We have made the first big purchase for the main house. New windows!
Our first winter here was freezing, and neither of us fancied spending another one in a house that gets so cold you can see your breath.
There are two reasons why this is the case: no insulation and a knackered, old heating system.
We decided to sort the windows first, not only because double-glazing would be a big help for the insulation, but because every time traffic went past, the windows rattled, which made a right racket! (said in my most broadest Derbyshire accent).
Keen to do our bit to support the French economy, the first quote we got was from a national supplier. A very nice man, whose name escapes me, came to visit and gave us lots of information about what we could have. He was lovely. The price, on the other hand? I nearly choked on my Earl Grey when he showed me the amount. Nearly 50,000 Euro!
In fear that we would be forced to live in a cold house for many more years to come, I scoured the Internet looking for alternatives. There is a very useful website called AngloInfo which offers a forum for us immigrants and a directory of local businesses. It was here that I found Scott – a straight-talking English bloke who sells British-standard, French-style double-glazing. And at a price considerably more affordable than our first quote. Phew!
So two weeks ago, they came to fit them. In just three days, they managed to install the whole lot, which given the vast number of windows and doors this house has was no mean feat.
Immediately you could feel the temperature difference, and no more rattles either. Coupled with that, they offer much more security than before, and they look wonderful. Job done!
The next job is to paint the house and shutters, but that is such a huge job we can’t actually summon up the will to think about it.
Also, as so often happens with these things, as you solve one problem you create another. For some reason, the central heating pipes had been laid over the top of the old window frames, and needed removing before the new windows could be fitted. So now we have no heating other than the open fires in the lounge and kitchen. So another challenge, what to do about that! Do we fix the oil central heating or do we take it all out and put in electric heaters instead?
We have much work to do.