Weds 9th March
We set off this morning for Portsmouth via London ( lunch with the kids)
At driver change over - (Carol's shift ) Graham checked his phone - the ferry had been cancelled due to bad weather! We have to be in Surgeres for Fri as furniture is being delivered and a kitchen designer is visiting to measure up. Catastrophe! After a call to Brittany ferries we managed to get on a ferry leaving much later at 11.15 pm to Le Havre - but no cabins left just recliner chairs! At least we will get there!
So had a few hours in the toilet that is London (in Graham's opinion) - lunch with Ben and Fay and an early dinner with Philippa - ( which was lovely -C)
Spent a restless, sleep deprived overnight journey courtesy of the economie ferry. To be fair if we had had a cabin it would have been very acceptable however it is definitely the dark budget option of the Brittany Ferries fleet, ugh! France awaits.
Thurs 10th March
Arrived 8.30 am. A much longer drive to undertake - Le Havre is a further 2 hours away. 4.5 hours to Nantes for the delight of an Ikea stopover lunch and purchase of a bed and mattress. Oh dear the soul destroying experience of the Ikea shop. Queued for lunch, queued to pay for our furniture, queued at the customer service desk for our discount, drove to the warehouse which was miles away to pick up the bed and mattress, loaded up the roof rack with said purchases and continued our journey a couple of hours later! Another 2.5 hours (driving even slower than normal due to the ballon shaped cargo on the roof), we arrived chez nous at just after 6pm. Emptied the car of contents and set off for a supermarket shop . Arrived 7.15pm the shop was shutting at 7.30! Undertook a supermarket sweep search for food necescities, beer and wine! Back home for hastily prepared meal and an early night. Phew, what a day!
Unfortunately due to lack of wifi and other equipment - we're relying on ipad photos so apologies for the poor quality of future photos ( Graham's ipad is rather old)
Fri 11th March.
The kitchen designer arrived on time - he is English and has a team of expats who fit the kitchens (the easy option for the english home purchaser!. The quote appears very reasonable - we will see how it compares to the local man but it will be much easier for us to be able to communicate fully with the fitters etc.
Then on to the bed assembly - oh dear - several hours of screwing and unscrewing - much sighing and cursing at those Ikea clear to the swedish but not so anyone else illustrated instructions. It will be worth it once finished but that will not be today!
The delivery of the furniture from Maisons du Monde arrived as planned - both delivery men came in, shook our hands and exchanged pleasanteries, and then on departure shhok hands again wishing us a good weekend, something we have never witnessed before on delivery of flat packed furniture boxes! How civilised. We're still left with more furniture assembly though....
Another early night after a pasta supper and too much wine- what else is there to do with no télé and only french radio to listen to! We forgot the ipod. At least we remembered our kindles.
Sat 12th March
Our lovely neighbour Annick called by - she and another neighbour Christine had put a notice up asking any deliveries to be sent to their homes - we had sent postcards to them stating we were expecting some furniture deliveries and just in case we were not able to be there could they oblige?
How neighbourly! They had also put a sticker saying "Pas de publicité" on our letterbox so we didn't get any junk mail. Annick has also been feeding our "poisson rouge" (carp and goldfish) in the pond for us.
We managed to set off for the market at 11.40 am - just enough time to buy salmon for dinner.
After lunch chez nous we spent time painting and wall paper border stripping - it has to be done!
A dinner chez nous and another early night- in the newly contructed Ikea bed - we are now in the master bedroom - progress indeed!
Sun 13th March
A nothing day in terms of excitement - just a supermarket shop and further fettling to report
Mon 14th March
- the woodburning stove man arrived this am - on time. He informed us that it is possible to fit a woodburner in to the existing fireplace in the dining room. Thank you Lord! The house is freezing in the evening at the moment and the electric heaters appear not up to the job. Unfortunately there is not the capacity to fit a gas fire - graham's preferred option. However we are assured that the woodburner will heat up the place well and we can look forward to feeling toasty in a couple of months. ( by that time we wont need it hopefully!)
Another day of painting and fettling - another early night to avoid the cold.
We did manage lunch al fresco today in warm sunshine on the patio so not all bad for early March.
Ventured to Niort today for a shop at Castorama,the french B&Q. Bought a large step ladder to enable us to paint higher up, a curtain rail, lagging for some pipes and a lawn mower - such excitement.
Did go to Conforama also to purchase a matching toaster for our kettle. At the checkout we give our surname and postcode, Est-ce que Graham? Oui, the computer remembered us from last time and for the guarantee.
Another sunny afternoon spent in the garden with Graham mowing the lawn and Carol supervising.
Otherwise nothing to report.
Weds 16th March
Another day of painting and decorating - we are trying to lighten the place up - it is proving rather tedious as it is taking 3 coats of paint on everything - the previous owner having favoured battleship grey, bright pink, purple and red - paintwork as well as walls!
Examples of the rich colour scheme - the photos make it less lurid than it actually is!
Nevermind tomorrow we have an invite for a drink in the evening with a couple Sarah and Duane who have lived here for about 8 yrs. should get some useful advice and information re all things Surgeres.
Thurs 17th March
More painting and fettling.
We had a lovely evening chez Sarah and Duanne - our first " Apero" - drinks and nibbles.
They gave us lots of local information and advice. We hope to the return the hospitality when we have something to sit people on - our sofas do not arrive until 30th March - we continue to huddle in the dining room on our 2 armchairs. We do have a dining table now - and 4 dining chairs. Whoo!
Week 2 and 3
The days are all now much of the same - so will now just post before and after photos as we progress.
The first completed room is the front double bedroom.
And as we have decorated it ( apologies this is an ipad photo so not too clear)
Unfortunately we have not brought our gadget to transfer our camera pictures on to the ipad so will have to make do with ipad photos for now.
The other room now decorated is the lounge.
Again here it is as viewed
And as newly decorated
Unfortunately the ipad doesn't appear to be able to capture the whole room at once - so hope this gives you a feel for the room. We look forward to showing you the real photos on our return .
We have decorated the walls light yellow and white - there is a light grey 3 seater sofa, a dark grey 2 seater, a couple of grey armchairs and a small yellow chair. Carol has bought lots of cushion covers in yellow and grey from her favourite store - Maison du Monde. Lamps in white and one in acid yellow add extra colour - are we selling it?!
We're just awaiting delivery of a small bookcase to compliment the tv cabinet and sideboard - from - yes you've guessed - Maison du Monde!
We continue work on the most challenging bedroom. The bedroom is to be a twin to appeal to children - unfortunately there are many Drapeau( previous owner ) bodge jobs to remedy - a headache for Graham having to recall his minimal carpentry skills. So we continue our painting and bodge repairing.
Fortunately we are having a weekend in Nogent sur Oise - our twinning society town - north of Paris where a lovely activity packed weekend awaits 1st - 4th April.
A la prochaine!
Carol and Graham xx