Friday, March 2, 2007

Deep Thoughts

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.

12 comments:

Michael-V said...

New Zealand used to require that toilets be separated from the kitchen by two doors. Hence the toilet would end up in its own cubicle in the bathroom. Actually, it's rather tidy that way, I think.

Cheers

leslie said...

Could it be that bathing and urinating etc are so opposite that they keep them separate? That is the only thing I can think of. They keep the toilets separate in Holland, too. Then you can do your stuff without tying up the bath room. In France you would never ask for the bathroom to pee. Always, Ou sont les toilettes? I don't understand why it's plural either but la toilette is what you do when you get ready in the morning. more

leslie said...

I think the truck sounds like a good idea, if it's a swap with the cost of buyng one there, plus getting stuff there, it makes sense. Why do you need a dishwasher? microwave? Is the waether good enough that you dry things on the line? I think keep it simple. Your pace will be slower there. Just another person's opinion. Don't americainize your French house, if you can help it. You want it to be as French as possible, I should think, otherwise why go all that way?

leslie said...

Shorter posts seem to work better. I think the more rural the town and maybe the farther from Paris, and the older the folks, the less English you will find. The teenagers probably all study it in school, but think about how many americans speak French in any given town. There are probably a lot more people looking at your blog than you realize, go looking for blogs on the internet, you can't believe the stuff.

Anonymous said...

We don't necessarily need a dishwasher, but I like them. We do need a dryer because there really is no place to hang clothes outside at the moment. Maybe when we build our roof terrace. Microwave is a must because it will save GAZ. There is no gas pipeline to Leran and the stove top and oven are supplied by GAZ bottle under the sink. Doug

Doug said...

Doug continues: As far as how many people are looking at this blog, there is no way to know without installing a counter. This blog is not available to others on a random basis, as in "Next Blog" at the top of the screen. The only way to get to it is to type in the address. We e-mailed and notified friends, but we have found a lot of people are confused about blogs and how they work. Some, as I said, couldn't find it, some didn't know it would change on a regular basis, others lost the address and couldn't get back. Comments seem to be difficult for some.

Judy said...

So Doug; Will you sprout a moustache when you move to Leran? sort of Inspector Clouseau type? All the other questions are so totally serious and I know you must be finding plenty of humor in all of this.... Judy

Doug said...

No facial hair for me. I used to have a moustache and nobody noticed when I shaved it off. I do think I'll switch from baseball cap to beret.

leslie said...

They have these great berets down in your neck of the woods, they have a leather headband on the inside and are bigger than most of the ones you see. They are beautiful, if you find them I would love one, I'll pay for mine. Were you in France long enough that you notice the American's quirks? How are arrangements going for shipping the truck?

Anonymous said...

Luke thinks the diswasher, microwave, etc. are a good idea...you may be in France...but you're still accustomed to those great American "conveniences"! I also think the truck being sent to France (especially if you load it up with some of the "goodies" you would like to have back in France) is a really good idea. Most importantly, the blog is NOT self-centered...it's wonderfully entertaining. As long as you keep writing...I will keep reading...please keep the blog going!

North of Andorra said...

During our house hunt, we looked at places owned by both French and a few non-French folks. Except for one, these were all 150+ year old village houses in various stages of “decoration”. My recollection is that nearly every one had a microwave, more than half had dishwashers and there were some dryers. I agree that while these are utilitarian items, they are more luxury than necessity. But what really seemed to ruin the charm for me walking down a narrow village street was hearing one after another honking big TV set blaring away through quaint shuttered windows. Or sitting in a cafĂ© or bar and being serenaded every five seconds by somebody’s ridiculous cell phone ringtone. Those are the “Americanizations” I hate to see come into vogue in rural France.

Noah said...

No one caught your invitation to help. Except me...I would LOVE to come and help and am currently brainstorming.