Back to France

Back to France for another stint at the coal face. Bathroom and kitchen installations with intermittent swimming and meetings continue this summer. Let’s not mention the kitchen!

We’re making good progress with the bathroom and I’m cautiously optimistic it will be finished in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime we’ve relocated to the downstairs studio where the temperature is cooler, there’s less dust and it’s quieter at 7am when the builder arrives. A win win situation!

The roof is back on the bathroom, the bath is in situ albeit back to front and the tiles are arriving on Monday.

Just a few taps to buy and we’re sorted!

All hail the mighty Caesar!

Today I decided to make a Caesar salad for lunch, probably one of my all time favourite salads which has the potential to go so wrong!

Living in LA I had the best of salads and the worst of salads and these are my tips for the top:

Never cut up the lettuce, get the freshest whole Romaine/Cos lettuce and keep the leaves whole.

Don’t add bacon or avocado. Sorry, that’s just not Caesar!

You can add chicken, you’re not a purist but that’s ok… just!

Make sure everything is cold, lettuce, dressing and croutons.

Follow this recipe:

This was the best Caesar salad dressing I’ve had since I lived in LA and probably better than most I had when I lived there. It may have helped having French ingredients but I’m standing by the recipe!


Meanwhile in London

This week our sale finally fell through and I have to say I wasn’t really surprised or disappointed although mildly frustrated after the amount of work it caused.

I wasn’t too keen on the flat we were buying and it all seemed to be an uphill battle. It just wasn’t meant to be.

We’re still entertaining the idea of selling and I have an estate agent coming round this morning, as I’m back for a couple of days, but personally I’m not too bothered as we have a lot going on.

In the meantime I (or the flat) still have fleas but it’s lovely and cool after very hot weather in France.

Pros and cons!


As the summer of chaos continues, the bathroom is now roofless while the French kitchen is a shell of its former self.

Bathroom with skylight
Comes with builder
Room formerly known as the kitchen
Hood for nothing

We certainly have our work cut out as we have to be finished by September 1st!

Our new IKEA kitchen arrives on August 19th so it’s pretty unlikely we’ll have a kitchen and worktop installed in twelve days.

And guess who’ll be assembling the flat pack kitchen?

Good grief!

And back again

And so it’s back to Gatwick for me this afternoon for another fun-filled trip to the South of France! Will I make it?!

After Monday’s shenanigans I was quite traumatised and had a lot of anxiety about travelling by EasyJet from Gatwick in the afternoon when delays have a knock on effect and Gatwick can be utter chaos.

I didn’t get off to the best start as there were severe delays on the tube (the UK is currently melting in the hottest weather ever recorded) but before long I made it to Gatwick several hours before my departure which is not my usual way to fly. Normally I arrive an hour before gates close but this time it was worth arriving early and sitting quietly on the other side.

I was pleasantly surprised when I went through security in fifteen minutes and found a seat in the departure lounge. Now all I need to do is get on the flight so with a thirty minute delay already listed, let’s see what happens this time!

Meanwhile in France…

Here’s a look at the kitchen. It turned out the kitchen ceiling needed to be removed and was a major fire risk so that worked out well and we now have more height.

The new/old floor arrived in buckets.

1200 tiles need old grout removing from the edges in order to salvage them. What a labour of love. I managed to do thirty before my hands packed up. Big T had managed six hundred when I left on Monday. Only five hundred and seventy to go!

Our next challenge is the worktop. The original kitchen was tiled which is not good for a worktop. Worktops in France seem to start at €5000 which is extortionate for a small, country kitchen so we’re thinking of concrete or wood. I’m concerned that wood will be cut, burned or stained by tenants so let’s see if concrete is a cheaper, more durable option.


If I make it back on Saturday (easyJet from Gatwick, it doesn’t bode well) I’m looking forward to seeing progress.

The Summer of Chaos continues!


Last night I started tentatively packing. I decluttered ornaments, books, dried flowers and tchotchkes (aka crap) into boxes and ten boxes later I realised we have a lot of cushions.

This week we had an electrician round to swap our light fittings for replacements as this time we won’t be leaving everything behind. We’ve finally learned that some things can’t be replaced.

And, as for dates, well, as it wasn’t yesterday, we’re hoping for mid August but who knows and I may find myself unpacking boxes in a few weeks time.

One good thing about packing is that it allows time to emotionally separate. There are certainly pros and cons to our flat, a lack of light being one major pro, but from where we began three and a half years ago, in a state of dereliction, it’s turned into a nice place to live.

Hopefully the next one will be even better and with a little more natural light!

Flea ridden

I have fleas, or rather, our flat has fleas and I was greeted like a returning hero when I walked in at 2:15am this morning. You could almost hear the tiny cheers of delight.

What it means is that Agnes has gone to France and must have left some fleas behind. Time to get the dog and I both de-fleaed .

I have ordered flea foggers and in the meantime am sitting quietly picking fleas off my yellow trousers (they seem to like yellow) and putting them into a swimming pool, a bowl of water with washing up liquid in. I’m up to fifteen tiny corpses so far.

There’s something quite unpleasant about having fleas. I’m very itchy and not enjoying my infestation at all.

Let’s hope the foggers arrive tomorrow!

Another jaunt

I made it back to France for four days where things had progressed with the kitchen, not so much with the bathroom. Deadline for completion, Sept 3rd.

Upon arrival the pool was looking ok but with a little alchemy I had it sparkling by the time I left. I feel much more confident with the pool and pool fear has abated. That only took five years!

Agnes was limping and very down in the furry mouth and so, after a quick visit to Dr Vincent in Valbonne, was soon kitted out in the cone of shame and a course of antibiotics. Apparently she has a burr stuck in her paw and may need a little surgery later this week.

And the rest of the time was spent looking at extortionately priced kitchen worktops, ordering bathroom fittings, booking travel and trying to organise what has become, the summer of insanity.

The sale has been pushed back, we have asked to complete by August 9th.

I have another five return flights between now and the end of August.

We’ve bought train tickets for Agnes’ return to the UK, September 2nd.

Apparently I’m going to Belgium the week of September 5th for work.

We have booked travel to the Isles of Scilly (delayed from 2021) September 9th

And to top that off, I bought a return flight on EasyJet to go to work this week and instantly regretted it.

I’m writing this now from the now delayed flight (1 hr 30 mins and counting) with a late arrival (midnight) into Gatwick, at least an hour from home. It doesn’t bode well.

I finally made it home at 02:15. It doesn’t deserve to be written about except to say that wandering around St Pancras station at 2am on a Monday night trying to find a non-existent taxi wasn’t my idea of glamorous travel.

We’re doing too much and ultimately something’s going to give. Hopefully not my sanity, Agnes’ paw or Big T’s sense of humour.