25 February 2015



I arrived chez nous last weekend, very tired after a truly horrible journey which involved rain, hail, sleet, snow and a fifty minute hold-up due to a crash on the M1 which caused me to miss my train.


Just as I thought, there was plenty of mud chez nous.


The contractor turned up on Monday once the rain had stopped to begin digging the trench to take the electric cable to the gate.  While he was hard at work we went to Tours to choose some tiles for the new kitchen floor.  We dropped a note in the letter box of the mason giving all the details of our choice at teatime and headed home to cook a nice meal in our old kitchen for the last time.  And to use the dishwasher for the last time, too, as it was destined to be parked out of the way for a few weeks until the new kitchen is installed.


On Tuesday we began moving our things out of the kitchen cupboards and with our temporary kitchen not yet up and running we went to Descartes in search of a spot of lunch.  We chose to eat in a restaurant we have passed by many times before, called, I think, “Le Cherizy” and were in for a real treat.



It was very pleasant inside and for 13.50€ we had three very nicely presented courses.  Smoked salmon and avocado salad, steak and chips, and orange confit. 

mud6b mud6c mud6d

Excellent value and a most enjoyable experience so we will certainly be going there again.



Today we started the job of removing the old kitchen. I always had my suspicions that we might find unwanted visitors lurking behind the units once we started taking them out.  When we moved in there were mouse traps and mouse droppings on top of the wall cabinets. 

Sure enough, a huge mouse nest was built in a hole in the wall just behind the cupboards.


With the wall cupboards out of the way, the worktops can be removed, hopefully in one piece and, along with the old cooker and hood, will be on their way to a new home tomorrow.  We don’t like them but always felt that somebody else would be able to make good use of them – a much better option than simply taking them to the tip.


Unfortunately the wet weather means that we can’t have our new drive for a while.  Our window of opportunity of fine weather has been and gone.  The contractor has filled in the trench and removed the roundabout that was in the middle of the drive then he’s off on holiday for a week so we are left to live with the mud and have no real idea when he’ll be back to finish the job.  It all depends on the weather.

The good news is that the mason has already ordered our tiles and, because of the wet weather, might be able to start the kitchen floor at the end of next week.  So the rain that has put the kibosh on our drive might have worked in our favour in another respect – the mason can’t get on with his huge list of outdoor jobs so can fill in with our indoor one.  Fingers crossed!

17 February 2015




The good news is that our new floor is fantastic.  It no longer slopes towards the door but is beautifully level and ready to have our furniture put back in the room – without the numerous bits of wood that we previously had to use to chock everything up so it didn’t fall over!


The disappointing news is that even though the previous two weeks were fine and dry, the contractor didn’t come to do the drive as we had expected.

Now, after a weekend of rain, it is wet and muddy again and in a much poorer condition. If he was waiting for it to dry out in order to do it (the reason given for not starting the job), it looks like we will have to wait even longer before he can start.

Nick is now chez nous to begin the job of taking out the old kitchen.  I will be arriving soon, with the dog and the cat, which will make for a very interesting journey, I’m sure!

On the one hand I can’t wait to see the place again, after two months away.  It now seems unthinkable that for a number of years we didn’t see our little house in Le Grand-Pressigny for nearly six months over each winter.  I do remember feeling achingly desperate to get back each spring.


On the other hand, I am really not looking forward to living with the mud.  With the cat, the dog and ourselves in and out of the house and the drive having hardly any dry areas left, it will be impossible to avoid trailing it into every room downstairs.  Maybe I should just give up and resign myself to letting the ground floor get filthy, as trying to keep it clean could be a waste of time and effort.

Upstairs is apparently also pretty bad.  According to Nick the cream carpets in the two bedrooms (a difficult colour to keep clean but not our choice as they were in when we bought the house) are rather grubby where the boiler man left his boot prints when he fiddled with the radiators.


Still, we are lucky that the major job, the fosse, is now done.  There is however the unexpected effect on the ditch to resolve.  The waste water from the fosse is clean when it discharges into the ditch by the road, which with the recent heavy rain, is now quite full.  The entrance to the drive forms a dam that prevents the water running further down into the next part of the ditch, so maybe we need a pipe underneath it or something like that.

It feels a bit like “two steps forward, one step sideways” at the moment, but all in all it’s good progress. So long as you don’t mind the mud!