Sunday, 28 October 2012

White Van Man, Slinkies and Baked Beans



I thought I was going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the cosy comfort of Dad’s log burner and thrust bodily into the Euro tunnel to return to France.  I’m not sure who would have done the dragging and shoving though because Dad was trying to persuade us to stay until Christmas and Brendan only had the use of one hand.  Don’t worry, it was nothing nasty.  The other hand was attached to Dad’s remote control in a firm, take it from me if you dare, kind of way as he flicked through teletext.  Teletext is his little obsession.  He will peruse any scores, fixtures, news or gossip about any sport with a ball and any sport without a ball for that matter.  Even if I am watching a programme that I have followed religiously for six hundred episodes and it is reaching its final climatic end if the mood comes over him he will read teletext and leave me with a tiny picture in the corner!  Rant over!  Here is a little synopsis of our trip to the UK.

Sunday 7th
I am actually beginning to have palpitations wondering how we are going to get our purchases back to France.  As is the norm, my poor Dad’s house turns into a warehouse whenever we come back to England.  The bedroom we stay in is compact at best but the space shrinks in size as each day passes and going to bed becomes a dangerous assault course.  At any moment during the night we could be crushed by tins of baked beans or suffocated in an avalanche of Dorset cereals.

When we return to France the LGB always says we won’t get all the ‘shopping’ in the car, but I always do!  This time I must concede that he is right (oooohhhh that hurt!) we definitely won’t get the ‘shopping’ in the car.  It looks like we are going to have to hire an artic! Now you must excuse me but I have a few bids to place on eBay! In for a penny, in for a pound.

Sunday 14th
That’s it!  I’m all shopped out now.  I enjoy a city fix and a spot of shopping but the LGB can leave me standing.  In fact I am often left standing outside shops waiting for him with all the long suffering chaps waiting for their other halves.  He is the only man I know who can spend a couple of hours in the biscuit aisle, he loves food shopping.  Kitchen shops – he loves them; pots, pans, potato peelers, oven dishes, oven gloves, glasses, you name it he loves it.  B & Q is his drug of choice.  He has to have a regular fix when we are here.  He is like a kid in a toy shop in a DIY store.  He relishes it all the more here because he can converse with every Tom, Dick or Harry.  Actually because Reading is now so wonderfully multicultural it is every Tomski, Dick or Ali. The Southerners have a bit of a problem with his accent, but he’s in his element North of the Watford Gap.

Monday 15th
It is beginning to feel like we are spending monopoly money.  We paid the deposit for the geothermal heating system at Ice Energy , had the car serviced, bought four new tyres, doors, white goods, did I mention two sofas?  I am beginning to sound like the Generation Game conveyor belt; I just need to squeeze in a toaster and a cuddly toy.  Oh, nearly forgot………… we've bought a Volks Wagon van!  Renting a van from France was going to cost over one thousand euros and they imposed so many scary if, buts, maybes and excesses that we would have been terrified to drive the van from their forecourt. Brendan priced up a local company and just half our goods would cost £1,000 to get back to France.  So, welcome Vera the Volks Wagon to our fleet of vehicles.  Have van, will fill it!


Vera's Void waiting to be filled

Friday 19th
Today we had our ‘training day’ with Ice Energy.  We spent the morning with Mike, the engineer, who talked us through things and answered our questions.  We collected the pipes that will be buried in the garden, the under floor pipes, manifolds, joints and all the other paraphernalia that will hopefully keep us warm and cosy. I was rather alarmed that it was piled on two pallets!  (I had suggested to the LGB that as we had managed to fit two ovens in the Laguna we would easily fit the Ice Energy kit in.  Deborah, sometimes you are sooooooooooooo na├»ve (stupid!).  Have van, have filled it!



Sofa?
Check.
Doors?
Check.
Baked Beans?
Check.

We have to take the baked beans off to fit the other sofa on.
The beans stay!!
We spent nigh on a day and a half filling the van with our goodies.  One of the sofas had to be taken off to fit in the important stuff.  We have left my poor Dad with an extra HUGE sofa in his lounge and a little less paint on his door frames!

Thanks to Sue, Kevin, Mary and Alan who have been keeping an eye on the site in our absence and rebuilding the awning each time it has collapsed in the wind and rain.  We understand our French neighbours have also been over helping and recovering our logs.  Lovely people one and all.  :)

                                            
Hopefully our Slinky Ground Loop will look a little like this.





Thursday, 4 October 2012

We've Downed Tools.


You may have gathered by now that there is not much happening on site. The windows and French doors have been hung, another little milestone reached.  The front door opening and picture window in the kitchen have been closed up whilst the frames are being made.  Little by little we are getting there.  I think the next big job will be laying the flooring upstairs and doing the room partitions.  That will be followed by the electrics; another dilemma, where to put the sockets and how many, shall we have wall lights, ceiling lights or both?  


We have been busy looking for interior doors, door frames, paint and other bits. We have had another meeting with Ice Energy to discuss the option of geothermal underfloor heating.  I have bought some paint.  Yes, you read it correctly, but don't get too excited they are just sample pots from Farrrow and Ball and some Annie Sloan chalk paint and wax to 'shabby chic' some of the furniture.  At huge cost I have purchased an Annie Sloan paint brush!!   I thought the LGB was going to have a coronary when I paid over £18 for it.  I will prove him wrong and keep it in pristine condition!  I am breaking into a panicky sweat at the thought of that commitment! 


I managed to choose a colour for the furniture to play around with from Marilyn and Melrose.  I am still deliberating over the colour for the windows.


I met lovely Denny at Lorden Design and got lots of inspiration from her new shop.  I would have loved a few pieces from her but we had to take Jack and his baggage back to university, so no room in the car.
Did I mention we had bought a couple of ovens and a hob?  I would never have believed  you could fit  them into the boot of a Renault Laguna!