Friday, September 11, 2015

Packed up and the hatches are battened down and we are ready for the off!

Friday 11 September 2015

Another glorious day - what a marvel Autumn is here

Woke up early and sprang out of bed, lots of things to do.  Spent morning ironing and sorting out laundry.  Ended up with huge pile of things on my bed.  I come from a family where we pack for all eventualities.  IPartly due to my mother's acquired habit of taking everything she owned and years of taking the kids to Cornwall.   Cornwall in Summer can present weather typical of all four seasons.  We have boiled and frozen.  We have had our heads blown off and sunstroke.  That is why we started coming to France and Spain in the first place.  This time would be different.  I put away at least half of it.  I do not need 20 pairs of knickers.  Started from underwear, through PJ's and then to tops, skirts, dresses, coat, fleece, shoes and cosmetics.  Still room left in the case.  Actually, my mother had special holiday clothes.  We just have clothes clothes.

Had lunch and finished entering up beautiful villa.  OH went for a sleep.  Walked dog. Decided that taking resin stuff on holiday was probably not a good idea.  Opted for art materials and sorted out big bag of paper, pens, pencils, acrylics, gouache, watercolours and some knitting.  It all fitted in the other bag.  The 'dont overpack' voice in my head was satisfied.  In some respects, taking a plane does restrict me and I don't end up with many many things I never use.  Alas, this time we are in the car and four of the days will be in a flat.  OH has gone overboard on the packing.  If we decide to divert into exploring the North West passage, we are good.

Made T bone steak and combined it with all the remaining veg in the fridge.  Finished off with all the soft fruit in the fridge and ice cream.  Felt stuffed but we don't like throwing stuff out.  A woody melon found itself onto the bird table.  Dog enjoyed some about to be rank sausages.

The phone rang and it was the agency business manager and he had not managed to ring either the anglo french law company or the buyers of the contemporary house because there had been some major ructions between the agents to the north and unwise emails had been sent.  Heads are being banged together.  Oh dear.  I wouldn't have his job for all the tea in China.  I hand him my nightmares to sort out.

Wrote up three blog entries and you will now have to wait for ten days to get instalments on our hols.  I will be writing a paper diary and then update when I get back.  Over and out (for now)....

Red letter day

Thursday 10 September 2015

Glorious autumn day
WF is 24
We sell big rental unit

The day started horrifically early with the flight of the bumblebee from my trusty Blackberry (taken off OH for the purpose of its alarm function seeing as since the kids left home, we haven't needed an alarm clock).  6.30.  What a dreadful hour.  Dreadfully dark.  We staggered around in the emerging light and drank tea and threw on some clothes and went down to the doctor's surgery.  OH has bronchitis, he said.  He asked if OH had been wearing a mask when he does renovation and he said sometimes, when actually the answer is never.  He doesn't wear the ear protectors either and is becoming infuriatingly deaf.

Back home and had breakfast and dog was under the table and trying to pretend that things hadn't kicked off quite so early.  Trimmed some photos and uploaded them and then had bath and it was time to go down town and meet the lady who has come to sign the completion on the big rental unit.  She was late and I sat at one of the big bay windows and watched the people on the market and felt sad in a way that this would be the last time I would sit here.  The floors shone with yesterday's waxing and the chandelier sparkled in the morning sunshine.   The telephone of the restaurant below went beep, beep, beep and the machines of the dry cleaning business drummed away.

The lady appeared suddenly out of the crush and I let her in and we spent an hour drawing the layout and measuring every surface, door and window.  The said they were thinking of putting up Venetian blinds (the french call then Persian blinds) - I would like to see how they are going to get those to fit into the solid stone 18th century walls....

Finally we finished and had a tough time getting somewhere to eat - the first four places were full so finally we ended up at the river restaurant and had crudités, mushroom omelette and pear tarte and it was passable.  Realised that there was only 20 minutes before we were supposed to be at the notaries so she drove me there.  OH was already there and chafing.  The read through seemed to take forever and the lady looked very tired.  She was facing a drive back to Rennes, which is a very very long way north.  The signature was electronic and saved us each signing 148 pages of Acte, annexes et al.  We got our copies of the documentation, signed the capital gains forms (bastard tax man) and went home.  Felt very tired.  Had thought we would be elated but actually it has been such a long haul that we both fell asleep on the sofa just before nine.  Eight years to sell such a gorgeous unit.  It just needed someone to see how beautiful is was and not to think there are 42 stairs up to the top.

Walked dog and then talked to WF on Skype.  He had day off today, par hasard, and spent most of it sleeping.  Good news about Christmas is that OH sister in law is not booked out so we can all be together!!!

The untender care of OH and we are still stuck on the sandbank

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Glorious Autumn day 29 degrees without humidity

OH's very simple, clockwork mobile phone has expired, probably due to rampant misuse, lying about in unsuitable locations whilst he fishes, and ground bait infiltration.  On suffrance, I lent him my old Blackberry, for which I am still very fond, and which is a wonderful alarm clock.  Its screen saver is one of the few pictures of my children together as adults and I was in the habit of saying goodnight to them and giving them a kiss before going to sleep. Anyhow, it went over to OH's untender care and he did not get along with it at all.  He had killed all of my former phones before getting one of his own.  He cant even see the keys on the Blackberry, never mind being able to ring people.  Despite me telling him five million times that SMS come through on the SMS button, not the messages one, he is still looking in the wrong place for the rambling memos which come through from his legal pal in London.  He decided he needed a new phone.  However even new simple, clockwork phones were 40 euros and he got very annoyed at not being served at once in SFR and Orange was absolutely packed out so we went to the Leclerc where the most basic phone was even more expensive than SFR so we went to the garage instead.

The boot handle had snapped off yet again so dropped off the car and did some shopping and back home to do paperwork.  Signature tomorrow on the big rental unit.  I have yet to see the draft Acte de Vente, calculation of capital gains and confirmation that the cash has been received from our buyers.  Email notary as she is not answering her phones.  OH says notary should give me her mobile number.  Ha!  as if that is going to happen.

Back home and try and ring the anglo french law company and they don't reply so email them.  Also try and ring the buyers of the contemporary house and they also are not answering their phones.  Speak to our business manager who is also trying to sort out this bloody mess and he says the buyers are not answering their phones when he rings either and that when he did finally get through to the law company, the man on the other end of the phone realised to whom he was speaking and hung up.  The offer was made and accepted on the 17th July.  We are now nearly two months down the line.  What on earth can be done to get ourselves off this sandbank?  Email the law company and say I urgently need news.

Iron a lot of clothing.  I still haven't ironed anything that seems suitable for taking away with us and, annoyingly, seem to have put on a couple of kilos just on my stomach and my jeans are very tight.

Back to collect the car and its new handle and find that the paint has not dried properly and is all blistered.  Man says he will redo it free.  Yet another trip to town....

OH makes delicious tuna with stir fry veg.  Must stop eating bread.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hurrah for gin

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Another wonderful autumn day 22 degrees

Woke really late and felt far more relaxed than I have for days.  Sometimes I just have to admit that I cant control things which are out of my hands and it is just not worth fretting and grinding my teeth.  Have got others involved in my battle and they are batting on my side and I feel some relief.

Had to referee a falling out on the FB group - why do people think it is OK to post hurtful things online when there is no way they would say these things face to face?  Put someone on warning to behave themselves and insisted there is to be no mention of Christmas until at least November.

Spent morning showing the ironing mountain who is boss.  Still a lot of 'difficult' items left to do - I always leave shirts and skirts to the end.

Went down town to meet the lady who is selling the lovely Villa which took me weeks to find. Terribly sad story.  The day they decided to move house, she was in the removal van with the three young children.  Her husband was in his car, coming back from the mountains, and was killed in a road accident.  How precious is life.  We should appreciate every day given to us.  Signed the mandat.  

Went outside to try and discover where the 4.30 pm compromis was supposed to be and discovered SFR had suspended my mobile line.  Rang up and expressed severe dissatisfaction and was told my line would be back on in 'about two hours'.  Then got a call from the notaire saying they had just noticed that the power of attorney had not been correctly completed and could I get the buyers to redo page six.  With the six hours time difference, they were already in bed and not answering their phones.  Got to the office and discovered that the seller's notaire also had not received the power of attorney from the seller.  The buyers notaire turned up and we tried to understand the very complicated right of way over the property and no one understood anything so I took both notaires to the house and we walked the boundaries and then it was a lot clearer but no one could sign anything so I went for a drink with the buyers notaire and we sat in the sun and it was generally very pleasant and I tried very, very hard not to grind my teeth.

Got home and tried to ring the buyers of the contemporary property and see if the anglo french law company had produced the report and no one was answering their phones.

Played on FB.  What the hell.  Made chilli.  Watched recording of Lady Chatterley's Lover. Thought guy playing Clifford Chatterley was a real dish.  Manners looked like neanderthal.

Oh dear, I must cheer up and write something amusing.  May be wine will help.....  Discovered wonderful blog called Hurrah for Gin.  Brought back horror of raising young children (in a humorous way)

Drums ahoy!

Monday 7 September 2015

Delightful autumn day 23 degrees

Spent early morning doing paperwork.  Then down town to meet Australian clients who bought a few years ago and need some help with electrical work.  They have an apartment and shop in a side street and I also suggested ways of renting it more successfully.  Had a cup of tea and chat.  Business is tough in Australia.  The lady looked tired.  She showed me pictures of a cruise she had been on and it looked wonderful.  I am so in need of a break. 

Got home and felt completely exhausted.  Still no headway with the anglo french law company and now the buyers have stopped answering their phones.  Still getting calls every day from the sellers.  When will this ever end.

Sorted out laundry - absolute mountain of ironing to do.  Felt grumpy.

Here are some photos taken in Spain of a drumming festival.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Medieval fayre and transvestites in the park.....

Sunday 6 September 2015
Sunny 23 degrees after crisp start

Oh season of mists of mellow fruitfulness....  Misty on the garden this morning and fluffinesses of clouds strewn across the mountain tops.  Caw cawing of the rooks seemed to echo on the clean, vibrant morning air.

Went down town and took pictures of the wonderful 1900's villa and dog particularly enjoyed sitting on the steps and surveying his terrain.  Came home and battled with new laptop which is refusing to let Windows open.  I hit it in frustration then turned it off and trimmed and improved my pendant photos on the old laptop which is now only able to manage about half an hour without being charged and heats up phenomenally.

Listed quite a few pendants and felt I had achieved a little progress.  Went back to new laptop and fiddled with it until I got it to work with Chrome.  Still cant manage to turn on volume control.  I have never had these many problems with a brand new computer.

Spoke to WF (youngest son) and he has moved house by physically carrying things around to the other property - only three minutes walk.  He sounded knackered.  Both OH and I fell asleep on the sofa.  It has been a busy Summer.

Here are some photos of Spain.  Same town.  Same day.  In the centre you had a medieval fayre and in the big park you had transvestite's day out.  Viva España!


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Maize, sunflowers and tobacco....

Saturday 5 September 2015
Really nippy at start of day - 12 degrees rising to 22

The air smelled crisp this morning and there was just a hint of autumn.  The trees have some yellowing leaves but this is because of the excessive heat suffered in July and August.  Normally, leaves don't start to turn colour until October and fall until end of the month.

Feel exhausted.  Drag myself out of bed and down town to check out the rental unit, give the renters their deposit back and obtain their passkeys.  They have left the flat really clean and tidy, dishes all put away, rubbish outside in the communal bins and bed linen and towels stacked.  Quick chat about property prices in the area and then down to the tourist office to meet up with the US client and his son.

They are wearing thick coats and looking a bit spaced out.  Six hours time difference is quite a gap to bridge.  We roll through the countryside on a road that winds between fields of maize, then sunflowers, then tobacco.  The Pyrenees appear on the horizon.  

The property is a chateau built in the early 20th century by a baritone of the Opera de Paris. A stone lyre is carved into the header on the massive stone portal.  Turrets adorn the corners of the building, attractively created with yellow Angoulême stone sitting on Pierre d'Irudy.  The inside is majestic with high vaulted ceilings, original plasterwork and wainscoting and marble fireplaces, each mantelpiece and frame in a different type and colour of marble.  The entrance floor is flagged with decorated cement tiles and an immense Japanese tapestry.  It is an utterly wonderful experience.  We all then sit in dining room and are offered coffee and the grand daughter draws our portraits (she is a very enthusiastic young artist but the only way we could tell the difference between me and the US guy is the fact that she has drawn on his moustache).

I drive them back through more winding roads and drop them off in our town and then back home.  Lunch and siesta.  Get message from RJ (eldest) saying he is sleeping really badly and is going to go and see Dr next week.  He doesn't not appear to have booked any holidays.  He needs a break.  He also never, every answers his phone or rings us. WF (youngest) is moving house this weekend.  Out of his student lodgings and into a professional household but just around the corner so he can carry on getting a lift and hopefully make some friends.  In his current house, everyone just spends their time holed up in their rooms, playing on their computers.

Down town to clear out the rental unit on which we will be signing the sales contract next week.  There is an immense amount of rubbish in the side of the loft room and it takes three trips to the dump.  Discover two asbestos pipes so put them in the store room on the ground floor.  OH asks at the dump if they can take asbestos and of course they tell him no and say they have no idea who will take it away.  Filthy and dripping, we are driving past the NZ ladies house when they wave us in and invite us to drink wine.  It goes down very easily and so does another bottle and then we have a Chinese takeout and OH drives home and I realise I am stupendously drunk.  Walk the dog in the early twilight and am literally all over the place.  Eat some of the strange pannetone I bought last week and drink a lot of water. Pass out instant my head hits the pillow