June 23, 2014

SETTLING IN

The settling in progresses and we're getting used to our new house, our new neighbourhood and our new neighbours.

The house is lovely and we love it. The question is, would we still have bought it if we had known that the neighbours on the other side of our party wall have three very young children?
We have no children ourselves, just a few nephews and nieces. The good thing about them is that we can enjoy their company for a while then wave them off when the family occasion that called for their presence is over. Most of them are teenagers now, well past the screeching stage - unlike the two year old next door.

The neighbours are in fact a very nice family. We have heard no bad language or bad tempers. Only patient coaxing and teaching from the parents and a lot of boisterous shouting from the younger children. They're just doing what young children do I suppose - shout to get what they want and shriek when they don't succeed.

All the clues were there when we viewed the house. There were toys in the back garden next door. I suppose we chose to ignore them, thinking that in a house this size there can't be more than two children, at the most. I forgot that these houses were built as homes for larger families in the 1930's and most of them are still "family homes". We liked the house so much, compared to others we had seen, that we were prepared to risk it. We now console ourselves with the notion that two year olds do grow up - in time.

I have never had a new house before - this is a 1930's house with a brand new interior, very tastefully modernised to compliment its age. There have been a few teething problems, such as the slight leak under the sink which delayed the emptying of boxes of cleaning stuff for a while, until Nick could find the time to fix it. Assembling the wardrobes and chests of drawers was the priority. The drain for the bath was not fitted properly meaning all the waste bath water ran down the drive. We had some trouble persuading the dishwasher to work and there are several switches which we have yet to work out what they do.

Bit by bit we're getting used to it, learning its little ways and secrets. The water pressure is fantastic - almost French in its powerfulness - and it's great to know you can take a shower at the same time as running the dishwasher and the washing machine. Having a combi boiler means there is an endless supply of hot water for the bath but flinging elbows around too enthusiastically in the bathroom can result in bruises. Indeed, flinging a leg out of bed in the night can result in stubbing a toe on the bedroom wall!

Our spell of settling in and DIY is almost coming to an end and soon we will be heading back to France to begin our house hunting there. Most our new flatpack furniture is built and in use, a good proportion of the boxes have been emptied and their contents stowed in new places.
We are both pretty exhausted, ready for a proper rest and also feeling the need to remind ourselves why we have done this thing - swapped our perfectly nice and comfortable house for something less than half the size with buses thundering past the front window every ten minutes. Moving house has been emotionally and physically shattering and I'm glad we only do it every twenty nine years!

In the meantime, one item we very nearly took to the tip has come into its own after years of disuse - Nick's ancient ghetto blaster that he kept in the garage. When the little one next door is having a tantrum it's so satisfying to be able to drown out the sound with a bit of Def Leppard!

26 comments:

  1. Did you know that there is a big Harley event on in Tours at the beginning of July?
    But there is bound to be some "country" dancing displays to put you off!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tim, thanks for reminding us.
      We have never been chez nous at the right time but this year we can go to it if we want to!
      .....we might not, but knowing that we could is what counts......

      Delete
    2. Oh, forgot to mention....
      the Purple Rose of Derbyshire is in bloom!!
      Scent's luverrrly!

      Delete
  2. Jean, It may all be a bit overwhelming right now... but that's probably because you are both exhausted. Things will be better after a quiet vacation in your lovely holiday home in France, surrounded by your local friends and the members of you new Cake Club. I don't know whether this is any comfort to you, but ever since the soccer World Cup started, I have hardly slept a wink, 'thanks to' my downstair neighbours who will cheer at every goal .... whatever the team! Take care and enjoy your vacation in LGP. Sorry I can't make it this year. Martine

    P.S. I suppose Lulu is very popular with the kids next door?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Martine, it was the same cheering all through the night by the neighbours that prompted me to move to a detached house 29 years ago, so I feel for you.
      It was the olympic games on that occasion, my neighbours were elderly and deaf, with the TV turned right up. I was horrified that anyone could be so inconsiderate of their neighbours so bought a nice, big, rather dilapidated house with a good distance between me and anyone else's TV.
      We are having to learn to shut out the sounds from various neighbours, now that we no longer have the luxury of space between us. That has become a priority for the house we are looking for in France.

      Delete
  3. I'll swop you the children for the Steptoe's yard our new neighbours in England have created and the sight of a grossly overweight female sunbathing in a bikini on the front lawn does nothing to help matters! Glad you're settling in and we'll look forward to seeing you in France!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear, that sounds horrible.
      It always amazes me that neighbours don't see that their actions affect or offend other people. They seem to think they're entitled to do what they like, regardless.

      Delete
  4. Footballs through the kitchen window are my favourite, and their mother wouldn't get the culprit to apologise because naming him would be "sneaking".
    The wonderful purple rose you gave us is flowerng and smells heavenly. Maybe when the time comes you'll be ab'e to take another cutting.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Commiserations, Jean and Nick.

    I fear that at one stage we were probably that noisy family, although apart from one neighbour we were surrounded by fields. Can you hear the noise inside or from the garden.

    I'm sure that things will settle down, at some stage they will all be at school!!

    I cam imagine that you are exhausted and need some time in France. Good luck with the house hunting xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gaynor, most of the noise comes from the youngest, she's pushchair age and seems to shriek and shout all the time she's awake.
      There's very little noise coming through on the ground floor, most of it is from upstairs and in the garden.
      Luckily we have peace and quiet during the day midweek when I assume she's in child care and the older two are already at school. When they all come into the garden after school the peace is shattered.
      Our apéro hour is not what it used to be but the evenings are quiet. Def Lepoard helps when we can stand it no more!

      Apparently our house has been empty since before our neighbours arrived and started their family, so they have never had to consider the noise issue. They don't seem to make any attempt to encourage the children to be quiet now that we've arrived. Unlike my own childhood, where children were to be "seen and not heard"!

      Delete
  6. So glad to her that you are more or less settled in yours new British home. Good news! Now, on to La France!

    BTW, you didn't mention Lulu's approval rating for the new house, now that it's her home, too.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bear, Lulu seems very happy and has settled in very well already.

      Delete
  7. Eeeekkk! Noise!!!! Children!!! Buses!!!!
    I left all that behind in England... the converse is idyllic with only the sounds of nature and agricultural machinery...however, human beings are social creatures. It is a pleasure to be in my village away from hurly burly. It's a good compromise and when one needs 'city hubbub' one can go on holiday if the pension stretches that far. Your house in LGP is sweet and a good compromise between silence and noise. Sorry to read of social problems with the surroundings of your new house . and also plumbing difficulties... never a dull moment in life, is there? Maybe a rest away from either house would recharge the batteries! Decisions are so difficult!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sorry to hear about the current situation. There are always pluses and minuses. Sometimes a minus turns into a plus, with time.

    I am looking forward to your reports of house-hunting in France.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sorry to hear that all is not tranquil right now and I love your solution of Def Leopard :-)!
    On the bright side....the kids will grow up ... and presumably, once you find your new French home, you'll be in France most of the summer [garden season] and won't have to put up with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Antoinette, that's exactly how we have thought it through ourselves.

      Delete
  10. Niall and Antoinette have said just what I was thinking as I read your post. Living a two-centre life you can arrange to be away during all the school holidays and the summer garden weather. :-) Don't worry, children do grow out of the Terrible Twos and settle down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perpetua, I try to remember that when the child is shrieking at 6.30am.
      And I also feel lucky that I live next door, not in the same house!
      The grandmother collects her two days a week. The child shrieks all the way to the car and as she is driven away. She's usually sleeping, therefore quiet, when she is brought back but the grandmother must have a hell of a day - she always looks frazzled and worn out!

      Delete
  11. Perhaps in time they will become fond and dear to you - and more quiet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spo, fond and dear would be nice, but I'll settle for just quiet!

      Delete
  12. Just a thought - how about apéros before lunch instead when all is quiet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharon, we did consider it, but with all that furniture to put together felt it was too risky!

      Delete
  13. Too bad about the children. But it could have been a meth lab! We were surrounded by children in our place in Sevilla. Some days/nights it made us a little nuts. We just turned our sounds spas up to full blast... the crashing of the surf always helped.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear Jean,

    Like you we have no children and experienced the same noise with neighbouring children some years ago. At first I thought of noise reducing earphones but they weren't very practical and decidedly unromantic (although they did make us laugh)! This may sound ridiculous but we came to the conclusion our main problem was the feeling that because we couldn't control the situation this was more distressing than the actual noise.

    In the end we found that by pretending they were our own children and grandchildren we knew we would have loved to hear them playing however noisily. This helped us a great deal particularly when we had hours of boom, boom, boom from a football! I have to say that we never actually had the screeching and screaming! After a while we found we no longer really noticed the noise - rather like people who live next to a railway line.

    This may be utterly unhelpful but I immediately remembered how we felt and that was the best way we found to deal with the situation.

    We have just returned from another lovely week in the Loire - we visited the amazing museum at Le Grand-Pressigny last June entirely thanks to you and your great blog!

    Good luck with the house hunting and a peaceful situation. By the way I don't think I have ever heard a really noisy French child!! Why not send the family next door to your house in France - they will probably come back quiet as mice if your difficult French neighbour is still there. She may traumatise them into permanent silence!!

    Angela



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angela, thank you for your suggestion and kind words!
      I think you're absolutely right. The fact that we are powerless to do anything about it and learning to ignore the noise is the key. It has been a huge shock after the relatively peaceful surroundings of where we lived before but I'm sure that we will ultimately forget to notice it.
      I have often said that life consists of only two kinds of things, those you can change and those you can't, and that happiness comes from adapting to to the ones that you can't.
      Now I have to live by my own theory!

      Delete