The First Week

On the 21st November the house purchase was quite fancy with the Notaire chap using a wall mounted screen to go through the documents. All very modern and swanky then we signed on a wee device that was a little more fancy than delivery people brandish nowadays. It turned out that they keys were not with the seller Monsieur F as expected, he’d left them in the back door of what was now our house! They were pleasingly still there. 😊

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Happier than we may appear!

As noted in the previous Ramblings we didn’t move in until the 27th having got our furniture on the 22nd. We organised various things in that time, like the upgrading of the quantity of electricity the house gets – I know who knew! Also, the large amount of wood was delivered and firstly shifted under cover before the stacking process began. I hoiked much of the wood into the garage as if an American Football Long Snapper which proved the most effective method! S was rather more gentile in her throwing while that cat didn’t help at all ensconced as she was inside.

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We had piles…

The first night was pretty chilly – both heaters were going prior to bedtime. S however ended up being too hot as a result of a combo of her having overdressed and our 16 tog Super King size duvet!

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Hot box

I have been playing with fire… Well the Cuisinier, which is like an Aga or Raeburn, namely a whacking get metal cooker and in our case the water heater for the radiators. It’s fed with wood and gets all toasty warm – after a bit – but I’m getting better at teasing it into life. Mitzy has rather pleasingly learnt not to jump on top of it which would be very messy, an example of which we heard about from Kay. Beside the Cuisinier is a central heating pump which Monsieur F had told us would kick in – I was sceptical to be honest but noticed that the radiators had gone from ice cold to not the afternoon after our first night. I kept quiet about said rather than tempt fate but when I returned from doing more wood stacking they had hit the giddy heights of tepid. S was rather pleased!
The pump having kicked in the house is rather different from the time we sent there before moving in – yes the kitchen is warm but the rest of the place no-longer has the coldness it had had from being empty for a couple of years and the radiators are doing a decent job. Thus, we have been able to dispense with one heater and use the other only sparingly – making all rather more pleasant. We arranged after eventually finding the Chauffage (wood-burner/cuisinier shop) attended by a person – not by a sign saying when they would be back – a visit early the following week for it be given the once over. Notification to be made of a time by text. Meanwhile I coax it into life each morning while S remains asleep and M generally demands attention.

Rather than use a condemned gas water heater which could give us the opportunity to see the surrounding area briefly from the air before the inevitable fatal squelch… We decided not too risk it. Thus, we were living rustically with a large kettle from Kay and Paul on the Cuisinier heating up water for the obvious ablutions… This is only sustainable for a short term and the first weekend we headed a little north to Limoges where we had a couple things to do and spent a night in an Ibis Budget where we showered muchly. Sunday night food options were limited and we ended up in a place where a fellow immigrant was behaving a little oddly, new as he clearly was to European norms. He having arrived in France from the south, not the north like us, saw my polite eye contact as an excuse to regale us with info of some sort much of which seemed to be “Na-na-na-na-na”ing. Rather that join in by singing, “Baby give it up, give it up, Baby give it up” and let him continue we smiled and I shook him by the offered hand as we left. (The young reader may need to Google the musical reference on one device or another, the older reader can nod sagely and move on). He seemed a nice bloke but we had no idea what he was going on about.

We received a letter from EDF the electricity people late in the first week – this is akin to a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket! It is that significant, no really it is and I’ll tell you why… Setting up anything more complex than a loyalty card for a supermarket people ask rightly for ID. First on all, I repeat ALL their lists of examples is an EDF bill or document. Getting said golden ticket from EDF is a great help with boring but necessary admin stuff.

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Haircut required

The toilet had initially been a faff needing a new large washer. It turned out that was not the only issue and tho it cheerfully dealt with any offerings it didn’t so much flush as dribble constantly in a feeble and annoying way. My efforts to fix it mainly resulted in me using my full range of swearing vocabulary in various combinations, having to stick my hand down it and frankly not much else… We purchased a new flush mechanism and I repeated much of my oathing but didn’t so much fix it as knacker it just a touch more. I am to plumbing what Saddam Hussein was to kitchen design, namely heehaw! Despite the best efforts of a nice chap – who we christened Antoine the toilet man – in the local DIY place who regaled us with tales of standard sized parts we made no progress. Our toilet hole seemed to be bigger than the norm… However, I gave in and cavalry in the shape of a tradesman recommended by a friend saved the day.

Flushed with that success we were able to concentrate on staking wood. I have improved at said during what was a lengthy training program and I can claim to be one step on from Novice. In a couple of years time I’ll no-doubt be a Mother Superior or whatever the right term is, S is making similar advances with all but the biggest bits. No sign however at this point of the Cuisineir man coming.

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With a house built in 1973 and lived in since then by a, possibly little, old lady comes old things. Lots of things as expected take a little longer and a few more Euro’s to sort out. We are now, for example, on good terms with a local locksmith. It took five visits to his shop to first order new back door keys then collect them in their new shiny finery then to have them tweaked after they didn’t work. Return to see him and his happy wee dog again he further tweaked them… The last visit was a brief one. When I popped in I’m sure I saw fear in his eyes – those who know me will understand I know that look. However, this stop had been to confirm that they had worked and to thank him again. He was very pleased to see me go. Those who know me will understand I know that look too!

Overall our days have been based on getting things done and many of then take just a little longer than you think they will. This leads to lots of activity, tiredness and on occasion forgetting meals! I eventually remembered to get a haircut at my usual place or rather the one I used last time – about 3 weeks after one was due. The chap said he remembered me and my interest in local football and I did my best to not mangle his language too much during my much-needed visit. S is checking out hair dressing options and may try a different one from last time, watch this soon to be nicely coiffured space!

Despite the non-arrival and or contact of the Cuisinier man gentle progress was been made almost every day in the first week and it appears moving wood and simple semi-rural living is good for your physic. I am it appears one step closer too being an Adonis – a journey which has quite frankly some considerable distance remaining.

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Stacked…  And the wood!

Check out the Facebook page for the next fun competition.  The winner of the last one sent this…

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She likes her new bookmark

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