Monday, 3 June 2013

Electrickery, a big day for the little French House.


So after a long and drawn out process with many times of wondering will we ever get there, as rules were changed and the electrician being ever elusive we finally, yes finally have our certificat de conformité. At last we are there, Woo Hoo. As soon as it arrived in a timely fashion on a Friday afternoon clutched in Freddies hand, I took the cerficiate and rushed off to Séolis (electric board) and asked for the to connect us again. Wait a week and we will be there they said as they were very busy at the mo. A week I thought, we'd waited for a year so a week won't be too bad. I have to say it was a long week. On the appointed morning Freddie turned up and made the finishing touches and removed the old provisional electrical supply. Then Séolis turned up and seemed to be asking a lot of questions, so for a minute I was worried they would find a reason to refuse us permanent connection again but all went well. Phew. 

So that we is we have made it and for the first time in  40 years this little house has a good safe permanent electrical supply :) Yay





Travailler et un fête du pain.

After our visitors left we re-engaged with all the work that we need to be getting on with here. We had  a bit more work to do to get things finally up together for Frederick to finish off the work. Sadly this also involved Dave digging a trench for the earth wire and earth spike to go into. This meant that after work one day he had to get the pick axe to the floor outside the barn and by the road and dig it up. Not a nice job but he did it, it took about 2 hours but it made it ready for Fred to do his bit the next morning. Mind you after Fred had put the earth in I had the lovely job of filling in all the stone, rubble and earth and compacting it back down. But its all done  have and now it's something we will never have to do again. 

I also took the task of filling in the dreaded tax form and got started with it, the longest thing was translating the pages and finding out exactly what they wanted. Actually a lot of the questions didn't apply yo us so the fear of the form was actually worse than the experience. Mind you in the end I  did have a great help from the bank filling in the form. What i hear you say, that's not normal practice for a bank. Well let me explain what happened, as you know we changed banks recently to a more local one that suited our needs better and as part of a welcome to the bank thing I had a rendez-vous with them. One of the items that they requested me to bring was our last tax form, I suppose to prove income. As we didn't have an old form as this was our first time I took a copy of the current one along with me. I'm glad I did too as the manageress pointed out where I had made a mistake and checked that it was all correct for me. The meeting lasted a hour and a half and was all in French and we managed to understand each other quite well. I'm sure I made loads of mistakes in my grammar but we managed to get through ok which is a huge leap up from last year for me. By the time I left I had loads of helpful info and a greater appreciation of my bank. After this Roz and I went back to the tax office to hand in our forms and check they were ok and after a long wait the lady who checked them just gave them a quick once over and accepted them. So hopefully everything is ok. Mind you one funny thing happened at the tax office. In a crowded waiting room full of French people and just Roz and I foreigners a lady came in and out of the 30 or so people sat waiting there she managed to come to Roz and I and ask for help. Ask us the only two non natives in the room. I was amusing and luckily someone nearby piped up and answered her questions.

We also have another addition to the chicken family. We have a new little girl called Stitch. She came as usual by way of a rescue but this time the poor mite was injured. She had been stuck under a vehicle and had the skin torn from her throat down to her chest, it was just hanging. Unsure of the best course of action or even if the little thing would survive we decided to try and help her. Dave cut away the feathers that were stopping him from seeing the damage properly the cleaned the wound which had actually dried up.  She took all of this very well and didn't seem too distressed. To close the wound up Dave cut away the dead skin and put the edges of the wound together and glued it with super glue, which is not as mad as you may think as it is used in human medicine all the time to fix small wounds. i have to say that she is doing well two weeks later she is healing well and after being in isolation for 2.5 weeks we have let her in with the rest of the girls. There was the usual argie bargie over who is who in the pecking order but things seem calm now.

Last weekend we took a weekend off work and decided to have a lazy saturday and a day of exploration on Sunday. On sunday we went to a local fête du pain, which no is not a festival of pain but a festival celebrating  bread, the art of making bread and all things bready (pain being the French for bread). It was in a little town about half hour or so  away  called Fenioux, and is a annual affair, more info http://www.fetedupain.tk/ and also  at https://www.facebook.com/fetedupainfenioux. There was a car boot (vide grenier) lots of demonstrations, musicians, dancers, lots of stalls and sellers and lots of local culture.  Each year they make a sculpture out of bread and it has a different theme each year. this years was a light house (phare) all made out of bread and cake items. Cool eh :)


The Phare of Fenioux.

We didn't  get to see everything as we were lazy and had a lay in so didn't get there till the afternoon. But we had a good time and loved the atmosphere. 
Dave managed to buy another guitar ( a old 1960's EKO ranger 6 so he reliably informs me) and a accordion. Which will keep him quiet or not for a while.

Remember you can click on this to enlarge it.



There were pony and trap rides for the children and families.






Sunday, 2 June 2013

Visitors and touristique musings.

Hello all,

It's been a while since I last wrote a addition to this blog but we have been very busy so there never seemed to of been time. 

We have had visitors over staying with us for a little while which was lovely. They were with us for about 10 days and we had a great time. They bought us over boxes of goodies which for any expat is fun including strong cheddar cheese and brown sauce as well as some pork scratchings (yuk) which Dave loved. Dave had some time off so it was fun. We basically acted like tourists for a few days and as Dave gets so little time off this was his first proper holiday since we moved over here. We started of with a visit to the  beautiful island of Île de Ré, off the coast of La Rochelle. Île de Ré is a little island about 18 miles  (30km) long and 3.12 miles (5 km) wide. A bridge connects it to La Rochelle and the view from the bridge is spectacular. When on the island you can stop at many of the little villages with seaside restaurants.  There are also campsites, lots of beaches a couple of light houses and surprisingly a prison! But our favourite is the town of Saint-Martin-de-Ré which has a beautiful harbour surrounded by restaurants and antique and touristy shops. After a general mouch around looking at the shops, buildings and lovely views we stopped for lunch at a fish and seafood restaurant - not great for me as a vegetarian as there was hardly anything to chose from but the 3 meat eaters were very happy. Île de Ré  is such a lovely place we may go and spend a weekend there camping in the summer so we can explore it properly. More info can be found at http://www.iledere.com/



Dave overlooking the harbour at Île de Ré 



Jo and Trev's lunch
After eating and looking around the shops we drove back to mainland France and spent some time at La Rochelle which was lovely. The old harbour is so beautiful and resembles exactly a lovely oil painting of it which we have in our lounge.

 At this time of year there are always Artists and street sellers on the sea front selling their ware and we had a good look around the place before coming home. Later in the week we also spent time at a local town called Vouvant which is famed for the amount of local artists that live there. http://www.vendee-vouvant.com/ and one picture opportunity stood out for me which is  this lovely boat by the river.


We also took our friends to a vide grenier ( car boot) which is a must in this country when visiting as you can find some lovely different thing there and also to a local charity shop called Emmaus http://emmausmauleon79.meabilis.fr/emmaus/ and they found two lovely old decanters which is nice. Emmaus is a charity that works for homeless people and they take in donations of all sorts of things, furniture, general housewares and  the homeless work in the charity and sell it on and the money is used to pay for adjacent housing. Seems a good idea to me. 


After Jo and Trev left early on the Saturday morning Dave and I then started on the wood that he cut down in November. We basically had to clean out a copse of dead trees and section them up and take them away ready to burn this or next winter. We ended up having to work three weekends on this wood including one in the rain :( But we are not sad as we have got about 11 stere (11cubic meters) of wood (ash wood) which is currently drying and should get us through this winter - yay. So it was like having a 600 euro bonus :) Daves boss let us borrow the mainitou from work which was brill as it meant loading and unloading was much easier and further more it was fun. He couldn't let me drive it though which was  a pity as it looked fun. 



We also have taken some lovely walks recently with everything becoming alive and green and all the local cow's having the first calves of the year. On a walk near to home we could see so many flowers and also the cows in the woodland with their calves.