The new (or old) becomes the normal

I live in a house that was build in 1840. I have old skew stone walls. The name of the house opposite me is ‘le clos Normand’. On the other side are old stone houses that used to be stables. I leave my house and drive down a little street that could be a puzzle picture. : ) I pass a château when I take the girls to gymnastics… but so soon it is just a normal life. I sit and wonder what I will show family and friends when they come to visit, forgetting that it might be ‘new’ to them again.
Then there is also the fact that I could quickly walk to the station to be in Paris an hour later. Will I go tomorrow… maybe next week. : )

But the strange (or normal) thing is that life is exactly the same. (For the moment we ignore these people’s thing of speaking and writing everything in french : ) ) We still have washing, and bathrooms have to be cleaned. The family have to eat everyday. When you travel to gymnastics you talk about normal things, like what happened in school today and forget to even look to the right to see the château again.

across the road…

So let’s forget about dirty kitchens and bathrooms for a while and see the little ‘pretty, old’  things around the house.

the little men that keep the shutters open…

the wooden ‘nails’ that keep the beams in place…

old stone walls that ‘hopefully’ keep the house standing… : )

ring the bell and I’ll open the door…

The weather is changing fast. Early mornings are cold, but the days are still ok. I want to go to the brocante in Montainville on Sunday and I don’t know if the weather will be good enough to join the South Africans for ‘braai day’. : ) Whatever you do this week-end, have a lovely time.

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September.

Everything comes to a standstill in France during August. Everyone is on holiday, even boulangeries and small businesses close for the month. In contrast to that, September seems like everything comes back to life again.  More people on the trains, school children are waiting at bus stops and moms are walking their little ones to school.
In our lives things are back to normal as well. The kids are back in school, gymnastics have started again and tennis and tumbling will start today.  Many things are different to last year in Courdimanche. The children are now in new french public schools. No more special french classes. The schools they were in last year had mostly immigrant children and here all children are french. A different culture…  The girls say that you can now talk to your friends and actually hear each other. No more screaming children around you. : ) The boys were amazed by the fact that nobody talked in class. : ) Last year the children had no respect for teachers and would just keep on talking while the teachers were busy with class.
They all take the bus to school and the bus stop is just down the road, a five minute walk. After last year’s more than an hour travelling by train and bus the boys now enjoy a quick 15 minutes by bus.
So let’s see what the new year brings with Mandi and Franci in Collège François Rabelais in Val de 4 Pignons and Jaco and Pieter in Lycée Viollet le Duc in Villiers Saint Frédéric.

The girls are enjoying gymnastics already, which is now in Maurepas. The new coaches knew about them coming as the friendly coaches in Cergy phoned them to tell them everything about the two South African girls. What level they are on, and what they like and don’t like to do. : )

September started with a huge brocanté here in Beynes. Everyone empty their attics and then somebody else buys it again. : ) But a festive atmosphere with 400 stalls and the whole region looking around for bargains.

As everyone is busy again with work or school, the work on the house has slowed down a bit, but a few small things have been done…

Danie sanded the stairs and gave it a new layer of varnish.

he turned the old kitchen cupboard under the stairs into a pretty blackboard for me…

and the empty pots in the courtyard received a few plants… choice of plants? everything on sale : )

 

Painting rooms.

It is the end of the 2 month summer holiday. The shops, television and ads in the mailbox all tell you that la rentrée is here. Back to school. This year was a bit easier to do the shopping for school, as we know now that you don’t find lined paper. We know what grand carreaux and petits carreaux mean and we are not surprised by all the blocks in the exercise books. The kids are excited for this year. They will be in ‘nicer’ schools and their french is much better now, than a year ago.

The holiday is over, but the work in the house is not done yet. But then, is work in a house ever done? In this family it will anyway change again in a year or two as someone gets a new idea or a child goes into a new ‘phase’.

The kids have worked hard in their bedrooms, but still have some plans. They have their own ideas and plans and colour choices… there are limits! Prices of paint also added some extra limits. Paint in France is really expensive.  Our solution for this was a 25l tin of white paint, on special, and added paint tints for each one.
The boys’ rooms had the most work because their rooms had old wallpaper, which were not the best colours and tearing off in places. The girls could only paint their walls and move in. Our room is still orange, but painting them is low on the priority list.

On day one, this is what we found. Not as bad as the kitchen… The boys’ rooms are on the first floor. The original old rooms of the house. We and the girls are in the new rooms that was created in the attic at some stage. Therefore, I should mention that I have to climb 31 stairs to my bedroom! : ) Enough to keep anyone fit…

Pieter’s room before…

getting rid of wallpaper… with some help… and taking a break…

…and changed into a  gamer’s room…

Jaco’s room before…

… getting rid of old wallpaper…

…to change it into a black and white, drummer’s room.
He still has plans with the empty walls…

Franci’s room before…

…  now colourful…

Mandi’s room before…

…a teenage girl…

our room before…

… and only washed the floor and moved in… : )

There is also a guest room… but that still only has some before photographs. I quickly finished removing the wallpaper when Hartman came to stay over one night : ), but it will be painted before the next guests arrive…