Sunday, 27 December 2009

The evil deed is done.

The van was finally loaded and the house emptied so I phoned Alison in France to check the arrangements.
The fact that no-one had been able to enter or leave the village for two days did not deter Mr Lemur from his plans. The ferry crossing was booked and we were going ahead as planned to drop all our worldly possessions in France.

We kind of decided that it would not turn out as bad in reality as we had been warned, the main roads were bound to be free of snow by now, so down to Portsmouth we went....happy to be giving Dover a wide berth.

We woke the following morning to find no snow at Le Havre and none on the roads, so despite the fact that we were driving a fully loaded 7.5 tonne truck, it felt good.
Our good friend Alan helped load the truck for two days in the UK then bravely offered to accompany us to France to lend a hand on the other side.

The house is located in rural Normandy and after about two hours of driving, wet approached the outskirts of the village.
As soon as we left the main road, we encountered the snow, not too bad on the flat but a bit of a white knuckle ride on the long downward hill into the village.
I tend to worry on the snow because never having driven this truck, I don't know if we're asking for it to deliver something out of it's comfort zone.
Anyway, we were nearly there and what other choice did we have than to have a go at negotiating the twisty, winding, icy slope?

I needn't have worried about the lorry in the snow, Mr Lemur negotiated it faultlessly and we arrived at the house ready to start day three of the move extravaganza.
At this point, Alison arrived from next door with promises of hot coffee, I didn't need asking twice, anyway, there was always the possibility that the others would arrive to say that the unloading was done.
Didn't happen.

Unpacking the truck was much as you would expect really, until we came to the range cooker. It went in easily enough...with a fork lift. it came out very laboriously, the four of us wondering how we could possibly lift the thing without the weight being taken bt the thin sheet steel on the bottom. Luckily it was a cooker on legs, Guy, our French neighbour (on the other side) suggested tying a rope around the bottom of each tapering leg to fashion a handle. This worked and we could move the cooker six inches per lift as far as the door and over the threshold, then came the fun stuff, we screwed the feet of the cooker onto planks to make skis and then dragged it into position. Easy peasy. Just took about an hour to move, that's all.
As soon as we finished unloading, the temperature plummeted and all the melting snow started to re-freeze.
Thankfully a canny one amongst us suggested moving the lorry into the main village before the road turned to glass, which is exactly what happened. We would have been stranded ourselves until who knows when had we not done it.

It became apparent that someone 'up there' decided that we deserved to live in France...for whatever reason. Had we started out a day earlier or later, we would not have found it as easy a journey.

A quick but heartfelt thank you to our good friends who helped us, to Mom and Dad, Alan, Helen, Alison and're the best.
...and Alison, I nicked your picture, thanks, hope you don't mind.

Look at the photo's on

Sunday, 13 December 2009

It's not until you get everything out to pack it that you find all your little lost treasures, the dear old camera that hasn't seen the light of day for a couple of years was found buried under a sheaf of 'vitally important documents'
Photos long forgotten about which had slid down the back of heavy cupboards.
A bottle of Jack Daniels which had been put aside for a rainy day turned up at the back of my wardrobe.

You will be thinking at this point that I'm not one of those people who empty out cupboards and drawers every couple of months. I hold up my hands as being one of life's apple polishers.
I blame my artistic temperament for can you be creative AND tidy? Maybe some of you tidier creative bods might like to share a few housekeeping tips with me.

As I'm packing all my stuff into boxes and labelling, I'm thinking that there are boxes we will need right away, ones that we won't need 'till the summer and others which will not be opened until the house is finished.
When the time arrives that those boxes can be opened I'm hoping that I will have learned to live with a central core of essential items and will not need to reinstate the clutter.

Housework is much easier a task without scores of objects to dust, and if truth is known I do love the idea of uncluttered surfaces.
Wish me luck....

PS. where I have written 'I' read 'we', I'm not alone in the guilt.

Monday, 7 December 2009

My old man said follow the van...

Well, the weeks are passing by and New Years Day is getting closer. New Years Day this time is very much more symbolic than any other I've is the day in which we arrive in France to start our new French life.

Saturday we held a Bon Voyage party for our family and friends at a local club, I'm always amazed at how many wonderful people I can rely on to support me on occasions like this- nobody likes to look like Billy-no-mates in front of the landlord and the regulars.

We have started sifting through eighteen years of 'treasure' every piece which is sacrificed, as I'm sure all you other hoarders out there know, will be needed in the coming months.
Packing the important bits into boxes that seem to be full before you know it. The 7.5 tonne truck will be groaning as it attempts to pull off from the kerb.
Mr Lemur, bless him(!) has got the wrong idea about packing. More and more tools keep arriving TO the house and packing the front room has taken on a whole new meaning.

Until our stuff actually moves from the house and into the lorry, I can't believe it's really happening. My mother and a couple of my friends were on the verge of quivering lips at the party, they must have thought me a heartless cow when I was still smiling. It wasn't until afterwards as I read through the cards that I started to feel it, but it's too late to back out now, the contracts have exchanged and it's final.
I'd never felt very tender towards Coventry previously, being a Black Country girl, but now I look around me and it's like seeing it for the first time. The people, the memories and the good times spent here have all become one. I have spent the biggest part of my adult life here and remember some very happy times, like getting married, raising my two girls and meeting the best friends anyone could wish for. At this point you may be asking yourself why I'm leaving, I ask myself too at times.
But this is an adventure that promises to be great. Not easy at times, but spending a lot more time together as a family making it work together is one opportunity that none of us want to pass by.