Paul and Rita's Place in France - Moving In


  Moving In 
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Home Sweet Home

After signing on the dotted line and sorting out a bank account, we eventually arrived at Le Vivier around 4pm.  It had been raining all day yesterday and the area in front of the wood shed and milking parlour, where we intended on making our temporary home, was quite muddy, and the track was very muddy in places.  So within minutes of arriving, we unhitched the trailer and drove back to Tinchebray to buy some wellington boots. 

It rained a little on and off on the first night, so we unloaded our bed and bedding and enough things from the van to cook up a celebratory meal, washed down with a bottle of the bubbly stuff.  The wood shed became our bedroom, living room and kitchen combined, with a big groundsheet hanging across the 2 metre wide doorway to keep the weather out.   

On our first whole day of ownership, still reeling from the shock of it all, we drove over to the local Brico-Depot (a cross between B&Q and Wickes in England and like a Home Depot in the USA) to buy some wood and other essential DIY supplies.  We finished unloading our van and trailer, yet another milestone to celebrate.  Do we have the stamina to keep celebrating every step of the way? Why change the habits of a lifetime!

On the Monday we had our very first guests in our new abode, Kevin and Anne from the Raleigh Barn at Bicton Arena (fabulous food and a fantastic venue for weddings and other occasions, see their website) (they didn't pay us to say that!), who had been visiting friends in Paris for the weekend and were on their way to their holiday home in Brittany.   It was great to see them and we tried to make a special effort, so we cooked a Thai green curry and drank most of the wine they were carrying with them.  Sorry about that Anne and Kev!  Luckily for us they had experience of renovating a place in France, so apart from giving some helpful hints and tips, they weren't surprised by the lavatory situation.

Rita had seen a  "3 second tent" in the sports shop, Decathlon, on one of previous visits to France, and had been determined to buy one for some time.  We bought one several days ago, and took this opportunity to not only demonstrate the speed in which it can be erected, 3 seconds, (hence the name) but also we thought we might as well be the first to sleep in it.  The tent is folded in such a way so that when you take it out of the bag, the glass fibre poles sprang into action and the tent opens up in front of you.  I think Kevin and Anne were secretly quite impressed and really wanted to sleep in it themselves, but they graciously said nothing and instead slept in our nice, cosy garage.

We spent the week boarding up the doorways and windows in preparation for leaving the property for the winter.  I wanted to stop the weather from getting in so it would be nice and dry inside when we return in the spring, but we also needed to secure the place, not that there's much there to steal!  I also knocked up some garage doors so we could put our van away as well, out of the rain and snow.  We cleared the area in front of the house of the weeds and brambles, and the Anger brothers, the previous owners, came back with their huge tractors and trailers and removed a lot of the junk they had not got around to clearing before.  I'm glad they did that because it would have taken us a long time and possible expense to get it removed otherwise. 

During that week we discovered an amazing fact from history, that at a place very near to our new abode was the site of a battle between Henry I of England and his brother Robert Courthouse.  Both sons of William the Conqueror, Henry defeated Robert in the battle, sometimes referred to as the revenge for Hastings, which is also what some French now call the invasion of Brits buying up old French properties for renovation.  Even more amazing than the fact that we were now living so close to the battlefield, was that the battle occurred 1st October, 1106 and the local town was celebrating the 900th anniversary in some style this coming weekend.  So on Sunday 1st October, we dragged ourselves away from our labours, smartened ourselves up and proceeded into town.  It was just a local affair, but they had a large banquet in a mock castle constructed from hay bales, and, although we arrived too late to see it, they had mock jousting. A lot of people were dressed in period costume, but we had been warned not to dress as the English.  The odd thing was they seemed to be celebrating the fact that they lost!

The last days and hours before our departure was a hectic rush, we managed to get everything packed away and secured, and even managed to plant a pear tree in the 10 minutes before the taxi arrived at 9am on Tuesday 3rd October, my birthday, to take us to the train station in Flers.  Our last visitor before we departed was our newly appointed architect, who came around to have a quick look before we left.  He will be returning later in the winter for a more detailed look, and then he can draw up some plans so we can get planning permission for an enlarged house.  We already have planning permission of sorts, but because we want to use all the space in the house including the loft we will have over 170 sq metres of living space, which means we need to have plans drawn up by a qualified architect.  One thing he said, which delighted us no end, was that the roof beams did not need replacing, despite their appearance he said that underneath the surface they were as hard as rock.  That could save us a lot of money.

Our day in Paris was all too brief, another rush, but Rita had booked us into a nice hotel not too far from the Arc de Triumph, and the following morning we got the airport bus for our flight to Orlando, and the start of our round the world trip. home