11 Dec 2006

The Furniture Arrives

Most of the next day we spend at the house, moving around as much furniture as we can to make room for mine that is arriving the following day. Some of the bedside furniture goes out into the barn, the table and chairs go out into the summer kitchen (a small area off the courtyard that has a built in barbecue, a wood burning stove, and a sink. There is an awful lot of stuff left in the kitchen – crockery, cutlery, pots and pans, lots of ornaments, vases, artificial flower displays, paintings on the wall, clocks, etc. Mdm mentioned that they would probably only have to take it to the tip as they couldn’t take it all. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with it all myself yet. In the meantime, I’ve sorted out a few boxes and bags that really do need to go to the dump, the rest is stored on shelves under the stairs.
The sofa bed and display cabinet in the lounge room, and a large telly, prove too heavy for us to move. We have to leave it and hope the removal men will move it – as my own stuff will never fit in (the lounge room is smaller than I remember!)
The bed frame in my bedroom is too big to move and it needs allen (sp?) keys to be dismantled. So I decide to visit Sandra who lives about 50 metres away, on the main street opposite the Maire’s office. I met Sandra and her husband Patrick when I first stayed in this village in April, and revisited them in September when I bought this place – they’re doing up a grand property which they’re running as a B&B. Sandra knocked the top off a bottle of rosé and we had a celebratory drink to my arrival in the village. We arranged to come back and get the allen keys in the morning, when Patrick returned and dug them out.
The following morning, back to the house to await the removal van which I’m told to expect around lunch time. It’s nearly three o’clock by the time it gets here – they’re happy to move the bits and pieces that we can’t manage. The road is relatively wide here, it is in fact quite a busy one – the main road around the village. But the truck is large and there is a demolition going on not far away, with large trucks loaded with rubble going back and forward all day. There must be a considerable amount of construction going on somewhere too as a cement mixer has also been passing by regularly through the day. So all of this makes for interesting traffic ‘situations’ as the furniture is unloaded.
There is a gigantic cupboard/wardrobe in my bedroom that is so heavy the two guys cannot budge it. It is beautifully made, with a shiny tortoise shell lacquer-like finish. All the edges of the internal shelves and some of the outside panelling are finished with tiny inlaid wood patterns. No doubt in its time it would have been quite a piece, but it most definitely isn’t me. So the only way to move it is to dismantle it – and although this proves quite easy (it must have been assembled in this room – it could never have come up the stairs in its entirety), it is quite time consuming. We all take panels, mirrors, drawers and shelves downstairs and lean them up against the wall of the garage. The garage is looking very full already. We’ve decided to put most of the boxes there too and move them tomorrow. There are other pieces of furniture in other rooms I would have liked moved, but time has got away, and they’re running late to get to the Spanish border tonight.
There is a charity apparently that will come and collect furniture so I will need to contact them on my return to arrange a collection.
France Telecom arrived earlier in the day and installed the phone line. After opening many boxes in the garage to locate the BT phone I’d bought with me, I now have a working telephone. I’d read on a forum that I needed adaptors to be able to use a UK phone. Not one, but two. Apparently there isn’t an adaptor that is France-UK. I needed to buy a France-US plug, and then a US-UK plug. So I bought a couple of sets before I left, and voila, it all works! The internet connection will have to wait until I return.
By early evening, it was getting really cold and we decided that we would have a crack at lighting the oil heater in the kitchen. I got out the instructions I’d written on the back of an envelope and followed them to the letter. I got a can full of oil from the courtyard, and three quarters filled the reservoir. Turned all the right buttons (supposedly), but nothing happened. No oil appeared in the bottom of the well. So I didn’t even get to the stage of throwing in the alcohol and striking a match. Even dropped a fire lighter in which burned for about 5 minutes – in the hope that it would ‘warm things up’ (!!) and perhaps make things happen. Nope.
And then the door bell rings. Two local firemen, in uniform, selling their calendars. Not the cheese-cake sort – but one with pictures of bush fires (yes, Bize is surrounded by quite a bit of forest), rescues, lots of local information, adverts of local businesses etc, and photos of the whole fire brigade team of the area. A fund raising exercise, the cost being a ‘donation’. As well as the calendar, I get a lottery ticket with the prize being a box of lamb and a turkey and some pork.
Well, as I’d been told that you call the pompiers for all sorts of things (even before the police and ambulance apparently), I figured I’d ask them about my problem with the oil heater. In the meantime, I’d ascertained that the young boy of about 18 was in fact the son of Pascale, also a fireman, and whose radiators I had on loan for the winter. And of course he was also the grandson of Msr and Mdm. They came inside, shone a torch inside, twiddled some knobs and said they were ‘desolate’ … but they didn’t know the problem. But Msr had previously said that any problems, I was to call Pascale and he would help. So that’s a phone call for tomorrow.

Moving sideways

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