That was from the second of our trips this year; the one where we signed on the dotted line to purchase our new house. Admittedly the house is only new to us and not newly built. Oh no, there’s plenty of work to be done to get this rural French property spick and span, but that’s supposed to be the fun of it.
It’s taken four months from us seeing it and having the offer accepted, to going to the Notaire and receiving the key (just the one). I can’t decide whether the time has flown or dragged, but we’ve got it now. Now is when the real work starts. It’s all very well planning, organising and e-mailing, but that only gets you so far. Now we have to make this long dwelled over dream a reality.
We started to get the hang of this when we spent the first four nights of our ownership, occupying the place; though I guess most would describe it a ‘roughing it’ in some form or another. I have to admit we were so dubious about the state of the electrical wiring in the place that we didn’t dare flick on the main switch until the fourth day. Thankfully, no rogue sparks materialised and no hair was left stood on end. That can’t be said about investigations into the septic tank, but less said about that the better.
Despite the fact that the house is in Central SW France (an area generally warmer than the UK during the majority of the year), I think the first night we stayed in the house was one of the coldest I have experienced. Our own fault of course, just a few blankets and an airbed between us and a concrete floor; one of those times I can live without experiencing again. The borrowing of thick cushions for a couple of nights and relocating to an upstairs wooden floor saved us from repeating our first night feat. You live and learn.
Now you may at this stage, (those quick-witted amongst you), be wondering why we didn’t just sleep upstairs in the first place. There is a reason. It had something to do with there being no balustrade of any form around the stairs, a downstairs bathroom and a rather large fear of breaking one’s neck during the night when one had to ‘spend a penny’ as the saying goes. By the last night we’d got the hang of the place, had realised we could approach the stairs from the right angle without mortally wounding ourselves and had already returned the borrowed cushions to their rightful home.
There are of course many other small tales to tell about our first adventure in our new home, like how we can’t get the car through the back gate or how we had to release a bird caught in the conservatory, but they can be told later.
The point of me looking back now, amidst the chaos of planning the renovation of our future home, is how simple and freeing this feels. How hard you work produces direct results for you and yours. Everything you work on is to benefit you and your family. You can see the link, feel it even. I guess it’s like knowing where your food comes from, how it’s been grown or what sort of life it’s had, but the connection to the effort you put in and the result you get is tangible. I do hope we can achieve the life we set out to; to keep the connection; to feel it every day and to keep things simple and in balance.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but for now I’m planning on keeping this connection just in reach.
- Wendy McPhee says: August 1, 2012 at 8:56 pm I love your new life already! Can’t wait to keep up to speed on developments as they happen – this is such a great way of using your writing skills to bring living in France to us back in England xx