Two Weeks Later…
We were back again for a long weekend to do the final moves. We arrived on Friday afternoon and we took the time to go to a few stores to look at tiles, bathrooms and paints to try and make some decisions. It was productive and good to know our tastes are so similar, we know exactly what we don’t want but it’s hard to find what we do. The hardest decision to make is the colour of the shutters, Magali would like green and I would like a grey-blue, so we got a few test pots to try it out. Magali’s parents were out for the evening so Magali and I went to the pub and chatted to the barman who was originally from Birmingham but had lived in France since he was nine. It was nice to chat in the mixture of Franglish and find others who had already made the move. We then went to Chez Gus for a nice steak dinner before heading home to bed.
We got up slowly and ran a few errands before we all headed out to Le Boulay where we had lunch before getting down to work. Catherine had to go, so she left Jean-Guy fixing the lawnmower while Magali and I tried out our test pots on the front door and on the shutters. We were trying to make a decision to no avail when our friend, Aurore, arrived at the house to see us with her kids. We showed her what we’d been doing and caught up for a while before she left us to our work. We starting packing up all the things from the kitchen cabinets into boxes and making sure all the furniture was empty in preparation to move into the garage. Catherine came back and told us of her afternoon before we went back to Chateaubriant with some boxes and unpacked before getting ready for our friends, Solène, Anthony, Lilio and his new sister, Lisie, arrived for apero and a bit of dinner. We had a great time catching up and a lovely evening together.
Sunday arrived and we all headed out to Le Boulay again. First things first though, we had to try out our Walkie Talkies! For Magali’s birthday, she had asked if we could get some as the property is so big it’s hard to find each other sometimes. I took one to the far side of the land and Magali stayed near the house and they work so well! What a great idea! We saw some of the tomatoes were ripe so those that hadn’t started to be eaten, we picked up to enjoy later, they were so big and red! We spent the rest of the morning trying to empty one of the old petrol holders for the tractor to make space for the rest of the furniture in the house. It took longer than expected but we got there in the end but it was time to eat so we cleaned up and had a yummy lunch including our tomatoes with Magali’s basil pesto. After lunch, we set to work taking the Kitchen furniture out including the fridge and the oven. We set it up as a little kitchen in the hangar so Magali can still use it when she’s there over the next few months.
We also put more boxes in the garage so all that was left in the house was the mattress and the sofa and chairs. Jean-Guy also took down the boiler and the shower head so it was all looking very empty. We managed to get quite a bit done so all we had to do on Tuesday was pack up the last of the boxes into the car and weed the assainissement. Happy with our work, we went to see Dominique and Monique at their house for a catch up before heading back to Chateau and getting kebabs (not like London kebabs) for dinner before all sitting down to watch a movie together then going to bed. Another productive day!
We had to get up early on Monday as I was working from home and wanted to get in some extra hours for the day since we would be heading to an appointment in the afternoon. While I worked, Magali started going through her room, finding her old memories in the drawers. She had the hard job of deciding what to keep and what to give away, all so she could make space for our stuff from the house. We had an early lunch so we could leave for the one-hour drive to Nantes and to our appointment at Baluchon, a company that makes Tiny Houses. They showed us around two in progress and explained how it all worked. We then went through what we were looking for. Luckily for me, both Letitia and Vincent spoke very good English so could do the meeting in my native tongue which made it much easier for me. It was a great meeting and we were very excited by the idea of working with them.
Tuesday was another working day for me and an appointment with the architect. We were excited to meet Marc as we wanted to make some progress on our project but around 11, we saw he’d sent us an email saying that he wouldn’t be able to make our meeting due to a priority meeting he had to go to. He couldn’t do any other time so we felt really disheartened. We still left for Le Boulay around 4pm and went to the Bank beforehand to sign some papers. We weeded the assainissement, packed the car with the last of the boxes and took in our empty surroundings. It was the first time since we bought the house that it been so bare. This was really the end of the beginning and the start of our project, a sobering and exciting feeling.
We got up and started to pack our luggage for London. We made an early lunch while Catherine had taken the kids to the market and got our favourite treat, chichi, to have as our dessert before heading to the airport. It had been a bittersweet trip, we’d managed to empty the house but as we didn’t meet Marc, it felt unresolved. It was also strange as we knew that in a few short weeks, Magali would be leaving London to start our French project for real and I would be alone in the big city. Something we’re both dreading for the time apart but also excited for as we know it’s the start of something big. As The Rolling Stones say, “you’re not the only one with mixed emotions”, so let’s get this part over with and we can enjoy our new life on the Continent.