It’s so nice to have internet, but our area doesn’t have fibre and what is installed is very slow – really very, very slow. So it is a case of press enter and count to ten or make a cup of tea.
The cats have settled in well but Luca still doesn’t like traversing the terrace to get down to the garden as the cars on the road are too scary. So twice a day we make tea then trot him downstairs to whichever bench is in the sun. Once downstairs he’s quite happy to stay with us while we drink our tea and each day he has a little explore further and further afield. Balou is already taking himself out several times a day but to encourage Luca we also carry him downstairs which he thinks is completely ridiculous and unnecessary. We think Luca went outside by himself last night so perhaps we won’t have to do this for much longer, certainly the warmer weather is encouraging them to explore a little further.
All the tree felling we are doing to tidy up the river bank and the garden immediately round the house we do by hand and it is quite hard work. So we have been tackling it ‘petit à petit’ most of the trees fall across the bank or into the river then we lug them up the embankment and saw them up for future use as firewood. There was one large oak that was dead and we really wanted to fell it but it would take a huge effort by hand so we had put it off. It seems that waiting can have it’s own benefits – an unforeseen bonus of the recent high winds was that they brought down the old tree. The next problem was how to get it out of the river; the other trees we felled had been relatively easy, but this was long, heavy and it was stuck at a 45 degree angle in the overhead canopy so would be quite dangerous and unpredictable. We manage to unhook it so it falls into the river and then spend a couple of hours trying to free it such that we can haul it up the bank. It is so heavy it is really impossible and the best we can do is cut off the branches and then hitch it to a tree so it doesn’t escape to cause more damage. Whilst we were thinking about how to tackle this problem Margie realised she would soon need more hay for the horses so she went across the road to find Remy who is renovating part of his gîtes. He arrived with his trusty orange tractor and some really good hay to replenish our supply. When he saw our felled trees, piles of wood. bamboo and branches he said ‘Très bien, c’est du travail dur … et tout à la main?’, we then showed him the old oak in the river and asked for his advice, ‘C’est facile Je peux utiliser mon tracteur’. So he lashes the tree up the tractor and slowly pulls it up the bank. He is also going to come back with his chainsaw and chop it up for us. Hooray!
Finally we both have French bank accounts, and a cheque book – heavens what is one of them? We also have a bank card, this took two weeks to be delivered to the branch from where we had to collect and sign for it; then we had to wait several days for the card to be activated and to receive our personal PIN. Despite the wait, or maybe because of it, It does make us feel like proper French residents.
Speaking of French residents, the locals have all been so friendly, we know it’s partly curiosity but we also feel genuine goodwill and support. It is impressive how many of the villagers take a daily constitutional and our little stretch of road, being a junction that allows a circuit around the village, is quite busy. We find ourselves speaking daily with many of the Grezelois even if only to say ‘Bonjour’; and if not that we are waving to locals passing in cars and hooting – we don’t always know who they are but we wave anyway.
With the night temperature improving we have many bulbs peeking their heads through; and. it seems almost overnight we are overrun with primroses. Margie has also seen ‘iris reticulata’ blooming on the banks. We have a very healthy population of blue tits and great tits who we think have never seen a bird feeder and are very enthusiastic about it.
We sign off today to have lunch on the terrace – it’s so warm we have both caught the sun – in February![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”How it all started” style=”custom” custom_background=”#deead0″ custom_text=”#666666″ link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tormantil.com%2F2017%2F01%2F10%2Fhow-it-all-started%2F|title:read%20how%20it%20all%20began…|”][/vc_column][/vc_row]