With the unplanned addition of new water supply and waste pipes, the plumbing of the bathrooms and radiators was delayed, but the main wiring, plastering and tiling was finished and the new wooden floors could go in by the end of August.
Skirting boards and lighting in the bedrooms followed. The new white walls, light wood and good lighting made a huge difference – the whole place seemed so much brighter! We started to see light at the end of the tunnel.
The last appliances arrived and were installed in the kitchen and we were able to cook and eat meals on our new patio. We started appreciating the peace, calm and amazing views over the forest from the villa.
We took the old radiators off the walls and spray-painted them, then started painting the lounge areas and bedrooms. We started clearing the jungle and saw some garden appear from under decades worth of fallen leaves, ivy and undergrowth.
We experienced rain for the first time since we arrived – three or four days and nights of it – a distant memory now, but it reminded us not to stay squirrelled away indoors painting walls every day and to get down to the coast and up to the mountains. We got to know the sandy beaches around the Cap d’Antibes (also home to a super 7km loop run around the cape) and Juan les Pins. We also caught the tail-end of the summer festival and events programme (there are outdoor music and arts events almost every night from June to September here), going to the Friday night outdoor jazz concerts at the castle in the hilltop village of Haut-Cagnes, 5kms from Vence.
Giving us a new injection of energy, our ten-week-old feline receptionist and security officer arrived, full of bounce and positivity. Even if we sometimes wish we weren’t here, in this dirty building site, he always seems to think his new home is the best place ever! Bienvenue, Rocky!
We took a trip over to the west coast to do the Marathon du Médoc. Easyjet operates cheap internal flights within France and the Nice-Bordeaux flight was only €25. The marathon was brilliant craic – we tasted the wines of 20 chateaux while running 42km through the beautiful Médoc vineyards. Afterwards we took a couple of days to discover the Atlantic coast and Bordeaux. The coast was stunning and the city was great fun, but we were freezing the whole time – we must be acclimatised to living on the Mediterranean now!!
Perhaps due to the excellent hydration strategy during the marathon, we didn’t feel too bad on our return! I decided to try to keep up the training runs with a view to maybe doing our ‘local’ marathon in November: Nice-Cannes. It’s a beautiful alternative to the Dublin Marathon and maybe we could promote packages next year, including transfer to and from the race…
Meanwhile, Andy started French classes at the centre culturel and his français is flying along, he’s practically native at this stage 😉