October 22, 2014

AN AMBITION ACHIEVED

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Today is a BIG DAY for Nick.

One of the main criteria when looking for a bigger house in France was that it had a garden big enough to require a sit-on mower!

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On Monday Nick cut the grass using the ancient heap of a petrol mower left behind for us by the previous owners.  It was kind of them to leave it but it was hard work to use.  After an hour of heaving the thing around Nick had sore wrists, a sore back and I had sore ears!

So we hopped it over to Loches in search of a new one.  We ordered it from Bricomarché and early this morning they delivered it!

A rather nice young man brought it in a truck and trailer and gave Nick full instructions on how to use it.  Great service.

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A happy Nick with his new boy’s toy!

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Checking it has an engine – with the help of my dad!

October 17, 2014

THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING CAT SOLVED – SHE’S BACK!

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I am delighted to report that Daisy is back home!

The bizarre thing is that she neither left nor came back of her own accord.  She was effectively abducted and then returned.

After searching everywhere and calling for her we were beginning to think we would never see her again.  There was however the possibility that she might have wandered down the lane to the neighbour’s house and been trapped in a barn or shed.  He lives by himself, being mentally and physically disabled, and has a daily visit from a carer.  We decided to ask her if she had seen the cat on his property so waited at the end of the lane for her car to pass by.

She told us a lot about him, much of which we already knew, and she came across as a really nice, caring, dependable person, thoroughly concerned for his welfare.  He should really be in a care home but refuses to go, hence the visits from the carer and daily meal deliveries.

As the conversation drew to a close I asked about the cat.  I said we had lost our cat and wondered if she had seen one around his house and that I was worried that she might have accidentally been shut in a barn.  She said “she’s on his bed”.

He had told her that he “found the cat” outside our house and took her home.  The carer, having no idea there were new neighbours next door, concluded that he had picked up an abandoned cat and thought no more about it.  He had kept her indoors and not let her outside at all.

At first I thought she was not going to help us to get Daisy back - she said he would be very upset if the cat went away.  I said “but she’s our cat”.  We must have both looked distraught as she seemed to suddenly change her mind and said she would bring the cat back to us the next day.  She would tell him that the cat had disappeared.  She even reached into the back of the car and gave us a box of cat food she had bought for her.

She was true to her word and Daisy arrived the next day, bewildered and confused, with chronic diarrhoea and riddled with fleas.  Luckily she still remembered how to use a litter tray.

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It took Lulu a few hours to get used to Daisy again but now they get along fine.  The fleas are gone, Daisy, Lulu and all the furniture being treated, along with our clothes and anything she came into contact with.  The upset tummy has settled down and Daisy is back to her usual self, following us everywhere and meowing constantly, getting into mischief.  I have rediscovered the joy of having a kitten climbing up your trouser leg as you try to peel potatoes!

So Daisy has gone from being a full-time outdoor cat to a full-time indoor cat for the time being.  We will keep her indoors for a few days then let her out and see what happens – we are very worried that if the neighbour spots her he will simply take her again.  Even if she is allowed outdoors we will certainly shut her in when we go out, just in case he walks by and she goes to him. 

Nothing is ever easy, is it?  We just wanted a cat to deal with the mice……

October 10, 2014

NEWS, GOOD AND BAD

The good news is that our furniture and other stuff was delivered safely from storage in the UK on Wednesday.  The two lads that came with the van did a fantastic and professional job.

Our house is now full of the furniture and belongings from two houses!

The bad news is that Daisy has disappeared.

She was last seen four days ago, skipping about on the grass, chasing leaves.  We went to the village late morning and one hour later when we got back there was no sign of her.

For the two weeks she spent with us the weather was glorious and then it became pretty foul just as she vanished. Friends reassured us that she would be sheltering safely somewhere and would soon come back.  As we are surrounded by huge clods of ploughed earth and the nearest neighbours are a long way away, it’s hard to see how a small kitten could be anywhere safe, and we have searched every inch of our property over and over again.  We wonder if she could have been taken by one of the hawks that circle endlessly over the fields that surround us.

In any case we have stopped hoping for the best as it’s just too upsetting to keep thinking about it.  I have had cats before that have gone missing and it always ended badly.

We all miss her, including Lulu who spends a lot of time each day looking for her.  They had become good friends.

Bon weekend!

October 4, 2014

SETTLING IN AND CHECKING IN

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So we are in our new house!  Time for me to check in say how we are getting on!

Having signed the compromis on 1st September we then did a flying visit back to the UK to take delivery of some new appliances there, which you can read about here.  Our visit was cut short when we found out that the completion on the French house was to be on 15th September – and we had barely started packing yet!

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We rushed back to France on the 12th, hired a huge van on the 13th and, with a great deal of help from our friends, managed to be out of our little house and moved into our new one on time, leaving the old one nice and clean, too. Phew!

We are not exactly settled in yet, but things are moving on.   After less than three weeks in residence we have got our internet supply up and running, had satellite dishes and a new TV installed – luxury!  The plumber has got the central heating boiler and radiators going (after a bit of a struggle) and, again with the help of friends and their huge trailer, we have done several visits to the tip with the unwanted stuff left behind by the previous owners, who were in a great hurry to move out and didn’t have the time to do it themselves.  We have grappled with old appliances, given up and bought new ones.  Alex and Nicole have done a great job in starting to clear out many of the overgrown trees and shrubs on the boundary and make the place look more open and tidy.

A lengthy visit from a very nice man with a ponytail, shorts and sturdy boots resulted in a devis (estimate) for a new fosse (septic tank) and hope that work for that will begin in December – the one big and expensive job we knew we needed to get organised as soon as possible. 

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We have also acquired a new member of the family – Daisy the kitten.  She’s just three months old and has joined us to deal with the large number of mice – the inevitable result of living very much in the country.  She and Lulu get on extremely well – much more about that later.

Next week is going to be chaotic. On Monday and Tuesday the electrician will be here to change our supply unit for a modern one, fit some more sockets in the kitchen and alter the switching arrangement of some of the lights.  At the same time the plumber will also be here to sweep the chimney, repair the flushing mechanism in the downstairs loo and make some alterations to the pipework under the sink to enable us to have a new tap.  Then our furniture arrives on Wednesday back from storage in the UK.  Somehow between now and then we need to make room for it all!

We have been so lucky with the weather, which has been unusually warm for the time of year and in between all the work we have managed to find some time to enjoy it properly – more about that later, too.

There will be plenty more to report as soon as I get a minute to upload the photos and write the post……in the meantime……

Bon weekend !!