A visit to the France Show in London, then we call in local estate agents to value our UK house and we make a start in getting it ready for sale.
After weeks of cleaning, sorting out, chucking out, tidying and some decorating, twenty nine years of accumulated possessions are thinned out, the photos are taken and the house is ready.
The house goes on sale on 1st March. Three days later it is sold. We feel a mixture of surprise, joy and sheer panic.
Nick’s mum celebrates her 90th birthday.
After some rapid house hunting, we find one we like in the UK, only a few miles from the old house and close to my dad. And very small.
I form the Loire Valley branch of the Clandestine Cake Club and the first meeting is held at our little house in Le Grand-Pressigny.
We have a table with friends at the village vide-grenier. It chucks it down all day and we give up at lunch time, having made 90€.
With the sale and purchase going through slowly but surely in the UK, we begin house hunting in France and spot this one. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to get to see it, I put a note in the letter box asking if it is still for sale. By the time we get back to the UK the next day, there is a message on the answerphone – to say yes.
Most of our furniture and belongings are removed to storage, ready to be delivered to France. We have no idea where or when we will see all our stuff again.
We move into the new house in the UK and the rest of our belongings are delivered. That’s when we find out exactly how small it really is.
House hunting continues in France and we finally get to see the longère that we’re interested in.
We enjoy moules et frites in the village square on Bastille Day.
It’s the Comice Agricole in the village.
Our friends Colin and Elizabeth are presented with a wedding gift from the cake club.
We accept a surprise offer on our little house in the village and decide to buy the longère.
Knowing that this will be the last summer in our little village house, we make the most of our last few weeks there.
On 1st September we sign the compromis de vente for our new house and our friend Ken helps out by acting as translator for us and the vendors. We all celebrate together over lunch.
The sale is completed in record time and, with a huge amount of help from our friends, we move out of our little village house, only two weeks after signing the compromis. We say a fond farewell to the place we have loved and enjoyed so much for seven years.
For the second time in three months we find ourselves surrounded by boxes of our stuff in a new house.
Four days after moving into our new French house, we get a small, eleven week old kitten and we call her Daisy.
Two weeks later, little Daisy disappears.
The kitten is still missing when our furniture from the UK house arrives in France.
We now have two of everything – two dining suites, four sofas, way too many chairs and a spiral staircase to get the stuff upstairs.
Two weeks after she disappeared, Daisy is returned to us. She becomes and indoor cat for her own safety and my peace of mind.
My dad comes to stay for two weeks. The weather is unusually good.
Another cake club meeting is a big success. The cakes are fabulous.
November is glorious. Warm sunshine and beautiful autumn colours. Plenty of leaves to sweep up and walnuts to collect.
Nick turns 60 and retires. My dad turns 86.
On December 1st somebody flicks a switch and winter arrives. The boiler stops working. We battle with the cold and the mud.
I turn 63. We dash back to the UK just as work starts outside for the new fosse. With only one week to go Christmas becomes a blur of frantic preparations.
On Boxing Day it snows, grounding us for several days. I finally get round to icing the Christmas cake.
We celebrate our wedding anniversary – 20 years.
It’s the china anniversary. The trouble is, we have no room in either house for any more china!
So that was our year. Chaotic, crazy and exhausting. There were ups and downs. Moments when we wondered if we were completely mad and moments of great joy when we felt like the luckiest people in the whole world.
WE WISH YOU ALL THE VERY BEST FOR YOUR HEALTH AND HAPPINESS IN 2015.
HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!!