Monday, November 30, 2009
How I came to be here. Part 4
My first impressions of the house, Wow! great views but Hmm quite a lot of work to be done on the interior and the garden, luckily most of it cosmetic and MG is a whizz when it comes to DIY so his work was cut out for him for the foreseeable future.
The house had originally been a village farmhouse built in 1873, mainly built out of the purloined stone from the then crumbling medieval chateau at the top of the lane (now fully restored with new stone purloined from somewhere else). The house had been bought as a derelict, wreck in the early sixties by a French diplomatic family based in Morocco, who renovated it sixties style.
For the first month we stayed at our friends holiday cottage, as the whole house had to be rewired, MG was in Paris all week returning at weekends, so I was driving to the house every day to get stuck into the task of re decorating. I started off in what was to be our bedroom the first job was all the preparation work, I remember endless filling of cracks and sanding down, the first attempts were umm dodgy to say the least, but with each new room I improved, Monsieur Carniato the French, Gitanes smoking electrician whom was single handidly rewiring the house would often survey my work, with a critical eye then suggest a new improved way of doing things, some which worked and some, well, dismal failure.
Once the house had been rewired, our bedroom finished and a Satellite dish installed so I could watch British TV and most importantly listen to radio 4 whilst working I moved in, it was a weekday, MG was in Paris, It was just me and the bats, I had a celebratory bottle of rosé and then, deciding the house had a good feel to it, ran round all the rooms whooping with joy!
The next few months involved endless decisions on tiles, flooring, white goods, etc. MG came home every weekend to do plumbing, measuring, yet more filling and sanding, we went to Ikea to choose kitchens and all the other bits. We also signed up as WWOOF hosts, and I had company and help during the week, from a succession of fabulous Woofers.
Luckily for us with the help of the Woofers we could do most of the work ourselves, it was a couple of years later, when we decided to landscape the garden, that we ran into problems, we needed skilled builders and stone masons. I have yet to find anyone living in France who has not had a story involving the difficulty of obtaining skilled labour, we had difficulty getting quotes let alone any works being carried out.
fortunately seven years later, we have finished the house, well as finished as an old house ever can be, they need constant work and attention and there are still a few works to be done, which involve planning permission, which is a bureaucratic nightmare in France.
So here I am typing this at the laptop, MG no longer works in Paris he has set up his own company and now works from home, we also acquired a lovely dog, I am sure you have noticed his picture, I will tell you all about him in a future post. I now also work from home. Living somewhere as rural as this does do my head in sometimes, when I visit towns or cities it is a joy to cast off my fleece and wellies for high heels and sophisticated clothes, visit lovely shops, cafés and restaurants, visit friends and do cultural things.
One always thinks the grass is greener but now, I think we are ready for a new challenge.......