Lately we’ve been beavering away and blogging has been down the list of stuff needing done – apologies.
Cuisinier man or not? I hear you cry…
After no contact and another visit or four/five were attempted to the two shops providing – tho we had no evidence at all that they are nothing other than a front for some daring do – said services as it appears often to be the case they were oot…
Urgency had been added to the mix as we sourced a wood burner for the living room and the cuisinier had started emitting smoke and/or dribbling from every orifice! Having cast our net wider one e-mail query was utterly ignored while following another – a Brit – arrived and tho showing willing didn’t fill us with hope regarding his level of expertise. Having given up on the first place, who I’d thrown myself at the mercy of once I’d recovered from the shock of there being someone to talk to in the shop, we were we feared no further forward.
HOWEVER, (brace yourselves), the very same day the Brit appeared as planned a man from shop one not only appeared but was knowledgeable and helpful. He showed me how to partly dismantle the cuisinier to clean it and having had a good old poke about in the living room and taken pictures up our chimney (!) departed saying he’d do a quote for fitting the wood burner. As you both can imagine we were shocked, stunned and a little confused that our combined efforts using visits, e-mails and at times smoke signals that we needed a hand had been answered by not one but TWO – count them… un, deux – two cuisinier people in only four hours. After we’d checked the date on the cheeses and pinched ourselves several times, we were pretty sure that this turn of events had not been some kind of group hallucination or symptom of a mental breakdown and had actually occurred.
There then followed a medium sized amount of rejoicing…
Contact made, and no doubt as there are Euro’s to be made, progress continues on getting things sorted for the wood burner and the cuisinier is again behaving itself.
Travels with Furniture
As alluded to above we got a bargain wood burner and flue parts – which was able to be got in the car – from a little south. It was misty so we didn’t get to savour what was likely to be a marvellous view from their former home. Pottering back as it was the weekend le Chasse chaps were out in their orange camouflage jackets. The hunters – cos that’s what they are – hang about by roadsides and to our knowledge never shoot anything tho they do bang away a bit. It must be the case they get the odd deer or boar but we’ve never seen any signs of success. They are a fixture in these parts often looking a bit bored or driving in convoy to another hunting ground. They apparently let the dogs go flush the prey, tracking the hounds with collar things and technology… Which strikes us as a little unfair.
Anyway, with wood burner rattling musically in the back, we were nearly home when in the mist saw some of the hunters loitering in woods by the roadside. Thinking nothing of it we continued, a little slower cos of the slightly reduced visibility. When across the raised road came three running deer from one field to the next unhindered by dogs, hunters or a care in the world. Our position was much less carefree as two dashed across our path and the third thought better of it and doubled back. We took the appropriate steps me braking as we both nearly soiling ourselves coming within centimetres – and not many at that – of the third. They’d been hidden by bushes and in other conditions namely us going a little quicker two would probably have been hit and killed before the car behind us rammed us up the, erm, flue!!! This is a hazard of rural living and despite quite a scare we remain on the side of the wildlife rather than of their gun wielding foes.
Going north to the hamlet of Maine – no really – we picked up a nice little pine unit thing with a wine rack in it. Why S thought we needed that element to it I don’t know! This was a shorter trip and made easier by one of our other longer runs being that way. S took advantage of the spell of lovely weather we had to take it outside, sand it, wax it and paint the top in a stylish and cool fashion. Turning a decent piece into a better one, well done her. 😊
Above you can see an odd sky we happened across on one of our excursions. it was in the east as the sun was heading westward and is no doubt some legit meteorological phenomenon and not aliens! It looked weirder in the flesh (not that we stripped naked in it’s praise, it’s not that warm yet!) our phone camera’s didn’t do it justice.
A sideboard came to us which we built with remarkably little swearing and that still remains both functional and erect! Pleasingly an item that co-ordinated nicely came available so we headed south to Drome which is a Plus Beau village perched on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Dordogne river. Properly lovely it was on a glorious sunny day and we collected a large chest of drawers which – practised as we are – fitted in the car. S pointed out the chap we got it from was wearing a City of Edinburgh sweatshirt not that I’d noticed. It turned out he’d got it from a pal who was a bin man but who’s retired down there – there’s clearly brass in the muck! The chest of drawers previous home was the most modern of the places we’ve picked up things from and tho in the village was in the newer less beau bit. We lunched in the only place that was open – who were surprised to have customers on their first day of the year – and unlike others were not turned away. I had fish and chips and S chips. The walled village is gorgeous and no doubt the vibe will be different when hunners of folk are dawdling around it in the summer.
We also got a wee box thingy and now have the basic level of French TV which are not in the habit of watching yet.
International Business News!
I am – mainly due to S’s cleverness – a microentrepreneur and am back plugged in on-line English teaching. As I’m registered we are sorting out a bank account and stuff and I look forward to paying a little in tax and social charges. I picked up the knack again pretty quickly and have been putting some hours in to get back up to speed to have some dosh coming in for a change. We’re ok moneywise but the delays early on and minor hold up’s here and there have meant the time without income was longer than planned. As long as the Chinese Middle Class are doing ok we’ll be fine.
We’ve been stripping – or mainly S has cos I’ve been working – some charmingly quaint wall paper. I discovered that my large hands can remove on more than one occasion a whole piece floor to ceiling in a oner which helped. Not all came off that easily and this quest continues. S is painting bathroom tiles as I type in the only room which had wall paper on the ceiling. It doesn’t now.
There will be a before and after Grand Designs/Country Life style blog update when rooms are done. Try to contain your collective excitement!
Our wee scamp – or as our neighbour described cats vagabond – has adjusted nicely. She got the hang of scampering up behind me as I opened the windows to shut the shutters and buggering off outside in a couple of leaps. She’s had a couple of meetings with the other cat which came to blows on one occasion. S was stripping and I was rooted to the spot teaching so S had to drop everything and go see what was happening. Mitzy was fine – which is more than can be said for a few lizards who live in and around the concrete outside the front of the house. A few more are now tailless after she’s gleefully brought them in to show S in the kitchen and to play with them. Only one we know about was been despatched.
The concrete out front is south facing and warms up nicely in the sun. This is something we’ve taken advantage of – three times so far – plonking ourselves down in the sun with mini-Magnums as reward for something or other. A February tan was almost a thing tho various people including our neighbours across the road made clear the ten days of great weather was abnormal, they only usually get a day or two like that.
S has been working hard on various paperwork and admin things as well as processing her first gite booking. It is clear that many Brits are holding fire on booking trips due to the nationalist driven BS that is Brexit and many a gite is sitting un-booked across France. I have however proven to be more adept at dealing with French phone calls than paperwork so we are a good team.
S got her hair done without calamity especially after she realised the chair was giving her a massage and she wasn’t having some sort of fit. We’ve started French lessons in a class of mainly Brits but with a Brazilian and a smattering of other nationalities. Bernadette our 85 year old tutor is quite a character but good at what she does. Coffee after is dominated by the same conversation about what the B word means to us all as the UK’s politicians plumb new depths in cackhandedness and ineptitude making what’s know as a Grayling of the whole effing thing…
We’ve been along to a couple the English speaking immigrant groups events which were good and it’s a little odd to be defaulting to English rather than French. We continue to potter along with increasing efficiency in the lingo.
Both regular viewers will remember we on our previous stay we visited the scene of the largest Nazi atrocity hereabouts – at Pont Lasveyras. It was the 75th anniversary the other week and in Paysac which we’d gone on a wee drive to there was an exhibition which was very interesting. We ended up talking to the organiser for about twenty minutes about it and the support provided by the Special Operations Executive to the locals who were under daily threat. Rather brilliantly the RAF dropped supplies with red, white and blue parachutes around Bastille Day! There was a ceremony in SYlP to the residents who died there and despite me loitering at the back I ended up being in the pic in the local paper the next day.
The whacking great birds that migrated north to Poland in October came past on their way south again in equally impressive numbers. According to the local paper that’s indication of an early spring. It may also be another hefty hint that the poorer folk of the planets next few generations may be in for a tough time not that that’s the birds fault…
We were out and about as several flocks/groups/flights paused over SYlP to get their bearings before forming up in V shapes and heading off honking encouragement or gossip or whatever at each other as they do.
I will be making a quick visit to the old country from Sunday to Tuesday – to say farewell to Alec Condie. He put up with me at the fitba over much of the last 30 years and his passing was an upsetting surprise.
The silver lining to a large cloud will be seeing, briefly my Dad, Debra S’s sister and our brother in law as well as a more than a few pals wearing black…
Love your blogs, John and good to hear all going well, loved the pics Susan posted today, I am a bit behind you over here on the island but buds are starting to appear! What is a cuisinier?!Look forward to seeing pics of your renovations. Almost finished here, just sitting room walls and skirtings to be done, and trying to decide on floor covering that is practical for those who come in with muddy boots! Love to you both for now, Catherine xx