We're home, busy and adjusting to the time change. I no longer get up and 4:00 am, no longer am I hungry at 9:00 am and sleepy at 7:00 pm. We are both back at work and we are also very busy getting some things done around the property.
Nancy is working on getting airline reservations which originate in Houston. We may be shipping her truck in a container from Houston to Rotterdam around mid-May. That would mean we could load up the truck with some belongings if we wanted to. It also means we have to drive it to Houston and fly out of Houston, and also we would have to get to Rotterdam sometime in June to pick up the truck. This is all up in the air right now. Shipping the truck does seem like a good idea because Nancy hardly puts any miles on it all here in Moab. She rides her bike almost everywhere except to the grocery store. It would save us on insurance to not have it here and we have considered selling it but we probably wouldn't get what it's worth to us. But it's a good truck and we do need a vehicle in France, and a four-wheel drive truck would be nice to have over there to haul building materials around in. Considering the hassle of buying a used vehicle in France and what we would get for the money we'd sell the truck for, ahhh.... it doesn't seem like a good trade. It would also mean we could equip a kitchen with the stuff we have here and throw it in the truck, and we could toss in a lot of tools as well. All in all, it seems like a no-brainer. What do you think?
The next problem I am puzzling over is what to do with the third floor, or the second floor as its called in France. We need to put down a finished floor and bathroom and leave room for a stairway to the proposed roof terrace and leave room for a couple of bedrooms. I have a British English/French dictionary of building terms but its really two foreign languages as we Americans and the Brits can't seem to agree on what to call any tool or particular part of a building, or any building material. And then of course I need to learn to build in the French style, with French materials, with metric measurements, with French plumbers and in the French language with my American hands. Anybody want to come and help?
Then we need to buy a refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, stereo, coffee maker, some lamps, and possibly a dryer, a tv and dvd player. Power tools. Virtually anything that plugs into the wall with the exception of a computer. And of course a couch and a few chairs, etc., etc.
By the way.....I read in my French renovation guide that they advise me not to put a toilet in with the bath because the French find it particularly unattractive. They do not explain why, but they postulate that if you are going to sell the house eventually, and want French buyers, isolate the toilet in it's own little room. So its a French thing. Any ideas on why this is? Without being too graphic of course.
Some observations from the trip:
Most French in Aude/Areige don't speak any English.
Tile roofs as in southern France are very green (not in color). It comes from the soil and eventually goes back there. Low energy embodiment, that is it takes little energy to manufacture. Compare that to making shingles out of petroleum and gravel, and imagine them in the landfill in 40 years later. In fact, buildings in France are altogether greener, made of stone or block rather than wood and plastic.
I'm told there was a story on NPR the other day about the numbers of British moving to France. We're told by people who ought to know, that France is number ten on the list of countries getting an influx of the British. Spain, Australia, Italy and New Zealand all get more emigrants from Britain.
And oh yeah, we will be continuing our postings on a regular basis when we return to France. I think it's better to communicate by blog rather than e-mail but I have no idea who is reading the blog other that those who left comments or e-mailed us. There are some who only looked at the pictures and some who seemed to have trouble connecting up to the blog and some who didn't bother to check in at all. I hope you find it worthwhile and interesting, and not too self-centered.