Christmas – New Year 2014 – 2015

Home For Christmas

We recently purchased a trailer in the UK, but before doing so we had look on the AngloInfo Brittany website to see if anybody was selling one, as this site has a classified ads section and is also quite informative (as long as you don’t take all the advice given as correct – you need to filter the opinions offered and then make up your own mind about the subject, as we all have our own agenda!).
We saw an advert which turned out to be an English person now living in France trying to offload a trailer without the necessary registration documents. Also, it wasn’t quite as described in the ad. As always, “Buyer beware”. This chap got very annoyed with us when, after inspecting the trailer, we pulled out of the purchase, referring to us as “time wasters” when he put the trailer up for sale again. When the next viewer pulled out he was livid, and putting it up for sale for a third time he referred to them as “yet another time waster” and said in the ad that he was “not prepared to wait around. If you want the trailer, bring the cash and take it away”. In the end he sounded pretty desperate but he needed to look at what he was trying to sell. We discovered that in France you cannot by law hand over more than 300 Euros in cash for any bill or transaction. Any more than that and you have to pay by cheque. Also, trailers which can carry 500 kg require a Carte Grise certificate. We hadn’t known that when we first looked at the trailer, and our friends made us aware of the need for this certificate and of the cash aspect. If the trailer had been as described in the ad we might have bought it, but it had one or two problems and our friends saved us again.

We spotted the trailer we ended up buying on eBay and it has turned out to be a very good buy. We bought it from a Polish guy who imports them; well, he actually returns home to Poland and buys the trailer, loads it up with booze and brings it back to the UK. He then puts an advert on eBay to sell the trailer and drinks the booze while he’s waiting! Looks slim for someone who drinks a lot!

For our homeward trip for Christmas and New Year, we loaded up the trailer with some oak flooring that we are going to lay in the lounge area. There was room left to get the rest of the things we wanted to take home and we had much more room in the car. Mrs K and Kinnie were able to stretch out and sit together on the rear seats. The journey home seemed to pass by quickly. We arrived in the early hours and soon it felt like we hadn’t been away. The bird feeders needed refilling and it would be a day or two before the birds were back feeding. On Christmas day we had twelve different species of birds visit the garden which was absolutely wonderful to see. Back in the summer I’d bought a satellite receiver and dish from Aldi. I didn’t pay a lot for the satellite system but it worked fairly well. The HD receiver gave a brilliant picture but the dish was disappointing. The fixings were of poor quality and, as we live on the side of a valley, the wind at times can be strong and moves the dish. I’d bought a better dish over with us and soon had it fixed onto the wall bracket and aligned to the English transmitting satellite. There are loads of channels, some in HD. We don’t watch a lot of TV, but without it I feel cut off, especially as we don’t have an internet connection at home yet. I like to keep up with what’s happening in the world.

Half way through our Christmas break I was sitting in the kitchen, looking out of the window watching the birds feeding on the seed that had fallen onto the patio. Looking at the patio stonework I realised that it was really covered in a lot of dirt and that there were areas where moss was growing and starting to spread. What it needed was to be jet washed. I decided to do it in two stages as it was cold and it’s a big area. I’d wash half one day and the rest the next. Now that it’s all been washed – what a difference! It’s made it looks so much bigger. The down side is that now it’s clean it has highlighted areas that require repairing, but that will need to be done when the weather is better. The upside is, that’s another couple of jobs off the list.

Christmas passed with us doing very little except reading, eating, drinking and sleeping; it must be our age. Mrs K said, “Come on, we had planned to get a lot done”, but with us not getting up till nine-ish, then a slow breakfast and a trip into the village for our baguette and croissant, it was lunchtime before we were anywhere near ready to do any work. The previous owners had an agreement with a local supermarket to display an advertising board on the boundary for a small annual fee. We had contacted them shortly after we became the owners to ask them to remove the advert. We’d had no reply from them so it was coming down. As always, it’s never that simple, but after an hour or so it was down, and it should turn out to be a good mucking up board when we next mix up some cement. We tidied the garden over the next few days so our compost frames are now full to the brim. We made a trip to the Déchetterie to get rid of all the recycling material and rubbish we had accumulated, and things were starting to feel a lot better. I had planned to organise my tools and get them in some sort of order, but that slipped by the wayside. Another job that I didn’t get round to was working on the patio balustrades which I had intended to finish rubbing down and getting painted ready for re-locating back onto the patio boundary. It’s quite a drop in some places and I’d like to stop anybody accidentally falling over the sides.

We were heading towards New Year’s eve, and we had tickets for the fancy dress party being held in the village hall. The theme was “Pirates” and Mrs K had sorted out our outfits. I wasn’t looking forward to dressing up for the party, but it turned out to be a very good evening and we really did enjoy it. We met a lot of new people and were made to feel part of the village community. New Year already! Where did the last year go? We have now owned the house for a year and, looking back, we have achieved a great deal in what was a short time. The last year seems to have just shot by, just like our time here this Christmas. We will be on our way back to the UK in a couple of days, but it’s been a lovely festive break.

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