• Alice Scott

Do you remember these from the French House viewings ?

Updated: Jun 14, 2020

It's the 1st of October and we have keys.  All very cordial at the Notaires, he speaks English which is probably why the agent suggested him.  Our seller is a lady from Paris, she was a Japanese translator but her plan was sell her "beloved" house to us and start again with all eco in Normandy.  I hope she didn't do the work there herself too because this house is a real surprise when you look closely.  We didn't actually move in then, she'd left a lot of useless things behind that we were stuck with clearing.  Better buy a trailer then.  We had the wood treatment to do, precautionary and other things to get on with. We were aware, how could we not be, that one of the rooms was locked off, the agent sort of opened the door quickly which given the shutters were firmly closed and all I cared about was the fireplace, I didn't notice there wasn't a window in it.  Minor problem, but they'd have to be special order.  No matter it's ours.  It's marvellous isn't it, lovely big house, rural sleepy village, huge garden.  We've no lawnmower and neither of us like gardening, not that we took that into consideration.  I had this idea on my head, me in a floppy hat, floaty frock, basket of roses, like a Cadbury's flake advert. First thing, new windows, nice man at LaPeyre, smiles broadly as he's taking your money for the special order windows, all ten of them the same size.  FYI IKEA are the only place I found that do a 3m drop for curtains.  It's in Bordeaux, we don't live in Bordeaux and we don't have the internet.  I'm fairly sure one of us checked the phone reception when we moved in and assumed that getting the internet would be easy.  It wasn't.

French people like to have the loo next to the bathroom not actually in it.  It was like a cupboard and you open the door gently or it bounces off the loo, it's a bit tight in there.  The kitchen is made of breeze blocks and anything she could get in Emmaus. The floors are concrete, there is an open fire.  Our furniture is still in the UK but we have friends and have been kindly given the use of - Baby Belling, the cooker doesn't work.  A fridge freezer, a hot plate and we bought a little glass fronted oven from Lidl. October 15th and we're in, we need wood for the fire and we need to seriously think about how we're going to do this massive project without tears and blood. Things I learned over that month :  there's a French language class locally.  When people move out their cats don't always move too.  These cats refuse to earn their place on your land.  Mice are fast.  You will struggle to buy wood to burn in November unless your mayor feels sorry for you.  Rural internet is terrible.  Even a big town, forget about the restaurants opening in the evenings, even in the middle of the season.  If you want to eat out, do it at lunchtime.  The hole in the wall pizza machine is to be avoided. 

Make a list of everything you need if you're shopping for supplies in the city which you can't get locally, it's a long way to go back for something you forget.  If you're using a launderette don't put it in and leave it unattended, someone might steal your dryer time.  No kitchen to speak of, still no washing machine, no furniture of our own, our dining table is a board with trestles, no TV, no internet but we have the vacuum cleaner. This is one hell of a learning curve. Alice X

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