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.
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 Guy....you're the best.
...and Alison, I nicked your picture, thanks, hope you don't mind.
Look at the photo's on www.cheekylemur.blogspot.com