Another day in Paradise

I know you all think I do nothing but lounge about eating cheese and quaffing back Bordeaux don’t you peeps, well, my waistline thinks this is all I do, but we have indeed been busy little bees my friends.

It’s been lovely having family here to stay, fortunately the weather has smiled on us all for the most part, so we’ve had plenty of outside time and gotten our money’s worth out of the long stored in the barn patio furniture.

The move next door has been fraught though, we’ve just had a couple of those weeks. I shall chronicle them for you as follows.

Firstly, the saga of the car continues, engine warning light on and off, brake lights on and off, engine occasionally cutting out when you’re en route somewhere, not ideal. It’s booked into the garage for diagnostics finally this afternoon, because of course finding a mechanic on a French Bank Holiday is a thing!

Then, after a mammoth cleaning slog on the day of my lovely family’s arrival, with half an hour to go before Wales vs England kicked off, and then leaving for the airport, I go to get into the newly installed shower for the first time, and can’t regulate the temperature between scalding or freezing. After much messing about, I got dressed again and dragged all my stuff next door to get ready.

Then the Internet TV service we had went down, so I missed the first 20 mins of the game, managed to watch until half time, and then the 2nd half just wasn’t on, they had mistakenly changed to another channel showing football instead. And then, they went and lost. Fuming.

Shower now fixed a few days later, courtesy of le Papa, the hot and cold feeds are the wrong way around, which meant the mixing valve on the tap wasn’t working as it should. Pipes now crossed over and all is well – phew. Another little quirk of the house, as the hot and cold feeds are the wrong way round next door too, only difference there is no mixer valve, so it still works! So we continue….

Picked the fam up from the airport without incident, all good. Went to use the hob for the first time in the kitchen to cook tea and after about 3 seconds of the power going on each time, the fuse blew. We reset it, and it blew again. And a third time. I put in an SOS to our lovely electrician, and we established it was not an electrical fault with the wiring, but a fault with the hob itself, the socket was running the kettle (with a larger output than the hob) with no trouble at all. FFS.

So, I e-mail Wrens. Guess what my friends, because that pesky hob has crossed the channel, apparently that invalidates the warranty, so Wrens apologise for any inconvenience caused but basically tough fromage. I was obviously not appeased by that, and suggested that they might want to try again, plus where was that conversation at the time of ordering the kitchen, otherwise why would I have bought and shipped Bosch appliances which are now not protected by any warrantly, I would have just bought locally. They knew that this kitchen was destined for France, they even delivered it directly to the shipping agent for us, and I needed the weights and dimensions from their customer service dept in order to do that. Did you not think that little nugget of knowledge would be worth imparting? Discussions continue, but I’m holding out no hope for a resolution, that doesn’t involve us having to buy a brand new hob.

So my friends, if you want a kitchen that will come in boxes with unintelligible labelling that doesn’t match your kitchen plan, no pilot holes in un-drillable drawer fronts, not enough drawer handles, and clearly a packaging economy exercise that meant to build one cupboard you had to open 3 separate massive boxes rather than have all components together, go with Wrens. I’m reasonably happy with the finished result, but that’s pretty much down to our joiner. But hey, they apologise for any inconvenience caused so it’s clearly fine. Now I flip the TV the rods every time the advert comes on.

Next bump in the road, our beloved Bulldog had taken an intense dislike to the stairs he now has to use to go to and from bed. So much so that he won’t do them without being carried. He is a bit of a chunker, so one of us is duty bound to suffer with the hernia, but that’s by the by. As we returned from going out for the morning I had to go upstairs for something, he tried to follow me, and made it up the first flight, but then got himself into a tizzy and couldn’t go up or down. He will have only been there for a few minutes until Craig spied him shaking and went to lift him down. Aaand that’s when it happened…. A little bulldog bursting for a pee and a little bit fraidy, peed all over his Daddy as he was being carried, and seemingly all over one and a half flights of stairs like a water cannon. This is all shits and giggles until you realise that bulldog wee seems to be an excellent varnish stripper…. The stairs were immediately scrubbed, and I’ve treated them. The first flight looks much better, but there are still a couple of stairs on the second flight that look like a Jackson Pollock…..

Not his fault poor little man, but there are so many things in the house that need fixing, you don’t need one of the things that was actually in pretty good shape to get knackered. (Adds to the to do list).

I filled up a large glass dispenser with juice, you know the sort, they have a tap on the front, and put it in the fridge so everyone could help themselves. I closed the fridge door, and walked back into the kitchen. About 2 minutes later I notice a cascade of juice running out of the bottom of the fridge like a scene from the Shining. Guess who must have not pushed it far enough back in the fridge so when I closed the door, all I did was nudge the tap into the open position. It filled the door pockets and the bottom drawers and was an absolute nightmare to clean up.

Then the night before last, Craig got up to go for a pee before bed, and we couldn’t get out of our bedroom door, it was completely jammed. Up until recently, there had been a full tool kit in there, but of course that got tidied away before the big move. I’m banging on the door to try and get my niece’s attention from the spare room, she slept through the whole thing. Probably just as well a 9 year old didn’t hear that kind of language to be honest. After about 15 minutes but what felt like much longer, Craig aided by a pair of Bodyshop tweezers, managed to prise the seized lock open. Now it has a shoe wedged in it……

You honestly couldn’t make this stuff up.

Hubs is working today, but has to travel to Ireland tomorrow, so this isn’t helping things with the car situation, he’s adamant he’s still driving the car to the airport, but I don’t like that idea much.

Big Sis, my Bro-in-law and my niece and nephew are typically booked on a Ryan Air flight home on one of the strike days, so we’re all hoping against hope that their flight isn’t affected. My plan was to drive our car back from the airport with everyone in it in the case of having to return their rental car but given the car is not in great shape, I’m just not happy to drive it. We’ll figure out a plan B should we have to.

I’m aware that all of these things are not insurmountable individually, but it has felt like I’d been a very bad person in a former life at times over the last couple of weeks.

In other news the fruit trees are laden with plums, apples and pears, and the quince tree is coming along nicely. The poly tunnel is still yielding half a punnet of tomatoes a day, with courgettes and squashes every week, and a bumper chilli crop to come. I’m happy with almost my first year’s gardening, I’ve learned a lot, and with some of the pressure off the house, I can actually spend some time in it over the next few months which I hope will mean veg year round by this time next year.

In other, other news, and this is a biggie, the more geographically aware of you might have perhaps wondered, why our recent road trip took us from destinations all within a couple of hours of each other, then suddenly 5.1/2 hours south to Montpellier right on the south coast.

My view during Craig’s Interview

Well, on that one solitary day that I was sat by the pool at our hotel, my super clever husband was at a job interview. The timing of this was unfortunate as it overshadowed our entire holiday a little, but thanks to our lovely pet sitters being able to be flexible with dates, it made sense for us to travel on directly from Sarlat, as we were already an hour further South than home.

After a lengthy wait (because France) we finally got confirmation that he’d been a super clever sausage and got the job! we were then told the contract would be with him within the next couple of weeks but (because France) it took forever, and had no idea what the offer actually looked like so weren’t in a position to accept. After the usual queries and questions he’s handed his notice in today, so I can finally tell you all.

I am super proud of my lovely clever husband, I really am, and this job is perfect for most importantly him, but also us in a number of most excellent ways.

Yes I’m going to bang on about Brexit again…. As Boris continues his crusade to push the UK off a precipice, it’s left us with the sword of Damocles hanging over us. We needed to be Brexit bullet-proof, and we weren’t. We had various plans up our sleeves to make us so, but none of them were strictly ideal, and we still felt vulnerable.

This job most importantly is with a Global company with a French head office in Montpellier. So essentially, no issues with meeting the CDS income threshold, should be no issue with getting a carte vitale for healthcare, payment of French social security at source, all things that should mean there’s no issue with us being here permanently. We still have a lot of famous French paperwork to complete, and I won’t completely relax until we have our healthcare and residency permits in our hands, but it’s a colossal weight off our minds.

Also, you can’t underestimate the benefits of being paid in Euros right now, as our PM seems determined to resort the pound to be being worth about as much as an old coat button.

So, hubs will spend a week every month in the South of France, which sounds terrible doesn’t it. In the winter when the garden doesn’t need daily attention, the dogs and I might even come along too occasionally. Head office is even dog friendly, what’s not to like?

Le Grande Motte about 20 minutes from Montpellier

I still cannot see the UK leaving on the 31st October. All of this rhetoric about stopping freedom of movement in the UK immediately, it’s just bluster to try and force the EU to re-negotiate, which they won’t, as they’ve constantly said they wouldn’t, holding all the cards as they do, and always have, and then allows him to blame the “uncompromising” EU, when you’re all in Sainsbury’s fighting over the last £38 lettuce come December. Does he really want to be remembered as that guy though? I think he’s too much of a narcissist.

Interesting times peeps, interesting times.

Ooh, and not finished the travelblogs yet I know. On the to do list. X


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