First of all, this week has been incredible. We’ve settled in to life at the château and cannot quite believe how privileged we are to be doing this!
We have done some exploring of the local town each day and discovered la Mairie, the donjon or old tower, the 12th Century medieval church of St Pierre D’Aulnay, the pigeonnier or dovecote (thought to be one of the largest in the area) and we have met lots of locals and a couple of expats.
We’ve familiarised ourselves with the local Intermarché supermarket and found the weekly fish and chip van (run by Brits so it’s definitely the real thing)!
We have checked and topped up the swimming pool (after 10pm due to the hosepipe ban in force at the moment) and discovered a little stowaway… Luckily Rich rescued him before he could take a dip in the pool (can hedgehogs swim?) and released him back into the wild (aka the garden)!
All in all a very successful first week.
Today has been a day of cleaning windows and weeding the garden. The weather has been glorious (sorry to hear about the Typhoon 10 in Hong Kong)!
We enjoyed spring cleaning and gardening, cooked a steak for dinner then walked it off with a stroll around the area, taking in the evening rays and the views of the sunflowers.
So we’re in! We left our bed and breakfast around 8.45am and drove down with Google maps doing all the hard work (even re-routing us through a town when there was a traffic jam on the main route). We were very impressed by the toll roads and, thanks to our autotoll-style péage device, we sailed through (don’t know how much it cost us yet though…).
We finally arrived at the château around 2pm and we were both blown away by how amazing it is.
I’ve been poring over photos since Lisa told me about it in May, I’ve wandered the streets of the town via Google Street View but nothing is the same as actually experiencing it first-hand.
I’m in love!
We spent the next hour exploring and chatting on WhatsApp to Lisa about the place.
We stocked up on supplies at the local Intermarché (bigger than any supermarket we know in HK) and even found the British section so managed to get our Marmite and PG Tips! So sad! We did also get local bread and pastries plus some lovely brie (haven’t seen reblochon yet, Susanna, but I’ll keep looking)!
Back to base to watch the sunset (and catch a glimpse of the eclipse) before falling into bed.
I’ll have to keep blogging about each part of the château in turn as it’s far too big to mention in one post…
Watch this space…
So after a night in Plymouth, we got up bright and early to catch the 8am car ferry to Roscoff. I think we confused the ferry terminal staff a bit in our left-hand drive Citroën with GB plates as some spoke French to us and some English (all staff were bi-lingual and very friendly).
We had paid for a lounge seat (we were only allowed to buy one) so we thought we might have to take it in turns to “sit soft” but luckily no-one came to claim the seat next to the one we had reserved so, after a welcome breakfast of croissants and hot chocolate, we settled in for the 6-hour crossing.
It was a good crossing although I did not feel so happy wandering around because the swell of the boat made me feel a bit queasy. Luckily Rich was happy heading off to the outdoor deck now and then while I stayed in the lounge reading and taking advantage of the free wifi.
We had been warned of the Roscoff Onion Festival that was due to be happening when we arrived and we anticipated crowds and tailbacks but actually getting out of the ferry terminal was pretty straightforward (we did see several onion sellers peddling their wares out of the back of tractor trailers along the route but no great delays).
After getting to grips valiantly with driving on the right “It’s all quite logical, really,” Rich got us to our Airbnb just outside Quimper around 6pm. The directions to the place were complicated by a message from the lovely hostess but we resorted to Google Maps via the Airbnb website and managed to make our way there (the back way along VERY rural country lanes). Thank goodness it wasn’t muddy or we may well have got stuck and still be there now…
The hostess graciously welcomed us and kindly made us a reservation at the local crêperie. We enjoyed a lovely savoury Breton crêpe followed by a delicious sweet crêpe. I ordered a café crême thinking I would have some sort of milky drink but what arrived was an espresso in a teeny tiny cup with a dot of cream on top. Not what I was expecting but you live and learn…
Looking forward to driving the rest of the way tomorrow and getting to the château…
I am aware that I have not really written these blog posts chronologically but bear with me as I set it all up!
After much research, Rich managed to find a solution for the storage of all those documents and bits and pieces that we didn’t want to a) take with us to France or b) leave in the flat. He found a storage facility in Sha Tin that would store 6 smallish crates for us for a reasonable annual sum.
The guy arrived when he said he would and left the crates with us for a couple of days to fill up.
We duly packed them up and thought nothing of it when the guy turned up to collect them. Then he got out his bathroom scales and weighed them… uh oh, 2 of the crates were over the allowed weight so, after a quick phone call to Head Office, a deal was struck and we paid a little extra for the extra weight.
Phew. Valuables stored safely.
So after the weighing blunder of the crates we were aware that the big 30kg box that we had packed up to post to the UK might be a tad over… cue bathroom scales and unwieldy hoisting of the box onto the scales (which only register the weight for a couple of seconds before resetting to zero). Several attempts later we discovered, yes, it was overweight…
What to jettison? My big thick bulky Winter coat came out “I can buy a better one in France” and, much to my sadness, the karaoke mic! We re-weighed the box – hoorah, under-weight (so I sneaked the karaoke mic back in)!
Off we toddled to the Post Office to get it officially weighed. No problem until he said “There’s nothing in there with a battery in it, is there? Because we’ll just send it back to you with no refund if there is.”
Oh no! My karaoke mic had to come out again (cue much laughter at the Post Office). I just hope the guy renting our apartment has a wonderful few nights of karaoke.
PS The box was posted on Saturday and was in the UK by Monday afternoon – all hail Hong Kong Postal Services!
Arrived at Hong Kong airport with what we thought we were allowed to check in: 2 suitcases each.
Cathay Dragon had other ideas…
“But look! I checked the small print!” I offered.
“Yes but this big writing on the front says one piece of baggage only.” said the lady.
“Oh. So what happens now?” said I, trying to seem simultaneously friendly with an edge of ‘this could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back’ about me.
“Well it’s HK$1100 per piece, per leg of the journey and you’re going via Shanghai so… HK$4400 please.”
At this point we scratched our heads and thought of:
a) abandoning half our worldly possessions;
b) upgrading to Business Class;
c) posting the excess baggage…
We opted for c) and as I ran to the airport Post Office fearing it might shut at any moment, I left Rich with the bags.
Luckily I got a call a few minutes later from Rich to say that the nice lady would allow us to take the smaller suitcases on as hand carry.
Hoorah! Whatever Rich did to change her mind, I don’t know, and I don’t need to know!
So we lugged our extremely heavy cases as if they weighed less than 7kg and prayed that no-one checked…
Welcome to a French Adventure!
We packed in our jobs and packed up our worldly possessions and headed to Charente Maritime to house sit for friends from Hong Kong. The website for the place we were house sitting is here:
After 7 months we moved to the South of France and the adventure continues…
We feel so lucky to be able to take this leap into the unknown and follow our hearts to a new adventure. Several people asked us to keep a blog as I will not be sharing all my exploits on Facebook or Instagram so this is for you, the ones who asked us for updates.
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