Thursday, 23 April 2015

House Stuff

I'm still awaiting the conveyancing/searches pack (because the solicitor still hasn't received the results of the local searches). I have been to measure up and need to decide what furniture to take and where it will go. There were no nasty surprises in the survey although there are plenty of issues consistent with an older property (in fact, it's a 1950s 'Wimpey No Fines' concrete house). In the meantime, I've started packing because we have the luxury of no chain, and oh dear, I have so much stuff! My ex and I never did sort through and separate everything, so there are boxes in store to go through. They have been stored on palettes in the back of the silage shed, currently not very accessible, as it is used to store some of a neighbouring farmer's off-season equipment. I'm going to have to move the sheep shower to get to some things. Although the furniture and boxes have been kept relatively dry and at least partly covered, the store area is under the owl box, so is covered in droppings, cat spray, mouse wee, cobwebs, and specks of dirt, rust and dust. All I can say is, it's a good job I'm not afraid of spiders, because there have been some spectacular specimens which I've been too busy to photograph or look up. Although I'm not usually one for antibacterial products, I'm washing stuff from store in antibacterial washing up liquid; in some cases, twice.

I started sorting at Easter. I was on chicken duty while my ex (S) and his partner (H) were in France at her gite, doing some maintenance work and getting it ready for the summer season. Their chooks are so friendly that they're a bit of nuisance, but lovely nonetheless.  I can't leave the cottage doors open because they'll be inside in a flash, exploring and scratching in the cat litter. S left the door to the main house open while he was out the other day and came back to find an egg laid on his computer! My reward was a chocolate hen from the local (to the gite!) artisan chocolatier and patissier. It was so cute that, unusually for chocoholic me, I just looked at it for a day before opening it. One half white chocolate, the other half dark, tied together with ribbon and, as is traditional in France, containing a small praline-filled egg and fritures de ques, which are little fish and other seafood shapes in solid chocolate.

S&H are going back in July, by which time, all being well, I will have moved and will not be available for chicken duty. H remarked that for the first time since she's owned it, there are not yet enough weeks booked this year to cover costs. It's probably a sad sign of the times. So here's a shameless plug for her gite at St Julien des Landes which is marketed and bookable through Brittany Ferries. It sleeps 6, utilities are included and it's well-equipped in terms of kitchen, furnishings and so on. The Brittany Ferries price includes the ferry crossings for up to 5 people in a car, making it ideal as a family holiday. It's in the Vendée, which is a gorgeous area. I had a lovely holiday there in my 20s, touring camp sites. Fresh charentais melons and croissants for breakfast. Go on, you know you want to.

Suddenly, there is more movement on the housing market.  Having made my decision, I still have a little niggle of doubt, but I still the like the house I've gone for more than any of the other properties I've seen. I should stop looking, in case I see something which upsets me. I'm still getting emails from Rightmove and On the Market, and tend to have a quick look because I'm now starting to think about interior and garden designs, though I seldom see anything to excite me. I've gone for so long without thinking about that sort of thing, that I don't know what I want any more. My search criteria don't successfully screen out all of the holiday chalets (there are a lot for sale down here - it comes with the territory!). Normally I would delete these straight away, but one caught my attention for its interior design and I have pinned some of the photos for future reference on my SpaceTime Pinterest board. Were I looking for a chalet, I would be so tempted, but this is a first class example of how good presentation can sell something; the chalet isn't for sale with the furnishings included! Your home is what you make it.

Well, I ought to stop writing and go back to the washing, cleaning, sorting and repacking, especially as now I'm beginning not to be able to move for empty boxes. It's quite interesting, as the decisions on what to store were somewhat random. I was sympathising with a friend recently who has the same sort of issues with her partner's view that his stuff is essential and her stuff is clutter. I'm finding things I used to love, but had forgotten about. A couple of copper pans from Villedieu les Poêles are in a terrible state; I've no idea what's happened as the tinning seems to have been scratched off. They should be polishable as ornaments but probably would need to be retinned for cooking. A set of baking pans are all rusty and will need to go, but I've found my favourite salad bowl and instead of repacking it, have started using it for salads again! I'm just hoping I won't find something emotionally precious which has been ruined.

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