Sunday, 19 August 2012

saturday 4th August - renovation starts

Saturday 4th August
Received an email from the estate agent, very apologetic about the water and will have it turned on as soon as possible, this is going to be Monday morning.
We’re in the house and have permission to start work, but where do you start, thank goodness for John, as looking around it is very overwhelming, hell overwhelming is an understatement SHIT, SHIT SHIT  what have we done, is more realistic.
First thing was to start making a plan once we knew that there was no electric throughout the house, time to start planning how to rewire, French wiring s quite different to English as we will discover over the next few days.
We also know that we have a chimney but no fire place in the living room, I am desperate to start stripping the wall for the possibility of a large stone fireplace, can you just imagine it?

Monday 6th August
Received a phone call, the missing money has been found, unfortunately it had been transferred to the wrong Notaire, the currency company sorted this out as soon as the error had been realised and as compensation paid for accommodation at the B&B, thank you Foremost Currency, if I was still delivering Customer Service and Complaints Training this company would now be my example of excellent service and I would recommend them to anybody looking to transfer large amounts of cash internationally unlike Santander Bank which made life hell for a number of days!!!!!
We also set up our French bank account, a very easy and straightforward process, we will get 2 bank cards a visa and a MasterCard, a cheque book (yes cheques are still in use) and a quote for the house insurance (this is a must, as the insurance must be ready as soon as you sign for the house). We also received a pile of direct debit slips, you give one of these to any organisation that you need to pay by direct debit, they then send them back and you take them to the bank, simples.
Today we met the neighbours, a French man on one side and an old French lady on the other, both were very pleased to have neighbours as the house had sat empty for a long time, thank goodness for Andy and his French language skills, as mine are very basic 2 years at school a long time ago and holidays travelling through France and Johns are almost non-existent, this will be changing soon!
So John and Andy set off for the shops with a major list and I am left behind to strip walls, I’m on the top floor and suddenly realise that the house is very eerie when you are alone, when the window slams my imagination goes into overdrive, the stripping is stopped and I spend the next couple of hours pottering around stripping the lower floor. We had originally planned to buy an isolated farm house, thank goodness we didn’t as I now realise there is no way I would cope being on my own in an isolated derelict house.
The men are back so it’s time to book into Laura’s. Laura herself is a big character (one of the loveliest, friendliest and most helpful people you could wish to meet) and will play a big role in our first week at the house.  If you do visit I would recommend that you stay here.
We had a shower in a real bathroom tonight, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.
Time to go out for dinner, Le Crepuscule is fantastic, lots of local and tourist French so time to learn some more French, Henri, the mad waiter is a blast and Micki the owner is lovely, found out the day after she is from the north of England and when not talking in French sounds (and looks) like Sarah Cox (from radio 1). Learnt loads of French and improved my accent, unfortunately when I woke up, the language had gone and had been replaced by a hangover.
Top tips
1.       Before leaving England set up internet banking as the banks can make life very hard including telling us we need to come into the branch to do a transfer!!!!!! As the system we set up before leaving had not been used, so was not valid, numerous phone calls and talking to numerous departments we were able to transfer the money but not without a lot of stress!!!!!
2.       Set up a French bank account.
3.       Have your house insurance in place for when you sign.
4.       Learn the language, or at the very least try to use some French, it will go a long way to helping you settle in and be accepted.
5.       When choosing a property think carefully, could you be on your own in an old derelict house with no neighbours or electricity, houses make lots of creaks and groans which do not mix well with an over active imagination!
6.       If you learn French whilst drinking copious amounts of wine you make friends but do not learn the language or you become a fluent drunk

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