Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Renovation project - Waxing, Wine and Wilmslow Artisan Market

Renovation project - Waxing, Wine and Wilmslow Artisan Market

Last night was lovely we babysat for the first time, and realised I am not very good at it, apparently babies sometimes make a noise in their sleep and this doesn’t mean they need getting up and feeding, this will be handy to know for next time.

I catch up on the blog this morning and baby poppy decides to help, it’s so nice she sat on my knee and seemed to watch what I was doing, though cutting and pasting is harder when you only have one hand.

We went for a trip to the artisan market in Wilmslow, http://www.theartisanmarket.co.uk/ this is an amazing market in a small Cheshire town and if you ever get to visit the UK I would highly recommend it, there are many beautiful villages in this area and a lot of big name over paid Manchester football players live around the area, you can sit at a pavement cafe and people watch for hours.

The stalls at the market were wonderful and we got chatting to a couple who owned a pie stall, called Great North Pie Company http://greatnorthpie.co/about so if you did look us up, hello your pies were amazing!!!!!

You may wonder how a pie can be amazing but when you consider a pie with a title such as Short Rib of Beef, Potato & White Onion Cream you begin to understand what we mean.

great north pie company, wilmslow artisan market

The other amazing pie stall was Lane Ends Farm, http://www.laneendsfarmshop.com/ we also bought one of these and I have never seen so much beef in a steak and ale pie, I’m sure there must’ve been half a cow in this pie!

lane ends farm shop, wilmslow artisan market

There were other stalls that had a selection of handmade food and goods and I think I could’ve spent a small fortune on the nick knacks (had we had a small fortune to spend and a car big enough to carry everything!).
In the centre of the market there was a live band and some amazing food stalls (yes food did play a big part of the day!)

wilmslow artisan market

wilmslow artisan market

 the queues were quite long so this helped the decision on what to eat, the stall with the smallest queue, this was a bratwurst, OMG it was amazing as you can see!

Kaiserwurst, wilmslow artisan market

wilmslow artisan market

The couple of hours spent here was really nice and it will definitely become a regular feature on our trips back to the UK.

The afternoon was spent at the beauticians, I have still not trusted my French enough to find one in Huelgoat, so my visit to Prestige beauty in Reddish is always looked forward too, and I was able to get an appointment with the fabulous Bobby Jo.

The evening is to be spent with friends so lots of wine, more food and good company round off a perfect day

Monday, 29 April 2013

Renovation project - visiting family in the UK and my day in court!

Renovation project - visiting family in the UK and my day in court!

We arrive in the UK and it is amazing to see the family, I get to hold my baby granddaughter, she is so beautiful and has grown so much, I feel like I have missed it, but I intend to make sure that I overdose on her whilst we are here.

We are back for a couple of weeks and I have work planned, in a strange way I am looking forward to doing some work, but I had forgotten about driving in the UK, on one day I had to drive for 4 hours on crowded roads with impatient drivers, it really does make you appreciate the roads in France.

We had planned to visit as many people as possible whilst we were back but the time flies by, we do get to visit my gran who was taken into hospital, which was really nice. But it does make you realise you may not be in the country when you are needed and I want to make sure that I am there for my mum and dad when they need me, maybe we can talk the oldies in to moving over to live with us?

We have a lovely evening with Leigh and Lilly (well 3 evenings actually) it is so nice to have the kids invite you around for dinner, and cook it and clean up afterwards; I think we can get used to this!

I manage to see my daughter and baby granddaughter almost every day, and use a full bottle of perfume, I am convinced if I have the same smell she will always associate me with that smell, John thinks I’m mad and now hates the perfume, this is maybe because I spray it just before arriving at their house and John tries to say it blinds him and it doesn’t taste nice (maybe if he kept his mouth shut instead of complaining he wouldn’t get to taste it, just a thought).

John gets to spend time with his daughter which is lovely as she is working so much at the moment.
We also manage to get to visit a few friends and see some by chance, Ray you have made it in to the blog!

But the main reason we came back was for the court case, I manage to prepare everything I need and get some reasonable court clothes (I even find some joke glasses that make me look quite professional but having no lenses in them I decide not to wear them). The court case is against a landlord, and during the hearing the judge agrees that there is no case and it is dismissed, this is a big relief, we didn’t get to sue them but it is over, hopefully they will become better landlords following this, and it is proof that there is justice (sometimes in life).

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Renovation project - John exposes and builds a fireplace in a day!!!!!

Renovation project - John exposes and builds a fireplace in a day!!!!!

Well it’s an early start today we have loads to do and we have booked the ferry for tomorrow morning. I can’t wait to see my daughter and baby granddaughter, I just hope the baby remembers me I know it’s not that long since we last visited but it was such a short visit and I’m worried that the baby will have forgotten me. This is the hardest part of living away; you miss the important bits of a baby’s life.

I have the day to get the house ready, any rubbish has to be taken to the tip as we don’t want to risk anything smelling when we come back and as a cat has returned and started to rip open the bin bags we really can’t leave anything around. Plus we are now at the stage when we can have some house pride; it still seems strange cleaning the house when part of it is like a building site!

I make a trip to the bank to transfer some money, we have some bills due out whilst we are away and in France unpaid cheques are taken very seriously.

Theresa calls for a visit and we get to have a sit down and a chat and I suddenly realise that no matter how much I want to go and visit my daughter I am going to miss my new friends in France, we have felt like France is our home for some time, but seeing friends and popping around to others to say good bye, I realise just how much France has become our home, we have a wonderful social circle here and I am going to really miss our new friends. Could I get any softer????

John popped up to our friend with the bed at lunch time and it is now nearly 6 o clock, I decide to pop up and see where he is. When I arrive I find out he hasn’t just knocked a hole in the wall to check if there was a space behind it, he has actually taken part of the wall down and exposed the chimney, our friend is over the moon as she can now have her new wood burner installed inside the recess and put up the new fire surround that John has just made from some spare wood she had in the yard. Our friend is one very happy bunny!

We now have the fun of trying to get a 5 foot wooden bed down twisty narrow stairs and out of the cottage, 
we manage and it is on the roof rack, we once again look like the Clampets!

We are packed and ready to go, England here we come!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Renovation project - its finally coming together!

Renovation project - its finally coming together!

Today is a busy day, the stairs are looking good and it’s time to give the bedroom a coat of paint. The room looks so different, I love this part of the project as you really feel you are getting somewhere especially as I have felt we have been working like mad men and not seeing any improvements.

We also have a busy day trying to get ready for our visit to the UK at the weekend; I haven’t actually booked the ferry yet! But I get on to it this evening and we are all booked and ready to go. We have a day crossing from Roscoff to Plymouth. This is the shortest trip for us as it only takes 40 mins to get to Roscoff, the day on the ferry and the afternoon to drive to Manchester.

We have booked a cabin even though we have a day sailing, this is definitely worth considering, because on Brittany ferries you have to book a reclining chair each at a cost of £5 each and over the course of a 6 hour ferry crossing you will buy a number of very expensive coffee’s and be bored rigid, with a cabin you pay £30 approx and have tea and coffee facilities, a TV and an en suite bathroom (very handy for those suffering from sea sickness!!!!) it really is a no brainer.

We speak to our friend with the bed and try to arrange to collect the bed, bearing in mind we are now leaving the day after tomorrow. We realise that she also needed the work completing before we left so John will pop around tomorrow which means I will be responsible for packing and for those that know me well, know that will not be a good idea!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Renovation project - we are invaded by giant blue smurfs!!!!!

Renovation project - we are invaded by giant blue smurfs!!!!!

Well I had thought the sanding was finished, but hey, guess what? It’s not, the floor is finished but now it’s time to do the windows. The windows in this room are double glazed but are still wooden and they have not been painted for many years.

I try the belt sander but it’s difficult to get around the edges and into the nooks and crannies so I have to use sand paper and do it by hand, once I am nearly finished John comes in and says that it would’ve been much easier if we had taken the window off, Oh Really, well I am so glad you have let me know now I have almost finished, how thoughtful of you!!! (Actually I said a lot more but the blog may get banned if I put language like that in it).

The window frames are on a hinge pin system which means you can just lift them off.

John removes the windows for me and I can now use the belt sander this is so much easier. The windows come up really well and are now ready for painting.

Whilst I was busy on the windows John looked at the walls to the top of the stairs, these are currently covered in big flower wall paper. John decides to give everything a coat of white paint. This is really useful as you can then see what really needs doing so we will know if we can just paint the walls or whether we will have to replaster them (this is the royal we, as if they need re plastering then it will be down to John).

The stairs are covered with dust sheets and John puts on a disposable suit, OMG he looks like a giant smurf, it’s so funny, my sides are aching with laughter as I try to take a photo, as you can imagine John is not amused, but I can’t miss this.

He gets going and works really well, as you can see he has really got into the swing of French health and Safety regulations.

The walls look really good when finished and we are not going to have to plaster, just patch up bits of tatty edges where the wall paper has peeled a bit.

When we first looked at the walls I thought they would need stripping and plastering and John tried to convince me that once painted they could look different, I didn’t believe him at the time, but it’s true. It really is a good idea to give a coat of white paint so that you can see just what needs doing.

The most surprising thing about this area is the landing, sense of space is a strange thing, when we bought the house we loved how big and spacious the landing was, when we took the walls down it was amazing but when we put them back up it seemed really small, dark and dingy but now that it is painted the area is really big again, I think I may have yet again another favourite part of the house.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Renovation project - the floor is finished!!!!!

Renovation project - the floor is finished!!!!!

Today we are going to visit Carhaix, we received a bill for the refuse and a letter that had been sent to our old house in the UK, luckily we kept our redirection going for a long time! This letter was for us to state whether the house in France was our main residence, and will form the basis of the tax d’habitation. Sheila and Brian are going with us to make sure we get to the right office and fill in the correct bits.

This was so simple, it really was a case of ticking a box and putting our signature on, when we explained we had no access to the house in the UK we just had to cross out the old address and write our French address on it.

I think we now officially live in France!!!!!!

But I would recommend if you move to France keep a postal redirection for at least 6 months as so far we have told the Notaire 3 times and our estate agent has told him another 3 times that we are not at the UK address and they do not seem to be very efficient at changing things.

Well my little break didn’t last long and its back to the sanding, the floor is coming along, but I am not as fast at it as John is so we swap jobs for a while and john has a go on the floor. I am trying to decide whether or not I’m really peeved that he has taken over or just so relieved not to be on my hands and knees for a while. I decide I am relieved so don’t moan and leave him to it!

I clear out the all the wood and tools from the landing at the top of the stairs, and do a final tip run before we leave for the UK (we’re going for a quick break to visit family).

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Renovation project - I need a lift to see how much we've done

Renovation project - I need a lift to see how much we've done

I feel like we have been working forever and getting nowhere, so I thought I would treat myself to a few before and afters, I think we need a little boost and I need to see just how far we have come. I know we are not finished but we are getting there and after looking at some of these pictures I cannot believe that we actually moved into the house when we did.

The blue bathroom with a big piece of floor missing

and the blue bathroom a few weeks ago, I now realise I need to take some more photo's, as it is even further on!

The back bedroom, which became our lounge and was ready for our first visitors

Yes I do feel better now, as I said it’s certainly not finished but we have made some fantastic progress, I am looking forward to putting up the final photo's!!!!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Renovation of a Derelict House in Brittany, France: Renovation Project - The sanding continues

Renovation of a Derelict House in Brittany, France: Renovation Project - The sanding continues: Renovation Project - The sanding continues Monday and Tuesday are spent on the floor, yet more sanding, and more sanding, but it is st...

Renovation Project - The sanding continues

Renovation Project - The sanding continues

Monday and Tuesday are spent on the floor, yet more sanding, and more sanding, but it is starting to look good.

John continues with bits and pieces around the house. We are getting ready to decorate the middle floor. Light pendants go in, the light in the bathroom is fitted, trims are added to the walls around the landing and the stairs have some repairs made to them.

It is yet again a couple of those days where we do not stop, but there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of progress.

I do however make a very nice lunch, Croque Monsieur, this is the French version of cheese on toast, but has a really creamy cheese sauce, it looks and tastes fabulous.

We decide that we want to give the ceiling a first coat of paint so I swap from sanding the floor to sanding the walls. The jointing plaster has to be sanded as smooth as possible, the dust from this is unbelievable and a face mask is an absolute must.

Once all the sanding is complete and the room swept and hovered, I do the knocking in and John completes with a roller, as the ceiling is wood we sealed it with a coat of undercoat. It is always a good idea when painting new wood to give a coat of oil based undercoat, this will stop the emulsion paint from sinking (soaking) into the wood.