Wednesday 15 July 2015
Very hot and 90% humidity - 33 degrees
Got up and out early this morning as it was forecast to be hot and sticky. Down to the rental unit to clean up ahead of the new guests arriving on the same day as I get back from my holiday. We manhandle the huge, dense worktop into position and discover it is too short. OH disappears to nearby town to get some more materials. I don't know how he is going to make it longer. The problem is that there is such a gap between the periods when it gets worked on, that he loses track of where he is. And the tools are absolutely all over the place.
I clean up the place and am amazed at people's capacity for bleeding on pillows and putting hair down the shower. OH arrives back with very few materials and we go home for lunch. Yet another day when nothing has been achieved.
Listen to my messages and have two containing long rants. I appreciate people get frustrated by the delays - especially the owners of the house which is, in theory, being bought by the US lady - but there is no point in taking it out on me. I delete them and then read an email from my notary, informing the US lady's notary that in her opinion, the fact that the assignation letter was presented at their former address, means that the fifteen day period can start to run and if she hasn't paid in the funds by the end of July, the penalty monies can be paid out. I am so glad I am off on hols from next Tuesday - I need down time from the madness of work and especially from the heatwave, which is completely exhausting.
I had made an appointment for 3 pm and I had to cream up and sunny glasses on and head into the breathless afternoon. The house was at the end of a long lane and to get to it, I had to pass a long and limpid lake, whose deep blue waters invited me in. The initial constructions of the house were in the 15th century and there had been additions over the intervening 6 centuries. An imposing building but a blank facade, without ornament or planting. A long gravel driveway flanked by hydrangeas, a drip hose snaking ugly at their base. Tall London planes with their curious patchwork trunks. I stepped out onto the gravel and the heat was dizzying. A couple ran out of the house and took me quickly inside.
The man is German and his wife is from America and they spend half of their time here and half there and now the house is too big for them. Whilst the outside may be plain, the first room you come to is stunning. At least 80m2, with cavernous beamed ceiling, cool terracotta tiled floor and views right through to the other side of the house, it is a real statement. The kitchen was modest and we sat in the library with its massive stone fireplace and original 18th century oil of a local dignitary. They offered me orange juice and sparkling water and wonderful chocolate biscuits and an hour passed very pleasantly whilst they told me about the history of the house and their travels (man former diplomat - they had decided to seek the sun after a spell in St Petersburg). The lady had a gentle, hypnotic accent and her conversation flowed like warm honey and I felt very tired. It was a real effort to do the paperwork and, finally and with regret, it was time to go back outside.
I tried to ring both notaries and find out what was going on and discovered that they both now had decided to stop answering their phones at 5.30 pm. That means they only answer 10.30-12.00 and 2.30-5.30. Wonderful. Vive la France.
Back home and OH had made chili and we had to wash it down with gallons of iced water. To bed early