Dec 29th-New Years Day

Day 13- Still no shower cubicle so I’m afraid I lost my patience with the developer a bit this morning. Apparently they can’t contact the plumber directly, only through his sister. He did contact the architect though to ask him to do something. I finally found an ironing board and a fold-out clothes airer for the bathroom. I could still do with a one for the terrace though for the warmer weather. Mel came over to sort out the management bit, and we chatted over a couple of glasses of wine. We now have some coat hooks and a little thing for the kitchen roll on the wall.

Day 14-Friday 30th December- The shower cubicle has eventually arrived, but the plumber arrived unannounced at 8.30. I head off for a ski lesson, and arrive back afterwards to find the plumber still there and someone fixing the shutters. Looks like an afternoon in. It starts to snow about 5.00 pm .

Day 15-New Years Eve, it’s been snowing since last night, and it’s still coming down, so we head for the slopes. Not much else got done, until we went into the village for dinner,

Day 16-New Years Day-We take our friends back to the airport, and make tartiflette for dinner. It’s our last day tomorrow. Early skiing and an afternoon trip to the shops again. I must check out Ambia again.

Dec 28th

We have decided to go to Turin for another trip to IKEA, we’re picking friends up at the aiport this afternoon, so we go out ski-ing until 12 , and head off soon afterwards. The car decides otherwise though, and we spend the rest of the afternoon in a garage in St Chaffrey having the diesel drained and the fuel filter replaced. So still no shelves or nice light fittings. I don’t think we’ll ever find any here though.

Dec 27th

Shelf-hunting was not a success, the car seems to dislike the cold, and it took me so long to get to Briancon that I missed lunch and all the shops were shut. The day proved very frustrating, and we’re now running out of options to sort out the place before January.

Dec 26th

Workmen arrive to clean the apartment next door, but apparently not ours, despite moving all our furniture onto the terrace . The new neighbours negotiate, and they do clean it after all. I went off to Briancon and bought some coat hooks. We keep making a list of things we don’t have. Angie, Dave and Chris are arriving tomorrow, so I would like things to be a bit more organised before then.

Christmas Day

We woke up in our apartment for the first time. Handed out the pressies, and we eventually managed some skiing. I brought my comfy old boots so my feet didn’t hurt too much.
Then it was back to furniture construction and unpacking before a nice meal this evening. A strange Christmas day indeed. But nonetheless memorable. We’re really tired though.

Christmas Eve.

It was a day of shopping for food, whilst Jules and the kids added to the cardboard mountain, unpacking Ikea furniture. As I write they’ve hit their first snag, as they’ve lost a screw, and can’t put the cabinet together without it. The beds are up though. I have sorted out food for after skiing tomorrow, for whatever happens, tomorrow at least, we’re going skiing. Perhaps the screw will turn up, I hope so. Both boys are being really useful. Richard has wired up all the light fittings, and Adam is making wisecracks and taking the proverbial. Must go and find them some beer now. We got most of the furniture sorted, and managed a meal before crashing into bed. Our first night!!!

Dec 23rd

fter a sleepless night I called the bank at 9a.m., and after a couple of attempts, found that the money was sent to M. Richard yesterday. I asked them to fax a letter to him advising him of that, and he met us at 11am to give us the keys. At last the place was ours, but as the cleaning company could not come until Monday, I drove down to Briancon to buy some cleaning stuff while Jules and the boys had some lunch. Julian dropped Adam and I off at the apartment, then went to Briancon again, to buy light fittings and bulbs, as they were not supplied!!!! We cleaned all afternoon, and finally managed to get some furniture inside just after dark. I’m now back in the rented flat writing this, and preparing tea. I could quite easily fall asleep, but they are putting up the beds in the new place. Hopefully we can get to wake up there on Christmas morning, although we won’t have a shower to use, as the shower cubicle has not been delivered.

Dec 22nd

We set off early to collect the boys from the station, but as it was -14 c outside, yep the diesel was frozen, so we told them to jump in a taxi. At least they arrived to breakfast and a hot brew. Eventually we got the car started then we met up with Delphine our estate agent , to check out the apartment before M. Richard arrived. It looked far from ready. There were no sockets or plugs , and the place was filthy with dust and debris. We noted all the points we wished to raise with him when he arrived. They however, were the least of our worries, as he informed us right at the last moment that he had not received the money we had asked the bank to send to him. As it was coming from a French bank, and we had posted a cheque on Monday which he had already received, it was a bit of a shock. It was too late to organise anything today, so we went back to our rented apartment a little (or rather a lot) despondent.

Dec 21st

Today we really shopped for Britain, stripping the shelves of Géant and Champion of bedding. The furniture was delivered to Mel’s garage, and we’re eating in before finishing wrapping the Christmas presents. Jules had taken Meg for a walk, and the kids have just texted to say they are in Paris at passport control. Hopefully their next stop will be the Metro, then dinner, then the train to Briancon . The only minor hiccup today was cold diesel in the tank, because we had to fill up in Turin yesterday!!! A breakdown truck helped us out, and added some paraffin to the tank. Oh, and we shopped again, electrical stuff this time, a very helpful guy in Géant sorted us out with a TV, DVD, and vacuum cleaner. .