Here I am up at the crack of dawn still getting over the jet lag. My son went to bed at 7.30pm last evening and at 6.15 is still asleep. Oh to be young again!
(this is the view over our land from a new installed upstairs window!)
We had a great trip, too short, too expensive for so short a time, but pretty successful. The workmanship looks good and the builders had left the place pretty tidy. We didn't arrive in the area until around 6pm so not much time that first night to do anything but stand and admire although we did get to meet our immediate neighbour for the first time. P seems a very pleasant gentleman who lives in Paris and was just down for the half term week. He confirmed our opinion that the roof looks great and it has much improved our end of the village. He seemed very happy with the transformation.
We had managed to find a gite in the next village. We were intrigued to check it out as the building is very similar to ours and they have extended up into the roof as we are doing and therefore I wanted to see if I could pick up any ideas. It was a very nice place, lovely and clean with every amenity. The only thing I felt was disappointing was that they hadn't left much of the original character of the property exposed, no beams, no stone walls. But it served its purpose, warm and cosy and close to our house.
Up early Sunday the first errand was to pick up some groceries and then call by our friend and "project supervisor" H to pick up some more keys and have a nice chat over a strong Dutch coffee.
(taking in some French sunshine - one day this will be a cobbled courtyard - you heard it here first)
Then off to the house for a proper explore, take some photos and measurements and generally have a good root around. Son hadn't seen the place since we originally viewed it back in July 07, back when the property was surrounded by overgrown brambles. At that time we couldn't even approach the property from the rear and could not open any windows at the back due to all the vegetation, so he was suitably impressed at the progress. It was a beautiful day and we put the two camping chairs which had travelled from Canada with us to good use. Son also went off to explore and managed to find a way over to our island (there is a cut through our land which use to serve the watermill on the other side of the bridge, this creates an island on our land which goes down to the river). GWE will be jealous because he tried and couldn't get across!
Due to our body clocks being out of sync, together with the fact that their clocks changed overnight, we missed the lunch period at a local restaurant (you must eat between 12 and 2 in France) so we headed back to the gite for some lovely baguette and camenbert sitting in the sunshine. Sunday was a lovely day.
Monday was another story - it rained pretty much all day but it didn't matter as we had a project. Off to Limoges to find a table. Looking for a make-do table which we can use inside and outside for the next little while - went to a few shops and with minutes to spare before everything closed at midday, dived into Troc.com (a huge second hand treasure trove) and spied a great square table, wrought iron stand and tiled surface, approximately 4ft square, perfect. 65 Euros and into the car. Job done.
Then we headed off into downtown to find a restaurant for a nice lunch. Again job successfully completed.
After lunch we went to a big superstore on the look out for a kettle. At this point it still looked as though we had no electricity at the house, and the water was turned off, but, what the hell, I had teabags and wanted a kettle.
Then we headed home, popped into another friend's for a cup of tea and pick up the "lost" keys of our April trip. Back to the house to drop off our loot, table, kettle, lamp....we had bought the lamp thinking it would then be obvious if we plugged it in, a definitive test as to whether we have electricity or not. However, had managed to pick up the wrong size light bulb - arrrghh!
We popped back over to H's house to catch up proper and this time his wife A was there. We spent a lovely couple of hours with them laughing about the frustrations and joys of life in France. Luckily A had a lightbulb for me to try.
What do you know - we do have electricity. Managed to find the elusive button on the scary looking electric panel and eureka - we have light!! It sounds sad but this was a very exciting part of the whole weekend.
Tuesday was a busy day - we had between the hours of 9 and 12 to pick up the mail, sort the mail for all those outstanding bills, pay the bills, organise to have all our mail forwarded to Canada - 100 Euros - why didn't we do that before??, get to the bank and check in with B the builder who is renovating a house three doors up, business he acquired due to the great job he did on ours.
B doesn't speak a word of English so it was challenging. However, he was thrilled that we are so happy with the results of his labour, he is delighted to have found three more jobs from our project. Two other houses in the village want him to install dormers as ours are so beautiful!! He said that everyone who walked past the house while he was working on it, stopped to admire it.
(B's handiwork - we will be leaving as much exposed as possible - especially that stone wall)
Well we managed to get all that done and were on the road to Paris by 12.45. Phew! it was a whirlwind trip but Son and I had a lovely (and productive) time together. (Of course it is only now that I am back I realise I didn't take nearly enough photos)