It has been a busy couple of days over here in the Charente, we have met with our builder, Stuart and also Claude from Marandat to confirm final designs and details for the build. Tom did make a few final changes to the designs, but we both think that these changes have improved the design and make for a better overall and workable layout. And yes, the 10cm rise int he roof height is still there – woooo!
Thursday 18th September was a very big day because this was when we signed the contract with Marandat and handed them a big cheque (scary). Thankfully, overnight the lovely people of Scotland decided to stay with the UK, which resulted in a spike in the pound-euro exchange rate (along with diggers, something else I have become quite interested in). This meant the cost of our build became a little bit more affordable. It is amazing what a few cents on the pound can make! To celebrate the signing, we took a trip to Super U and bought some champers. We’ll be drinking it with Al, when he comes over later this week.
We have also been in contact with the various utilities companies in France, SAUR for water and EDrF for electricity. We are also meeting a man about drainage (exciting times). Luckily we have mains drainage so no fosse septic needed. So far the only evidence that we have seen that the utilities companies are doing anything are a few spray paint marks on the road. If the companies are anything like they are in the UK, we could be waiting a while!
After the signing of the contract, we made a final visit to the plot with Stuart to confirm the location of the house. He hopes to start in the next couple of weeks. Once he has finished, hopefully by late October/early November, the timber frame can go up. The terms of the contract with Marandat state that the house should be water and tight by Christmas, this means our house will have doors, windows and a roof (my garden shed is bigger than this). Once we all get back from the Christmas break, they will start on the internal works, such as stairs and walls.
It was then time for a bit of a holiday. We first headed towards Cognac to stay with our friends at Maison Maurice for a couple of days, before heading to our gite near Salle-Lavelette. On the way we managed a trip to Angoulême to experience the circuit de remparts. Although there wasn’t any racing while we were there, we saw plenty of fantastic cars on the way there and parked all round the town. It is definitely something that we would both like to visit and experience again.
Tomorrow, it is back to work. Our brother-in-law Al is a Landscape Architect, with his own Leeds based practice, Laand. He is coming over to visit the plot. He will be doing the garden designs for us, so needs to see the site to get an idea of the work involved. There is quite a lot of land so he will have plenty to work with. Although as it is a sloping site, he will have a few obstacles to overcome.
Still, lots of exciting times to come!
New French words I have learnt (I will expand on this as the weeks go by);
Hors d’eau – Water tight
Hors d’ait – Air tight
La poute – beam
Poussez les dents – teeth coming through!
Baies coulissantes – Siding doors
Casque de chantier – hard hat.
Sous-sol – basement
La Renouée du Japon – Japanese knotweed