News on the Home Front

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It’s now four weeks since we moved to Blois. All the boxes are unpacked (except those in storage such as Christmas decorations and things that we’re not sure where to put or may never use again). I finally found the exercise book with the contents of the first lot of cartons by which time it was a little late.

Our half-timbered walls - not easy for paintings
Our half-timbered walls – not easy for paintings

The only thing we haven’t put up are our pictures but I now want to proceed one room at a time for the final decorative touches. Our half-timbered walls are not as easy to accommodate as our painted walls were in Paris! They are also much thicker which means you can’t just hammer in a picture hook and move it a couple of days later.

Full door in the office on the left
Full door in the office on the left

We have three major projects this winter. The first, which is the simplest, is to replace two timber doors with glass doors to let in some much-needed light (especially on a rainy day like today), one in the upstairs living room where the Renaissance fireplace is, and the other in our office downstairs. It’s wonderful having a 400-year old house but back in those days, the fewer the doors and windows the better because of the heating (and taxes).

The downstairs living room fireplace in which we want to put a wood-burning stove
The downstairs living room fireplace in which we want to put a wood-burning stove

The second is to put a wood-burning stove in one of the downstairs fireplaces. At present, we have gas-fired central heating with radiators downstairs and floor heating upstairs giving us a steady 19°C. That is fine if you’re physically active but if you spend a lot of time working at a computer as I do, your fingers start to get a little chilly! Last week, we went to Tours to buy some Damart thermal underwear and mittens but a stove in the next room is a more inviting proposition.

The peeling paper in the guest bedroom with its very high ceiling
The peeling paper in the guest bedroom with its very high ceiling

The third, which is my project, is to strip the paper off the guest bedroom which has one of those attic ceilings and paint it instead. Apart from not being particularly attractive, the current paper is starting to come unstuck at most of the joins. The only problem is the height of the room in the middle and the possible state of the walls behind the paper …

The Renaissance fireplace we renovated in the living room
The Renaissance fireplace we renovated in the living room

So much for the practical side of things. On the emotional front, it’s proving far more stressful that I thought. Chronic fatigue, of course, probably doesn’t help. Although we have already made good friends here – and are continuing to make new ones – it’s not the same as being surrounded by the friends I have known and felt comfortable with for years. Jean Michel and I also have to find a new modus vivendi which is proving difficult for both of us in different ways. I don’t know if it would be easier or not if I was retired too but I still have another 4 ½ years to go.

Second page in La Nouvelle République!
Second page in La Nouvelle République!

However, two things happened on Friday that have bucked me up no end. The first is that thanks to another “city daily” blogger, Stuart, from Amboise Daily Photo (Amboise is a half an hour down the river from Blois), the local paper, La Nouvelle République, interviewed us for Loire Daily Photo and the article was published on the second page under the title (in French of course) of “Rosemary’s Blogs Capture the Region”.

Closerie Falaiseau, with the two full doors from the outside
Closerie Falaiseau, with the two full doors from the outside

The second news was a phone call asking me to confirm my address to receive an invitation to be sworn in as a “traductrice assermentée”. In France, the translation for administrative purposes of many legal documents such as birth and marriage certificates as well as court rulings, judgments, etc. must be carried out and stamped by a “legal expert”. I first applied in the greater Paris area nine years ago and was refused, despite the fact that I had all the required skills and experience. However, I decided to apply to the local courts in January this year in view of our move and this time, I was successful.

It’s certainly a good start to feeling part of the local community.

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20 thoughts on “News on the Home Front”

  1. Sounds like things are coming along, even though you still have a few jobs to take care of over the next few months. But I’m not surprised you’re finding the move stressful. It’s such a major change. I always find it takes me 6 months before I start to feel settled into a new place. Hopefully it’ll take you less time! I didn’t realise you suffer from chronic fatigue. That can’t be easy.

    Congrats on the paper mention. I hope you’re feeling more settled soon. x

    1. Six months. Oh well I shall have to be patient. My chronic fatigue improves on holiday fortunately! But there isn’t anything in sight at present. I’m working on it!

  2. Your house in Blois looks fantastic, Rosemary. This move was hard work but it’s over now so you can finally relax for the Holidays. Congratulations for your appearance in the local newspaper (La Nouvelle République). That’s great news indeed.

  3. I had to look up the expression, bucked me up no end, I was not sure if it was going to be reading good news or something annoying (-:
    Félicitations on your appointment.

    For wallpaper removal; painting walls etc…. i have invested in a small folding scaffold which is so much better than a ladder for many out of reach work. this is an example:

  4. Must be an Australian expression! Thank you for your congratulations.

    That small folding scaffold looks like an excellent idea. I’m definitely going to look into it.

  5. If you can wait till mid Aug when I am free between friends and travels in europe, I could help paint the spare room?

    1. Hi Butcherbird, that is very kind of you, but I would like to get it finished this winter and you wouldn’t have anywhere to sleep!

  6. House looking lovely, Rosemary. Personally I love the old wallpaper 🙂
    Congrats on newspaper are becoming famous!
    All the best to you both
    Love Jill

  7. I forgot to say Rosemary – I loved the newspaper clipping – that which I could read of course – I look forward to seeing an English translation of it!

  8. Rosemary… you blogged here about the post I saw today in our Friday edition…
    same page, same article… how strange.
    You are concerned about hanging your pictures because of the thick walls…
    have you considered the tiny, but strong, rails that….
    in your case…. would mount under the beams.
    You hang the pictures on thin droppers with hooks on them.
    A lot of galleries now use them…. because they are constantly changing pictures…
    but you could use it to position the pictures…
    mark the hook/s positions and then demount the rail and use elsewhere…
    for the same action…. justathort.

    1. Hi Tim, that is very funny!
      I had thought of that and mentioned it to Jean Michel, but he isn’t keen. Also, as he pointed out, it will only work on the walls with parallel beams. Since he does the hammering, I’m letting him decide!

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