Where did those 3 months go?

I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since my last post here, the time has gone so quickly, probably because I hardly have time to think these days, there’s so much to do.

This house and garden are far too big for me to manage on my own, so the decision had to be made to sell. I’ll move to Dax, to be nearer to Kieran and his family. I think it will be a very small place in Dax – the prices are way higher than they are around here. 

Obviously downsizing involves getting rid of a lot of stuff, an awful lot of stuff. You see, Nick was a hoarder, he never threw anything out. In fact at the beginning of this year, I started having a bit of a clear out; when I got to his “working clothes” drawer…… and box ……. and overflow heap, I discovered that he had no fewer than 16 pairs of working trousers, 15 sweatshirts and over 20 tee shirts, all scruffy, all for working in. Did he really need them all? Well, yes, of course he did!

It was almost impossible to walk in the garage, the abri and the cabanon; I despaired when I looked at the huge quantities of “stuff” we’d accumulated over the years.

But help was at hand; Kieran found a buyer for the digger, the trailer tent and some other bits and I called a woodworker friend, who took a lot of wood and the Renault 4 and a local garage owner offered to put the camper on his forecourt.

Maddy and Dom arrived from England; the idea was for them to alternate a few days here with a few days camping for their two weeks holiday, but it was far too hot to go camping, so they stayed here and worked from morning to night every day. Dom’s an expert at decluttering, though he needed watching as he had a tendency to throw everything out! Between us, we cleared out most of the big, most cluttered areas, taking many loads to the tip and organising what remained. Dom also organised Nick’s bike shed – a monumental task!

I called Simon, who recycles building materials, and who agreed to take away the huge pile of old roof tiles from the middle of the back garden. Maddy tackled the unenviable task of removing the brambles that were growing all over, under and through them.

Francis recommended a scrap metal merchant, who came to take away the huge heap of scrap metal that we unearthed from all over the place.

At times (well, actually, most of the time), it was very hard emotionally, seeing things thrown out that, though of no use, reminded me of Nick. Maybe it was too soon, but it needed doing and I couldn’t have tackled it on my own.

Once Maddy and Dom had left, Alex came over for a week; we planted up a flower bed where previously there were only weeds and had a lovely week together, in spite of the frequent tears. We even managed an afternoon at the jazz festival in Marciac, by chance there was a fantastic band on in the place; what luck, it made our day.

I’ve chosen an estate agent and am going to put the house on the market very soon, but in the meantime, the back wall of the house isn’t finished and looks awful, as we hadn’t got around to having it crepied. I’ve asked the builder to do it, but I think he’s probably very busy since last month’s storm, during which I lost quite a lot of tiles from various parts of the roof. A retired roofer friend came round to repair the damage for me, but looking round at fields of maize and vineyards entirely stripped of their leaves, I realise how lucky I was not to suffer serious damage.

Richard, a retired carpenter, came round a few weeks ago, to repair the workshop shutters, all of which had dropped a bit in the middle, so were very difficult to open and close. I spent the rest of that week sanding and painting them before the family arrived.

So all in all, progress is being made, even though it feels slow. I’ll try not to leave it so long before my next post; there’s plenty to report.