We presume that most people who are reading this saw last week’s blog on the South African tragedy which took the lives of three good friends. In fact that blog got taken up by A Rocha International (see their blog) and we’ve been grateful for all the kind comments. We are still coming to terms with the loss. It’s a clichéd phrase in every organisation that ‘we are a family’, but it is far truer than most with A Rocha. It’s a deeply felt loss. But we continue to move on and Chris is currently engaged in looking at the future and funding of the work in the Vallée des Baux which until now has been centred at Les Tourades, near Arles. It’s a strategic locality at the very edge of the Camargue and we would love to be able to continue to do conservation in the area. Anybody want to fund it?
More now on the house move.
The ‘take-home’ is that it has gone extremely well. It can be perhaps summed up in the quiet murmur of our tried and tested electrician as he checked out the electrics for us the other day: ‘Bien, bien. Ah, c’est bon. Parfait.’ Almost the sum of his recommendations was that we replace a dozen bulbs with LED ones. That’s the sort of news you want to hear. In fact there really is an extraordinary amount of electrics: electric gates, electric swimming pool cover, underfloor heating and even a serpentine complexity of boxes, wires and pipes for automated garden watering.
The move on the 23rd of October went very well despite heavy rain, but we are still busy sorting things out and the garage and part of the house are still piled high with boxes. The great thing has been that there so far we’ve made no unpleasant discoveries. On the contrary: almost all the discoveries have been positive. So for example, it’s a wonderfully well-lit house and its slightly curious shape means that there is an angle that is a sun trap in winter. (And yes for summer there’s a roll out blind for that – electric of course.) It is also delightfully and extraordinarily quiet. One real plus point is that it is just 15 minutes’ walk into the centre of Lorgues which means that when you go out for a meal you don’t have to ask that awkward question ‘so who’s driving back tonight?’ (Contrary to rumour, French drink-driving laws are strict, and rightly so.)
We didn’t expect that the swimming pool would be tested but unusually warm weather at the very end of October encouraged one of our hardy sons and his family on a brief visit to explore it. We watched and shivered but it met with considerable approval. (There are pool lights, a pool cleaning ‘robot’ and a pump for making a current: it’s that sort of a house.)
So we are very pleased with the house. There is still a lot more to do although we think we have made our last visit to IKEA for a long time. Mind you, we did buy prayerfully and carefully. The great challenge in house buying in France (and of course elsewhere) is whether you buy with the head or the heart. The particular problem in France is that there are some stunning properties that you can fall in love with in a moment and afterwards afterwards regret for years . So far, no regrets. None at all.