Sunday, 19 May 2019

From taxes to glitter

My weekly telephone call to my mother usually has her asking "so what have you been up to this week?" Friends and family often ask the same, after all we don't have 9 to 5 jobs and we're not retired so what do we do? Quite frankly somedays I'm hard pressed to remember. So this is what we've done in the last 7 days (I think!)

We try really hard to make Sunday slightly special and not work, we usually fail but last week started off well as we went to the Fête de la Fraise in Beaulieu sur Dordogne. One of our favourite towns, and not much more than 30 minutes from us, it's taken over by strawberry fever in May. We had a gentle wander through the town, admiring strawberries and the artisan market.

Beaulieu sur Dordogne 

Strawberry 'burgers'

Obligatory giant strawberry tart

By mid-afternoon we were home as we had to tackle our first French tax return. It had been haunting me at night and the deadline was fast approaching. I had downloaded the forms but they made little sense so we'd decided to get all our figures together, produced a bi-lingual spreadsheet and to throw ourselves at the mercy of the tax office.

All mornings start with a dog walk and baguette purchase. We are lucky to have several lovely walks which start in the village and Mortimer never gets bored with them.  Back home and in the car to the tax office in Tulle, only a 20 minute drive away.

Our morning walk
Despite being only a few days before the deadline, and a Monday morning, there was not much of a queue and we were seen within 10 minutes. In my best French I explained it was our first return and I was very confused! With a smile she told us to take our ticket back and head to the fourth floor where we would be able to see someone who would assist. We took a seat and expecting a long wait I had just got my Filofax out to start a new list of jobs when we were called into a very austere office (always makes me nervous). I again explained our situation and retrieved the spreadsheet. Within minutes the tax officer had completed the forms for us, said that it was a very good spreadsheet and we were on our way home. You've no idea of the relief I felt.

After lunch we were back working in the barn. Andrew fitting out one of the bathrooms and me painting.

With the first of our summer visitors only a few weeks off I had enlisted help with some of the decorating. My gentleman of an assistant agreed to do all the rubbing down, including the ceiling, of the large bedroom/dressing down. I was painting windows and Andrew managed to stay clean as he had some artwork to do for a client.

Never ending painting
Our neighbours appeared for a chat and to tell us about the new pellet stove they were having installed, Arlette then shepherded me indoors to give her advice on refinishing her dining table. They are returning to Paris at the weekend and I will miss them. As will Mortimer who sneaks in for extra treats!

In the evening we had been invited by friends to apéros, I would have said it was nice to spend a clean evening but I didn't have time to sort my hair out and was acutely aware that it had a light dusting of grey plaster! But it was a lovely, relaxed evening.

Andrew had client work and I was back in the barn painting in the morning, the afternoon was DIY shopping.  Leroy Merlin is a bit like Ikea, it has it's own time zone. I think we've only been in there for twenty minutes but it turns out it's two hours. Fortunately they give you free coffee and the bakery round the corner does a mean chocolate brownie so the caffeine and sugar rush keep me going! I know that we have spent too much time in there because we have three, yes three, 10% discount 'vouchers' due to us.

Step & repeat (artwork, painting, dog walking) but with the addition of laundry duty. Somedays are just boring, it doesn't matter which country you're in. Hang on - just remembered that I invited some people over to visit. I didn't 'do' Facebook until we moved here but it seemed the easiest way to stay in touch with friends and also to make new ones in France. I joined a few groups, some I've now left and some I love. It was through one of these groups that I made contact with a couple who have also recently bought a house and barn about two hours from us. Anyway we've been 'chatting' and I've invited them over on Sunday. It's not the first time I've done this and we've met some really interesting people who have become firm friends.

Flooring underlay

Two packages in the post box. The editor of French Property News kindly sent me a copy of the May edition as I had been picked for 'letter of the month' and my bag of glitter arrived. Now my personal interior design style is muted colours, natural materials and calm spaces but I want to inject some drama into the barn as it will be a holiday rental. There is a defunct chimney that runs through one of the bathrooms so I'd decided to paint it very dark blue and add some black glitter. First coat done today. A quick dash to the déchetterie to get rid of a large, rotting sack of grass clippings had to be done before we could take the trailer to Leroy Merlin to collect flooring. I also managed to persuade Andrew to go to a brocante and I found a lovely little table which will make a great dressing table.

At 20 euros - rude not to!

It's our wedding anniversary so we indulged with a bottle of champagne (which we had been given by Leroy Merlin as we had spent so much!) and some raspberry tartlets.

A longer Mortimer walk, supper purchased at the village traiteur and then back in the barn. I finished my glitter wall and Andrew started the flooring in bedroom two. Although I've still got quite a lot to do, particularly with the furnishings I think we'll hit our June deadline.

Mixing the glitter

Glitter wall
So there we are, a typical week in France for house renovators. Want more? You can follow us here on Facebook or on one of my two favourite groups - Interior design in France or Love French Barns

1 comment:

  1. I'm always in awe of how hard you both work, but I'm pretty amazed that you will be ready for guests in a few weeks (I assume you do mean paying ones?). Your mention of Mortimer's walks was much more our style, and I remember them with great affection. Good luck - I'm sure you'll be sufficiently finished off in time!


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