back in those days I wasn't allowed to work in Canada and so had a lot of time on my hands. The mirror is made from an old window frame I found left behind in the garage of a house we rented, actually again in Montreal, so I stripped it and put the mirror in. My daughter covets it, and I have promised it will go to her when I die!!

The next two are just of my living room, see my first ever cross-stitch, remember time on hands, you will see another one below. I don't do any hand crafts these days, no cross stitch, no quilting, it just takes far too long to thread the needle now! I should get back to knitting - note to self!

I have three of these prints by Graham Clarke, I bought these cards from an art shop in the UK many years ago, they used to be in plain clip frames but I have just upgraded and I am pleased with the way they look. They are etchings and I have tried to find this artist again. I did meet someone years ago who had one hanging in her hallway (again in Montreal) she, like me, loved the style but we were never able to find any others. Another note to self - find more.

This dresser I managed to snag with a matching bedside table for $15. They had been painted in a dreadful red stain, so again I rolled up my sleeves and revealed this lovely cherry wood. (Are you sensing a theme, if I can't make it, I want a bargain). Unfortunately it is suffering from too many moves and is a bit fragile these days so I don't think this will make it to France with us. Another cross stitch, it is supposed to be a Christmas angel but after the hours it takes me to make these things, there is no way they are only coming out once a year. GWE bought me the lovely big jewellery box for Christmas last year from Bombay Company, not quite the one I had pointed out, but he means well!!

And finally my kitchen, here again a bit of DIY by me, I did the tiling when we first moved in. Quite pleased with it actually. The plate on the wall is Jerusalem pottery, one of the few that have survived the gypsy lifestyle of this family. We picked it up in the Old City when we lived in Israel back in the '80's.

So there you go - a little taste of my world. If anyone else wants to join in, please do. Like I have already confessed (and it is what I do for a living) I love looking at other people's houses and stuff.