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  • Writer's pictureCatherine

Meetings Galore!

We headed to France on Thursday morning, this time we were travelling together and I was happy to have some time off work as I hadn’t had a day off since February. Jean-Guy picked us up from Nantes in the early afternoon before going to Chateaubriant to have some late lunch and picking up our supplies to head to Le Boulay. When we arrived, the builders of our new assainissement were packing up so we said hello and they talked us through their work and what was still to do before the inspection on Friday. It was so exciting to see work actually happening on the property, the first real works since we bought the house! It was a great feeling. After they left for the day, we set up the house and started doing a bit of work before a lot of Magali’s family came to visit and we showed them the work. Unfortunately, they were there for the funeral of their oldest brother Albert, who had died a few days earlier. It was great to see them but not under the happiest of circumstances. We did a bit more work and then headed to Hubert’s for some dinner with Jean-Guy. We took the short walk home in the evening, made the bed and went to sleep.

We woke up early on Friday to have a quick breakfast and do a little work before we got on the bikes to head to our meeting with Chris, an Englishwoman who owns Le Manoir de la Vieille Douve, a chambre d’hotes in the heart of Bourg d’Ire. She had agreed to meet us to talk about her experiences doing up the building and how she came to be in a very small French town. She was very lovely and it was so nice of her to give up her time to talk to us. We rode back to Le Boulay to meet Dominique from Aquatiris who was inspecting the work of the builders, we were also waiting for the arrival of Aurelien from Spanc who needed to approve the work so that it was meeting regulations. They were there for about two hours but it was all signed off in the end. Hooray! We had a late lunch with Jean-Guy before we all did some work in the garden to get rid of a lot of weeds that had grown in the heat of the Spring. Magali and I then drove to the supermarket to get food for the next few days before heading to Dominique and Monique’s to see them as well as Julien and Letitia, who were visiting for the holidays. We played badminton with Mathilde, their daughter, as well as meeting their brand new daughter, Faustine, and took apero outside as it was still warm. We decided to stay for dinner and had a really nice time chatting and catching up. We drove back to Le Boulay and headed straight to bed.

We got up early again, this time to go to an early meeting at the bank to find out more information about the loan we could get to start works on the house. It was really productive, if somewhat stressful as a lot of it depends on my salary! We headed back to the house to do some more work in the garden before starting a BBQ for lunch. It was very yummy and the first one of the year! We tidied up and got back to work in the garden. It was hard work and it was very warm, it was great to be outside as it felt like a very long winter. Aurore arrived with her kids to see us and the progress we’d made on the house. Magali’s aunt and uncle arrived so they could kill some of the rabbits that Hubert keeps at the house. I was curious to watch but obviously scared for the rabbit. Hubert held it upside down and hit it on the head, he then took a knife and put it into the rabbit’s eye. It was horrendous to watch so walked away at this point. I got the courage to try again later when Jeanine was skinning it, for some reason that was easier to see, maybe because the rabbit was definitely dead by this point, it seemed less cruel. I think even though it’s hard to watch, at least they’re responsible for where their food comes from. After chatting for a while and keeping her kids away from seeing the rabbits, Aurore left and we tidied up and got ready to go to Anthony and Solene’s for dinner. Two of their other friends were also there, so we had a really nice night and our second BBQ! We drove back to Le Boulay and headed straight to bed, it had been a long day.

When we woke up in the morning, we found that we had been infested by ants! They had somehow come into the wardrobe and onto the table in the bedroom where my bag and clothes happened to be, and they decided to go all over them! It really wasn’t a nice thing to be greeted with before even having a coffee. I put my shoes on and started moving all the stuff (and ants) outside. We managed to make sure there was none in the room and that they were contained to the wardrobe. We had our coffee, got ready and set to work in the garden again. It was another glorious day of sunshine so we wanted to make the most of it. Magali started making the BBQ and then Jean-Guy and Catherine arrived for lunch. It took longer than expected but had a really yummy lunch eventually. We tidied up and were just having coffee when Dominique, Monique, Julien, Aurélie and Chantal arrived to see us. We all had a drink before going around the house to show them the works. I did the dishes and got back to work in the garden as it was our last full day so didn’t want to leave it unfinished. Jojo and Annick also arrived so I said a quick hello before continuing my work and Magali was entertaining the family. It took longer than I thought it would but I finally managed to finish weeding the nettle so I could join the others to enjoy a drink.

Before After

Before After

Jojo, Dominique, Aurélie, Magali and I then headed to the town centre as the annual market was on. We were a little late but still got to chat to a lovely old man who owned a Jeep from WWII and look around a little. We came back to Le Boulay where it had rained a little so the family had started to move everything inside for us and were getting ready to leave. We all had a crepe that Jojo had bought at the market before they all headed off. Magali and I then set to work. I finished cleaning out the Hangar while Magali was doing other things around the property. We put some hay on top of the water filtration plants as Dominique from Aquatiris had told us this would keep the moisture in while we were away. Magali then cleaned the BBQ while the darkness of the evening had set in so we headed inside. We tidied the house and had our leftovers from the BBQ for dinner. I went and had a shower where I was joined by a giant spider, I noticed it as soon as I put shampoo in my hair so had to wait it out. Afterward, I got our Spider Catcher from the kitchen to put her outside but it still really creeped me out. We got ready for bed and took the plans of the house to prepare our questions for the architect. We were still super paranoid about all the ants and spiders so even though we were exhausted, it was a struggle to sleep. I managed a few hours of restlessness so very much needed a coffee when we got up.

The Cleaned Hangar

The morning arrived slowly and we got ready for our visit with the architect. He arrived early so we were in the middle of cleaning. Marc had the plans updated from our emails and we went through all our prepared questions. He answered all of them and took us through what we needed to do next. He always makes us feel at ease and excited for the works to begin, which hopefully should be in September! Can’t wait! After an hour or so, Marc left and we got back to our tidying and cleaning of the house. Once all done, we went to Hubert’s for coffee to say goodbye and then headed back to Chateaubriant for a quick lunch. Jean-Guy arrived and we headed to the airport, cutting it a little fine. We didn’t anticipate the traffic so it was a mad dash from the car through security, customs and to the gate. Luckily, we made it just in time and were on the plane back to London.

It was a flying visit but we accomplished quite a lot in a short amount of time. All the meetings were very productive and it was great to see so many friends and family. I can’t wait to go back to do more work, especially getting the plans back from Marc and to get started on the renovation. Until next time!


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