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What a difference a week makes

September 14, 2012

Saturday was a beautiful day so we spent it relaxing and BBQing some very nice faux filet steaks. We watched the Italian GP qualifying and consequently missed the Last Night of the Proms – rats!

Sunday and the weather went pear-shaped so we started on the garage, we have to create space to store logs and also get ready for moving the sofa bed out into the house – it’s only been wrapped up since May 2011 and has been in the garage for almost a year! The carpet guys have promised to help get it upstairs, it is very heavy.

The exterior garage wall appears to have been very damp at some point; there is a lot of efflorescence which was a pain to brush off. I ended up vacuuming the walls to clear the dust and debris. The previous owners left us a small pile of logs which were covered in dust, cobwebs etc – I moved the lot and cleared the rest of the space. Using some of the wood from the infamous Bar Billiard table crate I made a partition about 10 feet long by three feet wide – this should be enough space for a full cord of wood. Then I set about painting the walls, more to cover up the damp damage and discolouration than for decorating but it turned out quite well. The undercoat took ages to dry where the damp patches had been, now I’ll have to do the rest of the garage before the weather gets really cold. It has lightened it up though so it will be worth it.

Made a quick dash to the garden centre for grass seed as we have had quite a bit of rain; checked the weather forecast and now there’s no more rain for a week or more 😦  Planting grass may have to wait because there is no way I can water all this ground – there must be at least 300 square meters if not more.  Malcom arrived as usual and did a sterling job on the rest of the hedge plus taking a weed wacker to much of the weed growth that has occurred while the fosse guys were wrecking the place. However, my big brush cutter decided to play up and won’t run at full speed so we put the long hedge trimmer on the smaller weed wacker and he used that – effective but tedious. We have decided to leave the grass planting until his next visit as much raking is needed and we will be busy indoors. I did manage to get the grass cut though so the place does look as if someone cares a bit.

The carpet guys did a sterling job; we now have a carpeted staircase, landing and two bedrooms. The colour choice turned out well and even our old sofa bed looks good. They had to take a couple of doors off to get it in but we now have a bedroom, with a bed, that could be occupied. Now we need to sort the rest of the furniture out and clear the remaining two rooms so we can get them finished as well. I think for the first time in almost a year, we can really feel how the place is going to turn out, it’s quieter, calmer and quite pleasant to be in; big change from bare concrete floors echoes and dust. Of course, 2 minutes after the carpet guys left June is already furnishing the bedrooms! We found our air mattress and the shop vac on reverse inflated it in seconds, now to see if it stays inflated as it hasn’t been out of its wrapper for over 20 years!

One of the more tedious aspects of moving to a different country is the differences in electrical fittings, especially lamps. All the stuff we took from England to California was converted to US-spec plugs and in many cases lamp sockets were replaced to change the bayonet fittings to Edison screw fittings. It took ages and the biggest hassle was the shades – English shades were typically part of the lamp socket which is unknown in the US. There they use a ‘harp’ fitting which fits under the socket. Moving to France meant we could still use the US fittings (Edison screw) but some of the shades were clamp-on to the bulb. For reasons best known to light bulb manufacturers, ‘A’ type bulbs are no longer available and the CFL replacements are a different shape so clamp on shades don’t work. Fortunately for now, I found two old-style ‘A’ shape incandescent bulbs in the garage with bayonet fittings and with a couple of UK sockets I made them work. For the old-style English shade fittings I discovered the French E14 lamp bases fit so now we can use both our old shades and CFL’s – bonus! I still need a solution for the clamp on shades though.

We finally sat down for a quiet evening and lo & behold Mme J and her husband arrived about 7:45 pm asking if we wanted them to deliver the cord of wood in the morning. They stayed for about 30 minutes, had a glass of wine and we agreed to meet after 10:00 am on Friday. This particular Friday June had a lengthy hair appointment so I took her there, came back and went looking for Mme J – they arrived 10 minutes later with a full size tractor and trailer and dumped the whole load right in the garage doorway. At which point Mme J & I, using a very small garden wheelbarrow moved and stacked the lot, cleaned up the debris and she dumped all the old bits of bark etc for me. I grabbed a quick shower and went to pick June up – hectic morning!.

As we had not been out for over a week, supplies were running low, Mme J and her husband were lucky to get a glass of wine, we totally ran out by bedtime. So after lunch we went to the Carrefour at Theix which is the only place that sells Gordons in 1 litre bottles and actually has a decent meant and fish market. The place is always freezing cold though – one of the staff told us ages ago the Carrefour doesn’t have heating in any of their stores – it’s a bit weird coming out of a supermarket to find the exterior temperature is considerably higher – and this is in September! In January the place is freezing and you need extra clothing just to go shopping.

Anyway, progress is being made noticeably so we are going to relax this weekend and potter about making the guest rooms more habitable.

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David & June

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sue S. permalink
    September 21, 2012 12:10

    Hi – were you looking for someone in Theydon Bois? I cannot get onto the Expat Forum as I am not registered. Can I help?

    • September 21, 2012 12:25

      Hi Sue,

      Thank you for the reply – I’ll send you an email to see if there is anythign you can do



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Mrs Niklasson's Adventures

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