Sunday, August 27, 2006

Some House keeping!

Our New address:

Chemin de Romanet
St Saturnin Lès Apt
0033 490 71 04 13
0033 687 88 83 95(Portable)

Another busy week has passed, life really does seem to be flying by! So much so that we have given ourselves a good talking to and are determined to get up earlier and fit more in to our day! One of the ongoing problems is that we usually get to places 11ish and by 12 they are closing. So we must either go earlier or later in the day.

We returned the water butt! Much to the amusement of the staff and customers in Bricolage. They made us stand with it in the entrance, causing great interest!

Tourist continue to keep the village busy.

Tuesday is market day and I had to queue at the Boulangerie for my daily bread!

I have mentioned French banks before. Let me re-iterate - never complain about your British bank again! Credit Agricole, one of France's largest banks is regionalised, so when we pay a cheque in here it is rejected as our account is in Calvados. We managed to get the cheque traced and cleared for which I had to pay 3.90€. So we opened a new account here. They want 34€ for each debit card, and 9€ for what they call 'opening the door' in other words allowing direct debits to your account, and that is for each one you set up! Day light robbery is an understatement.

It was Karen's birthday Thursday, the 24th, we went to Aix en Provence for lunch then to the Cezanne exhibition (He was born, lived and died in Aix). Karen has always wanted a Fiat 500 and she got rather excited when we exited the restaurant - this picture was when I told her I had not bought it for her!

We had friends to supper Friday evening, a nice way to start the weekend. My Saturday went downhill early in the morning when our Dutch builder arrived with his estimate to do all the work on the Villa. I had to explain we wanted to refurbish it not rebuild it! Back to the drawing board!

Well, today is Sunday, time for some more work on the garden. Later some friends who we have made, who are shortly leaving for Australia are coming round for a BBQ so better go get some beers in the fridge.

Do you like our Sufing Stick insect - we caught him riding the noodle in the pool!

Monday, August 21, 2006


What is this?


its the inside of a water Butt! Or a nice Butt depending on your view and taste! Only we could buy a water butt with a f___ing leak - flaming leak that is! It holds 500 litres, trying to be kind to the planet instead we will have to terrorise the young lady at Mr Bricolarge and try changing it! Nightmare!

By the way, click on the picture, it will enlarge, note the shoes - I bought these in Bloomingdales, New York when I was employed - how times and budgets have changed! but I love them!

Other than this today was good, we visited a new house with the builder we have in mind to use and after 9 months since we first saw the land we deposited our planning application at the Maire's office. Now we have to wait!

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Over the last 10 days it has been not very Provençale - windy, cloudy and some rain although still warm. Last night as we sat out eating this summed it up, a clear sky over us and a rainbow over the Luberon. Today, Sunday, summer is back, 30 degrees and clear skies.

Some of our new pets!
Another Tree disappears!

Thursday 17th August

Our fith wedding anniversary, going out for dinner. Had a very nice evening!

The first offending tree is felled, chopped up and ready to provide us with heat in Winter 2007! The view is revealed!

Sunday 13th August
Friday 11th August
We collected a hired Van in Apt at 8.30am and drove to Ikea in Marseille, to buy our new Kitchen. When we were in there just two days earlier they said it was all in stock - not now of course - some would have to be sent on. We were then sent on a thankless task of finding 14 door handles too only to find they only had 6 in store! I treated Karen to lunch in Ikea to relieve the stress - a first time experience for us both!I know how to treat a lady!

After, we took full advantage of our days van hire buying beds, roof tiles and various other large household items - we returned the van minutes before 8pm tired, poorer but satisfied!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday 12th August

The garden here is fabulous although tons of work! 9 Olive tress, a large over grown cherry, We are about to remove the large tree near the pool, a huge conifer by the house and some dead conifers between us and the neighbours. Eric,who moved here 8 years ago from Portugal and speaks French with Portuguese accent is going to take on the task. Here is the part of the garden..............

Thursday 10th August
At last some progress on the land. This is the second plot we are buying. For when we submit our planning we have to have soil investigations for the drainage. The JCB arrived at 9am and by lunch time had cleared much of the site - its now looking like a plot! sorry plant lovers!

10th August
Friday 4th & Saturday 5th August

One of the things we have learnt about living in Provence is that there is a season for everything. You can buy copious amounts of fruit and veg,when its in season! You can buy car windscreen sun shields,when its summer!You can buy heaters just before winter and garden furniture as soon as spring breaks, obvious I know, but Summer also brings unlimited out door festivals covering dance, music, drama, art, wine and cheese etc, there is a festival for everything! In our village as well as the Vide Grenier on Bastille day they also have a Fete over this weekend. The road where we normally park is closed off, a large stage is set and stalls are built to cater for the crowds! Friday night is disco night 10 pm till 2 am!, Saturday is a live band, same time and Sunday is again a Disco. What is incredible is the crowds that come, the French love to dance and the level of noise! As it happens we went to an out door classical Piano concert on the Saturday night but stopped off on the way home at just after midnight when I took these pictures.

2nd August 2006
Martin headed home on the early morning flight. Richard arrived, unfortunately with out baggage! BA left it on the tarmac at Gatwick! He had requested wine, women and a place by the pool! Thank fully we were able to satisfy 2 of his demands!

31st July 2006
Not only having been off line for a fortnight I have since had connection problems ( very uncomfortable too!) so I am having to back date this - not quite the point of a blog I know but what the heck! Anyway Matisse has settled in well to the tasteful bbq!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

About 2 weeks before we moved we visited France Telecom to transfer our telephone and internet on the 26th. I also took the opportunity to upgrade my internet connection from 1 meg to 8. Well I write this almost 3 weeks later as we have only just been re connected! Initially they refused to put our line on until the old owner allocated his number to his new address, which was when he got round to it and then due to storms we had to wait 15 days to be put on line - one of the joys of France!
Our move on the Wednesday went well, the cats were highly inquisitive but delighted with the garden, the removal guys were great and with the exception of 1 item all of our belongings came out of 10 months storage unscathed!
On the Thursday we collected Martin, familiar to many of you and a welcome visitor ( and friend) to us. We whisked him from the arrival lounge at Marseille to Ikea and various other retail stores before arriving home in the late afternoon to enjoy the pool and garden. It was a hot balmy evening.

On Friday we set about unpacking boxes, lunch was served on the terrace where we have a view of the Luberon. It was cloudy , hot & humid. In the distance we observed the dark skies and listened to the sound of rumbling thunder. Lighting lit the increasingly dark sky. Gradually the storm approached , and within minutes the rain began to fall. For 3 hours we were engulfed by the most torrential and unrelenting rain.

The Thunder was terrifying as was the lightening. We soon realised our new house was struggling to cope with the deluge. The Garage took in water ( where many of our belongings were still in boxes), the side area was like a river leading thru the workshop and store and as the rain fell it swept much of the garden rubbish that had built up over the last 2 years to the pool!

About 5 pm the storm eased and I had to go to Apt, about 4 miles away. The roads were like Rivers with torrents of water coming off the Vineyards with the ground simply unable to cope with the deluge. When I returned though an hour later the road was dry with steam rising leaving a rather eerie atmosphere.
We quickly realised our drainage was insufficient to cope with the rain that can fall here although many locals are saying it was the worst storm in 20 years. Great timing!

Thankfully Martin was here not only to help with the clear up but to put a calm reassuring perspective on the whole picture - for us it was a low point - what had we done, But next day despite the pool looking like a bath of Cadburys chocolate it was to work on the garden and under the guidance of several good friends we eventually after 5 days managed to restore the pool to its former glory.