Les poissons en France

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I Feel a Warm Glow

Our 'man' arrived this morning to finish off the woodburner and fire it up.
As you can see, it works!  To say that we are pleased is an understatement.  It was lovely to find someone who was professional, who told us when he would be coming and who actually came when he had said!!!
So now we have to finish the other nine tenths of the salon!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rolling On

Three walls done now, one last long wall to go!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Wet Weather Mode

Cats and Dogs do not like rain, at least ours don't!
So, this morning, having assessed the great wide outdoors there was a stampede for our bed ... before we'd had a chance to make it!!!!
Sorry to say, but we (Sue) was very harsh and everyone had to move to allow the bed to be made.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What a Difference a Day Makes

The woodburner fitter (Fred) rang this morning to say exactly what time he would be arriving. Fortunately it wasn't raining and both Fred and his friend set about their task with purpose, certainly not Patrick's approach.

They carried on in this vein all day, not even stopping for lunch, an unheard of event in France. As you can tell we are more than pleased with what they have done. They didn't even mind me asking them to turn the stove half a centimetre to the right as it didn't look level. They had of course measured everything but in old houses you end up doing things by eye as nothing is square.

Cement now has to harden and then Fred will be back to test the fire. (We know the 'pipe' looks wonky but it will be put right when he comes next week and John fits the plasterboard to seal off the inside of the chimney.)

Meanwhile Uriah phoned to say could he come before lunch to collect his cheque. I was very pleased that I managed to negotiate a discount for the inconvenience ... remember he is ever so 'umble.

I painted the boiler room floor today but unfortunately forgot that our dinner was in the fridge that is in the boiler room. No chippies here!!
John has been beavering away filling some holes in the beams and plasterboard that I deemed unsightly. He's a very good artisan!!

It's good to think that we will be back in control of events and able to press ahead how we want to!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I am writing this to get rid of my frustration. The saga of the new water tank continues. Patrick arrived 9.40 Monday morning and then his mate arrived after lunch to do the electrics. All seemed well. As John was at the hospital having a regular echo cardiograph I asked the two men to move the fridge and freezers back into the boiler room. They picked up the small freezer and Patrick and the floor were covered in water!! After they had checked all the relevant sockets and plugs it transpired that John had not pushed the plug in far enough when it was moved last Thursday. It was a good job he was at the hospital because "'er indoors" was not happy surrounded by water, mess from two days of workman and defrosted food.

As it looked like rain I decided that I would walk Yoda before tackling my problems. Just as I was setting off cheerful Uriah arrived "Everything OK?" I mentioned my problems and he decided it was prudent to beat a retreat.

By the time John returned I was busy cooking fruit,turning vegetables into soup and menu planning to rescue what I could. In all honesty we lost very little, had it been the other freezer---!!

 It had been  agreed that the annual service of the boiler would be carried out at the same time as the water tank was fitted, however Uriah forgot. So the man came to do it yesterday afternoon (and adjust the water temperature as it was luke warm). After he had gone we noticed that Yoda's feet and face were covered in oily soot, which wouldn't come off in the bath. Then this morning Diana's feet were similar. We have not yet resolved this mystery, perhaps because we have been otherwise engaged.

Whilst the "rubbish" was out of the boiler room I decided that it was a good opportunity to repaint the floor. I went in this morning to start work and was greeted by flood number 2. Water was pouring out of one of the joints. John soon realised that I had had more than enough of water in the wrong place so he ushered me away while he phoned the plumber and mopped up the boiler room floor.

I am feeling a little calmer now. Woodburner fitter arrives tomorrow!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

D Day

As you know D Day for the installation of our woodburner was next Monday. Well now it isn't. We had a phone call on Wednesday from the artisan to say his "mate" could not make that day so it would have to be postponed - we trust that postponed is the operative word and not cancelled. We have every faith!!

D Day also stands for Daft Day, that was yesterday. We may have mentioned that our hot water tank has been leaking for some months. In November we called in a plumber who said that the simplest/cheapest solution was to install a new tank as the existing one had the central heating boiler literally sitting on top of it . He said that he was unlikely to be able to fit it before Christmas but would let us know when he was coming.

We had not had a good night on Wednesday  so were not rushing around yesterday morning, in fact at 8.20 when the plumber rang John was in his dressing gown eating his breakfast and I was just rolling out of bed. The plumber said could he bring the tank so John said " OK when will you be coming" to which he replied 9 o'clock. Well now you have to imagine one of those speeded up films where the people rush around like lunatics, that's us. We  threw on our clothes and started to empty the boiler room. We are often told that our house is uncluttered well that's because all the rubbish is in the boiler room. I was just about laying the last dust sheet when they arrived. The owner of the plumbing company can best be described as a dithering Uriah Heap and with a great flourish he introduced Patrick, whom he described as "Le chef de Chantier", the foreman. So we imagined that a full team would be arriving soon, no, Patrick was the work force.

When Uriah came originally he said that the tank would fit between the freezers and the fuse box, lots of measuring was done, fine. Guess what, it didn't and I was not pleased. The tank is getting on for 2 metres tall and about 70cm radius so Patrick and Uriah kept picking it up and running around with it trying it in different places. Despite my annoyance I was having to try and control my giggles because they looked exactly like Laurel and Hardy. Eventually Patrick was left to do the pipework and we collapsed.

Before all this trauma we had planned to go shopping as the dog had run out of heart pills and more importantly he had run out of dog treats - total calamity. Actually it was quite distressing to see Yoda during the day, he sat in the hall shaking looking terrified that his world was going to be turned upside down yet again.

So when Patrick left at about 5.30 we were obliged to go shopping, John in his painting trousers and me only marginally more presentable. We were laughing on the way home as we realised we had still not had a wash and could imagine that people in the supermarket were saying "did you see that smelly old couple who must smoke 40 a day doing all that coughing and spluttering".

Before Patrick left John inquired when he would be returning - not Friday, he doesn't work Fridays, but Monday. "What time?" "Oo-er 9 - 9.30". No wonder American firms do not want to invest in France.

We trust the saga of the  installation of the hot water tank does not continue in the same vein.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Taste

...of things to come.

Friday, January 10, 2014


We know it's winter, and we know the cold weather is coming, but Yoda just had to have his hair cut.  He could hardly see out from under his fringe, his feet were getting matted with mud every time we went out for a walk, and as for his bum ....!
So yesterday he went from this ....
 ... to this ....
.. and this wasn't the all-offer that he has in the summer.
I think we prefer him like this.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

On a Roll

The decorating crew are pressing on with preparing for the man to fit the woodburner.
Sue has commented that, a couple of years ago, she would never have thought that she would be doing this ... but it's the power of positive thinking!
However, don't get carried away thinking that the room is nearly done.  We're only working on the end of the room so that the man can fit the stove.  After that we can plod along at our own pace to finish the rest of the room!   (The gardens will be calling, I hear you say).

The next job is tiling and grouting .... and tidying up!

Friday, January 03, 2014

La Politesse

Yesterday afternoon we went to the Bridge Club for a monthly competition and we experienced a lovely example of the inherent politeness of French culture.

There were 14 pairs at the competition, so 28 people in all.  This meant that we all spent ages greeting everyone as it is customary to wish a Happy New Year to someone on the first occasion you meet them anytime during the first month of the year! Thus everyone is making a circuit, kissing the women and shaking the hands of the men (unless you're a woman in which case it's kisses all round).

And, at the end of the meeting, a glass of champagne was on offer ... because it was New Year!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

No Time to Rest

It may be a public holiday, but then every day is a holiday for us!
I finished the jointing this morning but we've run into a problem with the Clerk of Works.  There are small lumps of white in the joint mix from bits of white cement (it's old!) which she says look like paint splashes.  So she is going to rectify it.  Still, we've got till the 20th to get it done.

In the meantime, I started to plan the tiling.

I now have to find other jobs as I will be waiting for the rectification to be completed, the wall colour to be finalised (what shade of grey will it be?), and will the plasterboard in the fireplace be textured or not?

See next week's exciting episode here on Les Poissons en France.