Saturday, 22 March 2008

Easter Beckons

Today I was hoping to get the installation of the hot water system finished but sadly the immersion heater I was told would be here on Wednesday still hasn’t arrived so the plumber and electrician didn’t come. I will telephone them when it has arrived and try and arrange another day for them to finish the work. I thought things were going far to smoothly.

Still on the plus front, I finally remembered which safe place I’d put the camera so I have been able to take a few more photographs. This is the new range cooker complete with shiny new pipes but no chimney and my electric cooker, now wired in. I feel like I have to learn to cook all over again, it’s been more than a year since I had a proper cooker.

Now the wiring is finished, I’ve been able to move a few things back to where they should be and in doing so I uncovered the stored squashes. Some of the butternuts were showing signs of wrinkling so have been made into roasted butternut and red pepper soup – lunches for the next couple of days. The next try out for the electric cooker was a batch of hobnobs. The soup was a success but the hobnobs while tasting fine weren’t quite right. The oven is very fierce and it will take a bit more practice to learn the best heating options and shelf placement. It just means I’ll have to make more hobnobs:-D

This view is of the old sink waiting to be taken out and the new sink unit ready to be put in place and the new sink plumbed in by the plumber when he returns. Everything is now on hold, as until the old sink is removed I can’t place the new sink or the corner unit, visible on the right of the picture of the cookers, and in turn, these two units are taking up space where other things should be. Still maybe next weekend, that running hot water is so tantalising close and still yet so far.

Final picture is of some of the rain clouds coming down from the north. The temperature has dropped a bit but not as much as expected. I think it’s just because the bad weather is taking a bit longer to get here than predicted since again tonight the forecast is for sleet and snow.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Spring Birthday

The first day of spring corresponds with the last of my special birthdays so it’s time to say Happy Birthday to my younger son who is currently based out in Singapore. Hi A hope you had a great day and I’m looking forward to seeing you when you’re back.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

No Workmen Today

It’s been very quiet today, as the electrician and plumber won’t be returning until Saturday. The cats have been ecstatic, lounging about where ever they feel and not shooting past strangers in a mad panic.

Since the plumber is moving the pipes around the sink I’ve brought forward the building of the new sink unit so he can plumb in the new sink as well. This entailed a dash to the shops today to buy a sink.

Being France there was a slight added complication. I had to go to Villeneuve first, (about 25 mins south of me) to explain that when my kitchen had been packed into my car a mistake had been made. I should have had one of those end of unit set of shelves complete with pretty little balustrades.. The balustrades come as a separate parcel but have the same order number as the shelf unit. I had been given 2 sets of balustrades but no shelves to put them on.

I thought about trying to explain this on the telephone but decided not to. I’m so pleased I went I to the shop; trying to explain did take a bit of time. Firstly I got told I should have 4 balustrades as each they came in 2 parts for each shelf – no it didn’t. Then they realised that they came as one piece so we went through what I had and what I thought was missing. I can see why some people complain that the French are just difficult. I have another spin on that. I think that the French education system while very good in some ways is actually quite narrow in others. Lateral thinking is not taught, no one thinks out of the box and they only deal with whatever is in their job description.

Once the sales person fully understood she then ‘phoned through to the after sales area and explained it all to the person there so that I didn’t have to go through it all again. Once it was all explained and understood everyone was so helpful. There were no apologies as you would expect, that is not the French way but my shelves are on order as is the piece that fits the feet to the units, I had found one that was broken – the after sales lady actually ordered 2 for me.

That done I then went off to get the sink; it required me to drive within half a kilometre of the house and then another 20 mins to the west. There they had to remove the sink on display as they only kept what they had on display and none in the warehouse. As it is ceramic, 2 large sinks and a drainer, it weighs a ton but the young lad who served me was kind enough to load it into the car and also practiced his English too.

I managed to get round both shops in the morning and then raced home for lunch. The reason for the hurry was that Regis was coming round to put the fertilizer onto the wheat. The soil has dried out but we have rain forecast for the end of the week so the timing is good.

Actually when I say rain I mean hail, snow, sleet and some rain thrown in. This is really worrying for the farmers round here as just about all the plum trees are in bloom and they could lose this years harvest. Lets hope that it’s not as cold as they forecast.

Talking of temperatures, I put the min max thermometer into the little plastic greenhouse yesterday to see what the minimum temperature was overnight. By the time I got back from my trip this morning the temperature in the greenhouse was sitting at 50°C! Needless to say, I opened up the front very quickly. Baked lettuce isn’t one of my favourites.

Monday, 17 March 2008

St Patrick’s Day

Somewhere I read that St Patrick’s day had been moved this year but here in France it was today as usual. On the weather front, it was cooler than yesterday but it was dry all day so I managed to get a bit of the grass mown. The ground is still far to wet to do anything with. I had to re-site the posts for the raspberries and the kiwis as the very strong gusts over the last week had brought all of them down. I just didn’t get time to set them securely the other day. Having done that I then tried to walk back to the house and nearly left my shoes behind, they were totally caked with mud and heavy enough to be pulled off my feet.

In the house, the electrical work is nearing completion. Tonight the power was switched through to the new system so there are working lights and sockets everywhere. I’ll have to sleep with the shutters open for a few nights, when it’s warmer, to see how often my PIR lights are triggered and then adjust them so the cats don’t trigger them. It will be great actually being able to see the keyhole when I try to get back into the house at night. There is practically no light pollution round here, full moons mean wonderful moon shadows and new moons bring blackness but myriads of stars.Tomorrow, the last few lights will be connected, as will the electric cooker and the new telephone points and then the old wiring will be removed or blanked off.

The heating guy might turn up too and move the radiator so I can finally position the wood-burning cooker. But the best bit of all is that I finally have an earth cable that works – no more static shock when I brush the door of the microwave or from the edge of the monitor screens