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We have Arrived!: A guided Tour of The Property as We Found It

10/12/15 - Arrival date!

After taking the over night ferry from Portsmouth and driving the 6 hour journey from Le Havre with a van full of our belongings and myself and Summer (aged 2 years, 2 months) following in the car behind, we are finally here! And what a greeting we were in for!

Below: A little Summer having a little stroll and taking in the view from her new driveway.

My mum and Simon were already there to greet us and the hedges of the driveway were lined with rosettas from our wedding. Simon had already been out with the strimmer, so it was all looking lovely. Neither of us were expecting it and both had big massive lumps in our throats and tears in our eyes as we started to drive down our new driveway for the first time ever!

Lucky for me that I even got there, as when parking up in front of the barn, the clutch on my car decided to go! That is it - looks like we're staying!

Below: a few pictures of the property on our arrival (slightly strange as the previous owner is still moving out as we are moving in, but we had discussed this, so it was fine!):

Below: Mum and Summer taking a walk in the slightly overgrown garden. There is no stopping Simon with the strimmer though as that is when he is in his element, so at least our borders have already been tackled for us! :o)

Below: One of the outbuildings slightly overgrown with ivy - a job to be dealt with later!

Below: Wow! What a lot of garden to maintain! Going to be hard work - but hopefully so worth it! One day we would like to put a swimming pool here, but not sure at the moment whether we will ever be able to afford it. There is also a further field the other side of the barn, but the farmer keeps his cattle in their and in return cuts our hedges, so we are happy with that!

Below: just a bit of work to be getting on with at the back of the gite! 1st job for me after unpacking and getting settled - strimming!

Nana and Summer playing catch

The Cottage:

Below: The original stairs (or ladder??) in the gite. The only way of access to the attic - space "le grenier" where the 4 bedrooms are planned to be. They are very narrow and very steep - not ideal with a wondering 2 year old! We will need to remove them and add two sets of spiral stairs in order for the layout and access to the rooms to work.

Above: The low roofed room - to become a childrens double twin bedroom

Above: To become a double bedroom with chimney and piping removed.

Above: Long room - to become one of the master double rooms with en suite

Above: The A-frame room - to become a master double with en suite

Below: The two partitioned bedrooms - "Les Chambres" that the cottage has to offer. Complete with floral woodchip wall paper and low boarded ceilings. All the decor through the house is very tired and heavily discoloured from smoke - can't wait to get it looking nice and fresh! getting rid of the old stained brown carpets will be a momentous occassion for me too! We have done our best to make them as warm and cozy as possible - amazing what a few little nik naks can do!

We refer to the bedrooms as "The Dungeons" as they have absolutely no light and you cannot see a thing once the light is switched off - total pitch black darkness, not easy when trying to find your way to the door to go to the toilet! These rooms will later be knocked out to become the new kitchen.

Below: The kitchen - "La Cuisine" - separated from the lounge by what was the dining room (now our tools & materials room) and the two bedrooms. The kitchen is situated at completely the opposite end of the house from the lounge and accessed by a very long hallway which we have aptly named "The M25". It is rather snug. No white goods were left and we just had a square cut out of the worksurface where the hob used to be. We hahd all our own whitegoods but the oven, so we have temporarily taken on my mum's little gas oven which has served her for every project she has undertaken - treat with care! ;o) At first I had a piece of chipboard to work on (as you can see in the picture), but later on we found the missing piece to the worktop in one of the barns and managed to fit it back in - not ideal, but better than a gaping hole or chipboard! :o)

The sitting room - "le salon. Even though we are literally here for 2 weeks before returning to England for Christmas and have quite a lot to fit in before then, there is always time to get festive! We have plans to put spiral stairs in here as a second access to the upstairs bedrooms.

Below: The shower room - our only means of washing and the water only seems to stay hot for 5 minutes! Not good in freezing cold conditions with three people to wash! I am sure we will find the problem and sort it. At least we have a shower!! :o)

Below: The pantry "Le garde-manger". This is coming in very useful as hardly any storage in the kitchen. Might as well be a walk in fridge - it is so cold!

There are various outbuildings belonging to the property, which has come in great for storing our belongings, as there is no point in unpacking everything and then packing back up again to carry out the renovations. We cannot really make the house ours anyway as the plan is to let it out as a gite. Our house will be the next project and is planned to be in the left section of the big barn, which we have named "Tiny Tim".

It is all a bit overwhelming when we look around and see what we have taken onas not only do we have big work plans, but it is all going to require a lot of maintenance! Scary, but exciting!! Looking forward to getting started.

Now to sit down, look at the plans for the first stage of the project (the windows) and work out which materials we need to get on our builder's merchant run tomorrow.

We know from Mum's experiences here that Brico Depot is the best place to go as they offer a wide variety of things and are very competitive on pricing! Not too bad at 40 minutes away, but easy to get carried away and spend the entire day there, so need to focus on what we need to get us sorted before our trip to UK.

We are difintely going to be adding a log burner "poêle à bois" to the list! Freeeezing!! The wood fired boiler in the outside log shed is certainly a novelty, but we are not convinced it is going to do it's job at heating the house as it has been running all day and the radiators haven't changed at all from ice cold!

Until next time! :o)

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