Rent  A  Traditional  Country
Farmhouse  in  South-West  France

Week 46

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 cold!

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 fine.

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 subscriber".

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 OK.

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 party



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 weeks shopping.

organic vegetables




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.