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Skirting around the boundaries!

June 10, 2012

Saturday & Sunday we spent relaxing, eating & drinking and watching the Monaco GP – very enjoyable.

OK, Monday back to work and the decorator arrived to paint the garden wall along the drive, prepare all the black trim and the sous-sol windows which he also reglazed in places as the glass was falling out.  June & I got started on cleaning the windows, frames & shutters which had been sadly neglected apart from the power washing they got from the decorator.

The decorator finished the wall, painted all the black trim and glossed the sous-sol windows. June & I continued with more windows and then the first bedroom, prepping for paint & wallpaper. The skirting board was supposed to arrive today (Tuesday) – no sign of it.

By Wednesday the weather had turned a bit cooler so we spent the day in the garden apart from final work with the decorator measuring and estimating for extra work on the bedrooms if we should want it. Turns out he can do pretty much anything and we discussed plastering, floor levelling and wall building in the basement for the future.

Thursday is usually a bit off a day off June goes to the hairdresser and I get the local shopping. We usually go the little Bar Tabac Presse in St Nolff for lunch (beer, wine, baguette sandwich and coffee) and also buy a lottery ticket – so far we have won four Euros!   After lunch we decided the weather is good enough so we unearthed the garden furniture which needed a bit of sanding and varnishing (it belong to my parents in the 60’s!) We rescued and cleaned our BBQ – but no umbrella base yet.

Numerous phone calls to supplier reveal shipment of skirting boards is a mystery and no word from the French delivery company:(

Friday – finally a call from the French delivery office and they say they haven’t got my address – UK company says BS! Anyway it’s now Tuesday or Wednesday next week for delivery – severely denting the scheduling.

Now all the contractors junk is pretty much gone, we cleaned and vacuumed the garage and storage area and made three trips to the dump! Reorganized the gardening tools and generally straightened it all out – it does make a difference.  I decided we needed to be able to sit outside so went on a hunt for a patio umbrella base and finally found one in the third garden centre I visited. Why on earth are they so heavy? – they could easily make them hollow to fill with water and save a fortune on shipping costs. Anyway, it all worked out after some judicious adjustments for the US size umbrella post and we spent a pleasant evening dining alfresco on pate and cheese and wine.

On Saturday, we planned a BBQ so naturally it rained! We did manage to cook the steaks outside but the wind and rain drove us indoors pretty quick. We also went shopping for more wallpaper etc and to return the excess paint we had bought for the outside – 20 litres too much which at 150 Euros is expensive – however Leroy Merlin were very helpful as usual and took it all back. We rapidly spent the refund in twenty minutes on light fittings and wallpaper.

Sunday was not a fun day – my desktop computer has developed a cooling fault so I had to move everything to the laptop. I would have had to do this anyway for trip to UK  but I hate being forced into things. It appears after much investigation and searching the problem can be fixed with a relatively cheap part which I shall order while we are away. The main issue now is finding I have left something on the desktop so I have to fire it up to get it – the fan is working like a leaf-blower and the noise is indescribable so I don’t want to do this too often.

The rest of the weekend was relaxing – we watched the Thames Pageant and the Jubilee Concert live. The pageant was really impressive especially the ending with the choir singing all the patriotic stuff in the pouring rain. The concert less so, poor sound quality and ill-chosen acts plus the usual lame BBC commentary – referring to Her Majesty as “cargo” really isn’t kosher!

I finally got a sensible answer from the shipping insurance company and they have agreed to pay my claim in full. Their original position was that because the individual items were not on the inventory we couldn’t claim for them  – when I pointed out that we would have had to inventory every single plate cup saucer knives & forks they changed their tune!

Next up the guys supposed to be installing the new fosse septique have problems with their truck so there is no way they can finish before we leave for England – as there is no way they are digging up my garden when I’m not here we have rescheduled for 9th July. Which also happens to be the day the plumber is coming to change all the radiator valves.

Still no news of the skirting boards despite many phone calls.

Wednesday and the weather has gone totally pear-shaped – our gardener arrives in the rain and duly gets on with digging up a couple of flower beds which are badly choked, cleans the hedge out by removing all the bracken and re-lays part of the front path. He may come when we are away to cut the grass etc weather permitting. I hope he does because at the rate stuff is growing it’ll be a foot high by the time we get back.

More phone calls to shipping company with zero response however we are determined to be ready should it ever arrive so I spent a couple of days removing the last traces of carpet glue, wallpaper etc from the bathroom and two bedrooms. Then I attacked the wall cracks – some of which look like Humpty Dumpty after a very bad night. I was recommended to use a filler which is pre-mixed and found that by thinning it very slightly I can fill quickly and eliminate much of the sanding that would otherwise be necessary.

Thursday – weather is still atrocious and STILL no news of the skirting boards, we carried on with the room preparations and our usual weekly hair-do, shopping lunch etc. Finally late in the evening a call from the shipping company – delivery Friday pm.

On Friday morning the shipping company calls again – they’ll be there in one hour! Arrived at 10:30 🙂 all is intact and as ordered.

Then I got an email from Madame J, they have the papers for us to sign as a result of the surveyors planning of the new boundaries. Not wishing to waste any time we agree to meet on Saturday morning, they in turn spent Friday afternoon and evening working to 10:00pm ploughing and seeding the field!

On Saturday morning we go across to the neighbours and they show us the papers – they are are very simple, new plan of the boundaries and an agreement for us to exchange the two pieces of land. We sign and a bottle of wine appears along with some muse bouche. Discussion turns to local restaurants as it appears the village is losing one and a new creperie is to open in early July. More discussions and we decide to go to lunch in one of the recommendations – it’s closed! However a couple of miles down the road is another and it looks pretty good. The food was excellent and then we discovered it had only been open for two days – it was brand new. Just as I’m paying the bill an English guy arrives to reserve a table for the evening – turns out they have a holiday home just up the road, I’m sure we will be in touch again.

Our neighbours do not waste any time, as we get back from lunch they are already remarking the boundaries, scraping up all the debris (our garden as well) and then ploughing their newly acquired land! All done by 4:30pm!

So here’s another little slide show – you can see the red border markers clearly and where the old border was by the wood pile.

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More news after we get back from our rest in England & Wales
David & June

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