Lots has happened since I last updated life and progress over here. We actually moved into our house, had our first visit from a neighbour, our first visitor from Canada (Dorothy) and a trip back to Canada for me.
My trip back to Canada was to clean up some left-over business stuff, but most importantly to attend Emily’s wedding on the 7th. A truly wonderful event, congratulations to Emily and Dan. It was also nice to see everybody and say hello. It was particularly harder to leave for France again as I knew I would not be back for quite some time.
While I was in Canada, Dorothy came here to help Elizabeth with the kids and the arrival of our container of stuff.
One Sunday afternoon we heard a knock on our door and in stepped an elderly lady. She introduced herself as Monette and proceeded to say hello and welcome us to Jugon. She has lived here since she was very young and occupies the largest house in the town square along with her husband Rolf, a swede.
I was sitting on the front steps late one afternoon when Elizabeth said that we have been here 4 weeks and despite the fact we are only 30 minutes from the Ocean we had never been. So we jumped into the car and off we went to visit St Malo. St Malo is a ferry port but most importantly a medieval walled city on the side of the sea. The town itself is full of very interesting shops and some real cool ice-cream and chocolatiers. As it was so late in the day all we managed to do was park, buy some ice cream and walk to the beach. A beautiful city, we will be back.
We went on the town tour one morning just to see what the Jugon tourism office had to say about the town and its various buildings and such. It also involved a tour through the church which is not usually open to the public. The church is sort of like a mini Notre Dame, but the height of the ceilings are still impressive. It was interesting to see the stained glass window dedicated to the lost soldiers from Jugon during WW1. It included a few men named “Rabasté” which is the name of the Doctor who built our house.
I continue to take garbage from the yard and the house. I am almost done cleaning out the crap except for the attic. Its really funny to go the dump – the guy there comes out to greet you and shakes your hand. He is very diligent in making sure all your articles get into the right bins. It seems to be quite a social spot as lots of people dropped in who didn’t have any garbage, just to chat and see what other people were tossing out.
We have discovered that the “Brocante or Depot Vente” is the place to look for to find “old stuff”. We stopped by one in Dinan and bought 3 wardrobes (huge ones), 2 matching beds and a Edwardian settee. What we payed for these items would make the prices in Antique shops in Canada look like extortion. Almost makes me want to load a container and ship it back to Canada.
Before we purchased this house, a huge oak tree across the ravine fell across it and landed on top of the trees in the back yard. I had no idea looking at it how me and my little chain saw were going to clean it up, especially since it spanned across the river about 20 feet in the air. I thought if I cut enough of the end near the house off it would fall into the river and I could then cut it up at the bottom of the ravine. Anyway, I started cleaning up the top end near the house. I used all the brush to make a fence line along the ravine until I returned from Canada to finish the job and install a real fence.
On the front of the orchard a section of the stone wall had fallen in and was blocking an access point to a common drain line that comes from across the street, under the street, under our orchard and emptying into the river. The town had sent a letter to the previous owner to clean the stones up which was ignored. Anyway, on purchase we were told it was “just a few stones”. However, on inspection it was a very large section. Having always wanted to try “dry stone wall” building I set about starting to repair this. I also wanted town hall to know that we were going to be better residents than the last person (seems she ignored everything in French, water bills, town requests, tax bills). This project is progressing nicely and I scored some points with the mayor when I mentioned to him that I had started to clear this problem. Hopefully I will have this job finished sometime in September.
It has been rather cool here at night during most of August. We thought that if I insulated the floor in the lower two rooms that we are using that it might be a little warmer. This job has been started now too (and not finished). A true DIY project – 50,000 jobs started and none finished.