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. .

Dec 20th

We got up early and set off for Ikea in Turin, calling in to see Lin and Chris Davison on the way, a lovely chalet they’ve bought!!! We filled 2 trolleys with kitchen equipment and a table or so, the only hitch being no birch tables to match the chairs we are getting delivered tomorrow, I’m hoping the choice of oak will match the kitchen cabinets and not look too bad. Still we can cover it with a cloth for now. Dodged the Italian traffic on the way back, and went out for dinner, the Bellotte in the village, which does an excellent Fondue Bourgogne. The dog thinks France is wonderful (Woof !), and the French think Meg’s lovely too. Everywhere is quite happy for her to sit under the table .

November/December 2005

Time is getting short now, and we still don’t have a firm completion date for the apartment. It now looks unlikely that it will be ready for our arrival on the 18th December, so i have booked a cheap apartment until Christmas Day. I am working full-time, but going to IKEA and other places after work, buying bedding etc. We have ordered the furniture from IKEA france, and arranged to deliver it to Mel’s garage on arrival,just in caes the apartment is not completed in time. I am constantly emailing our agent and developer, who must be sick to death of me. I think everything is sorted, and apart from it being Christmas, it’s rather hectic!!! Not long now though.

Dec 19th

We have a lie in until 9am then a trip to try and pay the bill for the accommodation we booked. Office closed! I telephoned our estate agent who told me we could move in on Thursday afternoon, so I arranged to meet at 2.30 outside the apartment building. We went down to Briançon to give the bank details for the electricity, and shopped for dinner. I tried to find internet access, but failed miserably, as Paul was installing a Wanadoo livebox, and the connection at the tourist office wasn’t available. Even the public phone didn’t work as the number 3 was broken!!! Another early night. i’m shattered with all the preparations before we got there.

16th December

There is a problem with the furniture delivery i.e. we still don’t have a delivery date. It seems they are holding it back until a bedside table is in stock. We ask them to deliver anyway, and cancel the bedside cabinet. They promise to contact Mel that day to arrange with her when to deliver. In between packing, organising food for the children who are staying at home until school finishes, we manage to get out with our work colleagues for our Christmas meal. We’re a little late going to bed, but the alarm is set, and I think everything is packed that we need.

Dec 17th

An early start despite a late night. We had to leave quite a few things behind (including Christmas presents), although the boys have promised to bring them with them . It was quite an uneventful day, even the dog was quiet in the car, however, Mel did text to say the furniture would be delivered on Monday afternoon. We found the hotel immediately (thanks to Sat Nav!!), and had a nice meal before going to bed early. We even managed to catch the end of the West Ham v Newcastle match on French TV.

Dec 18th

A pleasant but boring drive, but we found the new apartment to be further on than we’d expected, but only managed a quick look from the outside before dark. At least we have a road of sorts now!!! Starting to remember things we have forgotten to pack. Called in at the Alpen bar, before pizza and bed.

October 2005

We have been to view the place, and although it was surrounded by trenches, it does look fairly well on the way to completion. The wooden panelling is on the walls, and the tiles are all ready to lay. All the electrical appear to be done, and just need the sockets adding. It was a beautiful day, and we took loads of pictures of the views, and the progress. Now we’re looking forward to December.

15th December

I manage to leave work much earlier than I had planned, which was fortunate, as I arrived home to a pile of emails, asking for transfer of the remaining money for the apartment. I quickly fax the bank to arrange for the transfer to the notaire. The family are visiting tonight to collect their Christmas presents, and I throw a stew into the oven to feed them all. I’m looking forward to the journey down, as I will at least have a little time to relax.

September 2005

We are regularly receiving letters updating us on the progress of the property, and the Acte has now been signed. We are going to go out during October half term to view the progress, and go to the Mondial du Ski in Les Deux Alpes with the SnowHeads. It will be good to see whether there is any chance of it being finished, especially as we have already had enquiries from potential guests for February.