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Thursday, June 07, 2012

France without Me!

The Man is now in France -- safely arrived after a long tortuous drive to The Lot. When I spoke to him on the phone his first words were, " Whenever I come without you, there is a big problem..."

He was up at 5.00 a.m. Sunday morning for the drive from his son's house in Epsom to Dover and the 7.00 a.m. ferry. He arrived at the house at 7.00 p.m. Everything inside seemed perfectly o.k. -- aside from the numerous spider webs. He turned on the electricity and opened the shutters and doors. Very little damp -- didn't smell musty. So far so good. He went into the kitchen to turn on the water ... oops!

It spurted everywhere from the meter -- poured out ...

Gasping for a cup of tea, The Man had to make due with wine! 

I suggested to him that he go next door to the French neighbours and ask for a jug of water -- but he was too tired to deal with French and pleasantries and besides he felt it was not beyond him to deal with the water company himself. (Ho, ho, ho!)

He called them the next morning and tried to explain his problem. He explained he didn't understand what they were asking him -- The last time we had a water problem 'avant' and 'devant' was what they wanted to know as it has to do with whose responsible for the work to be done. Those words are confusing to keep straight and I had to get a neighbour to talk to them. Anyway, when they had not arrived several hours later he took my advice and went next door -- where they have learned how to cope with his inability to speak sensible French. Madame Estival provided him with water and called the water company and an hour later they appeared. Within 10 minutes a new meter was installed and the water was flowing and now all is well.

The man is now busy cleaning the terrace and will then take on the lawn. It is of course over-grown. This year his mate, John, has volunteered to bring his ride on mower down and cut most of it. Good for you, John!! Wednesday was market day in Bretenoux and he went and bought petunias, marigolds and geraniums,  and  now the terrace is planted and potted! Once the outside is in order it will be time for The Man to get to work on our bedroom -- but more about that to come in a future post. 

And before the summer is over, he also has to figure out what to do about this:


This side of the house is bang up against the Estival's property line -- so we never see it. Does anybody know anything about repairing rendering?

And me? For the time being at least, all I have to do is lend a sympathetic ear!

40 comments:

  1. That sympathetic ear might be just what he needs right about now.

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  2. Buy me a ticket and I'll go to France and repair the rendering for free!

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    1. Oh, I would, Keith, but I wouldn't want to deprive him of the pleasure!

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  3. What an exciting adventure, a house in France! You are so much braver than I.

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    1. We have had the house for 12 years now and it is still an adventure, for sure...

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  4. I'm sure you'd like to be there with him to help sort out these things...but wont it be good to arrive later, and all the problems have been dealt with. Hope the passport stuff gets sorted soon. J.

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    1. It does feel very strange not to be there with him -- especially at this time of year. Fingers crossed I will have everything in order when I get to the embassy...

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  5. The joys of property ownership — whether you can speak with the locals, or cannot.

    I hope that passport problem gets solved quickly. So you can lend a very present ear of sympathy.

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    1. Sometimes it makes you wonder exactly what the 'joys' of property ownership really are!!

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  6. To be honest your blog made me really glad we didn't buy into a villa in the S of France with friends a few years ago. Just think we could be dealing with this stuff. If only the weather wasn't totally foul in England, you would be laughing. Maybe you're laughing anyway :D

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    1. Summers in England do not make me happy that is for sure.

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  7. Hope your passport comes soon so you can sit, with a nice glass of wine, on the terrace -complete with flower pots- and commiserate in person.

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    1. That is a good thought. I don't see the arrival of a passport much before the middle of July though. And even beyond...:-(

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  8. Hello Katherine:
    Oh dear, this post is something of an account of the trials and tribulations of owning property which, per force, is often unoccupied for long periods of time. Whatever, we are so pleased to know that the problem has been resolved without too much in the way of personal inconvenience. And how much more pleasurable to be planting out summer containers than mopping floors!

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    1. I am pleased to say, The Man seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself at the moment as everything is going to his plan!

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  9. Handy Hint: Get anyone who is not French to repair the render.

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    1. Good advice, Tom. He's actually thinking of trying to do it himself, but I think perhaps he should have a re-think on that one...

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  10. Oh, I knew men were good for something. Seriously, a water break is not the way you want to be greeted after a very long trip. I'm happy to hear he was able to get it fixed the next day, with a little help from the neighbors.

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    1. Yes, fortunately all was easily fixed the next day. I think I would have insisted on finding a hotel for the night -- I'm a real wimp when it comes to no toilet facilities!

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  11. Dear Broad, you know I'm not sure I could have set up a household at home and then away for several months. It's all so complicated--especially if one is alone and doesn't have a wise spouse at the other end of the telephone with sound advice, like "ask the next door neighbor!"
    Peace.

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    1. Yes, it is complicated to have two households. But it did help us to divest ourselves of a lot of extra furniture and books. Oh my goodness, the thought of having to find a place for all that stuff should we ever decide to sell -- a thought that consistently gets pushed to the back of my mind...

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  12. Languages other than your native tongue are hard enough without having to deal with service personnel! Glad to hear he finally got the water back, though.

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    1. The telephone is what really makes it difficult! Really helps when you can make use of sign language!

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  13. There's always something pressing to do, and I can't think of much more pressing than the water supply! I think after the long drive I'd have gone to bed and worried about fixing it the next day.

    Can't help with rendering advice but it's worth trying it himself first.

    Hope your passport comes through soon so that you can be on hand to supervise ...it can be sooooo difficult to supervise from a distance!! ;0)

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    1. Supervise The Man? What an interesting concept!!!

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  14. Sounds like The Man is handling things well on his own. Won't it be lovely to get over there with so many flowers planted already? I hope you're able to get that new passport and get over there soon!

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    1. I'm hoping to be able to get over there around Bastille Day -- the 14th of July. Don't expect it can happen before then...

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  15. What a brilliant plan - pretend passport has not arrived so husband can go on ahead and deal with property issues, tidy up garden, do the dusting, make cakes and bread fresh for your arrival......might try that myself next time...!! Maybe a bit too much wishful thinking about the bread and cakes though.

    Have been catching up on your posts - having been without internet on holiday - and have to laugh at your idea of a "sunny and warm summer" posted on 27th May......as I look out of my window here in Derbyshire today we have horizontal rain, raging winds, the dog doesn't want to get out of bed to go for a walk but knows she will have to eventually, and the hanging baskets I planted so carefully are looking very sad, the limp little plants now sinking into an emulsion of watery compost. The Great British Summer. Again !!

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    1. Yes, Jean -- that was a mistake on the 27th of May. I hope I haven't jinxed us for the summer now. June is not looking good ... :-(

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  16. I thought the idea of the EU was that you wouldn't need a passport, but then what do I know. My hubby and I lived in two different places for several years after we bought this place in the canyon. Then he retired and now he is here. Sometimes I miss my alone with dogs in the canyon life. But, still it is fun to have him here.

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    1. In the EU you don't need a passport -- unless you live in England! And as I am not an EU citizen (yet!!) I would still need to have a passport -- at least in airports -- not driving between other member countries.

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  17. The telephone is just impossible and trying to think of the right words quickly is not easy. Glad he got the water sorted out and I hope that you will soon be able to join him. Diane

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    1. For me the telephone is the most challenging part of dealing with the French language. Looking forward to getting down there -- it's a bit lonely here on my own -- fortunately it's a busy time of year for me...

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  18. Lucky you to have everything nice and fresh for when you arrive. Do you have internet service at your place in France? Or will you be 'off air' for the duration?

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    1. No Internet service where I live -- the rest of the village has it, but where we are located is a 'cold' spot. I am hoping this year to make use of the mobile phone service so that I can at least collect my emails and upload posts to blogger from the house. Otherwise I have two hours twice a week at the village library and a very good cheap service available in our local town of St. Cere.

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  19. So was it devant or avant?

    As to the rendering...is the problem damp? As it's on the boundary line, while you have your tour d'echelle right to work on it, if you need to burrow down to find the problem you'll need to give more than notice to do the works, you'll need co operation from your neighbours.

    Whatever the origin...put a coat of Bondex on first...it seems to help anything stick!

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    1. It's whichever word means the water company is responsible!!!

      Fortunately, the neighbours are very helpful and it won't be a problem gaining access to their land. The Man has taken something down to paint on the walls.

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  20. Clever of you to stay in the UK until things are fixed. I wouldn't have the first idea of how to do repair work, I always get a man in to do jobs. Oh right, you have a man in to do the job.

    I'd love to have a house in France, even if it had to be repaired every time I went. I'd love a house in Germany even better.

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    1. Repair jobs are part of the deal to having a house abroad that you only get to once a year. The Man seems to like the challenge -- but as we are both getting older it is a bit of a worry niggle in the back of our heads...

      Do you manage to get back to Germany very often? Having spent 5 wonderful years in Bavaria on Starnberger See I can certainly understand why you would love to have a house in Germany...

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