On December 18th 2012 my mum had a major stroke which meant all of our plans to work together on the house completely fell by the wayside as one of us had to stay behind to look after her whilst the other went to France with a team of family and friends all helping us get the place from the above to how it is now…..
In January Nicholas and a team of 3 others went first – it was freezing cold, there was no gas for the heating and hot water so they lit the large wood burner and all slept on the floor near it to keep warm… no beds, no furniture at all… It was very very hard..
They started with knocking down internal walls and reconfiguring the inside of the house… If you’ve every tried to knock through a stone wall, which was about 2 ft thick, to make a doorway – you’ll know how insanely hard it is.. I was so impressed with the work done..
Next tackling the barn – if you look on the above pics you can see that a girder was holding the outer wall up and a posts was holding up the stones above the smaller door – huge job but the lads cracked on…. all in all they did a wonderful job and then returned to the warmth and comfort of their own homes vowing never to return…. but they did.
As the weeks turned into months of either Nicholas being there with family and friends, or me being there with friends – but never at the same time as one of us had to look after Mum, we were getting tired and fed up of it never ending and costing waaayyyyy more than we thought.
Any expat you speak to who lives in France will tell you that whatever you think a project will cost – times it by two and then add a few thousand more…. well they were not far off..
Electricians who quote one figure and then end up costing more than double, plumbers who, although very good, still cost way more than expected, problems with the house we didn’t expect, floors being laid in wet rooms which had to be dug up and re done cos the cowboy who did it in the first place didn’t slope it the right way …… lots and lots of problems…
But eventually we could see a change. Dark drab bedrooms turned from this:
to this… Bright, welcoming rooms with loads of space for an en-suite … wonderful
and rooms that were knocked down and reconfigured went from this:
To This:- with an beautiful en suite
Finally things were taking shape – back breaking work was paying off and Le Grand Chemin de la Vie Chambre D’Hote was being born…