Saturday, January 28, 2012


After a pretty sleepless night (we couldn’t seem to switch the boiler off and it rattled and banged most of the time – oh dear another job for the list) we nipped out for a quick breakfast and then made a start in the apartment.  I set to work with a roller and a very large trade bucket of white emulsion and Darren donned the rubber gloves and tackled the grime (there was lots of it as you know….). 

He started in the toilet – and yes the first thing to go was the tartan carpet!  The much needed disposal of this revealed a very serviceable  if not the most attractive tiled floor.  It looked like the same floor continued through the hall so up came the hall carpet as well – there seemed to be no stopping him and I started to wonder if there was going to be any apartment left by the time he had finished!

The bathroom was next– it was a closed door situation and he didn’t surface for some time – there was lots of huffing and swearing going on and I think shares in Mr Muscle must have rocketed from the amount of product he was using – but we eventually got a room that was usable and good hot showers were a distinct possibility at the end of the day.

The Mr Muscle treatment was taken into the kitchen but by the time Darren realised that the dirt in the very badly installed cabinets was not going to shift (neat bleach being the final effort) the decision was made to rip them out and start from scratch.  The death trap gas cooker that had been left for us as part of the kitchen (a section of garden hose connecting it to the gas pipe) wasn’t even attempted and was dismantled straightaway but despite several large chips in the enamel the sink came up relatively well.

Darren would be able to wash up with confidence.

Several trips to our section of the cellar later (we didn’t know of the local rubbish tip (…dechetterie) at this point) and the room was cleared.  A good job done but we hadn’t really given any thought to what we would replace everything with,  that could be dealt with at a later date.  The name IKEA kept getting mentioned – I was oblivious to it!

The painting was relatively straightforward – we had decided to paint straight over the existing wallpaper as we didn’t really have the time to strip and prepare – this was definitely a quick fix scenario and after a solid day the lounge was completely white and much improved.  I was beginning to feel a little more heartened.

The next day, what we were going to use as a dining room was tackled and I produced much the same result at the end of the day.  Darren had scrubbed floors, washed windows and cleaned pipes I wouldn’t say everything was sparkling but compared to what we started with he had done wonders!!! 

We packed up, as much as we needed to (we were due to return to the UK on the next mornings' ferry) and headed to what we were now calling our local bar – L’equinoxial owned by a young couple Amelie and Benjamin (now probably our closest friends in the town) who had only bought the bar and moved to Saint Malo a few months earlier. 

The locals were intrigued by what we were doing particularly as we had bought the apartment from the previous owners of L’equinoxial and it seemed that they wanted to get as much information out of us as possible.  We weren’t concerned, we were just delighted that the locals were friendly; that they were talking to us and that they were happy that we had come to join them! 

We stayed in the bar sometime – ouch!!!!

With sore heads we locked up the apartment early the next morning and headed for the ferry.  We were closing the door on a very empty but much improved home – there was obviously a lot of planning to be done before our next scheduled trip in about 4 weeks time. 

The laptop was fired up and within 10 minutes of boarding the ferry (and courtesy of Brittany Ferries WIFI at sea) the blue and yellow of IKEA could be seen across the screen.

Happy days!


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