Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Hello Unfrenchies. Sorry it's been a while - things have been busy. No, scrap that, they've been manic. I'm here now though, so the story can continue....
I'm sure you'll remember that we got the keys to our big townhouse in Provence in January this year. After nearly three months of hard labour (otherwise known as renovation), we moved into our apartment on the top two floors in April.
This day is branded into my memory. We were living with my parents at the time - they live about half an hour away. At about 10pm the night before the move, we dumped the contents of our room at my parents into IKEA bags, loaded these into the car in preparation for the next day, along with our chest of drawers, computers, etc etc. After 6 hours sleep we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed to the house, unceremoniously dumping our stuff in the hallway before treating ourselves to a cuppa and a croissant.
So far, so normal. Except that this move was a bit of a leap of faith. The bathroom in our apartment wasn't finished and our somewhat unreliable plumber was due at 9am to finish putting it in. My husband's daughter and her boyfriend were already en route, driving all the way from Bristol to spend a week with us, in a house we didn't yet live in!
After a nail biting hour of waiting, the plumber turned up at 10am and started on the bathroom. At 12 noon exactly he went for lunch. As he was leaving he announced he had an emergency call to attend and wouldn't be back until 4pm to fit our toilet. I spent the afternoon carrying the bags up to our floor (three flights) by way of distraction from the situation. Gone were any thoughts of having a relaxing bath and a fresh change of clothes before our guests arrived.
At 5pm he returned and fitted the toilet, by which point we had already welcomed our visitors and were giving them a tour of the house and my nerves were a little frazzled.
Finally at 6pm all was finished and we opened a bottle of fizz to celebrate!
The oddest thing was that the apartment felt like a holiday home. We didn't know how anything worked! We might have fitted the oven, the microwave, the dishwasher, but we hadn't used them.
Then there was trying to find everything! I had unpacked the kitchen into the cupboards and drawers, but that was a week before! Rustling up pizza and chips for the travel and DIY weary four of us was an unexpected challenge.
Calm was restored with a good catch up over food and wine, and a good sleep. Then we enjoyed a well deserved week on "holiday" with our family - taking day trips out, going wine tasting, enjoying the restaurants in our town. Things we hadn't done for months.
A whole week in clean clothes, without a paintbrush or a drill in sight. It was bliss.
Just over a week later, we waved "au revoir" to our guests, pulled on our work clothes and started renovating our first holiday apartment. In July they flew back and stayed in it!