Tuesday, 2 March 2010

September 2007 Part 17

8 Sept 2007
After a short spell in the UK I left the house at 09h00 and drove back to Dover and the ferry. The crossing was on time and I arrived at Noel and Michelle’s place near Boulogne just after 16h30. Noel cooked dinner for the 4 of us; Gerrie the S.A. builder was still there working on the gites..

Sun 9 Sept 2007
I was up early for a planned breakfast at 07h30 but this did not happen! Finally we eat at 08h15 and I was only on the road at 08h55. I had an easy drive with no problems arriving at 15h40. I unpacked the car, Nigel phoned to see if all was well and David came around to see if all was OK. He had cut the grass for me, picked hazel nuts which were in a large bowl in the kitchen, plus he had weeded the veggie garden. Once again I can only sing David’s praises and be thankful we have such an amazing neighbour.

10 Sept 2007
I went into Chasseneuil sur Bonnieure to get my hair cut only to find that I had a memory lapse and nothing of course is open on Mondays!!! I went to see Erica and Brian and gave them the few items I had brought over for them. I returned home and collected some more hazel nuts, put the lounge chair together that I had brought over and the Weber Barbeque. Then the computer crashed out in the evening and lost everything, thankfully I had done a full backup just before leaving the UK. I managed to get back outlook and email addresses from the back up but little else at this stage.

11 Sep 2007
I switched on the computer only to find everything gone again and nothing saved from last night! I discovered that neither Nigel nor Diane profiles would work so after setting up a new profile I managed to get outlook back again and restored addresses. I decided before I tried restoring anything else I would switch off and see if this time it had saved what I had done. Yippee something seemed to be working. Kevin (my friend in the UK who works in IT) emailed me to tell me what to do but I had already discovered the hard way!! I managed to find all of Microsoft office other than FrontPage and windows explorer. Mailwasher was there but needed registering again and the copy of the email had vanished with all the registration info! I thought that I could get Skype and messenger working but it was not too important for the moment especially as I only had a dial up connection.

I went to have a hair cut and hopefully relax for an hour after all the drama of the computer. When I arrived back the SAUR guy was parked outside ready to read the water meter. He was worried about the amount of water we had used when we were not there much, but David arrived for lunch just after and explained that we had planted grass in April when there was no rain and we had no choice but to water.

I had my first a go at the quinces in the afternoon, jam and jelly; it will be interesting to see how it all turns out.

12 Sep 2007
I awoke late as I was quite late to bed sorting out the computer. There was a lovely clear blue sky and a bright sun but a very cold wind. I caught up with most of the washing from the previous visit, I still had the sheets from Christelle and Patrick’s bed to do but I needed to clear the room first as everything that came out of the car was in there. I took the furniture off the lounge shutters but it was far too windy to try painting. I had brought our large double bed over from the UK in the car with me (it comes to pieces) but it needed a new mattress. I decided as I could not do any painting I may as well go and look at mattresses in the afternoon.
I had to buy 2 single mattresses as they don’t make a 180 x 200 in France so I bought 90 x 200 twice! Once made up as one double bed it would make no difference and it had the advantage that I could turn them over on my own. Nigel nearly freaked when I told him the cost in the evening!! What could I do, I was told I had picked the cheapest anyway!

13 Sep. 2007
I woke up late again, unusual for me but guess I must be tired. I had breakfast then did a 30 km cycle ride around Cherves Chatelar. Came home and painted the shutters for the one window on the lounge then cut the lawn. I had to borrow a plug spanner from David as the plug had oiled up and the mower did not want to start.

14 Sep 2007
I painted the shutters of the second window. Collected some hazel nuts and did a bit of cleaning and tidying up in the herb garden. Where did the day go to?

15 Sep 2007
I had a bad night then woke up late! Went into Chasseneuil and bought a new line for the whirly clothes line. The line we had was very old and ex SA and had got very sticky, no amount of cleaning sorted it out. I also bought some nut crackers as the others are ‘somewhere’ in a box probably in the UK, and a hook for the bedroom shutters. I of course did not forget the daily baguette.

I painted a third coat on the lounge shutters in the afternoon. This is English paint and one coat was supposed to be enough!! I also painted primer on the hook for our bedroom shutters.

Sun 16 Sep 2007
I was up early and did all the washing from Christelle and Patrick’s beds and a duvet that was looking a bit yellow. I cooked up the last few quinces in rosé wine that I had salvaged from the tree before they rotted and put them into freezer for when Nigel arrives.

10h30 I went for a cycle ride via Montemboeuf towards the lakes and looped back via Vitrac, 38 km.

I collected a whole lot more hazel nuts in the afternoon, then touched up the hinges on the window shutters of the lounge with black paint plus the hook on our bedroom shutter. It was very hot and sunny so I managed to get a bit of sun while I was painting.

Kate and Michael who I have mentioned previously phoned. They had seen me out cycling earlier and they planned to come around for a drink on Wednesday morning after Kate has been in for a blood test. She has bad arthritis and I think she said diabetes as well which presumably accounts for the blood test. I met them when cycling past their house earlier in the year when I saw the UK number plates.

Nigel phoned with lots of sports results and apparently Colin McRae, plus a friend and their two kids had been killed in a helicopter crash in Scotland. Very sad.

17 Sep 2007
A small amount of rain early in the morning, with some thunder.

I hand washed a couple of under sheets and my cycle clothes later as the weather had sort of cleared. I made some soup with carrots from the garden which was delicious, the plan was that it would last for a few days to save me doing much cooking.

I put all the furniture back on the lounge shutters and painted a second black coat on the hook to go on our bedroom shutters so that we can have them partly open if required rather that wide open. I took the curtains down in the lounge and put slightly larger screws into the curtain rail to firm them up a bit as they were a bit loose.

I put up the rain gauge which we had brought from South Africa in 2002, it had been ‘sitting’ in its box ever since arrival!

18 Sep 2007
3.5 mm of rain overnight – at least I can now keep track!

I took the small double bed that had been in our room to pieces and moved it into the spare room. The mattress is very heavy but I managed to get it there with some effort. Put the large double bed together then made up the smaller bed for my use until the new mattresses arrive. I put that together in our room so it will be all go when they phone to say the mattresses are ready. Two are far easier for me to turn and it is what we had before in South Africa. The two double beds took me the best part of the day to sort out!! The two single folding beds which will be for extra visitors, thankfully fitted under the big double for storage. I was not expecting them to fit so I was happy about that, not sure where they would have gone if they had not fitted! I picked some figs and did one large bottle full in cognac and syrup. The recipe said stuff the figs with walnuts but as we have so many hazel nuts from our own tree I decided a variation in the recipe was necessary! I opened a bottle of cherries from earlier in the year; think time is improving them they really taste pretty good, well matured!

9 Sep 2007
I had a reasonable nights sleep in the spare room, seems a bit strange in another room but being smaller it is quite a lot warmer.

I zapped around quickly and tidied up so Kate and Mike would not see the place in a complete muddle, they arrived about 10h00 and left at 11h30 with an armful of chard which they especially like but did not plant this year. I think that they were quite impressed with what we had done to the house so far.

I picked some more figs ready to do another bottle and then spent the remainder of the day digging over the vegetable garden. I hope that eventually I will get rid of the dock weed there. The roots go down to Australia and only with the pick can I get somewhere close to getting the root out. The smallest bit left behind just grows again so it is going to take ages to eliminate it all entirely.

I put the hook on the bedroom shutters so I can now open the shutters partially without it being wide open for all to see in.

20 Sep 07
I finished off bottling the figs and had just finished a late breakfast when Ocvtavie knocked on the door. She sat in the kitchen and nattered on for about and hour and a half. Not sure how much I missed and how much I really understood but she was happy having a long chat.
I dug over the reminder of the vegetable garden in the afternoon.

21 Sep 07
I decided to cut the lawn and the hedge and shower later. Finally got to the shower at 16h00!! The lawn was not really dry enough from the dew until 10h00 thus the late start. Then as I cut lower than last time there was a lot of loose grass around so I raked it up, plus now the leaves are starting to drop as well. The compost box is full and I have had to start a loose pile behind.

I spoke to Nigel, had supper and an early night with the hopes of cycling early tomorrow. Beautiful sunset this evening.

22 Sep 07
I got up early and only on going through to our bedroom (I am still sleeping in the spare room till the mattress arrives) did I discover that cycling was out and it was pouring with rain! The roof windows are a complete give away when it is raining but I cannot hear a thing in the spare room. At one stage during a heavy patch of rain I could hear the water dripping over the lounge so went up in the roof and put a tin under the drip, the buckets already there seem to be in the right place for the other drips!!

David and family all went off to Angoulême, Leo and Leny are taking up music lessons, Leo the Guitar and Leny the drums. I think the peace may be shattered when Leny starts practising!!!

I painted the radiator in the second bathroom and then went out to get some chard as the rain had eased off. 25mm of rain at 12h00. I also picked enough figs to pack another bottle and then back in the house I made carrot and chard soup. I set up the figs stuffed with hazel nuts ready for their overnight soak before bottling. I then made up some more rum & raisin ice cream for when Nigel arrives. I think we are going to have too much pudding – cherries, quince, figs and ice cream – we do not usually eat desserts!!

Nigel phoned – he was in trouble with water leaking from his car so he unfortunately had to cancel his trip to see Cathy (our friend who was visiting from South Africa) tomorrow. Hopefully if the local garage is able to look at it on Monday morning they will come up with a solution fairly quickly. This the second problem since I have been away, last time the RAC rescued him on his way back from Bristol, at least this time he was close to home.

Sun 23 Sep 2007
I got up early to go cycling only to discover there was a thick mist. I only have back lights here so decided that with the visibility being so poor I would wait until the mist lifted. I bottled the figs while I was waiting. I finally got on the road at 10h15 and the weather was by then pretty good but I did wear a long sleeved top. I did a circular trip just on 46 km. David saw me coming in and asked how far I had gone – I suspect he thinks I’m a bit mad!! I saw lots of people picking grapes just up the hill and further on there was a crowd of men out hunting. There were about 5 of them spread out along the roadside; I presume the reminder were in the forest as there was about 10 cars parked along the way. The ones at the road all greeted me and were in bright orange tabards (presumably hoping to be clearly seen) and all had guns over their shoulders but safety first all were broken. I had my pink and purple top on so I hoped that I was bright enough! It was hardly a farm road though so I guess it should have been safe! The final up hill I was beginning to feel a bit hot but as soon as I turned towards home and the last downhill I was glad of the fact I was wearing long sleeves.

I had some French bread for lunch and a shower on my return and wrote a couple of letters – yes some people do still have snail mail! I took a walk to the post box and in general had a lazy afternoon. Will make up for the laziness tomorrow!

24 Sep 2007
I rubbed down the burglar bars on our bedroom window and painted them black. Varnished the metal trunk with one coat of clear varnish then rubbed down the door to our bathroom and painted the undercoat. I think I will have to take the door off to paint the back of it properly as it is difficult to get to in the corner. I planned on trying tomorrow when it was dry.

25 Sep 2007
I rubbed down the bathroom door lightly again ready for gloss but I was unable to lift it off the hinges, it will either have to wait for Nigel or maybe I can get David to help when he is not playing taxi to the boys. I hurt my back early in the day so took it easy for the remainder of the day.

It was very cold in the evening and I changed the duvet and filled a hot water bottle.

26 Sep 2007
It rained overnight, but it was not too cold during the day.

I rubbed down the door and frame to the room where the oil fired boiler ‘lives’ and painted it with an undercoat. I bottled another batch of figs and picked an artichoke for dinner which I had with a tin of Boeuf Bourguignon.

I phoned the mattress shop to see if the mattresses had arrived but apparently not, she said she was sure they would be there by the end of the week.

Nigel phoned, he had to take his car to the garage tomorrow then fetch a hire car to go to a meeting at Cheltenham.

27 Sep 2007
Very cold again. I picked the peppers that were almost ready as I was worried about them getting wiped out in the cold. I took some over to Florence who was walking around with a fleece on in the house she was so cold.

Went into Chasseneuil for a few items I needed and the mattress shop phoned at 17h00 to say the mattresses had been delivered. She did not know when they could deliver so I said maybe it was better if I picked them up – the car is just long enough to cope.

28 Sep 2007
I collected the mattresses in the morning and spent most of the day getting everything sorted out re beds and making them up etc. I washed all the sheets from the double bed in the spare room and put them back on clean ready for visitors.

29 Sep 2007 Saturday
I cycled over to see Brian and Erica. Brian was up the scaffolding trying to sort out the very high wall of the big gite which is leaking again. He has the scaffolding now up on blocks to give him the extra height!! The weather was pretty good but it was cold in the forest areas where there is a lot of shade.

I had a puncture on my return by Pont d’Agris. It took me ages to change the inner tube as my hands just have not got the strength in them any more and the tyre was very tight!! Finally I sorted it out and got home without any more mishaps. There appeared to be a cut in the tyre so it looked like I would have to buy a new one. I put the liner double over the cut spot so hoped it would hold out for a while. It started to drizzle a bit just as I got home – this was not in the forecast!! 44kms cycled by the time I returned.

Picked some more figs and got them ready for bottling tomorrow.

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