Early news is that the Clementes - the vendors - will not be ready for me to move in today after the completion meeting. They are apparently determined to clean the place after moving the last of their stuff out. But the completion meeting can go ahead as planned.
So I have a quiet morning. Mostly I spend it at Gill's, looking through the stuff she wants to sell, or just crashed out in my room reading a book of Sherlock Holmes stories. The brocante in St Jean opens briefly and I buy a table and a picture which I don't think I can collect for a few days.
At 1:30 I meet Dave, his wife Cathy and his boss, Suzanne. Then it is off to the Notaires. This is actually quite a hard meeting in some respects as I have to concentrate really hard to make sure I continue to get the jist of what is being discussed. One lawyer is able to translate stuff for me though. But in the end, all seems ok. I initial and sign about 50 sheets of paper and that is that. I leave with one piece of paper from the Notaire - the attestation that acts as our proof of purchase until the new deed is ready in March. All done by 3:14 - pi time again
Back to Gill's and then finally I can drive down to the house to drop off everything that I have brought with me. The Clementes are still busy packing the last of their stuff, but do help me drop off everything into the master bedroom upstairs. We have a brief walk round together as they point out all the things they had agreed to leave plus a load of stuff they don't want to take with them but not need me to pay for - mostly tvs it would seem, but also some quite useful stuff such as the microwave, a desk and some chaits from the boy's room, a unit for the tv in the lounge to stand on, and so on. But by 5:30 I am done and leave them to it. I will return tomorrow after lunch and that will be the final handover meeting.
I called in at Emmaus on the way back to St Jean and bought a small table - they are having some sort of bigger event this Saturday so I might go to that. I also have time to collect my stuff from the St Jean brocante.
Back at Gill's and I now have a good idea of what I want to but from her - the two single beds, the white table and blanket box, the various light fittings, quite a few candle holders, two pictures, a large cupboard and matching side table, a LMS railway clock, etc.
I spoke to Wife briefly to say it was all done - as perhaps could have been predicted, she is rather wishing she had come across with me now.
I have a celebratory dinner at Le Cabanon - a delicious fish soup, an entrecote with chips, and a chocolate mousse, washed down with a really nice bottle of a 2001 St Emilion, all for 40 euros.
So I have settled on everything I want from Gill and I am able to pack most of it into the Land rover this morning. The rest will be moved next Monday when I can meet with Richard, our property manager, who has a transit van.
Then I have a trip to Saintes with Dave to sort out my telecom account with Orange. I can take the kit away but the engineer can't visit for a couple of weeks and so I won't have internet access this visit. It takes nearly 2 hours to do everything at Orange. We are about 10th in a long queue and mostly sit around chatting while they slowly deal with the poeple ahead of us - this wouldn't happen in the UK! As a result, we don't have time to pop in the DIY places in Saintes. I will have to find those myself at some point.
Finally we can return to St Hilaire for our final meeting with the Clementes. There are 22 keys for the property and I follow Michelle round the house trying to remember which key is which as she explains it all. Meanwhile Dave agrees final meter readings for electricity and water with Gerard Clemente. Even more stuff is being left behind than was discussed yesterday.
We leave for St Jean at the same time the Clementes leave for the last time. I wonder if we will see them again. They have moved to Poitiers, so perhaps not.
Dave has another thing he has to get to, so back at Gill's I do some more packing and then the two of us drive back to the house together for a visit and an unload of stuff. Then back to St jean to drop Gill home and for me to pack a second load. Hopefully the rest will move on Monday but Richard's son has had a really bad motocross accident - a broken femur - and this might affect Richard's plans.
I have enough space in the car for a trip to the large Leclerc in St Jean and now have some kitchen equipment and food - plus 24 bottles of 1664 beer which should see through the week ok.
So now I have to start sorting everything out and getting stuck into my planned work for the next week.
We own a house in France!
Initial grocery purchases
Initial kitchen utensils
The office will be the downstairs base camp for the next week
One very empty lounge which now looks much bigger than we thought - in the background, part of the metal beds I bought from Gill
The "asian" room - my planned sleeping place for the first few nights
The master bedroom - full of the stuff I brought from the UK
The autumnal looking house - lots of leaves have fallen in the garden