If you have read my last post, you will recall the nightmare we had getting the previous owners of the house we bought in France to move out. We had to live with them for 3 weeks before they finally decided to go – and only then because we forced them. When they left it was a joyous occasion. I celebrated by throwing open every window, shutter and door. It was a form of exorcism. As the fresh air came in the old was drawn out, and with it the negativity that had been building since our arrival was slowly replaced with a sense of calm.
My next task was to remove the net curtains. They kept out the light, obscured the view and in my opinion, were completely pointless! I can understand them in a busy village where there might be an issue with privacy, but in the middle of the countryside, where the views are so magnificent – it seems such a shame. If they had been made out of beautiful, old French lace they would have been worth keeping (on one or two of the windows), but they were new, they were nylon and there was no way I could live with them! I knew their removal would offend the previous occupants – who could see what I was up to from their new house in the next field – but this was partly why I was doing it. They had caused us so much grief that I wanted to cause some back. I knew how much they adored these nets (the farmer’s wife had once said how pretty they were), and in doing this I was sending a very clear signal, that they were out and we were in – petty, I know!
With the nets gone, it was time to give the place a damn good clean. I started in the spare room where the shutters looked as if they hadn’t been opened years. To get to the window I had to clamber over a mountain of black bin bags. There must have been at least a hundred, as I couldn’t see the floor, and in some places they were stacked as high as my head. They belonged to the previous owners (naturally) and were filled with all kinds of junk: empty jam jars, old clothes, magazines, wool, unwanted wedding presents, shoes, toys, material, glasses, broken kitchen equipment…..it was incredible. They were obviously hoarders and had been stockpiling this stuff for a while. I had asked them to clear the room when they moved out, but they ‘didn’t have enough storage space in their new house to accommodate it, so it would have to stay for a bit, if that was ok?’ It wasn’t, so I set about the long task of removing it myself. Up and down the stairs I went, bin bag after bin bag, until it was tucked out of sight in an outbuilding at the bottom of the garden. In hindsight, I should have chucked it out the window and ordered them to come and get it before it rained – being assertive has never been my strongpoint!
With the worst room sorted, my next stop was the pantry. It was under the stairs and looked like it hadn’t seen a wet cloth in years. It was a rubber glove job, and boy, was I glad to be wearing them when I came across this little beauty – A MUMMIFIED DOG TURD! It was vile! I have no idea how long it had been there but it was hard and it was dusty. I knew straightway whose little derrière it had popped out of – the previous owner’s incontinent Yorkshire terrier, Jessie. When we were living together, she was forever leaving little ‘presents’ on the floor and, more often than not, they would be accompanied by a small puddle of her delightful pee-pee. Her favourite place was at the foot of the stairs, which often caught you by surprise if you came down for a glass of water in the middle of the night or were a bit bleary-eyed in the morning. Wiping it off the hands and knees of my son – who was learning to crawl at the time – was also a pleasurable experience!
Unfortunately, Jessie’s little offerings were the least of our worries. What we found round the back of the house was far worse: let’s just say there was lots of it, it was human and it required more than a pair of gloves to remove…