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Mixed fortunes

January 15, 2012

Two weeks into 2012 and it has been a period of very mixed blessings. 

New Years Day lunch was superb, Marc & Sylvie, Sylvie’s parents and her twin brother; then we were all invited back to Marc’s mothers house for coffee. A really enjoyable afternoon and we eventually arrived home about 6:00pm.










Marc was still sick with a sinus infection so actually hasn’t been back to the house since we moved in before Christmas. June also was suffering from a cough and a brief visit to the doctors resulted in an inhaler and some steroid treatment. However, it really didn’t improve very much so I called the doctor for another appointment; he asked what the problem was and gave us an appointment within half an hour. A thorough examination and he recommended a visit to a specialist but could not get him on the phone. He said he would call us in the afternoon with the appointment so we went to lunch in the local restaurant. On our way out, the doctor came out of his office (it’s about 200 feet from the restaurant) and told us the appointment was made and we should go immediately. Off we went and only had a few minutes to wait. He gave June a complete check-up, x-rays, blood tests, breathing capacity etc – she had obviously inhaled a lot of dust from the work on the house and her vital capacity was down to a figure of 100 from a norm of about 470 😦  The specialist prescribed more steroids, antibiotics, two inhalers (one via a nebulizer) and so we set off for the pharmacy, eventually arriving home about 5:30. A stressful day but happily the treatment seems to be working and a further check-up with the local doctor and vital capacity is up to 250. She has another appointment with the specialist in about a week. So far we are very impressed with the level of treatment the French system is providing and the speed of reimbursement – about 7 days for the last lot.

 The weather has turned cold but sunny and we have spent some time in the garden. I’ve cut most of the grass twice and it’s beginning to look like someone lives here. June has been pruning the roses and has started a battle with the ivy which is everywhere. It’s amazing to see all the new growth on the plants considering how cold it is – this morning was well below zero and the frost is still on the ground at lunchtime. There are daffodils and narcissus everywhere and the camellia in the back garden is just incredible – a mass of flowers.







We have finally opened all the boxes in the basement and we are missing some stuff. Now we have to take careful count of all the stuff we repacked to verify what is missing and then we can submit a claim. This might prove difficult as the packers did not prepare a detailed inventory – boxes marked “kitchen glass” could easily be missing items and we would have no proof of ownership. They have lost my large petrol can and back-pack sprayer which now we have started gardening is really annoying.

 Our neighbours M and Mme J invited us and Marc & Sylvie for an ‘apero’ on Friday at 6:00pm. It is traditional to take flowers or chocolates for the hostess on such occasions so a quick trip to the supermarket was in order. We duly arrived at their house (about 3 minutes walk) and were greeted with champagne, extensive muse bouche (nibblers) and a roaring log fire. Then we were all invited to the table for a raclette which is a variation on the fondue theme. Basically you heat cheese under a hot plate which has boiled potatoes on top and scrape the cheese onto the potatoes. Accompanied by a variety of cold meats and copious quantities of wine. This was followed by an almond paste filled galette made with puff pastry – Mme had hidden a favour in the galette so we all ate very carefully so as not to break any teeth. June got the favour and was rewarded by being appointed the Queen complete with paper crown, I got a crown too as June appointed me King 🙂








Discussion then turned to the large pine trees which border our garden and their field. They had been in dispute with the previous owners about ownership of these trees and the responsibility of cutting them and it had all turned very nasty. Long before we moved in we had told them we did not want any disputes and were happy to work with them. They apparently need to cut them as they want to plant the field but the trees are too close and the roots will cause problems. Also they cut out a lot of sunlight and in addition are spreading sap, resin and dead leaves all over our roof. We agreed to examine them all over the weekend and his son will prepare an estimate for cutting them – we will share the costs. The examination took place on Saturday, almost all the trees are actually on our property so we’ll see what the estimate is.

 One of the reasons we came to France was in anticipation of a better social life and this latest evening has proved us right – we are really enjoying meeting new people and getting to know the area. Our village is great, good doctor, great restaurant, great hairdresser, small market, bar/tabac and a very average bakery – I usually go to the next village which is superb. I discovered Mme J does the same. 

So, June is getting better, Marc should be here on Wednesday and we can get on with the final bits of construction and start on the decorating. We do have to do something with the heating system, most of the radiator thermostats are useless and we are burning oil like crazy – had to order a second load of 1000 litres last week and at .80 centimes a litre plus 19.6% VAT this is expensive.

Onward and upwards

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2012 13:25

    I hope June is on the way to recovery the health service sounds top class there that would have taken a month in the UK!
    With the high cost of oil a new 90% efficient boiler sounds a good investment the downside is your plumber would want to replace the total system. I understand LPG is more expensive than oil. Soon be spring, keep up the good work.

  2. January 16, 2012 13:50

    Health servce is really good, I haven’t been in the UK for 20 years but in California it would have been a nightmare. The boiler is relatively new, the problem is the old radiators/thermostats and lack of insulation. We’ll get it done 🙂 We also want to line the chimney and put in a fireplace insert – the neighbours house was amazingly warm and they hardly use their heating system.


  3. January 16, 2012 14:12

    Lovely photos! Hope June is on the mend. I have chronic bronchitis and know first hand what she is going thru. In Florida we never had a problem with our health care – all first class but we are happy to hear how wonderful it is here.
    Heating problems are a little bit more involved – not just changing the thermostat but as you say, you’ll get it sorted.
    Funny, we came for a different social life too. And mainly, so far, we have met Les Anglais more than french people but hope to change that soon
    All the best to you and wish us luck on our move this week!

  4. January 16, 2012 15:09

    Good luck Jo, hope it all goes smoothly

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