Patrick recently brought home a large notebook with sections, each section containing little pictures & phrases to show the different things that the children learn at school. In the back was his first official "bilan" (report). We never received one from the teacher in Saint Paul, I think she was too busy with end of term activities in December! It basically said that he is integrating well with the class, and that his French is improving "pas à pas" (step by step). I signed it and felt like writing "moi aussi!"
We've had many friends comment on our posts on Facebook and send us messages "are you open yet?" (Are we there yet???) It is definitely a "pas à pas" process!
In March, we had Andy from BTP services to put in an entirely new septic system. He had to dig up half our lawn, with trenches and piping everywhere and a huge hole for the tank. It took about 3 weeks, longer than he had planned, because of rainy weather and the amount of work that it took to re-route and redo the old fosse. We are very relieved that it is working properly and the funky odors that would randomly emit from behind the house and in the hallway are no more! Our neighbor is happy too--the old fosse drainage went directly into his garden. Needless to say it was something that needed to be fixed "tout suite!" Keith planted some grass seed that is slowly coming up, but part of the yard still looks pretty decimated.
Meanwhile, we had put in paperwork as soon as we moved in about the renovations in the barn. It was the wrong paperwork(!) but we didn't find that out until March. Back to the drawing board with another stack of papers. We had 1 month to wait to see if there was approval. If we didn't hear anything in that month we were okay to go ahead. Happy to say that "no news is good news" and we can now put in new windows and doors.
Keith's builder friend Brad came from Toulouse to see our progress at the end of April. Keith, Brad & Andy managed to put up all the rails to frame the rooms in 3 days! Luckily Brad has been available on FaceTime for calls when Keith needs to ask something.
The cement floor was put in by Nigel at the end of April. We just had Hedley the electrician last week, he spent a full day with another worker getting all the sockets and wiring in position. He'll be back at the beginning of June for the finishing touches. John the plumber will also come at the beginning of June for his part.
In the connecting area (from the house to the barn) that will be the shared lounge, Keith cleaned and chiseled the old cement out of the stone wall, then filled it with fresh mortar, and wire-brushed it smooth. It was tedious and painstaking work, but I think the end result looks almost as good as the stone in our living room!
This week, Keith has been working with Andy on the roof insulation & plasterboard. He was able to borrow a scaffold from Nigel and a plasterboard lifter from John. It has been incredibly hard work to get the insulation in and then drill the plasterboard--the angles are very odd and you are contorting yourself to drill in the pieces, and sometimes the pieces have to be cut into odd shapes.
I've been trying my best to plan and cook dinners (!) that everyone wants to eat. Keith is pretty exhausted most nights and looks forward to this stage being done!
Next step is installing the insulation/plasterboard into the walls. Then plastering the plasterboard...
If you've read this far you may be wondering what I'm doing...well, we hired Alison to help us with registration of both our businesses. I was registered February 1st. Keith just got his SIRET number at the beginning of May. Now it's up to me to figure out the next step of registering with the tourist office and the mairie, and advertising strategies. I've been researching the many options online, working on our terms and conditions and what rates we plan to set, and many other little details that come with starting a business. Not to mention figuring out where to buy all our bedding, mattresses, and furniture for the B&B!
One other feat was that I finally have imported my car into France--there are about 10 steps to do in order to get it registered, it is a real pain! Now I just wait for the paperwork to come back and I will have French number plates. Next we have to do Keith's car!!
So thanks for reading and our goal is still to be open by July 1st!!!