Well not entirely. The hobs are gas and the oven is electric. Having spent months cooking with a crappy gas oven which had one setting = #1 burn this has been an absolute delight to cook with. I cannot tell you how frustrating it was to cook with a gas oven. I don’t really see the point of having a top and bottom shelf in a gas oven. The middle shelf is your only hope of something remotely resembling what it’s meant to and just estimate an hour for everything. 20 minute pizza = one hour, 15 minute cupcakes = one hour. So yes, this bad boy has been a very welcome addition to life in France. I hadn’t realised people have so much oven envy until I popped a picture up on my facebook.
I hadn’t really given the make of the oven that much thought – my requirements were lots of gas hobs including wok (remind me to get a hot plate), two ovens one of which is fan assisted and the absolute must was electric. Plus it cost less than 2,000 euros, which given that this is France, is a snip. The kitchen itself is from castorama. I think tiles and deco make a kitchen not expensive units etc so yeah treated myself to something that gets used everyday. It does use 8kw of electric though – we have 12kw supply to the house and I’m pleased to say that I can have both ovens, the kettle and my washing machine on all at the same time. If you’ve got the right power supply going into your home in France then things shouldn’t trip out. Many people don’t and then moan about France blah blah but it’s easily sorted. Although by all accounts, you can only change your supply twice a year so you need to work out what you would anticipate using.
So yes, we are in our house! We moved on 9th December (to the day our 7th month anniversary in France). Since this time we have been sorting and arranging, then sorting, rearranging and repeat. This, no doubt, will go on into the new year. So it’s getting there and starting to feel like home. I will be able to write much more in the new year now that I am living on site and not under a deadline to get out of our rental property.
So, with the year drawing to a close I think we did pretty darn good. Wouldn’t you say? Not only did we build the house, we had to get all the services that we take for granted i.e water, electric, internet etc and it is furnished. Mr Normandy is properly knackered (as am I) and we have taken it easy this Xmas break. So much so, our record for getting up this morning was 11.30am!
Reflecting on our time here in France, I have to say I am enjoying it immensely the only down side, as far as I can tell, is that Celion Dion gets far too much airplay. A minor negative. Oh and France Bleu – Adele and Dido did write more than one song!
I don’t mind the white knuckle car journey in pitch black in the fog driving the kids to school. I don’t mind the driving rain in December and let us not forget August was a wash out here. I don’t mind (too much) that a man doesn’t arrive at our door with our Saturday night take-away. I don’t mind that certain shops are shut on a Monday – you just find out the ones that aren’t and plan accordingly. Most big supermarkets were open till 6.30pm Christmas Eve, the Boulangerie was open Christmas Day and there is no Boxing Day here so it’s a normal day after Christmas Day.
We have met some wonderful people, our old neighbours (English) being one – who have helped us enormously assisting with our various moves and have become surrogate grandparents to our children. Our French teacher who has provided us with consistently good French lessons – where I learn something new every time. The staff at the children’s school who have all been very kind and supportive. The school mums who have helped me out on the various school bits that we all take for granted in our home country – where do I go for this, that and the other etc. I have found 100% of the French people I’ve encountered to be most welcoming (I’m sure I’m due a bad ‘un but for now it’s a clean sheet) even the guy that took our 375.00 euros for the fosse report – yarp, he was nice too. By the way, I did get this money back. I did one final email and his father turned up with the money that day. His son had encountered difficulties (a post for another time).
There are some desperadoes our here – looking to turn people over – sadly they are British. I can dedicate a whole blog post on the Wild West element out here. But in brief, these types will try to turn you over because quite frankly they need the money. Go with your gut instinct, get everything in writing, no – not everyone is ‘lovely’ and if all else fails go all Reggie Kray to sort things out. They soon realise you’re not a mug and word will get out that you’re not for turning over.
I still don’t know how I redeem my E.Leclerc points – can I just buy the goods with the sticker?! I just don’t know. I love Lidl like I loved Aldi in the UK they are very similar and I soon realised that Carrefour isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. I want to prefer you Carrefour but I just can’t sorry – you just don’t have the same range as E.Leclerc.
I have discovered the Xmas lights are fab and there are lots going on (see my Facebook page and Instagram) seeing Santa was free as are lots of things to do for the children. It doesn’t feel as manic and pressured as a UK Xmas. People aren’t squeeling and wetting themselves over it in September. It’s saved for December and the French love Xmas just like the rest of us.
The screwed up face thing doesn’t bother me anymore – it keeps me on the toes just when I think I’m rocking the language a Frenchie will put me right back to the foetus stage of learning and quite right too. I love their brutal honesty and directness. Take the doctor for instance, I was trying to say our last house was damp – he just looked at me shoke his head and said “no”. In other words, I don’t understand you and I’m not even going to attempt to. Sorry. Not Sorry.
My son can go and study (slightly nervous but excited for him) in Germany for a whole 2 months on a Franco/German exchange programme. He will stay with a German family, go to school there and the student will do the same with us. Wow, just wow – he’s already nearly fluent in French and has a good grasp of the German language as well. Potentially fluent in 3 languages – that’s impressive and opens many doors.
There is life off the island and a world of opportunity for our children here on mainland Europe. And if reports are to be believed, they will be guaranteed their European citizen rights as we have moved here before the UK leave the EU in 2019.
I hope you have enjoyed the blog posts I have written so far during our moves etc – I have many more to write and will have time to do so.
I wish all my readers a Happy and Peaceful New Year in 2018!