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  • Magali

Back to the jungle


Cannot wait for our Alpaca (Denver) to eat all this grass !

We are in June now and I fly alone again this Thursday to work a bit more on the house, basically starting to empty it properly and looking for builders shops to know more about kitchens, floors tiles etc…

After lunch, I gathered my energy and started emptying into my old bedroom all the boxes I had sent from London until now. After all these years my mum had taken over all the wardrobe space with her own clothes, but luckily she had made lots of space for me. No clue where she managed to put all her stuff in our mini house though. As everytime I come back and go through my old stuff, you can imagine all memories come back and you spend hours just looking at albums, pictures and letters. But I did not ! I have been pretty good and focused to my own surprise. Our winter clothes, Christmas decorations, paperwork and other random things are now starting their new life in France, waiting for us to use them. I do have this fear though that we have now been living amongst boxes full of things we want to keep in our next chapter, however, how much of a waste would have this been if we don’t get to live this next chapter ? That’s when I start panicking that we are running out of time, and we should do everything now… My older family members keep saying we are young and have plenty of time for our project, but everyday I have these ideas coming up in my mind that I cannot put in place, instead I have to write them down for the one day we live here. So far, distance have been our biggest challenge I believe, and I am sure Catherine will join me in thinking this, maybe in her own different way.

Anyway, this unpacking actually took me much less long than expected, so here I go and visit for the first time these kitchen showrooms in Châteaubriant. I did not expect much from them, more finding ideas of where to put things and finding the words in French for materials that we like etc. I have no surprise as nowadays it’s all about material that imitate another kind of material, like tiles imitating slate or wood etc. So we very much know what we don’t want when I go to these shops !


And I’m guessing right that whatever we like will be very expensive ! And we are not much of do it yourself persons for these kind of important works so we will need it to be done professionally. After all this is the house of our dreams so let’s make it as we want from start isn’t it ?

Tonight I will sleep at my cousins’ place which is about 7min drive from our house, so that I can be there first thing tomorrow morning and start the property tour and spring clean.

Why am I not sleeping there tonight you asked ? Well, I’m not crazy ! Guess what is to be found in jungles… lots of spiders and all kind of insects that could crawl on me during the night ! Better go in the morning when I have a clear vision of what beasts I need to deal with.

I am also very happy to be able to catch up with family, as I have left France for 11 years now and feel like I am missing out on their lives and start forgetting many things. We were all so close when we were young and now I feel like a very welcome stranger quite often. Soon we will be neighbours and I really hope this feeling will fade and it will all go back to how it used to be.

Arrival in the morning at Le Boulay. Welcome to the jungle, as I said, glad I didn’t sleep here ! I love it ! It’s beautiful, nature taking over ! But for an insect phobic like me… I have work to do…on myself.

Starting by a tour to see how things have been since May as we also had lots of floodings in the region in the past week and many house basements and roads have been destroyed in only 2-3 days. The potato field is quite soaked but survived, the reedbed is thriving with beautiful plants and flowers and start to get high. The garage is quite humid and even mushrooms managed to grow there ! The pond is full for the first time since we bought the house and I can hear so many frogs ! None of the seeds I planted in May grew though, and weeds took over the soil I had prepared.

Reedbeds thriving near our potato field Our pond is finally full and frogs are back !


In the house, I don’t remember seeing so many Daddy Long legs in one place ever. I shiver every time I enter a room due to webs tickling me. I probably cried a little and ran by myself. On the other side, I managed to toughen up and tried to remove a few with my spider catcher, and cleaned as much as I could until fear took over again and I packed the car to sleep at my cousin’s tonight. I can only say I tried and I am proud of myself !

After a quick dinner I made it to their place in time for one of the first matches of the world cup : Spain-Portugal ! As they are gone on a weekend, I’m kind of watching their home too. I always wanted to do this job :)

This morning, I am busy, I need to go to the kitchen shops in Segré to see more things I don’t like. But I guess we must do it, just to make sure we really know what we want, or not. After this I need to be at 12 at my aunt Françoise house as we will enjoy a nice BBQ with my cousin Katy and my parents, before going to work at the house. Unfortunately, my dad was sent to the hospital in the morning during his work routine health check as his heart was too slow. He had been working a lot last week due to the floodings and didn’t sleep much until today, so it could be a reason. The waiting time in France for ER, mostly radiology, is usually few hours so didn’t manage to come for the BBQ. My cousin Mélanie joined us a bit later for coffee and we were waiting for my parents news. As I was telling my story about the spiders to Katy, Françoise and Mélanie, they decided to head over to the house to help me get rid of them. I felt so blessed with their help. They put their plans on the side for me and managed to help me a lot ! They actually laughed at me a lot when we arrived at the house and saw only few spiders. I could swear there were more yesterday and I’m sure some went to hide somewhere because of the movements around the house ! The good news was when my parents arrived with desserts around 4pm and we enjoyed lovely cakes before the girls left us to work.

My dad started to mow the lawn and mum and I started to pack things in boxes. It didn’t look like much but actually we filled up many boxes with old books, my grandma’s souvenirs, clothes etc and many many antique items which I kept in a box for a future flea market, or if they will be needed in a museum or a movie maybe. We put most boxes in a garage and it was nearly night when we finished up. Going through this with my mum went so much quicker and it was also nice not to be alone as sometimes going through old stuff can make you depressed, we actually had fun together and I really enjoyed our time.


Shall we install it inside the house ? Mushroom growing inside the garage Least sensitive boxes in the garage

The other good news today is that France beat Australia and we had a Turkish Kebab tonight which I didn’t have in ages and the bread is just sooooo good ! Not like these Camden wraps for when you had too much to drink.

One more day to go and if it goes as well as yesterday I can say that it is one of the most productive times for Le Boulay since we bought the house. Indeed, we decided with my parents to come again in the morning and to install pallets on the garage floor and start putting furniture there too. The weather has been so great I feel so lucky every time that we can do so much, aerating the house and sofas as well was very good. So in the end of the day, we took most shelves, cupboards, bed frames, wardrobes, tables etc to the garage and left the very heavy stuff for next time when we will have more help. That work was done so quickly and smooth that I still feel so excited by this day with my parents that went without any argument and only fun !



Last day today and I managed to squeeze a quick visit to my friend Solène who just had a baby girl before I take my plane. They are all fine and I’m pleased I made the effort to go see them as they were really happy I came.

In the end, I am very proud of the work done these few days, I wish Catherine would be here as we had very stressful times lately and this would make her feel so much better. But we are coming back together in less than a month and I’m sure more will be achieved !

As usual, if you feel like helping, participating or just being curious to see the house, please feel free to join us on our next visits ! everyone is always welcome as long as you don’t mind the temporary lack of luxury :)

See you soon !



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