Friday, October 9, 2015

Idyllic country cottage

Thursday 8 October 2015

Cloudy with rain 16 degrees

Rang the garage to say that we did not have the carte grise which is the document showing that you are the owner of the vehicle.  We definitely remembered the lady putting it in a black plastic wallet and it was no where to be found.  The lady said she had indeed given it to us but would send an email with the relevant document copied into it.

OH went to the physio to get put back into line and I found the wallet in my handbag.  Phew!  If you are stopped over here by the traffic police and do not have your carte grise and the insurance documentation, it is an on the spot fine.  For French resident readers, that includes having to carry the piece of paper that came with the little green ticket that you stick on your windscreen - you know, the piece from which you carefully tear out the ticket.

Decided to have a first foray on my own in the new car and went down town and filled up with diesel.  There is no lock on the fuel tank - you just push in the nozzle.  I do not feel this is progress.  Then off to a town near the mountains to take on a property.

The GPS refused to acknowledge the existence of the road and the phone wasn't working.  Had a flash of inspiration and put in the next town along the road and the GPS was happy and not only took me there, but told me on which side of the road it was.  Parked at some considerable distance, where there was a reduced chance of the passing traffic doing some terrible damage on my first day out.

The house is 19th century and stone built with Ikea Varde kitchen (like mine) and painted douce tones of grey and purple and cream and it is the most delightful house I have seen in a long time.  The beams and staircases are also painted in light tones.  Angels dance from the ceilings and hearts hang on the doors and the bedding is beautiful and SO country.  I want to move in immediately and enjoy the double glazing and central heating and three quarter acre garden with its chickens and apple trees and exposed stone barn.  I am in love and you could walk into town in about 20 minutes.  All for 238600 euros...  I must sell it to someone I like (or, as ever, win the lottery) and then I can come and visit, often...  Take many pictures and fend off an enthusiastic cocker spaniel - only eight months old - who sits and smiles at me with perfect white teeth.  The lady doesn't let him get near enough to lick my legs.  Readers of this blog will know that my legs are utterly irresistible to dogs.

Went for coffee and chocolatine in the local auberge garden and listened to the people eating and drinking and couldn't believe that they could consume that much food and alcohol before hitting the road again.  Their rucksacks were piled up in the corner, each bearing a large conch shell as both a symbol and badge of honour.

Back home and do some paperwork then back out again to pay the rates and the insurance on the car.  Walk dog.  Yet another day with no resin done.  Have to pack for weekend away and am in very bad mood.  I don't want to go away.  I want to stay here and craft.  Am grumpy and throw some things in a suitcase and then it is too dark to craft - the lighting in my craft room is set up to get the maximum from the large velux, which is wonderful in the day but at night, all the spots are behind me.  Placing the tiny flowers in the settings is very precise work and I cant see what I am doing.

OH finds some Ikea meat balls in the freezer so we have those and I look at a house sitting site to see if we can get somewhere warm over Winter.  None of the house sitters appear to have their own animals which they take on the house sits.  No one would want to spend the Winter chez nous.  It is freezing in the bedrooms and definitely not Bali in the bathrooms.  Will have to wait till dog shuffles off this mortal coil.  He is an old boy now.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thoughts on cars

Wednesday 7 October 2015
Cool and showery 14 degrees

Woken up by the alarm clock and ran around, getting paperwork together and then off into the sheets of mist to the coast to pick up the new car.  OH had not emptied any of the car pockets or nooks or crannies so spent most of the journey packing things into plastic bags.  Discovered some of the Galician sea shells and they had already shivered into many small fragments - can possibly use these in any event as inclusions.  Perhaps I am going resin mad lol!!

Arrived at the garage and the new car was all under wraps with a label on it saying my name and welcome and a smiley face.   Looked at back at my old car and gave her a stroke and thanked her for being a good girl and for all the distance she had carried me safely and wished that someone who took her next would love her as much as I had.  She was generous and comfortable and lovely to drive.  I don't think I will love the new car as much as do her.

I have had a number of cars - the first was a Mini, many moons ago, and I didn't drive her much because I didn't actually drive and the people who came out with me were scared.  My cousin, after one hair raising session, said I should just stall the car where we were and she could walk to the pavement.  The next car was considerably later, the day our eldest started school.  It was a Suzuki Santana, Suki by name, who was great on the icy hills and fun and white and I loved her until she started developing many rattles and then a hole developed in the fuel tank and then she became very rusty and I think was scrapped.  OH turned up with a replacement which was a Landrover of mature years and which I instantly developed a hate/hate relationship.  I don't know how people ever get to Africa in Landrovers.  I had trouble getting to Cheshire in mine.  It broke down at the Tatton RHS flower show and in the middle of the immense car park.  I stood on the roof to attract the breakdown lorry.  A man with more money than sense bought it as a plaything for his 12 year old.  We turned up at the house and the nanny came out and took it around the grounds to test it before paying in cash.  My next car was a Volvo V70 automatic - pavlovo - and I loved her with all my heart.  She was a mile muncher - enormously comfortable and comforting but with a smooth acceleration that was exhilarating.  She came to France with us and her motor died and I cried when she was taken off to be scrapped.  I acquired her third hand - she had been OH's work car and was then looked after by our Brother in Law who did very little driving and then became mine.

So, we decided to go French and bought a Kangoo which was fun and very practical and I quite liked but she is now in a truly terrible state because, for the past seven years, she has been almost exclusively used by OH who has never cleaned a car in his life.  Seven years ago, I had a lot of spare money and didn't want to pay it to the tax man, so I went out and bought a brand new car.  It was the first Qashkai in Aquitaine and attracted many admiring glances and I loved her to bits.  She didn't like OH.  Her engine blew up in the UK at 100000 kms and he was stuck there for weeks whilst I battled with the French administration and the warranty people.  Every time he took her over the Channel, something went wrong.  The boot refused to open and then it refused to shut.  The windscreen wipers refused to work - twice - when it was hammering it down with rain on the motorways.  She had no objections to Spain, but that was when I was with her.

Now she is gone and we have a white French car and she has a lot of complicated things on her and OH spent the whole time driving back, looking at the dashboard and fiddling with things and nearly driving off the road.  Felt very fraught.  Went to McDonald's for lunch and then to see a house which was gorgeous.  The lady had a blind dog which had no trouble getting under our feet for the whole time we were there, and it also, like all dogs, loved having a lick of my legs. 

Back home and had rest of yesterday's chili and watched the end of a programme about the First World War from the French perspective.  It was more grim than even I had realised.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It is almost like Hawaii....

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Heavy rain bursts 15 degrees

Was lying in bed and feeling slightly hung over when OH burst in and reminded me that I had to be on a take on at 10 am.  Galvanised (sort of) into action, shuffled together paperwork, on with the motley, calmed the hair and out into the morning.  Skies leaden and grey with piercing rays of sun.  Drove along thinking of Stairway to Heaven.  Not a tractor in sight.  Thank heavens for rain forecast.

There was a man waiting for me at the church and he was perspiring heavily, which was strange as it was barely 14 degrees.  Followed him to small 1975 property, not in a calm position as they had told me, but just off the exit to the auto route and with a fair amount of traffic passing on one side.  Brain still in a fog and it wasn't until they took me into the 100m2 pool side room with fresco of Hawaii, that I remembered which property it was.

The property, apart from the pool side room, was rather strange - most of it was downstairs including one bedroom, the bathrooms, kitchen, living room, a brand new kitchen which seemed a bit of a tight fit for a lady in a wheelchair and a large conservatory.  There were two rooms which I would have to call offices as they were under 9m2 and upstairs was just a landing and a fairly large bedroom but with very sloping mansard walls where I could stand up comfortably in the middle but nowhere else - I am 5' 3"so you can imagine that it was not up to much in the height department.

Back downstairs and had coffee in the poolside room and the lady brought out some cups which looked like they had been chewed up by the dishwasher.  I took the less battered one and found a space where I could drink without cutting my lip.  Her husband was busy sticking black plastic on a large polystyrene cone.  The lady had ordered some cheap jewellery to sell at a vide grenier and the cone was the support.  I signed them up and tried not to notice the heavy traffic thundering periodically past the front door.  It will look good on the website and it is all relative - some people may not find it too noisy.   Deaf people, quite possibly...

Back then to my town and had just stopped to get some bread when the phone rang and it was my 12.45 client who had marked 11.45 in her diary.  Rats!  I still didn't have the keys for the first property, the owner not answering her phone and the key holders not at home, so I met her up at the supermarket and we bought a sandwich and went and ate it in the garden of the first house.  Sat on the deck and it was crunchy with a thousand acorns.  She said her husband was sure not to like the yard. 

Yard has a completely different meaning for Americans and Australians.  A Brit thinks of a yard as a patch of concrete where you play ball games.  It is something surrounding schools - the school yard - or exists behind terraced housing and is where you hang out the washing to dry.  Think Coronation Street.  To the Yanks and the Aussies however, it is a garden.  Think lawn and trees and shrubs.

Her husband rang and said had she seen the chateau yet so we packed up and went over and were there two hours.  She took many photos and said her husband would absolutely love it but couldn't get over until early November.  Their last posting (he works in mining) had been in Kazakhstan and she said there was just obscene wealth - too the extent of, for example, children from the same family being brought separately to school in their own Bentleys.  Totally corrupt society.  Vast gulf between haves and have-nots.  Doesn't sound sad to be out of there.  She spent a lot of time talking about their five year old and I started to develop an antipathy towards their five year old.  Managed to keep the owner's son from pointing out all the bad points in the house.  Went and had coffee in nearby town and talked about the property.  Skies went absolutely black.

Back to our town and caught the plumber in his office and tied him down to going to the NZ ladies house tomorrow and also got him to produce a quote for another house.  Back home and was absolutely starving so we ate early - a most excellent chili which had been simmering in the oven for hours.  Walked dog.  Watched Private Benjamin.  Looked rather 80's but I still laughed a lot.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I am dangerous (apparently)

Monday 5 October 2015
Sunny periods 16 degrees

Spent most of morning uploading properties and trimming photos and then in the afternoon went out and battled with the greenery.

Had message from old friend who asked why I had got back into contact with them and I replied because I had seen their name and thought Why not?  I said I am impulsive and the friend replied that they had always thought I was someone who very carefully weighed up all the options before making any decisions.  Isn't it funny the difference between how you view yourself and how other see you?  I was fascinated to learn that a bar owner in town had told someone who was looking to buy in our town, that I was dangerous and should be avoided.  I wonder if he has heard that I think he cant be trusted as far as you can throw him and the only information worth giving him is something you want spread far and wide....

Seven o'clock came around all too soon and we went out to see the people who are renting our little flat and making buying noises.  Alas, they were more interested in drinking and talking about the flat which OH has yet to finish.  Things have ground to complete halt on the new flat.  Drank far too much gin and came home and had pizza and felt depressed.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Who are my readers?

Sunday 4 October 2015

Sporadic rain
14 degrees

I have been writing this blog since the 28 December 2014 and am pleased to note that I have a number of regular readers but do wonder who you are, where you live, what you are interested in?  Blogging can be a solitary affair without comments....

Woke up to gentle rain falling on the barn roof and I could see mine and dogs breath when we opened the kitchen door to have a first look at the day.  The vines I planted in Spring and which have languished all year are finally producing their stunning blue morning glory bells

Went down town to try and track down our renters and see if I could arrange to have a drink with them and get them to offer on the flat.  They were no where to be seen so I left them a pack of coffee and a note and drove around town and then went home.  Started helping OH with wood pile and the phone rang and it was them and arranged to meet tomorrow.

With two people, we vanquished the wood pile and had egg and bacon for lunch.  Dog looked expectant.  Left him in the front room with OH who was watching Football Focus, and enjoyed my meal in peace in the kitchen.

Resin then called and I went and domed the flat pendants and added silver wire coils and also made some more buttons.  Still haven't started on perishing poppies.  Listed some snail art pendants which I feel have come out rather well.  My tatty black desk turns out to be a good surface for photographing these things.  Was rather amazed to find on Etsy a woman selling pebbles and shells and bits of glass from a Yorkshire beach, at extraordinary prices, and has already had seven sales.  Wondered if this is illegal.


OH went fishing and I made apple and raspberry pie and thought about starting on the poppies.  It seemed like too much effort so I wrote to Kirsty Alsop and suggested she might like to sponsor us.

Wood jenga and it is not good news for English rugby

Saturday 3 October 2015

Sunny periods

Between the choice of playing jenga with the enormous wood pile and cleaning the house, I went for the latter option.  I clean sporadically and OH only cleans when we have visitors, so there was quite a lot to do.  The spiders do not spin their webs sporadically, nor the dog cease with hair shedding.  I hoovered and changed the beds and knocked the flies off the window sills and fumed when I discovered a tooth brush was bunging up the Hoover.  OH denied it was him but I only ever Hoover with the end on the machine and he inevitably hoovers with it off.  It is physically impossible to pick up a toothbrush with the end on the Hoover....

My 2 pm cancelled so I had the afternoon to do some more gardening.  Despite having removed three wheelbarrow loads - brimming ones - each day from the garden for the past week - hard to see the difference.  It is a jungle out there.  Nature doesn't do sporadic either.  My back hurt so had a bath and dug OH out of bed where he had sneaked off for a snooze and went out to my 4 pm appointment.

The GPS refused to work, I was stuck behind a convoy of tractors carrying cut Tobacco and then when I got to the village, found there was no Internet signal so couldn't use Maps app on my iPhone.  Finally got through to the owner and she said that the house was by a tout petit rondpoint.  Finally found her and the house about 40 minutes later.  Her little roundabout is what most people would call a junction.  Gorgeous house.  Signed her up in an hour, got stuck behind some more tractors and got home to find no dinner and OH still playing wood jenga.  He made tuna and roast veg and it was lovely, which was good as I was by then very tired and cold.

The renters for the little unit turned up whilst I was out so OH let them in.  They have indicated that they might be interested in buying it, which would be totally fab and mean we would be down just to the last unit, yet to be finished.

English rugby team annihilated by the Aussies.  They were passing faster and seemed to run rings around us.

Passed out on sofa and OH insisted I went to bed.  Could hear dog snoring in the kitchen.