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Une année en Bretagne

May 12, 2012

 One year ago today we arrived in Brittanyto begin a new life.

To say things have not gone exactly as planned would be an understatement BUT virtually all of our problems have been caused by our choice of house and underestimation of the time, money & effort it is costing to renovate. A lesson in setting goals and priorities appropriately.

Everything else has been great, food & wine, people, health care, friends and new friends, we have even managed to deal with all the officialdom and bureaucracy on an even keel. This in particular is due to the extensive advice I found on the ex-pat forum about how to deal with officials – never tell them what you want, ask their advice on how to achieve it; ask loads of questions and always begin the conversation in French no matter how bad. Good advice.

The weather could be better, it is better than the UK but a big contrast to California, but we knew that before we came. It does have a bigger impact on life than we thought though – 20 years of living in a dry sunny climate conditions you in many subtle ways.

Work has continued this past week starting with the decorator grouting the new bathroom tile and generally finishing off – fettling we used to call it. We cleaned the sink, bath and floor and then the plumber arrived to refit the sink, new bath drain and the heated towel rail.










The gardener arrived as planned on Wednesday and carried out a load of ivy removal, weeding etc. I then went to the Mairie to see about planning permission for the Velux windows, turns out that what is needed is a statement of what we have planned and then they approve it or not – but it’s not planning permission! Lady in the Mairie was really helpful and showed me how to prepare the dossier which I returned on Thursday – now it seems we have to wait up to a month for the decision. This is putting a dent in the plans as we cannot finish the WC until the window is done and we leave for England on the 14th June.

 On Friday the plumber came to start work on the VMC – this entailed drilling and cutting through the kitchen and bathroom ceilings to fit 125cm diameter tubes. These ceilings are solid poured and reinforced concrete and about 125 cm thick. The noise from the hammer drills and chisels was unbelievable, June resorted to gardening and I was wearing my Bose acoustic headphones. He returns on Monday to connect it all up but I suspect this isn’t going to be easy. Time will tell as usual.

 Now for a relaxing weekend and maybe a lunch out by the Golfe – although it’s nice and sunny the wind is a bit strong with a cold edge to it.

 Here’s to the next years …………

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 12, 2012 12:18

    Heureux premier anniversaire. One down & many more to enjoy. I agree about the weather. It does have a bigger impact I think because it is so changeable; not sunny days for months on end. But as you say everything else is great. We love our life here also – so peaceful. Bon voyage to Angleterre and again happy anniversary – quite an accomplishment. Cheers Jo

  2. May 12, 2012 14:51

    Merci Jo et Brian, We await your anniversary and news of your progress

    A bientot

    David & June

  3. Cindy permalink
    May 13, 2012 00:34

    I expect you’ve told us before and I’ve forgotten, but what’s a VMC?

    • May 13, 2012 09:16

      ventilation mecanique contrôlée = positive air extraction system fitted to all modern French houses by law

      • Cindy permalink
        May 14, 2012 06:41

        What might this be called in the US? What is its purpose? Is it for fresh air ventilation?

  4. May 14, 2012 08:37

    In the US I’ve only ever seen it in bathrooms – here they have it in all wet rooms with tiny fresh air inlets in living spaces

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