Skip this post if you are not interested in the French Idyll saga!
I think last time I left the story we were enjoying (or sometimes not!) our time in the rented cottage. Well eventually we came to the end of our stay there and left for home. I must say I was elated to be going home but it was difficult to know whether that was because I had been in rented accommodation without any thing much to do and without our 2 cats and towards the end of our stay Thomas had been hospitalised for an op on his leg and I wanted to get back to be with him but we had friends already booked to come over so couldn't leave early. Glad to say all was well with Tom who was pleased to see me again. I remember as we left the Eurotunnel on the English side I punched the air and shouted "Yesssss!" I was really glad to be back and very soon settled back to life in Surrey with all my friends.
However one of the friends we had made during our sojourn e-mailed in the summer to invite us to stay as it was her husband's 70th birthday and they wanted us to attend the party. Whilst we were with them we were passing an estate agent's one day and stopped to look in the window as you do. Before you could say "knife" our friend was in there making an appointment for us to view a couple of properties! To cut a long story short the seed was sown and although we didn't like either of those properties the idea of moving to a home of our own - this time in or near a town so that we would have facilites on our doorstep - re-surfaced and we went back later to have a proper look. After looking at about 30 properties all told - including during our period of renting - we came upon the one we bought and just fell in love with it.
It was a sunny September afternoon when we first visited the house and when we went inside and saw the view from the back where a new extension had been added with huge patio doors opening onto a terrace and this amazing view we just had to have it!
Actually these photos were taken after we moved in and at the time we viewed the shutters were painted white and the view was slightly obscurred by several pine trees but even so we could see that from the back we had no houses between us and the 8 km distant little town of Oradour sur Glane. To one side we had a field of Limousin cattle and at the front was this garden space fronting onto a little chemin (grassy lane) off the road to the village. Blissfully peaceful but with neighbours to one side and in the village.
Buying a house in France is not quite like here and once our offer had been accepted we had to meet with the vendor - a very nice widow in her 50s - at the estate agents and we both had to sign numerous papers in which we promised to buy and she promised to sell. We then had a 7 day cooling off period and then the agreement would be binding on both sides! The French rarely have surveys done and as the house was only 25 years old and not a tumble down wreck we decided not to either!
We went home and put our house in Surrey on the market and luckily we got a buyer with nothing to sell and all went smoothly there. I can't really remember the details now but it was quite stressful what with the sale in UK and the purchase in France but eventually we got the money sorted and transferred to France and we went over to sign the papers which we were given to understand had to be done in person. We drove over with a car loaded up with items for our first night - the rest of our stuff was to be dealt with our removal company and we hoped to fly back to finish off in UK and to leave the car loaded with our belongings in the garage of what would by then - we thought - be our house. We had organised a bridging loan so that we didn't have to vacate our UK house until a week or so later when the sale on that was finalised.
Well... of course we should have known some spanner would be thrown into the works and so it was. The estate agent informed us that our money was stuck in the notaire's account in Paris and so the signing could not actually take place until it was with the local notaire. So the house was not ours yet. Luckily the vendor had already moved out and was agreeable to our leaving the car in what was legally still her house. We flew back exhausted and frustrated having given the estate agent power of attourney to sign on our behalf. So why couldn't we have done that in the first place I wonder?!!
The papers were signed the following day when the money came through and all was well. Now all we had to overcome was the actual removal from UK to France.
Of course all was further complicated by the fact that it was by now Christmas time and solicitors were not available till after the new year! Still we were able to kill 2 birds with one stone and before all our stuff was packed we had a Goodbye/Christmas/New Year party for all our friends. We had a brilliant firm of removers who although not cheap were so professional and kept me from going completely barmy by knowing just how to sooth the troubled breast or whatever!!
Cats were all set with their passports by now, baskets at the ready and the house was emptied of all but a double bed we had sold to our buyers and a garden bench. We spent our last night in our old home camping out but we were so tired we slept like logs ready for our early start the following day. It was sad to say goodbye to our daughter who by this time had moved out and was living in a house share not far away so she came round on that last evening.
Moving day arrived bright and clear and we set off.....
To be continued