There's such a lot to do and such a lot to think about! And I am tired already! But I keep on going!
Then this week a village resident decides to take me up on my offer to help her child with learning English. I don't need extra work this week .... nevertheless, I am always so very, very pleased to help young people or older people, whoever they are and whatever their age, to learn English. It is a huge pleasure for the teacher in me to see and hear them making progress, but I'm not sure I was ready for over 3 hours voluntary work this week at Bac level! Still, I have done my homework and I have treated it as a challenge and as a learning experience for me. I just hope that I have conveyed and imparted sufficient knowledge and enthusiasm for the 16 year old young horsewoman to gain not only good marks but also the confidence and competence to make progress herself.
Learning is about accepting challenges, and doing one's best to gain whatever it is we need to learn, however old we are!!! I don't think that as a parent I conveyed that message very well!
I can't quite think at some moments of the day, especially first thing in the morning or after the evening meal, yet at other times the list is theoretically quite lucid, until I start to think pragmatically, or start to shop at DIY institutions!
There is the need for optimism
Double glazing is arriving from UK at half the price of the French estimate as of next Tuesday! Then there is major work to do on about 20 windows and doors! I am the support unit!
Finalising the choice of two woodburners and getting an installer before the end of the year, in addition to all the prep building work we need to do, is the next challenge! Oh, it sounds so simple! Believe me, IT IS NOT SIMPLE!!!
Meanwhile, the electrician says he will arrive tomorrow... 8am ... to make the electricity safe and earthed and to install ( oh joy) running hot water!!!!!! from a 'chauffeau thermodynamique' !
Will he arrive....because last week's date of his arrival came to nought?
Today was absorbed with DIY shopping for a window and plasterboard and other materials whilst researching the price of a number of things, on what amounted to a lengthy journey, despite the impending fuel shortage. The bonus was that we passed the fruit farm and bought abut 5 kg of fruit... different apples and pears, some good for cooking and others perfect for eating. I recommend a large apple called Golden Rosé for eating!
Yesterday, we had to go to the city on other business and witnessed the queues for petrol/diesel which affected the flow of traffic exiting from a roundabout! We paid 1.43 euros per litre once we got out into the countryside, having decided that we had better keep the tank topped up. Have you heard about the blockades in France and the manifestations of those who are protesting against the raising of the pensionable age to 62? It sounds bad in Paris where vehicles have been set alight! England wants to raise the pensionable age to 66. Will that result in strikes, rallies and marches against such governmental plans?
In the house, I continue from time to time to scrape glue and paper off the cement floors and wrestle with the pain in my wrists! The reward is that I can scoop the paper crumbs into the waste bag!
The tongue and groove boarding is being removed. Now the rooms feel as if they can breathe.
I must paint! I must make shopping lists! I must do the paperwork! In addition I must decide for items for lighting, for the bathroom (floor, ceiling, walls, bath, shower, toilet, sink, towel rails, cupboards)
What lesson am I supposed to learn from owning a stone house with its once 18th/ 19th century beautiful 'to the modern eye' stone walls which suck up the damp from the soil, but which have been covered in plastered insulation board since 25 years ago, and today, we struggle to covert a 21st century look? I like the look of French stone walls on the interior so why do I have this house where not a stone can be seen as it is fully plasterboarded and hence potentially very warm inside? A message cries out to me to build or buy a modern home, a simple, unashamedly faceless practical residence of a Fairfax-type home with its joy of an almost 'maintenance free' lifestyle that it was! But even that dream has its challenges. Modern sings to me... as does l'ancienne. Pick me or Pick me.... the houses say! Life is just not easy! My partner wanted me to do build a new house... but i wasn't ready. I felt I did not have sufficient knowledge, expertise or confidence. It is strange because now I know what I would do and how I would do it. The difference also is that we have some French friends who can help us and if I'd had the courage to approach them a year ago I am sure they would have helped us unravel the building regs for such a project!
For me, the wrinkles become more evident as the brain and wisdom grows. However, it is my oerceptions that we keep more fit in mind, body and soul by undertaking this project, now that the horrors of what I have undertaken appear to be a little more manageable and under control!
It has been a scary experience.... and I am not out of the woods yet....
MESSAGE: KNOW what thy doeth when a French renovation project calleth, and even when one thinketh one knoweth all, be humbleth when knoweth nought!!!!!!!!!
As my French friends tell me ... when one buys an old house it can be aesthetically beautiful but one does not know the surprises that one purchases. When one has a new build there are no surprises! I now believe!