Sunday, 25 November 2012

France 5 - Tuesday to Friday


Much colder overnight than it has been - clear skies and the thermometer in the kitchen says it is just 4 degrees outside, versus 15 inside. 

First thing I continue to sort out the kitchen.  The Clementes had left quite a lot of stuff in one of the little sheds outside and I have been cleaning this up gradually.  I have also bought more glasses and plates and these are gradually finding homes.

Then it is off to Saintes and an attempt to find a couple of places that sell bathroom stuff.  First off is the place Dave took me to a couple of months back.  This turns out to be fantastically expensive in my view but has a couple of things I like.

The shower above was nearly 2,000 euros, while the very nice unit below is nearly 1,000 euros - far more than I intended to pay.

So it is off to one of the big DIY chains - the local equivalents of B&Q.  This is much more like it, with a shower I actually prefer to the more expensive one and priced at 599 euros.

I also had a look at various floor covering options and quite like these sort of laminated fake wood coverings.

During the afternoon I travelled back to St Jean and the brocante there, where I bought another 200 euros worth of stuff.  Two doors which have turned out to be a bit small, four chairs, a couple of pictures and various glass and china items.

More work on the bedroom this afternoon.  The walls are now painted white and I have cleaned up the room ready for the top coat tomorrow. 

This evening I went out for dinner to the nearby Chateau de Leleard with Gill.  We had hoped to go with Richard and his wife but their son is still not out of hospital and they have had to stay with him tonight.  We are the only customers (!) but the food is very good - I had foie gras with a pineapple chutney, veal in cognac with tagliatelle and a chocolate mousse. 

The Chateau de Leleard - presumably it will be busier in the summer


At one time I had thought that maybe today I would make it out somewhere such as the Isle d'Oleron, but instead I am pushing on with the decorating.  The bedroom is painted blue today and very nice it looks too.  Music is provided during the 10 hours by Gallon Drunk, Swans and Throwing Muses.  By 5:30 my hand is cramping from holding the brush.

Dinner was steak and chips again, watching the 3rd episode of "Fresh Meat" and a couple of "Big Bang Theory" followed by a documentary on the Voyager spacecrafts.  Rather spookily, this last programme was produced by someone called Christopher Riley - at moments like this it does make you wonder what might have become of him


Working by 7:00, I have cleaned the blue room and have set it up with some of the furniture I have here - the twins beds I bought from Gill, plus two lamps and a painting also from her.  Then there is a table I bought at Emmaus and a mirror I brought over from the UK.  Overall, I think it looks very good. 

Afterwards I have a quick trip out to the boulangerie for a baguette and a chocolate eclair.  There has been a frost overnight and the donkey does some rather plaintive braying when I am scrapping ice off the car.

Richard arrives at 10:00 and we have a quick look at the wall where he is going to knock the whole through to the greniers.  He seems quite impressed with the room painting and we discuss the wonders of chalk paint together. 

Then it is off to Saintes to the Brico Depot where we can't take away the units I like as they are waiting for new stock to arrive.  But at Bricolage, I can buy the shower and the floor coverings I have selected should be ok.

Back at the house, we have a review of the planned work schedule, do a bit more garden planning and then Richard is off.  We have tentative plans to meet in a few weeks time.  In the meantime, he will start on one or two things soon.

I had a test of the fireplace this afternoon, including the convection heating of the upstairs, which is actually remarkably effective.  During the afternoon one of the neighbour's cats puts in an appearance.

My final house work is to finish taking the photos that go with the detailed measurements and job lists that I have been preparing for the past week. 

My last meal in France tonight.  I briefly thought of going out into St Jean but in the end ate more chips and watched two programmes in the BBC series "Human, all too human" on Heidegger and Sartre.  Both had a really good selection of interviewees


So we have owned our house for more than a week now and the end of my trip has come round already.  The house has all its shutters closed, the water is turned off and the radiators are all on their winter, anti-frost settings. 

One of my last acts is to take down the "sold by Leggets" sign from the end of the drive.  The donkey gives a long bray which I take to signal her support for us.

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