Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The walls are built on Le Chene to retain the terraces.

Well our house is starting to look like a home with the kitchen being fitted this week. These are the work tops being trimmed to fit.More dust!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I think I have worked out why the French are so protective of their 35 hour working week.we have just bought a car that has been imported from Germany. We have to register it here in the area we live. And so we went to the 'prefecture' in Apt last friday morning at 8-30 am, the office we had been told dealt with such formalities. We were promptly told we were in the wrong place and instead should be at our local Marie which does not open until 1pm. So we went to one of the builders merchants to sort some floor tiles which took almost two hours by the time the chap repeated himself half a dozen times (at least it helps us understand!)and so an early lunch then off to the Marie. We arrive to be told we need an import exemption certificate! where do we get that? Apt at the Impot Office next to the Prefecture!So we head back, they of course are at lunch till 2-30 by which time there is a large queue. We sit and wait, as each new person arrives the entire queue nod and acknowledge each other with Bonjour. I wander off to explore the building only to find a desk with a sign above it 'import certificates'!no queue! so we gt our certificate and sneek out the building to avoid being seen by the 'queue'.And back to the Marie, by this time it is 5pm , and of course we have to wait a month for the documents to arrive. So that is a working day lost to administration - so French - yet we love it.

Meanwhile work slowly continues with the foundations for the terraces in front of the lower house under way with the pool being installed in just 4 weeks time!

In our house we were joined by Martin, who answered our advert for painting holidays in Provence! In exchange for food and wine he spent the entire week with us painting the hall stairs and landing as well as the second bedroom - much appreciated.

As often happens when Martin comes the El Perry effect clicked in with the weather, another dramatic storm deposting 60mm of rain in under two hours, just what we needed! this was Thursday morning

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Our 10 week spell of sunshine was well and truly broken last night when at 1am we were a woken by torrential rain,lightening and thunder. 50mm of rain fell in two hours, a thunderbolt hit closeby knocking out our electricity and phone lines.
Our builders were still on site at 7am turning our plot into what looked more like a speedway track!
When our pool was dug out monday & Tuesday some Clay was found so we took the decision to cover the floor area with concrete to prevent water getting into the clay which could cause problems later, luckily we managed to get this laid Wednesday morning and dry before the rain came.

Today the foundations were prepared for the pool house.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Day two, more digging and more dust! we also managed to persuade Thijs to move all the materials, pallets and various other items from one side of the plot to the other so we can start planning and executing some landscaping in readiness for next year.

I am looking forward to photographing the pool,with the stone wall and gites behind.
We also learnt today that the plasterer will not be in the second house, now called Le chene, until November, which means we will be in there in january and february decorating, the pool goes in later this month or early october so lots going on! never a dull moment! And on top of this I have two buyers coming from South africa looking for houses so might have to divert my energies to this1

First cut is the deepest! Work starts on digging out our pool. Construction will start soon although the winter weather will prevent the final finish being applied until Spring,

At the end of day one we have the outline dug with work continuing to complete the wall

Monday, September 01, 2008

On Tuesday we went to Bormes Les Mimosa on the Cote d'azur where we stayed at the now rather faded Grand Hotel,good value though and a stunning view.

It is quite close to St tropez, where we went in the evening to promenade.

There are some serious yachts not quite feeling the credit crunch!

After a day on the beach and some fine dining we headed home via Sanary Sur Mer and Bandol.

Karen on her birthday in St Remy de Provence where we had lunch.

And when we returned home we, that includes Matisse took a walk to the borries, about 15 minutes from the house - that tabby has serious attitude!

Last Sunday was Karens birthday so we went to Les Baux de Provence, a restored village, one of France's most popular tourist attractions. Infact we went to the Cathedaral d'image where a huge quarry is used to show images of artwork, this year Van Gogh, backed by classical music.This is the entrance to the quarry which has a year round temperature of 16 degrees - heavenly in our hot summer and our cold winter!
The last 10 days have flown by, our friends Sue & Tim arrived last Friday to test run the second Gite, when they booked their holiday last year we had expected to be living in the house by now, but this is Provence, and nothing moves fast ! except our wall which is going well