Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wow what a great place!I have never travelled to Germany and I am not sure what I expected, indeed we joked before we flew whether anyone else would be on the flight!But what a lovely City, on the water, very wealthy, very British, bustling with activity. Well worth a visit, as is Luneburg near to where our friends Roy, Andrea & Sebastion live. Another lovely town with some wonderful buildings.

Picture of Luneburg by the River

Picture Of Square in Luneburg



We had a lucky escape on the journey home as the Ryanair plane had a fualt and could not return to Marseille. We initially faced the prospect of a 48 hour delay, as Ryanair only fly in every two days, until Ryanair bumped off all the passengers destined for Stansted, giving us their aircraft and flying them home later that night.

This week has been extremely busy with appointments at the Notaire regarding the sale of our house in Rue Pasteur, the bank complaining about their charges which we managed after almost an hour and a half to get reimbursed and reduced, a fleeting visit to Marseille and Avignon for building materials and finally an appointment with our Notaire for Saturday 14th April for the final signing of the land.

Richard arrives tomorrow, we sign the 'Comprimise' on Rue Pasteur Saturday and then head off ski ing Sunday.

Friday, March 23, 2007

We are leaving today for a weekend in Hamburg, Germany to stay with fellow defectors who left England last year.Having spent so much energy learning French we suddenly realised that we know barely any German other than hello and thank you - that seems strange and at least makes us appreciate how our French has come on although at times we do wonder.

Like in the UK the weather has been much cooler this week although still sunny. We had reason to celebrate - our first house sale - although it happens to be our own village house. I spent last Thursday showing a really nice English couple 9 houses and they fell in love with ours. So we sign next weekend and hopefully complete in June. On Friday we went to see this house for our client who is seeking land for hunting. We hope she will now come and visit as there are possibilities to buy a further 25 hectares.

We have at long last had cofirmation that the cut off date for neighbours to object to our planing is the 14th April, so far there have been none although the infamous Irish lady who has obstructed our original access has not been here this year (she is coming at Easter) so we hope she will not cause any problems. All being well we can then sign on the dotted line !18 months after we first saw the land. Our builder has his teams on stand bye so construction should commence in May and take 12 to 14 months.
The saga with EDF goes on as do the bank charges - I gave up calling them asking to see the manager and instead waited 40 minutes in a queue to to get a rendevous next week - that will be interesting.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The last week has been occupied visiting houses for prospective clients and reporting back our findings. We currently have a few irons in the fire from a client seeking a Ski Chalet in the Alps where we think we might have unearthed a little gem that is not on the market to another client seeking a house with 25 Hectare of Hunting land where we might have peiced together enough land with a stunning house which we are seeing Friday - at 2.6 Million its worth getting excited for!
Last Friday and Saturday we experienced the strongest Mistral wind so far, it really would have blown the tails of donkeys! and it was very cold but has thank fully blewn away as fast as it arrived.

On Sunday we joined two French, two Americans and 7 Brits for a superb Sunday lunch in a Wine Domain afterwhich we watched England beat France in the Rugby - needless to say one or two drinks were consumed.
We have now completed the internal refurbishment of this villa, re have rewired, fitted a new kitchen, 2 new bathrooms, installed heating, re plastered the lounge and redecorated.And finally we re tiled all the floors. The outside is next with the garden to sort, and the re rendering due to be started in April plus a new terrace around the pool ( picture shows the wood arriving)

We are experiencing one or two final teething problems on the land with access and drainage but hopefully will sort soon. The Electric bill is still under dispute!
This week has started busy with french lessons, a meeting with the Marie about the planning, more builders merchants and I am out with a client Thursday visiting 9 houses. I am also in the process of taking the roof apart to clean and replace tiles etc whilst Karen is hard at work in the garden.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

We left our Olivier hatched man on the case this morning as we had a rendevous elsewhere - we returned to find the trees had quite a haircut - here is the before and after!

We called into the bank on route home to request if it is possible to be allowed to extract more than the weekly limit of 450€ (Three hundred pounds)on our cash card. After recieving a strict warning permission was granted - how grateful we are to have access to our own money. We also checked that the 'direct debit to EDF would not be paid for the latest bill -signed a form - and blow me before I have even got home they have charged 11.63 for the pleasure - I know where we are going tomorrow!

Monday, March 05, 2007

The elusive EDF letter still did not arive at the weekend! We went to the market in Apt Saturday, it was showing signs of awakening up to Spring with more stall holders returning from there winter travels, we met friends for a lunchtime glass of vino afterwhich returned for a little light housework! In the evening we went to one of our favourite restaurants in the village 'Estrade' which had just reopened after thier winter break. Unlike in the UK, a restaurant can shut for 10 weeks and the patrons soon return on opening.

Sunday was a true spring day, warm almost hot sunshine, we walked 10 kilometres early in the morning and worked through the afternoon in the garden.

This morning ( Monday) we were greeted early by the Olivier specialist - he has been cutting Olive trees over 40 years! Just 3 trees produced an incredible amount of wood to burn . Like much of our home they had not be looked after properly for years and looked alot happier for a severe cut.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Well no surprise - we arrive at the offices of EDF to find it closed!It is quite incredible - a huge Public company - a big town - there are people arriving every few minutes and there is nobody there! It is so French! So I call them up again to be told a letter is on its way ( not before about 4 people sign & stamp it!) Whilst I'm in the moaning mood - Banking - I've mentioned it before - I just went to take out 700€ to pay the guy who is working on the house - my first account - Sorry no - your maximun weekly limit is 390€ - (I had this increased to a thousand but obviously they changed it back) so I go to my second acount -( another bank) the allowance is Zero as I took the limit out last Friday!!! So I have to wait until tomorrow for cash - Well I guess this is the price you paying for living in paradise!!