Friday, 15 April 2016

PREPARATIONS

The move is beginning to feel imminent now. In two months we'll be beginning the journey down through France to find ourselves in a new home. Our weekends are now filled with seeing friends and family and packing stuff up until we leave the house here. I keep skipping ahead of myself and planning the route we'll drive down through France, from Florent's family in Normandy to the Pyrennes, rereading Seamus Heaney's 'Night Drive' and momentarily forgetting that our drive is likely to be far less romantic, with the girls in the back battling their seatbelts, demanding snacks and continuous games of 'I spy with my little eye'...

We're slowly working down through our list of things to do before the end of May.

A van to move us and our things, shift and carry buiding materials and provide space for a matress for weekend camping expeditions once we're there...
        We may, or may not, have a van (we have one lined up to by after it passes its MOT...). At the moment it is an old minibus with ten seats, reminiscent of a basic secondary school mini bus from the nineties and almost as old. The plan is to take out most of the seats (despite Linny's plan that the ten seats be used to seat her cuddly toy collection...) and make a basic camper out of it. Basic being a ply floor and a space for a mattress along with some curtains. Memories of broken down vehicles and the ensuing dramas feature strongly from my childhood. I now have great suspision when we are buying a car or van. Florent reminds me that most people are honest and most cars don't break down immediately on purchase but he doesn't understand what snapping cambelts, broken exhausts and the ominous sound of a clunking gearbox does to you if experienced too frequently in your formative years. For me, it is an assumption that the vehicle you've just shelled out your life savings for will suffer a catastrophic break down within a week however I will fatalistically buy it anyway because it's unavoidable after all. Anyway, we're waiting to see with the MOT throws up with this one...

Somewhere to stay until the house is habitable...
         We have found somewhere to camp for the summer, some very generous people who, despite not knowing us, are allowing us a little space on their land for our tent. However we still have to buy a tent. Despite dreams of stumbling upon an affordable bell tent, not surprisingly we haven't, so we're on the hunt for a standard second hand two compartment tent.

Planning the renovation...
        We saw an archetect (a great scheme at the Archetecture Centre in Brisol where you pay £10 for a 30 minute consultation) and he agreed that it will be very difficult to fit two bedrooms and a bathroom all on the second floor and also that there are limited alternative options... The planning process in France is made more complicated in our case as the house falls in the area of 'zone protegĂ©' (a sort of conservation area) and so any modifications we want to make to the exterior of the house need to pass by the 'Archetecte de France' as well as the local Mairie. However challenges inspire creativity so I'm sure we'll come up with something...

Music for dancing away any homesick blues...
       We will live the summer without electricity and so without internet, washing machine etc. I'm acutally looking forward to this slowed down pace of life but one thing I want to keep with us is music for the hard times. Dancing with the girls is one way to instantly dispel bubbling frustrations/ tantrums/ and I have some romantic (unrealistic) notions of listening to some excellent songs while the girls sleep and Florent and I enjoy beers on balmy evenings... I've been copying all our CDs onto the computer to ensure we're ready for the long drive as we beatle down through France and beyond.

The roaming garden...
      My seeds have germinated and are growing well. I've rather sentimentally chosen some lucky tomato plants to make the trip with us (the rest will be sold to raise some extra pennies for the move) and water them with left over black tea to ready them for a potentially treachorous journey.

Packing...
        What I really need to be doing is packing boxes up as I'm determined not to leave it all until the last week but I can't seem to find the motivation and the rare time I do have to get it done I find myself searching distraction. Shelves are slowly emptying and more stuff is added to our 'selling/giving away' pile which feels great. Linny had a meltdown seeing her books being packed up for storage at my Mum's, so horribe that the books ended up returning to her book shelf...

And the list goes on... Each time we tick things off we add twice as many to it. I suspect this is why moving house is considered so stressful and time consuming but in amongst the sea of half sorted possessions we cling to the idea that this is all for greater things.

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