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Cinnamon

French move - March update

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We are here!

We arrived a month ago into 40degree heat.

Living in a caravan for the moment as the house is pretty much uninhabitable, but as the weather is so great it is not too much of a hardship. Not so sure it will be so much fun in winter though.

The first 3 weeks were a little odd as the previous owner was living in the house, so it was a bit awkward, but he turned out to be a nice old chap and a wealth of information on the area. He is Dutch but spoke good English....he gifted us a shotgun and a hand grenade, which apparently have always been in the house :shock:

However when we completed the purchase and he left to go back to Holland we were shocked by what he left. Fridge full of food, cupboards likewise, dirty laundry and bedding. Really nasty. It has taken several trips to the recycling centre to get rid of it all.

We will start work on the house next week...cant wait to start planning what is going to go where!

 

Enjoying the calm before the storm for the moment, and taking pleasure in the weather and the wildlife here. The pets are well settled in and seem to be enjoying French rural life as much as we are....already spotted my future chicken area :P

Edited by Guest

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I've been dying to hear how you're settling in!

The previous owner sounds like a bit of a character. Always nice to know that you've got a grenade to hand should you need it :shock:

Now you've got rid of all his clutter you can start your new adventure. How strange of him to leave all that rubbish behind!

 

It sounds like a magical place... hope you'll keep us updated with your renovations. You should start a blog :D

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Well I think the shotgun is probably de rigeur in the countryside - exactly the same thing happened to us when we moved into a house (only a long term rental) in France many years ago. The only person who knew where we were was the rental agent, it was dark, no phone, (pre-mobile) remote and very scary. I'm not sure I'd even seen a gun before. We were woken in the middle of the night by creaks and noises (which turned out to dormice, not that we realised at the time) and after that I didn't sleep a wink. It was completely terrifying, especially knowing the gun was downstairs. In fact its probably the most afraid I have ever been :shock: However, a hand grenade :shock: Is that even legal?

 

Other people and their standards never cease to amaze me, not that mine are very high :roll: I hope the tip is close by to you, and you have several pairs of very stout gloves! I do envy you having a handy husband, I'm sure the renovation will be fun and a lot of hard work at the same time. But you'll feel so good when its done, you will have created something bespoke and personal to you and not many of us get the chance.

 

However, I don't envy you the winter! My brother says that Normandy is the coldest place he has ever been (I know you are further south!), and I remember one Christmas we drove from the Dordogne where my parents were living to Normandy and the washers on the car didn't defrost till we got to somewhere close to the end of our journey :shock: My SIL lived in a caravan whilst they did their place up in Normandy, the toothpaste, cider and contact lens solution all froze :shock: I think layers are the way to go in terms of clothing. Somebody said to me recently, and I can agree with this from my own perspective living in an old stone house without CH, that sheepskin is very warm. I have a couple of gilets which rarely get removed in the winter. And we have a wool blanket on the bed, over the duvet, on very bad nights.

 

I think the wildlife is one of the very best things about living in a less crowded part of a country. I would really recommend investing in a good book to help you know what you are looking at :D Many hours go by for us, just watching.

 

Enjoy it all, I'm sure you'll have an absolutely brilliant time :D

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So glad you have settled in cinnamon. We were over three weeks ago in that heat and we drove from Bergerac to Rocamandour and as we passed over a level crossing I saw a sign to your village.

 

We looked at six houses all with varying degrees of ' frenchness' one was so cluttered, I counted 42 bicycles inside and outside of the house, 7 dining room full size tables inside, 3 abandoned cars, approx 100metal wheels plus everything else the old lady had, too big a job just clearing it.

Another we looked at, the lady had moved out three years ago, but the cupboards and fridge were still full of food.

 

We will be over again in early November as we did find a house we liked just outside Casteljaloux, luckily the owner is English and lives in Bristol. I will have to ask her if she is going to leave me a shotgun!

 

Enjoy the calm before the storm, although it is going to be hard work think of the beautiful house you will have at the end.

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Thanks for the update, S; I have been wondering how you have been getting on! Any chance you will be in the main house before winter (thinking of the previous owners quarters)? He sounds an interesting, if a little odd, character! Still, you never know when a hand grenade might come in handy :think:

 

How about day to day life there? Are you near shops? How do you find groceries compare with UK (not nec Waitrose :wink: ) Have you driven yet - I ask as I would be hopeless on the other side of the road :oops: Have you met any other ex pats locally? Do you speak French already or do you find most people speak English anyway?

 

Sorry, have just re read that para....don't mean to be nosy but just curious! I think you are both very brave to embark on this brilliant adventure!

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So exciting. Daphnes tale of things going bump in the night reminded me of a few nights in OH's dads old house in Cyprus. We slept downstairs but the place came alive at night - with rats :shock: it was like an episode from Scooby Do. Could have done with a hand grenade or gun to get rid of the blighters. :lol:

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Lovely to hear from you Sarah, and good to hear that you and B are settling in well; have you wielded a pick axe yet? :lol:

 

Great that you have arms should you need them :roll: OH found a crossbow in one of his outbuildings when he moved in!!!!!

 

Do keep us updated with photos and news, a blog would be wonderful especially as I don't have facebook.

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Well apart from the icky bits, it sounds great. :mrgreen: You can wave the grenade around while yelling "gerroff moy laaaaaaaaaand!" Obviously you need that translated to "allez-vous en!" :wink: Cough, photos pretty please!!!!!!! House first, fences next and finally livestock to be added when all else is sorted otherwise you'll always be behind.

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How about day to day life there? Are you near shops? How do you find groceries compare with UK (not nec

:wink: ) Have you driven yet - I ask as I would be hopeless on the other side of the road :oops: Have you met any other ex pats locally? Do you speak French already or do you find most people speak English anyway?

 

Sorry, have just re read that para....don't mean to be nosy but just curious! I think you are both very brave to embark on this brilliant adventure!

 

 

:lol:

Day to day life is great. We are both sleeping better and eating better than in the uk. We are outside most of the day and enjoying the change of scenery.

The shops and businesses all closing for lunch has taken a bit of getting used to, as has nowhere being open all day Sunday or Monday morning. The French like their leisure time!

Thete are 4 major supermarkets that we have found in France and we have them all fairly close by, plus Lidl and Aldi too. Theybare all brilliant with a huge selection of stuff including a good British range....I can still buy Lea and Perrins and Branston. I can't get fresh raw prawns with no shell or fresh crabmeat anywhere, but they have fridges full of crabsticks!

My local town has 2 wonderful markets a week which are busy but great fun to browse....we bought some of the best strawberries we have ever eaten there this week. They do rotisserie chickens, big vats of Paella, Tagines and Cassoulets too, so its easy to have a day off cooking, plus these are simple to heat up on the tiny caravan stove!

Groceries seem to be a little cheaper....wine is VERY cheap and very good. We are talking 2 Euros a bottle in a box of 6 bottles. You can also pop to the local wine Cave and they will fill up a container for you.

 

We don't have a washing machine yet so have to do a weekly trip out...

The bigger supermarkets have these fantastic open air launderettes where you just bung it in and go and sit at the bar for an hour. Very civilised. Luckily tbe weather is so good drying is not a problem and is done in a couple of hours back at the farm.

No driving for me just yet as we have the big van which I am not keen on. I am holding out for a little runaround as miss my Panda terribly, but there is next to no sevond hand car market here. We may have to come back , buy a LHD one and drive it home ourselves.

 

We have met a few neighbours and The Husband has joined a local expats group (its not for me I am afraid), and we get by with the help.of Google translate, big smiles and saying Bonjour a lot :lol:

We have had a couple of little incidences of Ftench people being a bit snippy...eye rolling and that...but never mind. One supermarket cashier was terribly rude to me and I did wish I knew better French so I could of complained about her.

But on the whole people have been lovely. The French appreciate you making an effort to fit in and most go out of their way to welcome you.

 

Photos as soon as I have proper internet.....progress is being made....I now have British TV so can catch up.with Bake Off and Poldark :P

Edited by Guest

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Meant to add....electricity is so cheap. We are payinf 20Euros a month.

But paint, as in Dulux or French brands, is triple the price it is at home!

 

So we will be coming back to buy that along with a few other things we can't buy here like kidney beans, curry paste (The French don't do Indian) and my hair products.

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Sounds like you're having a great time! I've seen a few photos on Facebook and it all looks great, excited to see what you turn it into.

 

It's funny the little things you miss - kidney beans - I hardly ever eat them at home but today I miss mushy peas and Mexican refried beans :lol: They have kidney beans aplenty here so odd that you can't get them.

Oh and the cheese is rubbish in Sovakia!

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French can be very rude, esp in shops. I was shortchanged in Paris a few years back and the woman was very rude. Reported it to manager who tore her off a strip -my French is O level standard. Which part of France are you in?

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We had similar when we used to go on the Booze Cruises to Calais and Boulougne (sp?) but I guess they did get fed up with Brits though my French was just about up to the job! I have always felt that, if you make an effort, it should be appreciated! I am sure its different away from the main tourist hotspots!

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I know my BIL found a lot of building materials were much cheaper in the UK. They bought a trailer and went back to the UK to buy them which was easier for them as they are in Normandy, but still might be something to consider. He also found his early French learning was made up solely of building terms! I also believe some trades like electricians have to conform to French standards, so he didn't do that work himself. We buy our materials from a local builders merchant, a small family run firm and we now get a discount. The other thing is that I am sure you wil get a constant stream of visitors, we ask people to bring things, which is usually tea for me :D

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I've only just tuned in for a quick catch up, to see what's going on! Obviously lots!

 

What a huge change for you and a very exciting one too! I'll tune in more often and read the next instalment ....... the previous resident sounds delightful! Good luck with it all and I hope you'll be very happy.

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I've been wondering how you were doing Sarah, delighted to see it's going well with appropriately Gallic weirdness :lol:

 

Please do start a blog!

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Oh my goodness! I pop on to the forum to see how people are doing and the first thing I see is this! Wow!

How did this come about? Sounds fab. Hope you are loving it x

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Quick update :D

 

Last week we were sunbathing in 22degrees heat!

This week its down to minus2 at night which you can really feel in a caravan.

 

Still no sign of Christmas here.

 

The small barn, which is still the size of a 3 bedroomed house, was struck by lightning a few weeks ago causing the roof to partially collapse....and us to jump out of our skins at 3am, as the caravan is parked against the barn wall!

 

The other renovations are going well, but as is the way with old buildings, removing one problem reveals several more. We are currently planing and sanding the ancient oak beams in what will be our living area as they had been stained black at some point.

Insulation is bought, inner rooms have been knocked out and fabulous stonework revealed.

 

French life is as good as ever. We expect the unexpected and are usually not disappointed!

The paperwork and red tape is horrible though and we still don't have internet.

Still trying to register the car here too. And get on the healthcare system.

 

I am really looking forward to Spring so that O can really take stock of the land and what is growing where. So many trees to plant and gardens to plan out....exciting stuff (already know where the hens are going!)

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Apparently registering a car is fairly straightforward as long as you get a certificate of conformity from the UK Cinnamon. Insurance lasts 3 months, fit new headlamps, get a 'Control Technique' and then take all the papers (including your UK registration which they keep) to the correct office, which in your case (according to my map) is in Perigueux. They give you the number while you wait. Then get the number plates and they must be riveted on. Any car make other than Peugeot, Citroen or Renault will cause future service problems though so you may be better selling the car in the UK and buying locally, which is what our friends did.

 

Our friends advise you not to contact the Police about the hunting, nor the mayor or the Chasse head. Any moves like that are likely to result in major animosity (everyone is related). In France they have the right to hunt on any land unless there are signs prohibiting it, which is probably why the sign you put up was quickly removed. They have probably been hunting that land forever anyway. You will also need a very strong chicken enclosure to stop the powerful Chasse dogs tearing their way in as well as they will be released across your land to drive game towards the waiting guns.

 

French wiring is different to UK as it is 3 phase and ring mains are forbidden on safety grounds. Good luck with the renovations.

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