So we arrived at our house in France to find it was not cleared out and had no services connected…
Water was the most immediate concern – so we were very grateful for a downpour of rain, a bucket, and an overflowing drain pipe across the road. At least we could flush the toilet!
Within 2 days we had water (helps if you turn it on at the mains!), electricity, our first lot of furniture and appliances, and shortly after the gas came on.
Walking to the large Carrefour supermarket in Pechereau just outside Argenton-sur-Creuse (a lovely walk alongside the river which we still like to do on a regular basis) …
…we stocked up on food, basic household supplies and cleaning equipment.
After a second trip to Conforama in Chateauroux, we had enough furniture to make ourselves, and our first guest (a builder friend who was stopping by on his own travels to lend us a hand) quite comfortable. Mind you, we were literally still making our bed when he arrived, so we put him straight to work.
In fact we were doing so much assembly with an allen-key that Tony adapted one to fit into his cordless drill. Brilliant!
Getting in touch with the English bloke who owned the “gite” (pronounced zheet – a self-contained holiday accommodation) where we stayed close-by on our first trip to France, who did some handyman work on the side and owned a trailer, meant that we could get rid of some of the random stuff left in the house (by this stage, all piled up in the garage) at the tip. It would have been handy if he had forewarned us that the rubbish needed to be separated into wood, construction materials, cardboard, metal, etc.
Organising an internet/TV/phone package with Orange was rather daunting and confusing and I really didn’t understand why we had to get a second line put in, though later it became clear that one is the normal landline and the other the internet line. (The theory being, that if the internet is down you still have a phone, but in normal circumstances we make all outgoing calls via the internet line.) It was helpful to discover the phone number for the English-speaking customer service centre (tel 09 69 36 39 00 – notice how French phone numbers are said in pairs as in zero-nine sixty-nine thirty-six thirty-nine double-zero), and later on we added unlimited VOIP calls to Australia for 7 extra euros a month.
In general, things seemed to take quite a while to organise but Argenton is in the country after all (about 300km south of Paris) and why be in such a rush? The slower pace is all part of the charm of the place.
The best thing of all was that, with patience, effort and cautious expenditure, day by day, something new came together and we were extremely appreciative of every little thing.