20 May 2009


The chateau at Le Grand Pressigny

Reflecting on the events of the previous day, not only had we found the house for us but also just at the point where things could have gone really pear shaped, our second guardian angel had turned up.

Nick had definitely been in cold feet mode. We were never going to find a house that didn't need something doing to it. All the ones we had seen so far needed major "doing up" that we couldn't do ourselves. The little cottage in Le Grand Pressigny was different. Most of the stuff that needed doing was DIY and a few holidays should sort that out. It would be fun. However, the roof was a different matter - and so were the windows.

All of Nick's concerns and worries were perfectly valid. I could not disagree with him on a single point. Getting work done could be a whole load of trouble that we didn't need as all we wanted was a place to relax, not to cause us aggravation.

The boucherie in the village

Then along came M. Fairhead. There are quite a few English in and around the village, some with holiday homes and some are permanent residents. The chances are that we would meet them all eventually. I can still hardly believe our luck that we happened to meet the one person who could make all the difference to our plans on that day, right at the moment where I was beginning to see all our dreams disintegrate into mush.


On Sunday morning we drove into the village and bought a "tarte au mirabelle" from the boulangerie to serve to our guests with coffee. We walked round to the little cottage to take another look from the outside. It looked unloved and insignificant and I tried to imagine what it would look like if we tidied up the front a bit. The neighbour was pottering about and we smiled and said "bonjour". I had to bite my tongue not to say we were going to buy the house next door - there were a lot of hoops to jump through yet. Not to mention the other 4 houses that Antony had arranged for us to see.

The church in Place Savoie-Villars

Barrie and Lucie were impressed with the gite. It had been very useful for us to be staying there as we had a constant reminder of what a nicely "done up" house could be like.

Just an ordinary pump in the village

Barrie was familiar with the cottage as he had shown a client round it only a few days earlier, with the idea of it being turned into a gite. This client had put in an offer which had been declined by the vendor. The cottage was also for sale through the agent in the village (where we made ourselves known but from whom we never heard a word). This agent told Barrie that he thought another thousand euros on the offer would secure the house. This put it at twenty thousand below the advertised price. Barrie was also able to give us an idea how much the repairs and alterations might cost, plus the reassurance that he could obtain the necessary planning permission and oversee the work. To quote Barrie's wife Lucie "it just gets better and better".

The old railway bridge

We did our sums and the whole thing would come in well within our budget if we could buy it for the lower price. Unfortunately we had to wait until Tuesday to get any further as today was Sunday and on Monday the immobilier was closed.

I had no idea how I could stand the suspense or sleep a wink until then.

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