|Keys and an appropriately named champagne to celebrate.|
|6 months of garden neglect|
|A few days of maintenance later|
Fortunately for us, our arrival coincided with a big sale day at the Emmaus charitable mission in nearby Alencon. This meant we got an extendable dining table with 6 chairs, two small dressers, crockery (nice french porcelain), enamel cooking ware, and so on for around 200 euro. We went back again and got an armoire and the worlds heaviest coffee table. I was intrigued by the granite top, which I assumed was "wafer thin" sheets, nope, they must have used blocks!!! At least the coffee demitasses (or wine glasses) won't suffer when anyone walks into it. I'm guessing it'd be a close run thing between budging the coffee table and breaking a leg.
|Katrina testing out the worlds heaviest coffee table.|
I mentioned that Emmaus is a charitable organization, apparently the men who live and work there all have "troubles". We dealt with a very jovial young Senegali, who was over the moon to be dealing with Australians and then ecstatic when I told him that I had been to Senegal, and not just Dakar. He started calling me his big brother and was quite excited to see us a second time. I am hoping that by the time a third visit is needed he will have sorted his troubles and moved on.
Madame Martel moved out of the house in March, in expectation of a quick finalization, so from then to October nothing was done to the garden. There were creeper tendrils making a bid for sole occupancy! We soon put a stop to that, but then there was the path, the yards and the fence to deal with. After six days of hard slog I still haven't touched the garden beside the steps from the church, or the main garden plot. There are cubic metres of green waste in the garden lean to, waiting on collection and removal. Although I don't know what that's going to cost us, or when it will happen.
Speaking of which we seem to have landed on our feet with our neighbours. Directly across the street form us are a French couple, Stefan and Manu, and in the next house along at the end of the street is Josepha, a New Caledonian. Around the corner is Allan an Englishman who pops over regularly while his wife is mostly in the UK. Steffan, Manu and Josepha are permanent residents and Allan has been in and out for 14 years, owning the house and a small farm just outside the village. They have all been very welcoming and Steffan even forgave me when I laughed that his dog Earnest had "broken out" and gone on the run again. He is a very friendly dog that loves people, cows and rolling in cow pats; of which there are plenty, of course, as Sept-Forges is in the middle of Camembert country. Sad really.
|The church above the house|
As an added bonus, there is a "Sauf Riverains" sign at the end of the street. This means that if you don't have actual business here don't enter. So, in the morning and late afternoon, there is little traffic and otherwise blissful silence. Once the church bells stop ringing the hours in the evening there is absolute stillness, even quieter than Venice at night! Lovely - and a great view to wake to.
|Proof positive that the kitchen works|
Did I mention that the Emmaus furniture was all antique? May be in need of TLC and missing bits, but there's time.
As for now, we're back to Paris Friday afternoon before a flight back to Muscat and reality. Boy, will we be tired!
|The view from the bedroom window - Note that the ascending wall was invisible a few days ago.|