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!