This week we moved house. To cut a long story short it went better than we had any right to expect – blame our lack of faith. So if you are expecting tales of high drama we are sorry. We had agreed to be at our new house at Taradeau just before the previous owners, the V.B.’s, left at 9 a.m. on Tuesday 30th December, so we left Les Courmettes with both cars in pitch darkness and freezing temperatures. It was no warmer at Taradeau (although it’s a tenth of the altitude of Courmettes) but by the time we got there the sun was shining brightly.
Our first reaction on arrival was that somehow the V.B.’s had forgotten they were moving. There was just so much ‘stuff’: not just furniture but bed linen and cabinets full of wineglasses (there is clearly the expectation of some very considerable parties), and even a Christmas tree. In fact they have been extremely generous and we find that we have ended up with an Aga stove, a twin-door fridge the size of a large wardrobe, enough towels to mop up the swimming pool and all manner of lethal-looking gardening equipment.
Despite the fact we have moved into a very well-equipped house there has still been a lot to do. Although our remaining furnishings from Swansea will not arrive until early January we have brought a lot of things from Courmettes. When we return there in March it will be on a four days out of seven basis and we don’t envisage taking more than the basics with us. We’ve had a few visits to the tip to get rid of things that are surplus to requirements and quite a lot of visits to the DIY shops. The wiring – as seems to be fairly common in French houses – is distinctly bizarre so that light switches that are obviously intended to switch on adjacent lights, in fact switch on a set on the opposite side of the room. We are trying to make few gentle modifications to the lighting and so far seem to have succeeded. The V.B.’s – bless them – have bequeathed to us a six-inch thick pile of manuals on everything from the built-in microwave (top of the range) through the reversible air-conditioning unit, to the pool pump (a mystery yet to be explored).
Anyway, although there are still boxes everywhere, we’ve made a lot of progress and it’s beginning to feel like home. 9 o’clock Monday morning Chris is going to sit down at his desk and start to do some work.
As anybody who has ever considered purchasing property in somewhere like France knows, the great battle is between the head and the heart. It’s hard to resist that charming rundown mill with the fantastic views even if it has got a missing roof and rotting floorboards. Nevertheless, there is a lot to be said for buying somewhere which needs nothing more than a few trips to the local DIY shop for a couple of plugs or a desk lamp or two. We think we’ve made a good choice and we would like to thank everybody who prayed through what has been nearly six months of house-hunting.