A fresh start, but first, a pretty great ending

Last weekend was my last weekend in France. Well, to be more specific, my last weekend officially living in France. I wasn't actually here, I took off on Friday morning (up at 4:30AM, thank you very much) with my colleagues for our yearly "Company committee" trip. There isn't such a thing as a company committee in other countries, basically it's made up of members of the company who devote some of their time to organising fun events for us, like lunches and occasional pancake sessions, and once a year they take us on a mini-break somewhere fun. No meetings involved, no corporate crap, and mostly no managers (although they are invited!). So there you have it. My last days with my colleagues were spent visiting Budapest and partying for 2 days. You can't beat that for making memories, specially when you've been blessed with colleagues who are also lovely friends. Ready for a selection of random pics without explanations?

I only have a couple of things to say about Budapest: it's H.O.T. as in, 41 degrees, melt-in-the-sun, scorching hot. I've never been this uncomfortable in the heat, even in Rio and Martinique. It's also pretty fasionable (avoid the Oktogon shopping centre and you'll be fine. That one is definitely stuck in the ugly sixties) and has some very trendy bars and restaurants. And the beer is good. I'm not usually a huge beer drinker, but I've discovered that when it's 40 degrees out, a nice beer with lemon really hits the spot. Also a hotel room with air conditioning. Or a dip in the local pool and thermal baths, as long as there aren't any locals getting frisky... I don't think I want to go into that on this here blog though.

Sidenote: we're moving in 2 days and we've run out of boxes. Again. It turns out we've got lots more junk than I thought. We have managed to sell all the furniture we wanted to sell though, so that's one good thing. We're getting there. Slowly. We just spent our last night out in Paris, had crêpes followed by a lovely dessert in a tea room, a walk around notre dame, and one last ride home on the RER C. Oh how I will not miss you! It hasn't quite hit home yet that we're really leaving the country, or that I've left my job for good, but what I know for sure is that I'll miss the people I met here a lot more than the places I discovered. And the good thing is that people can move. To Yorkshire.


Pining for... Hebden Bridge

Sorry I've been off the map these last few weeks, it turns out moving is hard!! Actually, not so much moving as spending time with all the friends you need to say goodbye to. But things are moving forward! We've signed the tenancy agreement, sorted the last moving details, sold most of our furniture, and tomorrow is my last day at work. Friday I'm taking off for Budapest for the weekend (with work, I know, I'm a lucky bunny), coming back on Sunday, and then five short days of packing boxes every day and seeing friends every night. 

I though I'd show you a bit more of our future town, so I had a little poke around Pinterest and this is what I found

Looks like my kind of town. 
I also found this blog and this article, which shows a house that we almost rented! It's been painted white since the photo shoot, which is a complete sacrilege in my opinion, but apparently renters like neutral tones in their houses. What you can't see is the claw foot bath and the stunning kitchen. This house would have been perfect had it not been right on the main road, with no pavement, just a very narrow access space between a long row of bushes and the road. No parking space either, and probably very noisy because of the road. Had I known that it was famous, I might just have taken it anyway... oh well! I like my little cottage by the canal.


Country house

He lives in a house, a very big house in the countryyyy. 
It's funny how at the moment I wake up with this song in my head every morning. Our house isn't that big, and it may be in the country but it's also in a town, within about 5 mins walk of the nearest pub/coffee shop/supermarket. I don't want to risk overselling it because we haven't actually seen it, but it feels like the perfect little dream house.

Maybe this is a little premature because I haven't signed anything yet, but the tenancy agreement should be arriving by post within the next couple of days and I can't resist sharing some photos with you. Here is a glimpse of our (probable) future home:

With a little rear yard that looks out (sideways) onto the canal.

Lounge with a little wood stove and lovely laminate floors. Apparently the whole house has been renovated and there's no carpet in sight! This is nothing short of a miracle.

This is the 2nd floor bedroom which is huge and was designed by Tim Burton.
I haven't got pics of the 1st floor bedroom or the bathroom but they are supposed to be very large too and brand new with a separate shower and bath. We're just going to have to trust our landlady on this one...

This is the canal, and from the many hours I've spent on google street view trying to figure out the neighbourhood, I'm pretty sure the house with the black bricks is our neighbour's house. So we're only a few metres from the water and I'm pretty sure that means our "large cellar with lots of room for storage" will be wet wet wet. Boyfriend says we can still put the wine in it, so no worries. And I've got loads of mosquitoe repellent left from our tropical holiday. I'm taking it as another sign that this house was meant for us.

I could show you a picture of the kitchen but although it's all new, it's a bit icky from a colour point of view. Maybe you can see it once I've worked my magic on it!

Oh yes I forgot to mention: the house is in Hebden Bridge, not in Haworth as planned... after about a billion phone calls to estate agents and many disappointments I realised there just isn't enough choice in Haworth, good properties are few and far between and get snapped up within a couple of hours by people who live in the area. I won't bore you with my unreliable estate agent stories, but it's a tough market! I would never have imagined it would be this complicated to find a house in this area. In the end it wasn't though, because our landlady is incredibly (worryingly) laid back. We did submit an application for a different house in Hebden Bridge which has been accepted (money wasted now, booo) but I frankly don't know if I can ever be bothered to go through that whole process again. We might just have to stay in our little terraced house forever...