Sunday, 25 November 2012

France 3 - Friday to Saturday


An excellent night's sleep for my first night in our French house.

My first challenge today is locking the door.  I was warned yesterday that there is a "nack" to it and that was certainly the case.  It took me the best part of 20 minutes to successfully lock the door.  However in that time I did work out what the problem is - the door is not hung exactly plum and so the bolts of the lock don't slide fully into place and that stops the lock rotating.  Removing one of the bolts did help quite a bit, but ideally this just needs to be fixed properly.  You can't annoy your holiday customers by having a tricky front door.

This morning's trip out was to the Intermarche and Bricolage on the north west side of St Jean.  A couple of hours have produced a reasonable DIY kit for the house.  On the way back, I called in at the local boulangerie in St Hilaire and bought my first ever things from there - absolutely delicious as I expected.  I also discovered that St Hilaire has its own pool, supermarket, bank and pharmacy.

Back home and more sorting out.  My initial aim is to prepare a list of everything that has to be done in each room.  Then this can be prioritised and allocated to the various visits over the winter. 

The sun streams in on the lounge - stuff is slowly getting sorted.  Most of the visible items are things I bought from Gill.

Mid morning I decide to have a good look round the grenier.  The Clementes have taken most of the stuff from here but have left a number of storage units - a couple of which I will probably use in the garage / workshop.  Looking round in detail, and the basic walls and roof seem ok, except for one patch of the roof where water is coming in, close to an old chimney.  Ideally my plan will be that the bedroom walls will be the exposed stone - it certainly looks good enough to use going forward.  My other plan of a new bathroom upstairs also looks do-able it seems to me.  But all this awaits Richard's visit next Monday

Definitely has the look of a decent renovation project!

This area above will be the bathroom!

After a delicious lunch of bread, cheese and ham, I have a visit from Dominique, the insurance manager from AXA.  We examine the French windows, which might have to have shutters put on them, then look at the grenier plans, which will increase our insurance costs as we will have more "principal rooms".  Finally I wanted to quiz him about public liability for people renting from us.  He has covered all my queries ok.  Also he knows Richard well and is pleased that Richard will be looking after things for us.

By the evening I have had a very full day of doing stuff.  Dinner is a piece of steak with chips, and a couple of beers.  I have bought a DVD player with a USB attachment so can watch some of the stuff I brought with me.  Tonight I watch an episode of "Fresh meat" and a couple of episodes of "The Big Bang Theory".  Both are very good - just the thing to relax with after a hard day's work!


An event to commemorate 40 years of the organisation is being held at Emmaus this morning and a large crowd has gathered just before the 9:30 opening.  Once again I am surprised by the large amount of old tools that are available at such events - and I mean very old tools.  I bought two coffee tables and a corner wall unit, plus a number of glass decanters and a couple of old lights - total cost about 50 euros.

Then it is off to St Jean for the weekly market.  There I buy some honey for Wife, some grapes and strawberries and then sit outside Ellis Park reading the paper.  I don't see any of the Brits I know.

Back at the house and it is time to tackle my first big project.  I have decided to try and re-decorate the room we like least at the house - the one we have always referred to as the "African" room.  A quick test of whether it would be possible to over paint the horrible brown' flocked wallpaper reveals that it won't be.  So I then face the issue of stripping it all off.

I actually rather enjoy this work though it takes me about 8 hours to do about two-thirds of the entire room.  I can listen to loud music - today mostly Gallon Drunk - and am not bothered by anyone or anything.

Before the stripping starts

and during

Another few hours work should see the paper removed. Then I need to fill the various cracks and other blemishes that have appeared and give the walls a coat of white emulsion to act as a base for the top coat.  This will hopefully occur in the next day or so.

Dinner tonight is a test of the electric oven as I cook a pizza.  Another episode of "Fresh Meat" - the one where they hold their house party.  Thinking about the house book for next year - all the stuff we need to tell guests.  Maybe this could be done as a PDF and sent to them before their stay?

No comments: