Saturday, 9 January 2010

Now we have recovered from Christmas, we have got down to sorting out a few more things to help us settle in.

We know we must improve our French – but we hardly see anyone to talk to at this time of the year as everyone is indoors in front of their fire. We have had some cold temperatures and a bit of snow, but nothing as bad as UK seems to be enduring at the moment. Anyway we are meeting a local language teacher next week, and if she seems OK, we will book weekly lessons with her. We have tried studying from CDs, but it doesn’t really give you the confidence you need. The big problem is that all our first contacts in France have been with people like utilities, phone companies etc – and mostly on the telephone, not an easy start.

Regarding the house we have had the boiler serviced – should run a bit more economically now, and had another quote for blowing 30cm of insulation to fill the attics – just over €2,000. It’ll be spring before I make up my mind. Some of the bubble wrap we used to protect pictures when we moved has come in very useful for “double-glazing” some of our draughtier windows.

Our doctor had us take blood tests – there is a laboratory in Objat to which we went on Thursday morning. They took an armful from each of us, and the results were posted to us and arrived the following morning. We took them up to the doctor, who said we were pretty healthy, but gave us the usual warning about cholesterol etc. Phew.

Later on Thursday we went to Brive to meet Amanda Kiff, who runs the Correze office of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce. Amongst other things this helps new businesses to start up, and Amanda was able to give me lots of useful advice and contacts to help me with my plans. She radiates enthusiasm for her job and for the Correze. It may be a relatively unknown area at the moment, but not for much longer is she has her way. I joined up on the spot, and this will enable me to make further contacts, go to meetings and social / networking events and, I hope, get more help and advice. Amanda can even get tickets for Brive Rugby Club!

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