Well August has been a very varied month. We are still having issues with Marco the builder in getting all the work finished. Whilst we have a complete house, we still have a number of snagging issues that we need resolved and getting Marco to do the work is to say the least a challenge, even Paulo the architect and project manager has been getting annoyed with him not returning calls and not getting the work completed.
We drove down again this trip, using the Newhaven / Dieppe route, however the ferry company are now running 3 crossings a day with one at 9:00am so we decided to try this. This worked well it meant we arrived in France at around 2:00pm French time (1 Hour in front of the UK and Portugal) and drove to Poitiers, arriving at around 6:00pm, so out for dinner and get our heads down before completing the journey on day 2. The second day was a long day, setting out at around 5:00am but we did arrive at around 5:00pm. This gave us chance to inspect the newly, nearly complete Kitchen and put everything away in cupboards before bed.
Most days I got up about 7:00am and started doing the “farming” type jobs that needed doing, e.g. clearing all the tree prunings and strimming the land. Teresa would join me each day around 8:30 and help with all the tasks, except the strimming of course, but including the watering of the fruit trees as well as pruning the unwanted growth from the base of the trees.
We never worked any later than noon, in fact most days we would stop around 10:30am for about an hour for breakfast and some days it was just too hot so we would pack up around 10:30 anyway. That still gave us the bulk of the day to either go sight seeing or go shopping for stuff for the house and we did plenty of that.
By the end of the first week we have managed to get the Internet connected, although we have had to do it over the mobile network, as we don’t have any fixed lines to our area. We went with NOS in the end, as they seemed to have the best deal for us. We agreed to a 2-year contract, had to pay €20 up front for the box and then €25 a month. For that we got a Unlimited 20MByte down and 5MByte up 4G service. In reality the service is still very new and a little flaky. In the early mornings we could get these speeds but during the day that would drop to 3MByte down and 2 up. In fact in evenings it wasn’t unusual for the service to go off for periods of 30-40 minutes. I am sure over time this will improve.
The service was enough for us to get email every day, Skype Teresa’s Mum in the UK and her best friend in Turkey so not bad.
Other things accomplished this trip were:
- Smart Television, actually worked over the Internet via the NOS 4G when it was available.
- Blue Ray DVD so we can watch DVD’s if we want.
- HDMI cable to connect to the laptop. More viewing options.
- Kitchen equipment, e.g. saucepans etc.
- Requested prices from our friends at the Bed store for a Dining Table, 8 Chairs, 2 Sideboards and a shoe rack. Um wonder how much that lot will come to.
- Two visits by 2 separate garden/agriculture type companies. To give prices for the irrigations systems and for plantings of various items as well.
- Two visits from swimming pool installers, which have ended up with us committing to having a 9 Metre x 4 Metre, salt treated pool with equipment and cover installed. Hopefully this will be done before the year-end.
- I managed to rectify the water pressure problem in the second bathroom. Clever me!!!!
- Purchased and installed lights in the outside corner area as well as in the garage and outside the front door. Still have the 10 to do around the outside of the house.
- Fitted new lock to the garage and moved all our stuff from the old hut into the garage, so we can now sort about getting the old hut demolished
- Moved all the logs from the pruning on the lower levels, by wheelbarrow to the garage. I think this must have been about 50 wheelbarrow loads and I can tell you in the heat and up the hill, it was a killer.
- All I am happy to let you have details of costs etc. if you want just email at email@example.com
So all this and we had some time out as well, it was a very constructive trip.
During the second week we had several visits from Paulo, both just as a general meeting and as visits with the Landscaping and swimming pool people. Once again, he has proved his worth, it is so important to have someone you can trust to do these sorts of things.
During various emails and discussions we have jointly with Paulo decided that we will start to get other companies to do the new work for a while until Marco comes good again. Thus the Landscaping and Swimming Pool comments above.
Lastly when we moved into the old hut, we brought a picture to brighten up the inside. It has become a significant object of affection and was still in good order that it could join us in the house, part of our journey and it looks great on the wall.