Friday, 22 July 2011

More houses!

Had a look at five houses today.

Very interesting I must say.

One house, on the very edge of a town, so too far for me, was quite a substantial residence that had been converted to downstairs living and and upstairs apartment. The tenants would move if anyone bought. There was a garden - not special at all. It would make a beautiful family house but a lot of work would be needed.

Another one was nice. Two large rooms downstairs, a kitchen, bathroom, another small room and 3 beds upstairs with small room with basin and possibility of creating another bathroom. Owned by an English person who has had some personal difficulties and needs to sell. The grounds (huge) were amazing with the most beautiful specimen trees, a small ornamental fish pond, little lake and stream. A nice property that is in walking distance of the shops.

We then went to another town to look at a 'maison de ville' that needed total renovation. Again a lovely house with ceiling mouldings, arches, typical French kitchen (just a sink!)a basic shower and loo under the stairs... Garden nice but not enough!

We also looked at a house (sous sol) that was large, nice sized rooms, large sous sol but garden, smallish, would need completely fencing, also too far from the town.

The last house we looked at is a little treasure.

An amazing property and himself likes it.

It is just across the road from the bar! The high street, which has everything we need, is just 5 mins walk away. Also the geometre were there today and remeasured everything and it seems that there is more land than first thought.

The house was owned by Madame's grandparents. Grandpere was a clog maker and there are still some of his unfinished clogs, and maybe some tools also, in the wood store! There is also the little area, untouched, where Grandmere did her laundry, including a wood fired boiler! Absolutely amazing.

As I said a little treasure which has been looked after very well by the granddaughter.

Watch this space!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Rain, Wedding, Houses

Did the wedding, it was a very wet affair I must say.

Friday was fine(ish) – Saturday the heavens opened but there was a dry window in which the ceremony took place in the garden.

The newlyweds had already ‘tied the knot’ in a register office ceremony in the UK so the French ‘affair’ was mainly for the pleasure of their family and friends. It seems that they were quoted mega-euros for the translation of the necessary certificates – hence the two ceremonies.

We arrived for the evening ‘do’. It was wet, the rain continued intermittently throughout the celebrations… but the bride and groom looked very good and really happy. They are a nice couple and I hope that all works well for them.

It was also nice to catch up with the ‘usual suspects’ and to meet new members of the ‘set’.

Have been to look at a couple of houses today, in the rain, which has been very persistent.

I don’t know if they have the same thoughts and feelings about St. Swithin out here as they do in England, it seems he has expanded into France for the time being for the comfort of all the English ex-pat population.

Anyway, these houses, one went on the agents books this morning so we thought it would be nice to have a look and see.

Yes, very nice for a small French couple. Their kitchen would fit into mine 5 times and their lounge/diner is absolutely miniscule. A very nice house, but not for us.

The second one we looked at is a nice house, well at least I think so (himself got bad vibes,) but it is right on the edge of the town and needed a lot of work. A new roof and definitely a new kitchen are needed, I thought the heart of the home was in the kitchen – not necessarily out here, God knows how these French wives cope with rustling up all their culinary delights!

Both kitchens were absolutely abysmal especially as I have got used to an airy and spacious one where I have room to prepare almost anything (even cutting up pigs!).

Back to the drawing board tomorrow when we have four to look at, two with two different agents and as far as I am concerned, two of them look fairly good!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A House Sold and Three Weddings

We have sold our house! Now there is a turn up for the books.

The purchaser is French!

Got to find a new house in the next few weeks!

Oh my – haven’t done this in a while, scary. A new chapter in our lives

We are not going back to Blighty, but are hoping to move to a town or village with essentials close by so that my man can still have his Sunday French lessons with his copains a la petit maison avec ancien four.

We have had a look around and nothing at the moment takes our fancy within our price range.

I have loads of stuff to pack away but nothing to pack it in! Thank heavens the kids are out in a couple of weeks, they will be bringing strong packing boxes and bubble wrap.

Have contacted agencies – will keep you all posted on what we find!

If we don’t find anything in the next 3 months then we have a bolthole to go to courtesy of a dear friend.

In the meantime we are sorting ourselves out for the French wedding of an English couple. The grooms parents live out here and they (the family) thought it would be nice to marry in France!

Now this is the second (English) wedding out here this year that we will be attending, the first was in April.

Have found a lovely gift for this couple and also for the next couple whose nuptials we will be off to the UK for in August.

At one time, when one was contemplating a gift for newlyweds, one looked at a wedding list and bought things like, crockery (Wedgewood), cutlery (Sheffield silver), linen (Irish), towels (Turkish) etc. you know, the essentials as they were ‘setting up home together’. Gifting was easy!

Nowadays it seems that couples have all the essentials (from either divorce or Ikea) so it is a case of getting something that will either be on display or consigned to the back of a cupboard to be re-packed and given as a gift to someone else.

The three weddings that we either have and are attending this year are all couples that have been married before, they are in either their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s, have children by their previous spouses and have been living together as man and wife before tying the knot.

Is this a trend?

I know that they have all the essentials for living but I don’t know their tastes in décor etc. so my solution is a very easy one…..

I buy clear, modern, contempary glassware for displaying flowers that will suit any décor, I hope! And I know of a fantastic place where you can find such glassware at a very reasonable price!! Hopefully it will be on display and not consigned to the back of any cupboards.

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Just an observation.

Oh my God I am on my soap box again!!

We have been here 10 years now, when we arrived there were very few British people around our department.

Nowadays our ‘neck of the woods’ seem to be teeming with them.

Through a local (although expanding) organisation I see that there are well meaning ladies who are organizing charity events throughout the year. There are ‘tea party’ this, ‘auction’ that, coffee mornings, book sales etc. etc… All these events seem to be targeted for the British population. Flyers are mainly printed only in English whether they be given out by hand or posted online or in supermarkets etc. Yes, I do know of a couple of worthwhile causes that do their flyers in French first and English second but they are a rarity.

Well done I say, but I have to ask the question: why are so many of them fundraising for British charities?

Surely charity should begin at home, i.e., in the country in which you are living (and yes I do have my ‘pet’ charities in the UK.)

I came out here with my husband to live in France and to ‘live’ France. We are not here to exist within an English community. We are not anti English; after all we are English, but want to enjoy our life in the French community. If we get to meet English people that we can get on with then all well and good but when we encounter English that are really ‘in your face’ we can do without them, a case of would I want to be friends with them in the UK? If no then forget it!

I am probably repeating myself but I find on our local Anglo-info website there are many newcomers asking where they can find English speaking this and that (doctors, dentists, vets, notaries, accountants etc.) wondering where they can find English builders, carpenters, plumbers, where are the schools that take English pupils etc will my 5 or 10 or 15 yr old settle in as they don’t want to move out here etc… don’t these people do their homework? From my experience, children adjust far quicker than their parents.

These are the people who seem to create the English cliques that exist out here. Also word has filtered through that many do not bother learn the ‘polite’ basics of the language and are rude to shop assistants, never greeting with a “bonjour” or finishing with a “merci”, “bon journee”, “après midi” etc. always expecting at least one of the staff to speak English. Oh we remember some of the dreadful 'gaffes'that we made when we first arrived. At least it gave us all a laugh and we were given encouragement, help and a boost to our linguistic confidence.

It is not what I came here for. And I suspect that many of these go back after two or three years because they could not cope with the change.

And it seems that a lot of the ‘newbie’ English are not too happy with being either ‘shunned’ by their French neighbours or they find them too nosy; you know, asking about their former lives, their families, their health, their income – whether they are working and what at, why they are here etc. etc.. Of course they are going to be curious about these strangers who come to live in their country. If the ‘newbies’ don’t like it then they should give as little information as they want and continue to be regarded with ‘Gallic suspicion’.

Personally I love it, I love to chat and find about people that you are in close proximity to. I don’t have the English ‘reserve’ and I find that it is a good way to bond.

Ah well, that is the nature of the human race…