Arrival at Our New Home in Provence

1 Apr

First impressions? Because we had spent so much time looking at and showing the pictures it almost seemed familiar. Park-like setting, lovely weather, peaceful and beautiful stone buildings. One thing I had wrong in my mental picture was the elevations. The main two bedrooms in the Olive Cottage are about four stories above the pool due to the landscape that the house is nestled into.

Of course our first order of business was to meet James and Lavinia, the owners of the property. Very nice people, fit and healthy, bright and cheerful, very welcoming. They are English but this is their primary residence and has been for the ten years they have owned it.

Naturally the second order of business was to have a drink – it was after all a warm day and we were now in France for sure. A nice chilled Rosé hit the spot. Lavinia had prepared a very nice lunch for us all and it was thoroughly enjoyed beside the pool. I am a bit vague on the details, not due to consumption of wine but because so much has been happening since that day a week ago now.

Looking back towards the house across the pool

The main house

Dave and Carolyn were leaving for their new assignment in Normandy on Sunday so until then we were staying with them in the Olive Cottage. By the time we got back to the Olive Cottage they (Dave?) had lumbered out bags up to the room for us. Talk about silver service!

And do we like the Olive Cottage? Do we what! It is gorgeous. Just like the pictures. Just don’t ever bring an OSH guy (Occupational Safety and Health) here because he would have a fit. Head banging hazards, every step on every set of stairs is a unique height and depth. But it all adds to the character. My big toe has already fallen victim to a missed step and peeled the nail back. Ouch! But it wouldn’t be right any other way.

Our lounge and dining areas and in the back left the kitchen

Our sunny courtyard. The door leads out to the garage

View out the kitchen window - it is only 300mm W by 400mm H

Once the sun goes down it is still a bit cool, 5~10 degC low overnight, so Dave lit the fire before we sat down to a very nice dinner prepared by Carolyn. With local wine of course. And then, to help minimize Dave’s packing we finished off his bottle of Jamieson. Hmmm. That ended up being a late night.

On Friday Dave and Carolyn drove us around the area showing us where all the essential amenities were located – the wine shop, glass recycling place, supermarket, pharmacy, some restaurants, garden supplies outlet, and more that I have probably forgotten.  Because we did not yet have a car and the property is a little way off the beaten track, we decided to rent a car.  We stopped by Europecar and with Carolyn’s French and some bargaining we got the one week price down from €430 to €217 but that did mean changing the insurance from zero excess to €600 excess.  So now we were mobile.

Our Fiat 500 rental car

This is the road into our place. When you meet another car one of you has to reverse and find a space to layby

In the evening Dave and Carolyn had arranged for us to meet some people over dinner at the pizzeria in Le Thoronet.  So over a very enjoyable meal we caught up with James’s cousin Sue who lives 5km away and a young Australian couple who were housesitting 500m away from us, Dave & Carla.  The funniest thing was that Dave & Carla were leaving shortly to go to another assignment in Cannes – one that we had been offered but could not do in the end because we got Le Thoronet.  It’s a small world.

Dave showed me around the property on Saturday afternoon and told me far more things than I can claim to remember (sorry Dave!).  It was great to get have a detailed and practical introduction to everything.  Especially to know what things the owners particularly liked attention paid to.  Carolyn also showed Leanne through the main house because part of the role here is to help with the housework.

Dave & Carla had invited us (Dave, Carolyn, Leanne and I) up for a drink before dinner so that was out next stop.  Dave & Carla are housesitting for another English couple who will returned on 10th April.  Their place is up a very steep access road and overlooks the river valley.

When we got home Leanne prepared us all a nice dinner and somehow we managed to get another late night.

Dave and Carolyn made good progress with packing their car on Sunday morning and by 11.30am they were heading for Normandy.  Although we had only known them for three days it was very sad to see them leave.  We had a very nice few days with them and we will definitely stay in touch.  Hopefully we will get to visit them in their new place during the summer.

Dave: C'mon, the car's that way and I'm ready to go. Are you coming or not?
Carolyn: Oh, so it is. That's nice. I'll just go and pack then!


2 Responses to “Arrival at Our New Home in Provence”

  1. Nicole Lie April 24, 2012 at 10:33 #

    Hey there! Well, I had a spare 20minutes today, so I had a good catch-up on your blogs. WOW! I am very jealous and I am very happy for you two. what a dream! Absolutely awesome to hear you are both making the most of these exciting times and enjoying it all. Thanks for your blogs they are a very good break from the daily grind back here in the real world :). I have subscribed today so I’ll get a slice of your heaven a bit more regularly. I’ll look forward to those breaks in my day when I can dream its me over there instead of you! LOL. Take care – Nicole

    • bikernz April 25, 2012 at 17:45 #

      Thanks Nicole! Glad you are enjoying the read. Now that you are subscribed I guess you will get notified every time something changes. Actually, you should have already been getting the alerts via Facebook – please let me know if that is not working. In general, I will try to post each week on a Monday night, Tuesday morning for you. BTW, I know you would only read these during official break times- I’d hate to be responsible for wasting company time! 😉

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