Thursday, August 30, 2007

Yesterday marked a further small milestone! Both EDF & SDEI (Water) initially refused to allow us to put the services on to the land ourselves. They provided huge quotes to do the work as it involved both digging their own trenches, and in fairness we have to run the pipes over 100 Metres to the lower plot.

Thijs has managed to persuade them both to allow us to do the work ourselves, or rather for him to do the work at a much lower figure. Not sure what was down there but its was clearly fascinating!

The blue pipes are water and the red and green Electricity.The thicker red pipe
is a 'Three phase' necessary to power our heating/ air con and drainage pump!

Seeing the amount of cabling and equipment involved makes me realise what a huge project it is and why it all cost so much! The Sb floor foundation to the Gites is almost ready for the floor joist to be received.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It was Karen's birthday last Friday, we went to 'Oppède le vieux', a village on the edge of the Luberon where the ruined castle dates to 1545. We had lunch and then walked to the top where there are splendid views.

In the evening we went to Isle sur L'Sorgue for a walk around the town which has the river running through it, for a 'promenade, glass of champagne and then onto dinner at a restaurant recommended by a local chap we know who runs his own wine Domaine. Very nice it was too!

Karen , looking pretty dam good for passing another year!

The weather has gone from one extreme to the other - last week it dipped to 20 degrees and we had about 2 hours of rain! Saturday it was 35 degrees - we ventured down to the market in Apt and after making our purchases and of course a quick traditional beer made a hasty retreat as it was heaving - quite unpleasant almost! So the rest of the afternoon was left to lounging by the pool and sharing a bottle of bubbly with friends who called bye. And then a BBQ to pass the warm balmy evening.

On Sunday the temperature rose to 37 degrees so what can you do!relax poolside is the only answer. This August has been so much better than last when we had a lot of Mistral and rain. The pool is proving invaluable.

On Monday we had been planning to start painting the windows here in the Villa but the heat is to much to work in unless you start at the crack of dawn! We had our French lessons and our daily visit to the plot but other wise decided as it was a UK Bank Holiday we should observe it and rest!!

Despite the heat the guys are working hard building the sub floor area to the Gites. And no this part does not have to be level!

For the week ahead it is forecast to cool to the mid 20's so we will commence painting - time is moving on as we are back in the UK next Thursday with lots to do before we go!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

From 7.30am the Cement mixers were on site firstly pouring our floors to the main house then the foundations to the Gites.

Once again the heat got the better of the 80 metre long tube which was being used to pour the foundations to the second house.

Mission accomplished!

Although the sun shines much of the time here sometimes there is a blip! we woke up to this sky Tuesday, although by 10am were sitting outside a cafe in the sunshine

Monday, August 20, 2007

This picture shows what will be the entrance hall to our house with the opening to the cellar,the room to the left will be the Study.The lower level to the front will be the lounge.

This is taken from what will be our entrance leading up to the house.(which is the grey bit in the centre), the driveway will twist around to the left, go in front of the pool and then around a well leading to the rear of the house.

The concrete floors will be poured this Thursday as will be the foundations of the Gites which will be to the left of the house.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The area we live in derives its income from 3 sources - tourism, wine and fruit.

There are no shortages of tourists! with increased flights to Marseille it is noticeably busier this year than last with virtually every other car on the road either a hire plate or foreign ( lots of Belgium's, Dutch, Spanish & Italians oh and Swiss).

The vines have also flourished in one of the driest summers which has not actually been over hot. These are pictures I took yesterday of the grapes and Vines.

But, as the grapes ripen the last thing wanted now is rain as the grapes will swell and lose their quality - and it is forecast for this week so we have noticed some vineyards have started picking about a fortnight early just in case - that will give them something to talk about!! We will be doing our bit too for our friends in Menerbes who still pick by hand.

Last Friday was our 6th Wedding Anniversary. So we took the day off!! We took the Mazda for her first real road test, a route to a village called Les Baux de Provence,taking in some great twisty roads and fantastic scenery.

The village is one of the most famous in France and is one of the most visited, as we found out, it was heaving, this being the peak week for the French to Holiday.

For us, of more interest was the 'Cathedrale D'Image' a huge Quarry where images are projected on to the Stone walls, with classical music playing creating an amazing atmosphere. This year the theme is Venice, most appropriate for us as this is where we had our Honeymoon. This is a photo of one of the images - a bit shaky due to poor light and no tripod!

On route home we discovered a small air strip where we watched the gliders land and take off which was very pleasant and peaceful.

And to round off the day dinner at a very nice restaurant near Gordes, lovely!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Its been a hot few days, averaging 30 to 35 degrees so work in our garden has been slow! We have been delaying cutting the Lavender in the garden until the very end of its flowering period which was probably past last week! So today we got ourselves together early and what do you need when you have to cut Lavender - First a good Hedge trimmer - and before you use it you have to do a little dance!!! Nice leg movement David!

And then you call the The Lavender Busters!!

It is our wedding anniversary Friday, who would have thought 6 years ago we would be here?, and loving every minute of it I would add. So after a day at Les Beaux where there is an exhibition on Venice in the Cathedral D'Image we are going for dinner at a restaurant in Gordes, this is the driveway leading to it - with such precision the chef should be very meticulous!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thijs laying the concrete floor beams, in between is insulation, on which they pour the concrete floors, hopefully next week.
Turned out nice again!

We had a very impulsive and successful day yesterday. Happened to call in at Isle sur L'Sorgue, a town on the river famous for its Antiques. Walking past a shop we spotted a 'rust' finished metal table in the sale perfect for our terrace in the yet to be built house! So we went for it, luckily we can store it for a year. Moved on to Alinea in Avignon who were clearing there garden furniture - like the UK they are moving all the summer stuff out already! Found two very nice teak chairs half price! Then onto Leroy Merlin, where we had 'points' to use before the month end, they too were clearing the summer gear and managed to get 300 pounds off a pool cleaning robot so all in all a very satisfying day!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Since last blogging Richard has been staying with us so I have been busy waiting on him - pouring chilled wine whilst Karen produced fine faire to keep up his stamina!

Work has been continuing on the house with the basement structure taking shape ready to receive the floor slab next week. In the meantime we have been continuing to research pools, kitchens etc.

Last Thursday we went to a friends birthday party held at their Wine Domaine near Menerbes, a lovely evening set around there courtyard surrounded by Vineyards with live music, a great buffet and of course fine wine.

The past weekend saw the 'Fete Votive' basically a big party in the village,most villages here have one, lasting Friday through Sunday it is an opportunity for the whole community to get together.

The street is closed off, a large stage with a very professional sound and lighting system is erected and at 10 pm Friday night DJ Dave takes the stage till 2am and the whole place is packed with all ages from toddlers to pensioners dancing the night away.

Saturday night brings a live band with dancing girls! and the village rocks till gone 2am! Of course Richard and I did our bit to check the drinks were OK!

On Sunday the day starts with a cycle race from the village square, a vast four course open air lunch, finishing in time for a siesta before the evening kicks off again where this time the dance floor was awash with foam!

During the day we were way from the excitement! we were invited to lunch with some friends, friends of whom have just bought a secluded and remote Chateau just over an hour from us.Part of it includes some amazing caves where these bats were simply hanging around.

It was a classic french afternoon with the large table under the trees stocked with plenty of food washed down with lots of good wine.

Monday was a day of recovery! and time to potter in the garden where at last I have finished the border by the pool! bravely dug up by Martin last year and replanted this,Richard and I went stone collecting and after I successfully installed the irrigation to keep our little Russian plants happy. Another job off the list.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How to get on with the Neighbours - Not! EDF are at last laying on our Electric - making a nice (not) neat job, blocking the path and road for two days!and on Friday we, and all other neighbours have been told our Electric is off for 3 hours to connect a new customer! I wonder who that is?
We have been asked by friends who we met last year to sell this house.

It is in a stunning position, facing South with Helicopter landing Pad! Come on - dig deep! its under a million pounds!