How did that happen? All of a sudden it's 2011, family have come and gone over Christmas and New Year, our own bedroom has been redecorated to stunning effect, the new centre island has been installed in the kitchen and I am in the middle of the refurbishment of the two letting apartments. It's half way through January already and the new season clients will be be upon us in three weeks time. Blimey!
Painting any of the rooms in these apartments is always a major undertaking because of the sheer scale of everything. So I was very happy to get our bedroom revamp out of the way before Christmas - and fabulously sexy it looks too in it's new deep blue colour. Debrah is very happy with the outcome and anything that makes Debrah happy is good news.
Nothing got done at 42rvh during the three weeks of family visitations for Christmas and New Year - too much cooking and clearing up after to leave time for anything constructive - but that is as it should be over a festive season. We had some clients who were charming, we had a Christmas tree tumble and a few broken baubles, we had a very drunken New Years Eve dinner. All very much par for the course.
We had hoped to install the new kitchen island before the festivities but were frustrated by the sudden non-availability of a key part of the design - it has been my experience here in France for four years now that when you want something urgently there seems to be a sudden nationwide shortage of said product - grrrr. The missing items were finally acquired in the first week of January and the new island was installed last Monday. It's fantastic. A very big thank you to Ian Gillan and his carpentry skills for a fabulous job. The new layout is perfect for the cooking days and for cooking prep for both in-house and outside catering.
It is now three years since 42rvh opened for business and, inevitably, the suites are showing the signs of a bit of wear and tear - water splashes on the walls in the kitchens and bathrooms, chipped paintwork on skirtings and walls from suitcases etc. Time for a refresh. So January's priority is to repaint both suites whilst the sofas get new covers and the windows get new curtains and the rooms get new bits of furniture and the whole place gets a bit of a new look - followed by new photos and a new look to the website - lots to do but all happily progressing and under control.
We have many new plans too for our clients for this year which will find their way onto a new look website just as soon as we can get around to getting that all done.
And the final change is that this blog, the title of this blog, the original raison d'être for this blog, no longer exists. I no longer split my time between London and the Languedoc. I am now a full-on full time expat who spends all his year in France, only returning to the UK for fleeting visits to see family and friends and buy paint and power tools at half the price. (yes, even allowing for the tolls and petrol cost of driving there and back)
What is wonderful is that Debrah is also here full time too (apart from occasional visits to milk some income from the UK design and marketing industry) and we haven't been happier in years than we are now. I know, very soppy, but true.
So this blog is coming to a close. It has served it's purpose. It was originally written to record my early experiences of living in France on my own, as an observation of life in a different country, as a daily letter to my wife and then as a way of keeping Debrah involved with the renovation of 42rvh and finally a reminder of the highs and lows of opening and running a business abroad.
I say abroad but I no longer think of this as abroad. Don't get me wrong - I still don't understand France or the French or the language for the most part - but I do consider this to be 'home'. This is where I live and this is where I work. I no longer live in London and the Languedoc - I live in the Languedoc, in Carcassonne.
So this will be the final post to this blog page and a new, more relevant, exciting, interesting (hopefully) blog will be appearing soon that will highlight the special relationship we have here with the food and the wine and the markets and the producers and the winemakers and this amazing, still relatively undiscovered region of France.
Adieu et bientôt