Monday 1 May 2006

So nobody reads this at all...

and I may as well please myself.

diary follows.

Diary Tuesday 25th April
Came overnight on LDlines ferry, unexceptional, smelly.
Weather unexpected - fog, down to 30m in places. Negotiated out of Le Havre o.k. but took roadsigned route for Cherbourg at Caen periphique sud. The periphique nord much better. Went to St. Lo, bought telephone. v. clever. arrived chez moi. Loggers have destroyed the telephone line. Other signs of minor mischief, doors left open, things moved. pissed off. Blossom out but not on many apples. Swallows, cuckoo.

Tried phone, hopelessly. went into village to report fault. didn't know the number for FT (it's on the list of numbers in box but says for after sales service, not depannage. ed.) Phoned number for water, office closed. Phoned number for EDF, number forbidden from phone box (actually, not enough credit inserted, ed.) Fuck. Came home. Old codger with stick entering courtyard from forest side - saw me, turned tail. gave chase in car. ROAR. across gravel. he took a turn and shot into forest. Me shout imprecations. Hope he tore his trousers.Mooched, made dinner. ring good but felt dirty. Bed at 8 it got dark. Before bed spotted strange beast, splashed in water behind tractor house. (not sure if this was coypu, seemed lighter in colour and possibly larger but didn't really get a good look.ed.+)

Up at 7.30. Raining! Started car to charge phone. Looked at map. Where I've been writing to EDF in cherbourg. Will go to St Lo office today. Dreary quiet mild but not comfortable. Went into St.lo got map of ville and bleu series of our locality (like the one we lost). Went to EDF an industrial estate. v. weird. nice man young spoke english. He thinks he has sorted . took bank details and made appt. for Friday morning. flushed with success headed out to St. Clair sur elle for Saur water. Walked all round village. Couldn't find office although found road. Phone box card only. Couldn't even make phone call to FT to report fault. Back to Cerisy la foret. Into the box and sit through France Telecoms auto system. Get cut off. Sit through again. Report fault. French barely adequate. man to come Thursday morning, I'm awaiting him as I write this. Phone SAUR. speak to man, much confusion. He tells me to phone another number. sweet girl in call centre. we get there despite my french. Water man Thursday afternoon.!!! Come home, still before 13:00 . After lunch sally forth to get petrol at the rondpoint (not self service). Quick tour of Balleroy tres dull. Onto bayeux. Didn't stop at Noron la Poterie continued on to find Leclerc (!) on route to Molay Littry. Get pictures of "otter" prolly coypu. See owl in distance. See buzzard or other large bird of prey.(short tail). no deer. Start digging in herb patch. We have rhubarb and redcurrants in Gite garden. Chives under bay tree. Headaches. Heard owl arrive as I went to bed.

Misty morning, mild, no deer. Get up at 7.00 and walk down to unlock gate. Take pics of damaged phone line. Planning lots of garden work. Soil terrible. Commenced digging many stops. No sign of telephone man by midday. no telephone either. Took siesta at lunch. Fast asleep in sunshine didn't hear water man approach. Luckily woke up before he left. He turned water on in ground then came to inspect meter. (need new handle for door to dairy) leaking his side so much huffing and grunting while fixing. Eventually new tap fitted. Nice old chap. Warned me about the dangers of frost on the meter. Tried out his English on me. Sweet. WATER!!! loo is buggered. The tap on pipe to fill leaks when on. The siphon valve also leaks so when tank is filled gradually drips away. To use: turn on tap. sit on loo listening to rushing water. Turn off tap. Flush. Kitchen tap is fancy two way mixer. Don't know hot from cold. Fitted sideways. one orientation hits the wall. No obvious leaks anywhere else at this time. Don't know about that water heater.

Back to work in garden. Rather feeble. plant a few things. Decide to take walk to front gate. Get there. Men working on telephone line. HURRAY. head off home. Eventually they arrive here. furiously reporting situation on telephone to bosses or perhaps just talking to Mum. who knows? chef+ junior. Junior gormless as always. chef, charming when not on phone. They lift receiver, it hums, so that's fixed! We make small talk. They are impressed by location and ask about deer. I ask about coypu but they've never heard of such an animal. Such success no need to work anymore. I open wine then have small bonfire. No casualties luckily. Stamping off across field startle two deer who rush away at huge terrified speed. Just as well, if I'd been a hunter they'd have been venison. At sundown very ready for bed.

Day dawns misty but set fair. See a deer in the forest. Settle down to digging more herb bed. 10.30 EDF arrive. Young man replace company fuses and stands back. No electricity in house. so he checks switch. Electric reaches there and beyond is not his problem. I sign bill for 14 euro. He departs. Now all is achieved suddenly feel down but continue slowly with digging. After lunch what day in France would be complete without a trip to the supermarket. Decide against Leclerc and go to SuperChampion instead. Buy cat food and treats for home. Also lemons. My mood is much improved by lemon juice on my bread. maybe it's the vitamin C. Continue digging and plant out most of the plants I brought with me. Sow some dwarf french beans and nasturtium seeds, also a couple of seed potatoes to show willing. My plan of planting them in hay and mulch has come to nothing. Too knackered. Sit up late reading by candlelight. Hear the owl arrive. also notice that the Telecommande box on the electricity supply clicks and whirs at intervals even when the switch is turned off.

Bad night of worry nightmares, not least being driven down a pedestrian walkway in an unfamiliar part of town by rdj in search of Chinese food. When I get up it is already late (well, gone 8 a.m. ed.) Packing commences. A last few photos. Battery is almost flat. Break gas ring and fix it but too late for planned hot breakfast. Plant last two silver birch in area now designated as Northern European Coppice. The Eucalypts will have to have a grove of their own. Put sheet of corrugated iron in 'back garden' of house to kill grass for summer salad patch as the fencing means it's reasonably protected from deer. Nearly kills me. Investigate loft over kitchen. Nothing of interest there. Pick some rhubarb from newly discoverd patch to take home.

Diary ends....


Keif said...

I read it =)

Hah, I like the verification code for this... wumpfpft

Niles said...

I read it!

xokfoypn less good.

It all sounds like such a massive adventure. I can't wait to see the fruits of your labours.