Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Buffalo Grill

Because we deserve it :-)

May not seem like much of a reward but the advantages of Buffalo Grill are that they are easy to find - see roof; they are in every city; they do a reliably good steak; you don't have to be sitting down by 12.15pm in order to get fed; and, most importance they do the most amazing 'Diligence de Desserts'.

The man at CPAM accepted our forms for the health service!!!! With not a hint of a shrug or sucking of teeth!!! Couple of questions to which we had answers, so: photocopies of passports, english translations of birth and wedding certificates, evidence of tax paid, residence, income in england and france, evidence of any interest earned on anything in either country and filled in form, get it past the man. (With a proviso that if there is a problem they might ring the number and to hold on to our old cards - yes they had most of this information already - but hey.)

So then we had a first of many visit to the main DIY shed in the town. Him Outdoors' eyes light up with delight, wanders off muttering about what a good shop it is and how helpful everyone is. Have to say my eyes glaze over and heart sinks at the thought of how many times I will be sent the 45 minutes to Perigueux to find something I'm not quite sure about.

Then lunch. Him Outdoors loves the lumps of steak, they're not really my thing but  they are very good. It's the puddings that do it for me. The first time I had the puddings it was mainly because I couldn't decide, so thought a selection of 5 with 2 spoons (well he might get a nibble) was an easy decision. But they are all great, raspberry cheesecake, chocolate brownie, grilled pineapple, profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce and creme brulee and each one delicious. My mouth is watering as I write.

And to cap it all, when we got home there was an email from the architect to say that his plans had been passed by Batiments de France! So we have permission to apply for planning permission and we can get the ball started before we go away at the end of the week.

Brilliant stuff.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Colours and treasure

One of the things we have to tell the architect in order for him to submit planning is which colour we want to paint the woodwork. We were sent to the Mairie to get a chart of the colours available. Some kerfuffle caused by there not being any in the drawer and they needed to be printed out. Voila - er it's in black and white. Much hilarity and then we were given the proper chart.
We then wandered around the town trying to match up houses to the chart. No chance. Then went to the local DIY shop to try and see the colours on the tin. They don't stock any paint that has even a vaguely similar number.
Plan B was to go to the local DIY shed and see if they had any watercolour or artist paint with numbers on. While we were there we chatted to the Dulux paint mixer lady and she was very helpful and left us with her folder of colours all dutifully numbered.
We came up with two to try on a piece of wood (thank you Sue for giving us an offcut because Him Outdoors has not only left all his tools in England but has no useful hoard of wood....................yet.) These tester pots were €17 a tin but as the lady helpfully said that if we liked one at least we'd have half a litre already.
So here is Him Outdoors painting the donated plank with my pastry brush!
I think we'll go for the one on the right, or at least tell them we will. Him Outdoors said that he didn't mind which but he thought he probably preferred the grey one on the left........................................

What intrigues me is how someone whose colour sense is, to me, completely weird, can get so excited about the colours.
Whilst he was painting I sat in the sun and rubbed linseed oil into some of the treasures we rescued from the bonfire heap at the new house. Him Outdoors was waxing lyrical about cricket bats and childhood (during which conversation I discovered that his father used to call him Stinky - something new after 40 years, always a good thing). I found a hammer that I'm sure has cracked generations of walnuts, a tiny fold up ruler, a beautifully turned needle holder with hole making device inside, some tongs for who knows what, a valve for a vinegar/oil jar and some pens and pencil box that go with some beautifully written school  exercise books from the 20s and the 50s.

And they were all in the leftover bonfire. What other treasures have they just burnt or taken to the dump. Ho hum, we tried to make it clear that we would love anything but it is all so unimportant in their eyes. Who could possibly want such things. I have requested that they leave a chest of old books and all the jamjars and they seem to be still there. Along with a rusty saucepan full of live cartridges.

We have plans!

So here's your starter for ten. Turn this
into this

No trouble...................................

This has been one of those 'it can't be Friday again' weeks. Where did the time go?

We now have a plumber/heating engineer, an electrician, a mason, a window man, the mason is going to check the roof and an architect.

We saw the architect yesterday. We are only using him to fight the planning battles for the external holes. We are very close to the ancient bits of town so there are severe planning constraints. The architect seems to think that as long as we put more expensive cast iron velux type windows in, we should be able to enlarge the two windows in the attic and the balcony window in the sitting room and why not add these dormer ones to the front. He had several more ideas for knocking holes in that we may do later but I think for now that will be quite enough. He is very keen that we should keep the plaster on the outside and in fact make the house look exactly like his picture but I thnk so much of it will just fall off when we hit it, that all the lovely golden stone underneath will just have to show.

He is telling the planners that we are buying what used to be a second home and that because we are going to live in it permanently we need more light in the attic. This will mean that the tax people will not be told of the increased floor space and we will not have to pay more tax - I like people that come up with plans like that.

The electrician also vetoed our plans to move the electricity meter from rather a prominent place in the kitchen. Apparently if the electricity board have to move the counter then they will think that the house is a new build and it will come under all their regulations (and costs). If we leave the counter where it is but put all the rest in the cellar as planned, the electricity board will think that the electricity is fine and just reconnect it - even though it is so bad there is a smell of burning??

Him Outdoors is having a bit of a panic about some of the jobs that he is unfamiliar with and that people have different opinions about but 'one step at a time' will probably see us through.

And it's really exciting!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Good day

After a couple of people have been sucking their teeth about the state of the roof of the new house, we got a mason/roofer to come and look at it.

He worked for us at the last house and he's a lovely guy that is happy to have Him Outdoors work with him, is happy to use the stones from the ruin and doesn't charge too much - and he turned up on time!!

He couldn't see what the problem was, the roof was fine, he would get his long ladder and go up and look properly at the top but from underneath it is fine, in fact the whole house is 'in good health'. There is no problem with a huge wall between us and the neighbours and the balcony can be repaired. I love him. He can come when we want, the openings will be no problem (if Batiments de France allow). And I actually believe him because I know he turns up and does what he says. Brilliant.

Whilst we were at the house we met our new neighbours and introduced ourselves. Turns out (of course) that she is the cousin of our ex neighbour from our old house. She was born here, went to Paris and then came back to retire. He was a bit more reticent (and more difficult to understand) but she is delighted to have neighbours.

We also met one of Him Outdoors walking colleagues who was visiting his mother who lives up the road. He told us that the man we are buying the house from was the postman and his father who also lived there worked on the railway. Some very complicated details about who had died when and where that I lost track of but more smiley welcoming people delighted to see a house being restored and more people in the village to keep the shops open.

We then went on to a lovely supper with friends. A good day.