Day 375, Monday 16th May
Its overcast and darker than normal, hence I woke up late. I then left the Boss
sleeping as she was up in the middle night with indigestion.
Finding something to do that makes no noise is not easy. Plastering, with the plaster
mixed by hand is one option. The "lounge" is on the verge of being promoted from a "lounge" to the
lounge. The plaster goes onto the wall already done once, now trying to smooth out the really rough
After a late breakfast, Mick and Tracy arrive for a passing visit. As experienced
vegetable growers, they inspect the vegetable area and there is some discussion on raised beds.
A little later, Louis our French neighbour arrives with broad beans and radishes
picked from his own garden. That means its time for coffee; the French stuff, strong and in very small
cups. It also means some brain straining talking in French.
Its good practice, but conversation only takes place with either me or the Boss
saying, "What's the word for ..." and usually a quick look at my PDA dictionary. Occasionally, Louis just
looks blank and either we've got the pronunciation wrong, used a wrong word, or perhaps we just spoke
utter rubbish, thinking we were saying something profound. When his eyes glaze over, its time to repeat
it some other way.
After a very late lunch, I started working outside on the shelves for the kitchen. The
Boss began the clean up of the "lounge". A quick downpour while we are drinking tea outside, puts an end
to the outside work and its almost knocking off time anyway.
After the rain, no watering this evening.
Day 376, Tuesday 17th May
I've been watching the five day weather forecast on digital TV. The nearest city there
is a forecast for, is Bordeaux; probably less than 40km as the crow flies. Either the weather varies an
awful lot in that 40km or the accuracy of the forecast is very poor.
It's another day like yesterday. Just when we think the sun is coming out, it suddenly
looks like rain. However, I still manage to work on the shelves for the kitchen outside. The Boss is off
this morning to help a friend with their garden.
She gets back only to discover she has lost a 50 Euro note. We retrace all her
footsteps but its windy and wherever she dropped it, its well on its way to somewhere else by now.
After a quick trip to town, I clean up the mess I made in the kitchen making it
possible to prepare dinner. Then its fit the first of the sockets in the "lounge", scrape a bit more old
paint off the walls and its time to water the vegetables; again.
The Boss has planted flowers in the middle of the vegetable patch. No, she hasn't lost
it, although the neighbours probably think we have! They are a particular type, which will attract
insects, before they get to the veggies. Well, at least according to Bob Flowerdew, they will.
But one day, we'll be able to eat fresh, organic vegetables.
Day 377, Wednesday 18th May
The Boss is out again this morning. I get on with the second set of shelves, cutting,
sanding and routing outside in the intermittent sun. As soon as the sun's out, its hot and my jumper
comes off. Then it clouds over and the jumper goes back on.
The Boss arrives back at lunch time having found the 50€ she lost yesterday. We
celebrate with a ham and salad sandwich. Some people really live the high life.
A quick trip to the sawmill to get a few oak planks, off to Richard and Lynette's
house to water their plants while they're away. Once home, the Boss starts painting the shelves that are
up, and then the wall will get painted. That really will make a change.
No, I did not use some old hi-fi cabinet and just hang it on the wall!
This evening Ipswich Town are playing the second leg of the play-off against West Ham,
and it will be on digital radio, received via satellite. Having only actually got promoted once in the
previous four attempts, and losing against West Ham last year, well, it may be disappointing
Finally, water the vegetables, and that's it for another day.
Day 378, Thursday 19th May
Ipswich lost to West Ham; again. Maybe I should follow
The Boss is out again! That means an early breakfast and the sun is shining. I'd like
to get outside some time. The second set of shelves are ready to go up onto the kitchen wall, but we've
decided to paint the wall first.
That means the wall needs to be nice and smooth. Therefore more plastering this
morning. While I've got plaster mixed, I do a little of the "lounge" as well. Then its outside to mow the
lawn, the easy way.
After a quick oil change, my mini tractor is ready to go. With the grass no longer
like a jungle, it's easy to cut, in most places a little shorter than before. I also cut back a bit more
of the jungle; reclaiming the land!
I've finished by the time the Boss gets back. After lunch, its French and for once we
actually did our homework, the day before the class. Surprisingly, with the weather warm and the sun
shining, most people are there. After class we have a coffee in the sun at a local bar.
Once home, the flowers and vegetables need watering. There is definitely a hosepipe
ban and we worry about being grassed on by Portuguese Pete. What this means is we use the hose to fill a
watering can and then water the plants by hand!
Well, we're not really using the hose, are we?
Day 379, Friday 20th May
Even though its cool in the evenings and again this morning, the sun is shining, and
to make it even better, its raining all over England. I love it when a plan comes together.
I finish mowing the grass, and recovering a little more of the jungle. Its hot, but
comfortable. When I've had enough sun, it's back inside. The Boss is going to paint the second set of
shelves before they go up and I'm painting the wall first as well. More undercoat on some of the kitchen
walls and somehow, the morning is gone.
After lunch the Boss is going food shopping and I get the plaster out; again. More
smoothing of old walls, in the kitchen and "lounge". By the time the Boss is back, my right arm aches,
even though I've used my left hand for some of the plastering.
Now its painting time. The Boss is priming woodwork outside. I'm doing the wall with
what looks to be a really bright yellow. Brighter than we expected, but it looks good once dried.
In the evening, as Portuguese Pete and his family are out, we use the hose.
Tomorrow, more shelves go up.
Day 380, Saturday 21st May
Its FA Cup Final day. Therefore I begin as early as I can
without waking the Boss as she is having a short lie in this morning, before going off to do some work;
I get on with the metal studs for the "dry-lined" wall in what will be the lounge. All
the studs cut and the first bit of fibreglass fitted by lunch time.
After lunch, more painting, while standing on the worktops. The Boss has decided that
the shelves must come off the wall for painting, to make it easier!
Typically, with all the painted woodwork, standing outside on tins of paint, upturned
buckets, and a wheelbarrow, it starts to rain. Right in the middle of the football, we have to dash
outside and move all the wet painted wood into the lounge.
By the time the footie is finished, it's too late to start work again, so that's it
for another day.
Day 381, Sunday 22nd May
We no longer call Sunday a rest day. Since our change in lifestyle, it seems every day
is like a rest day, so Sunday's are now "light work" days. If the weather is right, that probably means
gardening, but nothing like planting trees.
Of course that is exactly what we do. We plant a second cherry tree, but its not too
bad. It is being planted in an area ploughed by the farmer a year ago and not compressed by walking or
driving on it, so it is relatively light.
I also fix the retainers for the kitchen shutters. No longer do we need a large oak
beam to keep the shutters open or closed. I'm constantly surprised at how the little things that one gets
used to, make a big difference when they are improved.
More and more like a normal home; but the three stars are
still a little way away.