Day 302, Monday 21st February
It is still cold. That doesn't stop the Boss
sending me to work in the Siberian salt mines.
As some of the waste pipes are not connected
to the septic tank, and there is no water in the U-bends yet, the
smell when working in bathroom 2 is hard to describe, but not what
you'd choose as an after-shave on a night out. I guess I'm lucky its
The Boss joins me in the Gulag, and she begins
the tiling on the wall above the bath. If you've read
week 17, you'll know that tiling takes
patience, and that, I am a little short of! The cold means its
essential that we take frequent tea breaks, which suits me just
Day 303, Tuesday 22nd February
Today, we went to Angouleme, about 50km away.
There is a large Castorama there and we needed some things we can't
get locally. Castorama was a French chain, now wholly owned by the
B&Q group, but with an independent product range.
For the bathroom floor, we need grout for
non-rigid floors. The floor is suspended on oak beams, and while oak
is strong, it does bend. Normal grout will simply crack and
eventually the floor will need re-grouting. We also need wood for
the bathroom and bedroom doors, hinges and mortise locks.
As usual at Castorama, I buy a few more tools
and the Boss gets the paint for the second bathroom. That's a quick
few hundred Euros. Then its off to a hypermarket, that has a
promotion on various items all at 1€. First, lunch at an upmarket
fast food place.
The Boss buys manure, and a trolley load of
box plants to make a hedge. I buy an assortment of small tools.
On the way back, we go to pay our car repair bill for the second time. We are armed with cash and a cheque book
this time rather than a credit card. We then stop at a friends house on the
way back and that's another day gone.
Day 304, Wednesday 23rd February
Manchester United are playing in the European
Champions League tonight. Mick is a Man U supporter and asks me to
try and get the game on "pay per view" as I have a "Sky
box". I try everything but am
unable to convince Sky to let me have the game, as I'm "not a
Richard and Lynette arrive later on. They have
to go to Ireland as a family member is in hospital. We get the
benefit of all the fresh perishable stuff in their fridge. The Boss
will go over to their place once a week, just to make sure it's all
We end up eating chilli at Mick and Tracy's
anyway, and watch a French premier league game later. I just love
the commentary. Even without understanding any French, one could
still know what was happening just by the tone.
Day 305, Thursday 24th February
Brico's have a number of promotional offers as
part of their opening week marketing. One of these is a rotovator.
As we really would like to grow some vegetables, we decide this is
the time to buy one.
I did not know the French for two-stroke or
four-stroke, so just hoped that it would use the same fuel as the
chain saw. But once we get it home and I read the book, no such
luck. That means we need a separate petrol can, different oil and
another trip to Brico's to get them. Well, it can stay in the box in
the van for a day or two more.
French lessons again this afternoon. After
last week, I've printed three family pictures to make a point.
The Rivonia prisoners, Nelson Mandela and
my Dad included, 1963 before going on trial for their lives
Nelson Mandela at my mothers 80th birthday
Nelson Mandela making a private visit to my
Mother, a few weeks after my Dad's death
It makes the point, and she will tell her
partner; the one with the strong opinions.
Day 306, Friday 25th February
Today we're going to see the architect, so we
can take a look at what he has done to his own place. He will be
doing the plans for the barn and arranging the necessary planning
permissions. Michelin Internet site says one hour and twenty four
minutes. I know Michelin expect you to drive at motorway speeds on
country roads, so I allow an hour and a half.
Of course we leave a half hour late, then miss
a turning, and hence arrive an hour late, but hey, this is France
and so no one bats an eyelid.
Now I've seen the computer, some actual plans,
some perspective drawings and his own place, I am a little happier.
We have told him to go ahead and we are now discussing me doing his
website and trading this off against the price.
We stop for a late lunch at a tourist town in
the Dordogne, alongside the river Dronne.
But tomorrow, back to tiling.
Day 307, Saturday 26th February
Its croissant day but no croissants today as
the Boss is back on a Weight Watchers regime. I'd like to loose a
few pounds as well, but ....
In the morning, the usual stuff. In the
afternoon, we go to collect a van load of wood from our original
wood supplier. With the van loaded with wood, we go to town for the
Well what else would you expect to find in
the middle of the kitchen floor?
Then, its time for France Wales rugby on TV.
Where does the time go?
Day 308, Sunday 27th February
Using our recently purchased flexible grout,
its time to grout the bathroom floor, before all the furniture is
moved back into place.
The hardest thing is getting the floor clear
of tools, and then clean, with the gaps between the tiles vacuumed
clean. And its England versus Ireland rugby. If only we didn't have
TV, we could get on with real work.
Maybe next week.