Le Derrière

The renovation of the utility room at the rear of our home in Daglan is now complet, it took a while but I am so happy with the result.

As you can see from the picture below the utility room was made of steel and fibreglass, a horrible sight which sunlight light was unable to enter even in the height of Summer, leaving the utility room dark and dismal.

This eyesore just had to go.

First came the new roof, also fibreglass and steel that needed replacing. Paul laid down wood and fitted shingles which were a surplus from a friends renovation work. Thank you Angus they work a treat, as the last couple of nights have proven, completely waterproof. In the above picture Paul was working in the extreme 40+ degrees centigrade heat of a hot Summers day so a little shade was needed (top right).

Then it was guttering and down pipe, seen here with the new wood cladding.

Starting to replace the fibreglass panels and voila, we have light.

What a difference it makes to be able to see in and out.

Almost finished, Paul also panelled the inside of the utility room.

Looking great, Our cat Cleo loves to sit on top of the tumble drier and watch the birds in the courtyard.

 

French Property News magazine.

Black Diamond.

Towards the end of last year I was asked by the editor of French Property News Magazine to write an article for them about how we found our home, the buying process, the renovation work, Daglan village and the surrounding area. At first nerves took hold and I thought no, then on reading past blogs and our experiences, who could forget the arsenic paint on our toilet door, or the shower that kept me practising Yoga every time that I used it!, I thought yes I can write the article.

The editor loved the article and our pictures and it was published in the March issue of French Property News magazine and now the April issue has been published I can show my article in our blog for you to read. I hope that you like it.

Just click on the page image to open an enlargement in a new window (Use keys to override your popup blocker if needed).

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Heart of gold – Our first year in Daglan

I was reminded by our son that it was one year ago today my husband, son and cats began the long drive to Daglan. I followed by plane a few days later and the year has just flown by so quickly with some ups and downs along the way, we made it here and eventually so did our furniture!

When we look back over the year and through our extensive photograph collection, the pictures that mean the most to us are our pictures of the people here in Daglan, they are truly “the heart of gold.” We have meet so many new and interesting people that it is those people that stand out the most in our lives. From the very start of our new life here a warm “Bonjour” made us welcome by the doctor, dentist, government officials, the plumber and chimney sweep, our new friends who gave us lavender plants and friends that we have known for a few years thank you so much, it has been a good year.

Before I start to shed a few tears here are some of our most memorable pictures from the past year.

Le La VertDaglan fête was a time of celebration at Le Thé Vert.

 

Daglan fêteThe parade with our Maire in the middle of the picture, wonderful.

 

Sunday market at DaglanThe view from our balcony over looking the Sunday market.

 

Train A Vapeur De MartelI so loved this steam train ride, fabulous.

 

SunflowersPeople here have asked me what the weather was like in Blackpool during the Summer. These are a few words that I jotted down before we left England.

July in England. Billowing wind that has whipped up the many seagulls from the coast and has now drifted inland across the house tops and buildings of Blackpool. Then the sharp, stinging drizzle fell growing in strength until the grey clouds were turned into black sheets of unforgiving rain.

In contrast.

July in Daglan. Summer gasped upon the village like the mouth of a great oven. Even in the shade of the canopy in our courtyard it was too hot for me to sit outside for long periods. This was the time of flowers, butterfly’s and moths which would glide and dance around our growing vine. We took our walk down the lane beside the river Céou to see the horses, dragon flies and lizards much earlier in the day than during the Spring time. The cries of the cicadas seemed to become more insistent with each hot day until they hit a crescendo. This was the time for barbecues, for visiting friends old and new and to sit back and enjoy our first year.

WelcomeWelcome to the village party, it does not get any better than this.
 

Our first year in DaglanWe have completed a lot of decorating, DIY and renovation work this year, from the completely new bathroom, to the corridor floor, to painting the window frames, shutters, balcony, and veranda and much more too tedious to tell. Our next project is to focus on the rear of the property, however, a rest is in order as our son is arriving from the UK this afternoon. On second thoughts a rest might not be the right word, for I am sure a Cro-Magnon cave or two will be visited, canoeing on the Dordogne and we will visit our favourite medieval town of Sarlat.

A final word, if your dream is to move to France but you are feeling a little trepidation, a new country, different culture and way of life. Do not let apprehension stop you, go for it, you will never look back. The French love life and so will you, Bon Courage.

 

 

Problems of the undulating floor and walls of our corridor.

Old property in France does seem to have the same problems, the undulating floors and walls that meander at irregular intervals. Personally I love the quirkiness of our home, it has character but not so much when you are putting down a new floor covering along the corridor which runs past the bathroom and the bedrooms.    Paul measured the floor, the walls, the distance between the walls, scratched his head, and said “there could be a problem”.  The corridor zigzags past the bathroom, turns left by the stairwell then right to the long stretch past the bedrooms, you guessed it, the corners are not right angles.

DSCN1606To work, the first problem was the carpet which seemed to be stuck down with super glue. But not to be deterred Paul battled on, a centimetre at a time.
The second problem was, as I stated earlier the floor which is not level but kind of slopes down to the bathroom and then undulates down the main corridor. After careful consideration and several failed attempts at laying the flooring Paul started from the centre of the corridor and then worked towards the walls.

 

DSCN1612A good plan but frustrating when you lay a piece of wood down which is straight at one end and is up at the other. Another plan cut the floor boards into smaller lengths then jigsaw them together, it worked. You can see from this photograph how the corridor goes from wide to narrow and back to wide as you go towards the door to the veranda.

 

French propertyAngel, always vigilant for a game decided to play hide and seek with the box.

I thought that it would take weeks to complete the corridor but Paul had it finished in a few days, bravo.

 

The event of the year in Daglan.
IMG_20160811_154309bWe have four days of sleepless nights to come, the speakers for the music are usually placed at the corner of our home so very, very loud but on a positive note we shall certainly enjoy the parade, fireworks and the bands that play. Just hoping for rock music and we shall be happy.

Enjoy

The ups and downs of renovation

We have been working particularly hard the last three weeks renovation our bathroom. The first job for me was to clean the antique mirror that we bought at the brocante in Daglan a few weeks ago. After various checks on the internet it was found that washing up liquid in a bucket of water was the best idea for cleaning old gilt, so armed with a soft toothbrush I set to work one sunny afternoon.

renovationTwo hours later I had completed the back of the mirror the difficult intricate detail on the front of the mirror was yet to come. After informing Paul that dinner would be a little late this evening I set to work once more.

Another three hours work and the mirror was finished.

 

DSCN1418The original mirror from the bathroom was taken down and placed onto our son’s bedroom wall. A wooden frame was built and varnished to match the wooden bed on the right hand side of the picture.
 

DSCN1419Unfortunately Paul realised that the partition walls upstairs were thinner than the length of the drill, he had drilled through to the next bedroom. This is one hole there are three others. Never mind, its just another job on our to do list.
 

We were only going to re-tile one wall but after completing the one wall with new the tiles, the old tiles looked even more terrible so another two walls needed work, another trip to Sarlat this time for more tiles. Paul took off the old tiles and you guessed it, the plaster came off too. Back to the DIY store for plaster which took four days to dry.

DSCN1421Here is half of one of the walls with the new tiles the other half of the wall took longer to tile due to the undulating nature of our walls.
 

Next came the wall at the back of the shower and toilet so Paul protected the shower and toilet with plywood and cardboard. One tile fell off, hit the cardboard corner first, cut it and the plywood like a knife through butter and the result can be seen in this picture.

DSCN1422I am glad to say that a new toilet was bought on the next visit to the DIY store and is now in place.
 

DSCN1432Finished with no further problems and looking great. The wash hand stand was purchased from a brocante shop in Daglan that Paul renovated. It has a gorgeous marble top that cleaned better than we expected and is in keeping with the period of the house.
 
 

Events:- Not to be missed- Daglan Art’Ceou Exposition which runs from the 19th June to the 3rd July

Also, Fête de la Musique – 21st June in Sarlat throughout the Medieval town, for jazz, blues and rock music.

Woe is me, a thousand times woe!

I hope that this blog will be of help to anyone moving to France. We had planned, researched and made a two page list of who to contact and which removal firm we would employ to take our furniture to France. Most of our furniture was being transported to Daglan due to the fact that the pieces held sentimental value for us; we needed to trust the firm we were going to hire.

My husband wanted to hire a man with a van and travel with him but my son and I wanted to be reassured that the many items would get to Daglan in one piece. So we did spend quite a lot of money for a specialist international removal firm to pack, collect and deliver our new home. The pleasant representative who visited us for the quotation said delivery would be within a month. Signed and sealed, dates set and the move begins.

First my husband and son drove to Daglan with the cats; it was a thirty hour drive with breaks every two hours to attend to cat needs. I flew over a few days later to stay in France while my husband and son flew back to England to oversee the packing and collection.

The removal firm arrived late due to traffic problems but once they arrived they were quick and efficient, they did pack everything for us, collected it and stored everything away until a delivery slot was available.

IMG_20151008_095206The removal lorry in England.

The first delivery date they gave us was the 19th October, great I thought it will be delivered before winter. That date the company cancelled due to unforeseen events, which were not explained to us. 28th October was our next date, again cancelled due to unforeseen events; we emailed and phone everyday. I wanted to know what the “unforeseen events” were. Has the lorry broken down? Have they sent our home to Mexico by mistake? Have they lost everything? Or will our home be on ebay at any moment? Each day no answer was given.

By early November it was starting to get very cold here with some frosty mornings or cold damp fog. Taking the word that our goods would be with us within a month we had no winter clothes with us in France and I was also in need of my orthopaedic mattress due to back problems, so I was in a lot of pain without it. Paul and I bought thermal vests, winter sweaters and trousers.

On Friday 13th November almost a month after the first projected delivery date our goods arrived. We were expecting a lorry that was similar to the one in the first picture, as described in their catalogue, as promised by their representative and as discussed with their packing team.

We spoke to the neighbours explaining that a large lorry would be blocking the square for a couple of hours and what we got was:-

IMG_20151113_130735A man in a van with a trailer, spot the difference!

I honestly did not know if I should laugh or cry. The latter seemed to be the most appropriate. To be fair they did get most of our home items to us, we are still waiting for a rather valuable wardrobe. Friday 13th November, the date itself should have given us a warning.

It stands to reason that one hundred and twenty one cartons measuring over 900 cubic feet being crammed into the above will not go without damage or breakage. However, after I had got over the shock I became hopeful our home was here at last.

Then my husband and I started to unpack, the dinning room chairs had been taped into sacks with no protection for the legs at all, it is no surprise that they were gouged and badly scratched.

The nest of tables had a broken leg and the phone table went the same way as the chairs, glass in pictures frames was smashed… the list goes on.

1/ So in short we did our research, and still wound up with a terrible experience.

2/ Watch how they pack all of your items, or pack yourself.

3/ Make sure that you get a delivery date in writing; a phone call does not count, apparently.

4/ Make sure, it must be written down, that they will deliver your items in a lorry that is mentioned on their website and brochure.

5/ Insure all of your items just in case they get lost or damaged. We insured through their company, so we will wait and see what happens with that.

6/ Make sure that you really need everything from your home or could you buy new furniture in the country to which you are moving to, this will save money and worry. Our items were of sentimental value collected over almost forty five years of marriage, we wanted them safe and they were not safe at all.

O.K that is my very large moan over with, it is very upsetting but we are here in Daglan with fabulous new and old friends that have been wonderful to us and welcomed us into their village. The markets are great; fresh food, wine etc we have a Christmas market to go to next Saturday. So it is not all bad news.

Update :-The wardrobe arrived this morning, 28th November, over seven weeks after collection, completely unwrapped and minus any protection other than a few blankets thrown over it. It was explained that customs asked for it be unpacked. As expected the damage was obvious, scratched in three places, a chunk of wood gouged out in another and there was a door handle missing.

The Pride of Daglan


Do not miss the event of the year
Fetes de la Saint Louis
from the 21rd to the 24th August.

For detail go the the Daglan Mairie website


One of the really nice aspects of our village is the pride that people take over their property and the area in which they live. It really has an excellent community spirit, where people integrate and help one another.

The supermarket next door to our home has recently been renovated. It is still the same size but the counter and shelves have been moved to accommodate more items. There are two very green signs outside which stand in front of the new plant pots. The supermarket is run by a very friendly husband and wife team, who always greet you with the welcoming “bonjour”, as you enter. This shop is the centre of the community where people come to shop and talk to the owners and other shoppers about anything that is happening in Daglan and the surrounding area.

In this picture is one of the owners proudly cleaning the side of the supermarket, his wife washes the trolleys outside later in the day.local supermarket

The old Boulangerie, which is now a home The old Boulangerie

This house is for sale and vacant, but such is the pride of the owner they still have a gardener who tends the gorgeous garden at the front of the property.gorgeous garden

I love this house, roses and lavender curl upward towards the sun. Unfortunately it is not for sale.roses and lavender

A new door and windows for the house on the left and magnificent stone work on the property on the right.magnificent stone work

There are one or two lovely properties in Daglan for sale, in and out of the village. So if you are looking for easy access to the countryside, sunshine, wine, good food and friendly polite people, look no further than Daglan.