Well, after an eventful and productive couple of weeks, Lesley is now back in Maidenhead, and back on-line, so is able to continue 'the blog'. We had hoped to be up and running with phone and broadband at La Maire, but many things never happen quickly in rural France!!
So lots to tell...we had a cold but sunny drive down to the Ariege - then our arrival at La Maire at 11.00pm coincided with the start of a 24 hour snowfall!
We got the wood-chip boiler up and running however and the house soon began to heat up - slowly! The first night was bitterly cold, but happily the house was all in good order after a cold winter.
The sun soon came out again, but temperatures stayed very low for about 4 days - then Spring suddenly arrived and it was time to unpack the the t-shirts!
Daniel and 3 friends were due to arrive the following week to help out, so our first few days consisted of buying a few essentials - fridge, freezer, washing machine, mattresses etc. However there is a lot to learn - we forgot that most shops in France close at lunchtime, so all customers are shown the door at midday, whether you have a trolley load or not!! Delivery of the white goods turned out to be impossible for another 2 weeks, but we were offered the use of the shop's own van to deliver transport our purchases back to the house - quite an interesting experience along the single track lanes!!
A couple of trips to Ikea also enabled us to begin sparsly furnishing the house, so it is starting to feel like home.
The lads all arrived - with wellies and workclothes - so Dave soon found plenty for them to do. The biggest job was demolishing the chicken houses, which they attacked with gusto!! Two days later, the chicken houses had become a petanque ground and a very neatly stacked pile of bricks! Another 2 day job was digging out the land behind the back of the house in preparation for the patio, and then the attic rooms to be cleared and painted.
The lads managed a couple of days out as well, to the coast, to Carcassonne and to the mountains - and by the middle of the week we had English TV up and running - just in time for the France/England rugby match!!
Fresh air and hard work makes for very large appetities, so we have also been keeping the local supermarkets in business!
We have both thoroughly enjoyed our first few weeks at La Maire. We still find the beautiful countryside all around quite a distraction from the jobs in hand and it is such a lovley place to wake up to in the mornings.
We have been warmly welcomed by the farming community around us - they all came out to say hello, and we were also pleased to be able to meet up with friends Sue and Steve, and Lisa and Neil from the village, all of whom are helping us to settle in so smoothly
Dave is staying there to continue working for another couple of weeks, with Daniel and Richard to help. I will go back with Lucy - her first visit- in a couple of weeks time....who knows, maybe we will be on-line by then!!
Some photos of the last couple of weeks can be seen at