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…


Well. Plenty happening, just a question of where to start. I think as far as timescale goes this post could be a little random.

Let’s start from the vide grenier as Annette mentioned it. Not-for-profit would be a fair description. Annette got the chandelier, and I saw a rather good paella pan, but forgot to go back and buy it. Oops. We’ll just have to stick to the one that feeds 15 people. On the upside, someone left me their phone number to buy my laptop, and bought it 2 days later! All part of the pre-move slimming down of possessions.

The other thing that has left the family is the rather fabulous (if a little sick) Skoda. The ad had been on the French Gumtree (Le Bon Coin) for about a month with not a nibble. Random phonecall from ‘Boris’, very interested, knocked the price down, and agreed to buy it. Small complication, he lives 5 hrs drive away. A few texts and phones and he’s organised a chap to come on the train to pick it up. Béziers station at 23.38. Terrific. Getting in the car for a 90 min round trip at the time my head would normally hit the pillow did not strike me as the most fun a chap could have.
So I got to the station on time, and a tall blonde bloke walked up very confidently, smiled and shook my hand. Off I went in French, ‘good evening, nice to meet you, did you have a good journey’ etc. The answer I got was ‘No.’ There was an accent there, so I tried English. ‘No’. With what little communication he and I could manage, it was determined that he was from Lithuania. The drive back to the house was very very quiet, with me wondering if I had the right bloke, was he a random stranger looking for a lift to anywhere, all the usual things that go through your mind when you’re driving through France in the dead of night in an English car, after a conversation with ‘Boris’ and a Lithuanian in the passenger seat that you have no means of communicating with. Having never sold a French car before I had looked up what to do on the internet. No worries, Miroslav (he wrote that on the paperwork) knew it all. The  he paid for the car with amongst others, a €500 note. Having got this far, I couldn’t say ‘smaller notes please’ so I accepted it, out came his GPS, and off he went. I fell asleep wondering if the Skoda would be used to smuggle various contraband in and out of Lithuania….
The following morning the lady at La Poste accepted the €500 with a cheery smile, so all good.

It strikes me that this blog is about the house move and taming of Number36, so I should add some news about that. We had been granted acces by the owner from the 1st of November, so that we could get a head start on moving stuff. That was excellent news, but today I received a phone call from the notaire saying that the paperwork was done, and if I had the money available, we could complete next week! WOW! Even more time to get things swapped over, maybe paint a little, and get things properly in order, Great news indeed! So the next decision is whether to go for it ASAP, or wait for the rate to creep a bit.

I’ll let you know when we do.