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Enfin – Le printemps est arrivé

April 15, 2013

Easter weekend started dull and wet but by Saturday evening the skies had lightened. We received a message from the couple who are currently out of France but they wanted their friends to visit and report on the house. This was arranged for Sunday morning and as the clocks were going forward we had an early night. I hate reprogramming the house for the time change, I always forget something and this time it was the boiler so the heating did not come on to the daytime setting until 08:00 by which time we were up & about. However there was quite a frost so the heating was on anyway – it works on the exterior temperature and a setting for the ambient temperature for the inside. Its weird but it seems to work.

So Sunday morning was a bit hectic as I also had to go for bread and get the house sorted before the visitors arrived. This entailed cleaning the fireplace and getting the soot off the door as well. We managed it just before they arrived; they stayed about 45 mins and clearly liked what they saw. The next move is they report back to their friends and then they will contact us.

There has been very little other activity, inside or out, a couple of internet enquiries but no follow-ups and the easterly wind is just too cold and strong for working outside. We have been lighting the fire earlier these days in a vague effort to cut oil consumption but it has been so cold for so long that we are going to have to order some more oil anyway. The wood supply seems to be going down at an alarming rate as well. As usual on Saturday morning I checked the oil tank level and found that in one week we have used about a months worth of oil and then I looked at the wood pile! Mme J had already ordered oil for next Tuesday but I have had to ask her to increase the order and also ask for another stère of wood.

An official looking envelope arrived from HMRC but it turned out to be a refund of virtually all the tax I have paid on the small annuity I get from the UK – why on earth they need to deduct it in the first place is beyond me. Now all I need to do is find a way to get it changed into Euros and into the bank.

Another hectic Sunday morning occasioned by a request from another UK-based estate agent to visit on Monday morning and then an internet enquiry that resulted in an appointment to view the house on Monday afternoon. They actually drove up here on Sunday afternoon to look at the outside and then we saw them chatting with Mme J, goodness knows what she told them. However Monday turned out to be a blow out – the estate agent called and said she was sick and wouldn’t make it then the couple who drove by on Sunday called and told us they had bought another house in a neighbouring village on Sunday afternoon!

This time puts us in mind of selling our house in California; we spent endless hours waiting and watching and running “open houses” for weeks on end. We can’t start any projects as the house has to be viewable at short notice and we have run out of indoor projects anyway. Gardening is still days away as the weather is still cold and very windy and we have threats of hail and thunder for a few days. It’s extremely frustrating and we spend a lot of time speculating on what we might do next, where we might go and what sort of house we will be able to afford. It will all turn into a frenzy of activity as soon as someone decides to make us an acceptable offer but until then we continue with the research. Our oil delivery had been rescheduled for Wednesday; however we did not expect to be woken up at 07:05 by the delivery guy! Our heating system comes onto the daytime setting at 07:00 so it was only on for five minutes when I had to shut the boiler down. This is to allow the new fuel to settle in the tank and not put loads of detritus into the filters so it has to be left off for 2 hours. Fortunately it wasn’t a cold morning and we went back to bed for an hour or so.

The on/off sales activity level continued on Wednesday – two messages from prospective buyers and one will definitely view on Friday, the other is concerned about the budget levels. I didn’t discover any of this until, having finally got up; I turned on the computer and my cell-phone. All sorted fairly quickly and then I had to go to the boulangerie for bread and treated myself to a couple of croissants. Then in the middle of breakfast Malcolm the gardener called and cried off for the day as the forecast is for constant rain. My calendar is looking decidedly second hand!

The weather report was accurate – rained cats & dogs all day and accompanied by strong winds. Thursday was better but June wasn’t feeling too good so not much got done other than some tidying and readying for the expected viewers on Friday. They came and again really like the house but voiced the usual concerns of the “city” people over the fact we have farms next to us and farms have cows! There was one interesting little interlude, Mme visitor took a long look at our silver cabinet and then in very good English told us that she loved silver and going to a specialist shop in Capetown. They left promising to let us know the next move.

The weekend was pretty dull & wet and we still couldn’t get outside to do very much however we did have the compensation of watching the Chinese GP. The forecast is for better weather this coming week and indeed by Sunday evening the outside temperature had climbed to the dizzying heights of 19C, central heating off and boding well for Monday and some gardening work.



David & June

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