The arrival - Autumn 2015

We traveled back to Ruffec to sign for, and take over the keys for La Loge. Making sure that all the finances were in place was very testing but we got it sorted in the nick of time. We arrived the day before the signing to meet the owners, they are great people and took pleasure in showing us everything that we hadn't already seen, all went well but the evening turned into a rather boozy affair. On the day of the signing, we got a great guided tour of the local area and went to meet the notaire, a really humorous bi-lingual chap. When the signing was over he came out with the line "you are now the legal owners of La Loge" those words didn't really sink in at the time, maybe the hangover was still wreaking havoc, maybe we were overwhelmed! The previous owners traveled to the airport and we headed "home". Wow! Everything looked ten times better once we walked through the door. We had a lovely few days enjoying the late warm summer weather, even having the odd swim in our pool. Unfortunately, we had some loose ends to tie up back in Blighty, this was a wrench, we felt really sad to be leaving our new home in our new country! After a couple of weeks, Debbie flew back out while I worked harder on my golf handicap and emptied the flat of our belongings! The previous owners had left us a lot of furniture which meant Debbie didn't really want for anything while I was back in England and she started making friends with some lovely locals and ex-pats.

Removals day in the UK could not come soon enough, most of our "stuff" was boxed (100+ boxes) either in our flat or in a lockup, we got a few quotes for removals, two were quite high so were ditched, the one we took was with David at George Whites, he drove the lorry, we did the donkey work for a reasonable price. Rob my amazing brother in law agreed to help load and to travel to France and help unload, David turned up at the flat nice and early and loading began, three hours later the lorry was fully loaded and on his way. Rob and I were battered but had to drive to Portsmouth for the ferry, we stopped by pizza express on the way to refuel and got on the ferry, two pints of Guinness, found our cabin and snored all the way across the channel.

Due to David’s rapid progression across the channel, we had slightly less time to travel to La Loge than we expected, cue us keeping rigidly to the speed limit-ish! Halfway down the road and Debbie got a message that David was a bit behind schedule......great news! We chilled and arrived half an hour before him. He parked his huge truck at a local grain store so we could bring him to the house to assess the access, no dice on getting right up to the house so parked at the end of the driveway for us to offload him. Records were broken and he headed off to his next drop off an hour and a half later, unfortunately, i had to drive to Poitiers to pick up Debbie who had to drop off her hire-car. While I did this Rob got the tractor plus forklift attachment and shifted most of the boxes and ‘stuff’ up to the barn by the time we returned. What a star!

The next couple of days were spent emptying boxes and looking after Rob, not being able to believe that this house is properly ours. So peaceful, so full of character, so full of promise. We struggled to keep him off the tractor as the grass needed cut. I would have liked to do it myself but he deserved a go!

We decided to have a break from the boxes and discussed what we could do, the issue of our Asiatique Hornets (Frelons) nest that is located in a missing brick hole in the side of the barn came into conversation, I was quite keen to leave them alone but Rob and Debbie thought we should have a go at getting rid of it!! We purchased a Frelon bomb (aerosol can) from the local Brico, this bomb says it can fire the spray up to six meters away which should give us a chance of escape should they put up a fight. Now this nest is about six meters up the side of the barn, we decided we needed a bit of height to get closer for the spray to be effective and we needed some cover while at height, out came the Guinness parasol with mossie net draped over it and the garden dining table for a bit of height. We both climbed onto the table, under the parasol inside the mossie netting and got the sprays ready, Rob with the 'bomb' and me with the household frelon spray should any get too close, Debbie watched from the safety of the house chuckling at what she was watching, Rob put his gloved hand through a gap in the netting and had a go at discharging the ‘bomb', the breeze was too strong to accurately fire on the nest so we needed another plan. Rob, being the practical type decided he would do it perched on a ladder, using the mossie net covered Guinness parasol stuffed down the back of his trousers, leaving his hands free to climb the ladder and spray the nasties. Off he went to the amusement of the spectators, up the ladder tentatively, the 'bomb' emerges from mossie net gap and gets discharged straight into what he could see of the nest. Lots of the nasties flew out and fell out, those that flew didn't get too far as the spray took effect a couple buzzed Rob but again didn't have much fight. Rob descended the ladder and retired a safe distance to witness the final moments of the small community of nasty hornets, fifteen minutes go by and all seems quiet at halfway up the wall. Rob goes back and empties the last remnants of spray from the ‘bomb' into the nest. A further fifteen minutes of inactivity from the nest and Rob takes a stick to it and clears the nest away. Success! As a side note, there were quite a few frelon bodies strewn on the floor below the nest but one we believe to be the queen as compared to the others she was a lot larger, bigger than the ten p piece we put next to her to give scale while taking a photo. Rob goes back this Saturday but nephew Steve and his wife Emma visit for a few days, hope they like the idea of emptying boxes, fighting insects and watching me drive MY tractor!