The House in France
If you have read these letters before you will know that we have been building a house in the Dordogne, in between working and living in two different places in the UK. This year has seen significant progress with the house. At the beginning of the year the walls were finished and the roof was put in place, making it at last look like a proper building. The windows were fitted in March and the house was finally 'closed and covered'. Once this happened we could start thinking about the interiors and in March and April several journeys too and from France were made with van loads of plaster board and insulation (as the decrease in the value of the pound has meant that most things are now cheaper in the UK). Interior walls and ceilings were commenced and temporary plumbing and electric installed. Our hours spent planning the previous winter were not wasted as we knew where most things were going to go although to be certain we had not made a mistake we spent the first visit marking out the position of the baths, toilets and kitchen cabinets on the floor in chalk! We stayed in the house for the first tiime in May while more work was done to the inside. Over the summer we engaged a man with a digger who did some ground work and started work on the septic tank. This project has taken longer than we thought and is still half finsihed. We started some plumbing, varnished the windows and finished off some of the walls and in autumn we continued. Our next trip back is after Christmas, when I think our main aim is to galvanize the buidlers and the septic tank man into the next stage. The buidlers have been finishing off the outside in readiness for renderring and we have been waiting for the septic tank man to reappear. It has been a case of two steps forward and one step back but compared to this time last year it has progressed quite well.
Moving to France
We made a big step towards this goal this year in that in September we finally made up our mind and set a date. It won't be possible for us both to go out at the same time but the plan is that Ian (sic) will give up his job at the end of February and make a start on preparing for the move and I will go out when possible. It is hard to be more definate as there are still a lot of ends to tie up but we thought that if we left it much longer then it would just get move difficult to move and will end up taking until we both retire. So, now is the time to jump and I can't wait! Hopefully this time next year I will be writing this from France. I will give up my job as soon as we have a more concrete plan and I must admit I am looking forward to it. I may do some part time work with the Occupational Therapy School in Bordeaux or I may just focus on running our bed and breakfast and llama farm!
As you may have gathered we didn't really have time for any holidays as such as we were busy spending them working on the house. The work was quite tiring physically but mentally was a great relief from our regular jobs and so felt like a break. It also enabled us to get to know the area down by the land better. The only break we did manage was last Christmas when we joined by brother and sister-in-law skiing in France. We also had a long weekend to Northern France to go to a wedding of one of Ian's friends. Next year we may get a weekend in Germany to buy our central heating boiler as they are half the price when bought direct.
The biggest family event was my sister's wedding in July. She got maarried in Windsor Guildhall, where Charles and Camilla and Elton John had their wedding. She was very happy and the whole day went well..
My brother and sister-in-law are still continuing with their 'grand design' project in an old recording studio in Holland park and are hoping to complete the work next year. My elderly cat Norma is still alive despite her increasing age!
All that remains is to wish you a very happy Christmas for 2009 and to hope that 2010 brings you all you wish fop.