When the going gets tough…

…. Miles goes to the UK.

A family visit beckoned, so on the stormiest and coldest weekend since March, I jumped on a ‘plane and went to see the family in Wales, leaving Annette to pack small stuff and try and find the heating switches. Lovely to see everyone of course, but 5 trains, 2 planes, 2 busses, and 4 car rides in a little under 72 hours does not leave much time for chilling with the family. I think moving will be a rest.
I took some local wine to drink with them, one called ‘Le Demi-Siècle’, which has a story behind it but not for this page, and one 100% carignan Cotes de Thongue, which is usually delicious but on this occasion had just started to turn. Never mind, worse things happen, and not only at sea.

On landing back in France, I changed SIM card to French, and had a message saying that despite having done the transfer of funds to the Notaire on Thursday last week, it hadn’t happened. One odd thing was that it was the banking centre at Marseille that phoned me, but our centre is in Montpellier…. very French. It was just as well that Annette was stuck in traffic on the way to pick me up, as it gave me a chance to make phone calls to see if we could sort it out. Twenty or so calls later, and our local bank manager agreed to see me, and her rank meant that she could log in and do the transfer there and then, so there was still hope for Wednesday. We just had to get through the Béziers traffic and arrive at her office before 4pm. 3.57pm, we walked through the door and did the transfer. On the way back to Number 44, we stopped at the Notaire to show it was all OK but she was not convinced. With a phone call to the seller, everything was sorted out, and we left feeling that all was back on track…

Power cuts & toolkits

“some” of the toolboxes …

After a meeting yesterday morning I came home to crack on with work and then the roadmen cut off the electricity.  ‘C’est la vie’ at the moment.

So unable to do proper work I entered a zone.  It’s called The Garage.  I had forgotten quite how bad it gets in there if unattended.   Once I’d got over the shock, stumbling about on my own in the dark for a few hours was actually quite useful.  A whole heap of things got packaged for the dustbin, and I even managed to make my way through the dust (seriously you have no idea how bad things are in this street at the moment) to stack some boxes in a pile.

Most of my friends know I used to have a thing for shoes.  Now I live in the south of France (and mostly flip-flops) and lifestyle is rather different, the whole shoe-fetish has gone out the window.   So putting the shoe on the other foot (so to speak) what shocked me most from this adventure into The Garage was not the shoe boxes but the TOOL boxes.  My goodness how many does a man need?!

I lost count.  They are everywhere.

So dear readers a noteworthy point this Christmas – I rather feel that MrB does NOT need another toolbox 😉



2 weeks to go

or it could be less …

The ticking “moving” clock is now getting louder.  I think we’re doing pretty well on getting stuff crossed off the list prior to turning the computers off and living on tinned food for (at least) a fortnight.


Not our favorite colour.

The boxing of things has been put on hold for 48 hrs as we have run out of padded cells and are waiting for the Usain Bolt of bubble wrap to arrive. We have had a couple of interim messages saying that the change of account is ‘en cours’. Great! We asked for the 5th of November and they are aiming for the 4th. Of course! ‘Why wouldn’t ya’ to borrow a phrase from friends. Luckily, the 4th is a Sunday, so the chances of the French telecoms bloke turning up are slim. Monday morning, there is a much better chance of things happening.

Packing and impatient !

packing upThe Big Money is now on its way to the Notaire and packing is well underway.

The exchange rate is less helpful than it was several weeks ago, so a bit of a shortfall and some frustration there but in general there is just so much to do we are impatient to “get going”.

One of the road-workers put a pick-axe through our water pipe yesterday so we woke up to a house without running water… they have been drilling and sawing concrete directly in front of this house for days and a thick layer of debris and dust has made its way through the walls and covered everything in the garage too.  Each interior room is getting slightly emptier and echo-ier – it certainly feels less “homely” here every day.

Can’t wait to pack up and crack on.

Steady as she goes…

So there’s a few bits of progress, as below… new lodgers, Orange sounding like the lines might switch at the same time, and the pile of things that never get used is shrinking.

Looking around the house is a bit odd. So many of our possessions are great to have, but never get the use they deserve. That gives rise to the ‘should I pack it now or should I wait syndrome. Wait for what? Until we run out of time and have to rush everything? Less than three weeks to go, the way forward must be to pack it all, and if we need something, tough. It’ll have to wait 3 weeks.

One of the most exciting things is that we’re going from several rented houses, to a permanent base that we could be in for years. The difference on a small level is that it’s our wall; if we put up a picture, there is no thought of ‘I’ll have to fill that when we move out…’. It may be a small thing, but mentally, it’s huge. We could paint the walls pink, put wall to wall carpet in (yeah, right), whatever, with nobody to ask permission from. It’s going to be home instead of somewhere to live.


Ticks on the list

More good news – the offspring of Mr V over the road have agreed to rent No.44.  So we are able to leave this house without owing rent and hopefully recoup our deposit (subject to Miles’s poly-fillering and painting skills!).

Indications are that we are making slow but steady progress – a few more bags and boxes are packed, the hall is starting to echo and the lounge looks like a bombsite.

Packing action may be on hold until next weekend there is a busy working week ahead.

Counting down …

6 weeks today and we will be “in” …

The past few days have been very busy trying to list piles of stuff on Ebay and searching around for things to flog at the Vide Grenier on Sunday.

Every room in our house is a mess and the roadworks and drilling outside are literally making the house shake. This is no good for the karma or the concentration …

One piece of better news is that we can have access to Number 36 (barn if not house too) on 1st November, over a week before Official Signing Day. That means the convoy of lugging boxes, bags and bicycles can take place over 10 days instead of 2.

Right at this moment those 6 weeks ahead seem very very long.

The Big Red Button

In less than 8 weeks we should have moved or certainly be at a point where we’re living in the house with but a few bits left to do to complete the move. Technology is playing a part in all this, as we have set up a spreadsheet (D&F style) on Google Docs to track and tick off all of the jobs that need doing. There is rather a long list.

I’m at that stage (and I know I get like it) where I just need a big red button to do it all. Kind of like Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer’s apprentice with the magic broom. I could start packing things in boxes, but will we need something out of that box in the next 2 months? In my mind, almost certainly. In reality probably not.

I’ve cleared a corner of the garage for packed and labelled boxes that are ready to move. It’s still clean and clear. Hopefully by tomorrow night the weekend activities will have included packing a box or two, emptying a cupboard or two, and maybe even cleaning out one of our 3 fridges.

The other side of the garage has been set aside for the 9th October Vide Grenier (Car Boot) sale in Capestang. There’s a LOT of stuff, so hopefully I’ll be able to enlist the support of someone for the transportation of it all to the site. If we can get a few euros for our junk, great. If we don’t have to move said junk from one house to another, even better!

In amongst all this I also have a few jobs to do for clients, so if anyone has a spare big red button, could I please borrow it?