The first Christmas after we bought the house, back when my daughter had time on her hands, i.e. no daughter!, she started to put together a photo album of the house in France, using her scrapbooking skills which took us up to Christmas 2007! All we had done by then is take lots of photos of a very run-down, overgrown house and ruin. Plus pictures to show what a lovely village we had found.
In the 2 1/2 years since, daughter has got engaged, married, pregnant and is now a stay at home mum, so we thought we should give her something to fill her days ~ more photos of the progress during that period. It was fascinating to look back over the photos and see where all our money has gone..... new roof - the biggest expense to date, but also the biggest transformation. Then eldest son stayed there with his girlfriend and in three months further big transformations occurred, mains drainage, new wiring, hot water, new plumbing, wood burning stove, satellite TV - again another big chunk of change, in fact we probably as much as we did on the roof again, but on lots of different things, home comforts!
Then we had the walls rendered, beams sandblasted, staircase installed. We have just sent off the cheque to our builder who is about to convert the attic of the house into a bedroom with ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet and create a landing around the new staircase. He hopes to start early June, we have our fingers and toes crossed as he leaves to go on vacation towards the end of June.
Also in mid-June our landscaper friends intends to start work to level the area at the rear between the two "wings", lay down some nice clean peashingle and erect a simple pergola.
Choosing photos from that 2 + year period in one sitting makes you a lot of more selective. However I did in the end upload 106 photos to document the progress and am just off to the supermarket to pick them up. Ordered them just a couple of hours ago, so great service and costing me just over $10.
I think that will be that for this year. It would be nice to have some spare cash that doesn't immediately get swallowed into the hole that is "our French house".
There is still a long way to go. Obviously we need to install a proper kitchen as some point and we also intend to convert the attic of the barn to two more bedrooms and a bathroom. But we've come a long way, baby!!