Hopping on the scales last week and realising that a multitude of French bread and fromage has led to the inevitable weight gain I have been dreading, has resulted in lots of walks this week. We were lucky enough to bump into our English “neighbour” Katie (I say neighbour loosely as her house is directly above our land but about 1.5km away-so forget the English concept of next door neighbours) whilst out walking on Sunday and she showed us a lovely 5km circular walk which takes in some of the lovely scenery around the Bastide.
It’s all uphill around here so the walks have been lung busting and strenuous in my attempt to utilise them to replace my previous exercise regime of 3 – 6 high impact up exercise classes a week.
The lanes are in full, beautiful French bloom at this time of year and the recent rain, rain and more rain that we have had has really caused the wild flowers to burst out in their Springtime glory.
Poppies have always been one of my favourite flowers – and remind me of my Dad and Ann (as they were in full bloom in Acol (a village near Margate) when they were in their last weeks (and also of my Grandad who I called “Poppy”)
It’s a novelty for me and the dogs to do our walking on roads for a significant part of the route – but I have to say it is a breath of fresh air to be able to count on one hand the number of cars that pass us – and ALL without exception slow down to pass us. There’s also loads of wild life – including cows, donkeys and even deer.
Whilst out on the many walks and drives we have done over the last 2 weeks we have pondered over our choice of style for the house which we will be building. Initially our plans had been to build a simple, single story wooden house, then we changed our mind and decided to go for a brick built house – two rectangles joined together in a lazy V shape. But, seeing the lovely French farmhouses with their quirky, often irregular shapes got me thinking again that we should be putting something a little different into our design.
So after much pondering, and a fly away comment to Peter the retired architect (“you should get up high to see the view”) it was decided – The Princess would like a tower!! Not a massive, huge Rapunzel, medieval tower – just a nice, sensible sized tower to get up high and be able read the gazillions of books that we have accumulated over the past decade in the hope that one day we would build a reading loft somewhere in the Dordogne!! That sort of tower!!
So, when our builder Laurent came for an RDV (that’s rendezvous to you and I) we told him of the changes and between our bit of French, his bit of English, and Google translate – we came up with a plan to take the new ideas forward. We’re hoping that by taking a few bits from the original plans (like electric shutters (which we didn’t want anyway) and the terrace (which we will do at a later date)) the quote for the new improved “maison avec tower” will come in about the same as before. Fingers (and everything else) crossed!! This photo is not the plans for our house – but this is a style similar to what we are hoping for.
So, that’s all very exciting!!
Also exciting is the news that the geneologists report has FINALLY arrived, and to our great relief there are just the three of us spawned to my dad!! No wild oat sowing on his part to worry about!! So, the transfer of ownership for the land can now be done. Disapointingly though it’s taken all week to pin down the Notaire to any news of progress and we are still waiting to here!! The French system is certainly sent to try us.
Someone said to me this week “when you first move to France you wonder if you have made the right decision, you wonder if this is the right country for you as everything seems to go wrong”. It’s so true……it feels as if it is just us who are being subjected to the ridiculous lengths of time to get things sorted out – but it’s not just us – it’s just the way it is!! Tres slow!! We need to adapt and to learn patience, and also resilience – and plenty of it – as things change constantly – they rarely go to plan – we just need to go with the flow. And take time to stop for a while and enjoy our beautiful surroundings and have fun.
And celebrate the small successes and progress – like getting to the end of the bit of strimming that revealed the lovely view of the village nestled below us.
©Sharon Rees-Williams – wordpress.com/thislittlepieceof.land, 2018
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