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Progress is committed!

May 5, 2012

Well, at least in the last few days!  We heard late in the previous week that our decorator had been taken ill and was in for a check up. This presented us with the opportunity for some retail therapy – except I hate shopping but we needed more stuff for the decorating and essential supplies like Gin. Carrefour is the only place that sells Gordon’s in 1.5 litre bottles so we have to trek over there every so often for fresh stocks. We also picked up the rest of the coving we had ordered; some radiator paint and looked for tile & wallpaper for the bathrooms. Tuesday dawned with the news that the decorator would be off for the week so off we went tile & wallpaper shopping again – would you believe that in France (and Brittany in particular) blue tile is almost unobtainable?  We finally found the last of some old stock at Bricocash, not my favourite store but the tile is what we were looking for and not expensive. Having found that we took the samples and went looking for wallpaper and again struck lucky in Saint Maclou, a great  store and very helpful. They helped us calculate the quantity and placed it on order for a few days later.

 The weather then went totally pear-shaped, howling winds and sideways rain so we had to cancel the gardener. I picked up the mail and found my payment to the medical lab had been denied – only one way to sort that and that was by personal visit so I drove into Vannes. Parking was a nightmare as they had shut off part of the main street exactly where I needed to be but I got there eventually. It turns out that the doctor had written June’s Social Security number on the order for the labs and that is why it had been refused. Couple of minutes was all it took to straighten it but I was gone for over an hour in total; Vannes traffic is really bad at times.

 I have lost quite a bit of weight since arriving inFranceand many of my clothes don’t fit any more. Facing a hefty bill for new trousers for example seemed a bit of a waste when I had a wardrobe full so I found a tailoring place in Vannes that will do alterations. Not expensive and we’ll see the results in a week or so but they could not do my sports coat. I found my old blazer which now fits great so at least I have a semi-formal jacket should I ever need one again.

 Our plumber came round again and helped remove the sink from the upstairs bathroom – he will come back again soon to refit it after the tiling is done. We got to talking about the ventilation system and he said that he could do it so now I’m waiting on his estimate for that as well as the radiators. We decided that the old bathroom mirror (complete with 50’s fluorescent lighting and power socket) just didn’t cut it any more so another trip to the hardware store was needed for a new mirror, light fitting and some electrical bits. Over the weekend I channeled the wall out, rewired the electrics to accommodate a power outlet and a switch for the lights. The tile just about fell off, in fact a few did when I started bashing the wall so I don’t think this will be a big job for the decorator. By late Sunday I’d refilled all the channeling and made the plaster work good enough to tile over, the job took most of the day though.








And then the decorator arrived…..

 Even after a couple of rolls of the textured paper had been applied the difference was amazing, no longer are we looking at repaired bare plaster and paint carrying over from the trim. Can’t wait to see this when it’s all done. The decorator is also removing all the old bathroom tile ready for his tiling friend to show up later in the week.







Our gardener called late Monday evening but we missed the call and only got the message Tuesday morning. As it was a ‘bank’ holiday, power tools are not allowed so he had a free day, could he come and make up for the lost day in the previous week?  No worries, so he arrived a bit later and got stuck into the ivy on the other side at the front. It’s starting to look good around here.

 While all this is going on, we decided it was time to clean & refresh the living room floor. This job needed doing immediately after laying (Marc did it), a month later then three months then annually. We were overdue for the three month but it isn’t very hard to do. Just a good cleaning and wipe over with a damp cloth soaked in a special soap solution and then dried with much less damp cloth. We use a couple of cloth mops as groveling about on the floor at our age is just not on. The results are great; the appearance is maturing with each application as they said it would. They also said it would darken with age which we took with a pinch of salt as it sounded like sales pitch. OOPS! – they were right. We moved the rug in front of the fireplace and there was a very clear line where it had been, quite dramatic considering it’s only been four or five months since it was laid and much of that was dull weather. So now the rugs have been removed so that the area can catch up, if it does at all. During one of her unannounced visits Mme J told us that new parquet floors should not have rugs or carpet put on them for the first year – now they tell us! She also gave us all a (friendly) ration for working on May 1st, they really do take their holidays seriously here.








On Thursday the decorator was putting the final coats on the walls and the tiler had arrived to start on the bathroom. Some minor discussions on the baseboard tiles (which we decided to remove) and fixing the final closings of the old air vents and he was off & running. Nice man uses a proper wet tile saw so there is no dust – June is much relieved. The decorator has done a really great job saving us hours of grief and struggling – however he definitely has the gift of the gab. Absolutely never stopped talking while the tiler was here – this guy really could talk the hind legs off an Acturian Mega-Donkey and persuade it to go for walk afterwards.







I finally got the devis for the fosse septique from the local company after several emails and phone calls and it is 25% higher than anyone else! Guess who is NOT getting the job. So we have signed the agreement with the first (English) company and they are going to handle all the official paperwork etc. They will also work with the farmer for access via the field.

 I’ve found a roofing contractor to do the Velux windows, he came on Thursday to look at the job and tells me we may have to ask the Mairie to determine if we need planning permission – I hope not as that will delay the project and I really want to get the bathroom & WC finished. One of the Velux windows is in the WC so it’s critical to get that done first as the new windows are a different size and shape. Two other roofing contractors we have contacted have ignored us completely as has another electrician.

Our plumber had already provided estimates for the VMC and radiators, next was a visit on Friday to discuss remounting the sink and changing the bath drain plus mounting the new towel rail and starting the work on the VMC. This guy is keen, good and very reasonable. What a contrast!

After that hectic week we can sit and relax a bit – the weather is improving daily and the garden is growing weeds for France. This weekend marks the one year anniversary of  the movers packing up our house in California– time has really flown by.

David & June

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