It’s been almost two months since we updated the website so apologies from us and also France Telecom who transferred our line to Le Chardon from Montlaville but for some reason the phone was fine but it took four weeks to get the broadband back on line.
We are now finally installed and living at Le Chardon but there is still quite a bit to do – all those little jobs that don’t seem much but take an age such as shelving in the office, pictures to hang, loo roll holders, towel rails, and as fast as I get them done the list gets longer.
Our first guinea pigs (sorry, guests) arrived on 9th April, Julie and her sister, Gill, and with five people in the house our first major problem became apparent. The drains backed-up. Nick lifted the manhole cover at the back of the house and it was full! On lifting the two at the front it was discovered that they were completely dry complete with spider and dead leaves – nothing had passed through them. This meant that there was a blockage under the garage. The builder, Mr Lussiana, duly arrived and stood scratching his head for a bit. He apologised that he had forgotten to bring the plans but we had a solution with our photos. We had a picture of all the pipes laid in the house before the concrete was poured. He studied the picture, walked outside again, looked at the manholes in front of the garage and announced that they’d connected up the main drain to an old pipe and therefore all our waste was seeping into the soil/stones under the courtyard.
Within ten minutes a truck arrived with four guys who set about with picks and shovels to dig a new trench 5 metres long by hand! Mr Lussiana explained that his digger was on a job for three weeks (not far away) but as it was there for that amount of time he’d put his transporter in for a service. He did however manage to hire another which turned up ten minutes before they finished digging the trench. Half an hour and a few choice smells later it was sorted.
The Trial Run….
We then discussed the refurbishment of the facades and it became apparent that there was no way it could be done for the summer season. A quick trip to Brico Depot and twenty litres of paint (40 euros) and we have a solution that we may keep permanently and cancel the 20,000 euro refurb!! Make your own minds up from the picture.
On the Friday Mike and Gaye stayed for two nights on their way back to UK from their place on the Med, Julie and Gill left on the Saturday morning and that afternoon three members of Jean-Marc’s band plus wives booked in for the night giving us our first full house!! (Eleven in total). The plumbing held out, the hot water system coped perfectly with all the showers and baths taken and the kitchen produced dinner for twenty four. An excellent trial run which the place passed with flying colours.
The BIG Event … Nick’s 50th
It was now time to prepare for the big one on 28th April,
Nick’s fiftieth birthday for which we would be about a hundred people. The bar was the priority. Our neighbour, Maurice, built it from old oak and a kitchen work surface, sink and tap from Ikea, plus fridges from Metro Cash and Carry finished it. Seven tonnes of gravel arrived for the front courtyard and our neighbours turned up to help spread it.
Nick and his father went to Macon to collect the new tables and chairs for the front only to be told that twelve chairs hadn’t arrived – so they lent us twelve plastic ones. The drinks supplier installed the draught beer on the Saturday morning (28th), we bottled 40 litres of wine and everybody lent a hand with the food.
Both Becca’s and Nick’s parents plus Denise and John, Peter and Paula, Dick and Elli plus their friends Roger and Ann made the trip from UK to bolster the English contingent. Peter and Barbara who live in the next town brought our numbers to twenty against eighty local French.
The party kicked off prompt at 8.00 pm and at 8.30 pm who should walk through the door but Ambassador Poulos, stopping by on his way to Boston from Singapore (as you do!). Dick and Roger held our end up by arriving in black tie (with jeans). They helped serving wine and food as did all the other Brits (Victoria fell in love with the beer pump).
Nick was chatting with the deputy mayor when Dick passed and topped up his glass. ‘Your wine waiter’s very good,’ he said, ‘who is he?’ ‘The ex British Military Attache to Washington’, was the reply. ‘We have very high recruiting standards at Le Chardon!!’
The evening went very well and we got to bed at about 5.30 am.
We are now into the final paperwork to launch our licence and should be fully open for business from 7th May.