Not making a lot of progress, actually.. Mostly running around to get official records changed and finding "experts" to do this and attest to that. That's for the sale. The land purchase is moving at the speed of lawyers. But, to keep you up to date. . .
We can't find workshop space, so in return for a making a door/window for the new owners, leading directly to the garden (I wanted to do that!), Nick will keep the workshop where it is until we get the new one built.
We'll probably be moving on the 19th of August. That's the day France Telecom is going to change over our phone. But not the internet. The internet will take up to an additional two weeks. No one can explain this to me. I'm not sure if going cold turkey is going to kill me or provide a vacation. Arghghghgh!
The new owners must be out of their house on the 21st of August, so they arrive here a few days before we sign the final papers on the 26th. To keep the notaire happy, should she or her clerk discover (we're not telling) that we're letting them move in early, we're charging them for "B&B." Ten euro for the four of them for the week. For that price, I told them, they have to make their own beds. And their own breakfast. They didn't get the joke, but we finally straightened things out.
We have another lead on straw. A local farmer grows épautre, a sub-species of spelt cultivated in parts of Provence. It has mostly died out elsewhere as wheat gives a much bigger harvest and is less labour intensive. You cook it like brown rice (or even real white rice) and it has the same uses, but has a firmer, almost crunchy texture. Delish. Anyway, Laurence has the straw baled after harvest. The bales are not quite as tight as some others -- her neighbour, who does the baling, has an old machine -- but we think it's good enough, and we would rather buy from her than go commercial. We're waiting to see if the harvest will render 1,000 bales.
The July 14th vide grenier ("empty attic") went very well. We arrived with two and a half van-loads of stuff and came home with only one. The next vide grenier is part of the the fête votive (the village fair) on the 18th of August and we will try and unload the rest of it there. What remains will be donated to a half-way house about 20 minutes away.
We will be moving into our temporary quarters with a bigger family. A friend has decided to spend most of his retirement in Morocco and cannot take his dog and cat. The dog-sitter wants the dog, but he hasn't found a home for the cat. "Well, Jeanno," I said, trying to butter him up for workshop space, "if you don't find a home for her before you go back in September, I'll take her." Two days later, when we next saw him, his greeting was, "Still O.K. for the cat?" "Jeanno," I said," you've stopped looking, haven't you"? He laughed.