Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Brief visit

So Fred and I spent four days in France assessing progress and negotiating and planning future work on our barn rennovation. For Fred it was a chance to see the floor tiles which have set us back over 8,000 euros (it's a big space) and the electrical work that has now been completed. For me there was so much to see as I have not visited since last September due to work pressures and am unlikely to be out there again until July for similar reasons.

The dining table that Fred built for us is if anything more impressive than I could dare have imagined and our plans to spend next Christmas in France became a must on seeing it. It is positively crying out for a lavish banquet.

The holiday home has surpassed all my expectations. I was concerned it would be too dark when in fact the combination of floor tiles and white walls make it bright and fresh. (beginning to sound like that Lawrence dick off the telly now).

We have organised the next few months work though funds are finely balanced so we may not complete it quite as quickly as we had imagined but hopefully it should still be this year.

Fred then subjected me to four hours of outdoor work for which I was poorly prepared. The weather was bright, sunny and absolutely bitter cold. The work involved me holding one end of a tape measure whilst Fred took precise and complex measurements of the land around our house so we can start planning the landscaping. I'm pretty good at standing around and holding things and I think Fred was impressed as he kept asking me to repeat it, hundreds of times.

We made good use of our tractor for which Fred has fashioned a trailer from an old farmers wheelbarrow, a most impressive feat of engineering and absolutely perfect for carrying shit around.

I maintained my sobre regime throughout, eating healthily, drinking almost nothing (bar the occasional glass of cider) and I have now stopped smoking for a month. I feel I have cracked it, I have the occasional fleeting thought about it but it no longer occupies my every waking moment.

The fresh air and a change of scenery helped relieve my work stress and I came back refreshed and re-invigorated, an effect that lasted roughly 24 hours into my return to work. A tough 3 months lies ahead of both Mel and I as she completes her masters degree and I apply myself 100% to my work challenges. Health challenges permitting, Pat and Fred will return to France in a few weeks time to oversee the next phase of work and we will apply ourselves to the task of funding it.

My mind now turns to the long overdue but seemingly distant onset of Spring and more relaxing times ahead.

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