I think it’s fair to say Miles and I are both really annoyed at the “delay” in moving forward. The extra 8-10 days doesn’t seem much in the overall scheme of things but is actually very frustrating. For weeks we have been working towards the big “depart”, and we now find ourselves living amongst boxes that we didn’t need to have packed, rearranging work for clients, losing the phones & internet before we have moved to Quarante, and all the time knowing that there is SO much to do that we can’t get started.
We have 2 whiteboards on the go and now new lists added to old lists.
In this “void” of moving activity we are both trying (and in my case failing) to focus on some work.
As my mind wandered it suddenly occurred to me that Monday will not be my first visit to the Notaires office in Quarante. The last time I went there was with my Dad when he bought his first house in Cruzy. That seems a very long time ago now, certainly before I had nieces and nephews. But then I also checked the timing. It was November 2000. I wish I could recall the exact date, but somehow it’s just a little bit spooky that 12 years ago (almost to the day) a different French adventure began, and I will find myself sitting back in exactly the same room.
After the last minute dash to get from the airport to the bank and then the notaires office, Miles now has The Key!
The plan is this ;
- Thursday (tomorrow & a bank holiday) – without roadworks and general mayhem in Cruzy and with the help of some good local friends, several vans and other peoples trailers we move the bulk of our (now packed) possessions into No.36
- Friday – start cleaning
- Saturday – carry on cleaning
- Sunday – more cleaning
- Monday – phone lines switch over & sign documents
- Tuesday – residency begins !!
Good eh? So with tape measure in hand we excitedly went to the house today to size things up a bit before the Big Garage Emptying Day tomorrow.
Scrap the above.
Turns out we are not doing that at all. The existing owners have not yet removed quite a few things from the house; tables, chairs, mattresses, boxes, cupboards, tv – etc etc. They are removing all these things on Monday on the day of signing – so we will really have to wait until then to start doing anything.
We have a deadline to get No.44 cleaned and patched-up before 12th November, but our departure (taking into account transport (vans/trailers etc) and existing work commitments) is now set-back a week too, so it will all end up having to happen within 24 hours and then it’s straight back to work.
Hmmm. So much for The Plan. “C’est la vie”?!
…. 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…
“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 😉
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
OK it’s official !! Hot off the phone to Orange we are told that the phone lines switch over 3 weeks today on the morning of 5th November. Not only Guy Fawkes day in the UK but also my half-birthday.
Cake (or pizza) may be in order
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.