Thursday, 1 November 2007

1st November

Today is a French holiday - Toussaints. It's a day when families visit the graves of their ancestors and leave flowers - usually chrysanthemums. I don't have any French ancestors, so for me it's just a day when France is shut. Like Mondays...and Sundays....and other saint's days...and every day at lunchtime...
I'm beginning to get paranoid - seems like nothing is open most of the time, and in the winter all the English-run places like cafes or shops go on to winter hours and are shut on just the day you have decided to visit them. Is this just a winter thing, cold weather, everyone stays indoors, or is par for the course after 7 months here?

The builder, M. Virondeau promised to return last Tuesday and he did actually arrive at 4.15 pm, and fix a new slab on the top of my chimney. It looks ridiculous, but al least it'll keep out the rain! He left at 5.30, promising to return the following afternoon to start the insulation of the roof. He arrived the next day at 5.05 pm, delivered a load of rolls of insulation, and left again, saying he would return on Monday at 8 am.

8 am!!!!! That's a time I don't even like to talk about in winter. The air is so cold most mornings that I have a mental picture that my nose is a round, red beacon, glowing with the cold. I get up and put on the electric heater, and then jump back into bed. Mostly it's to no good effect - I can't get back to sleep - and I get up when I judge there is some heat in the room. Hard when there's a huge gap in the ceiling and no insulation under the tiles.
Great in the summer eh? But bl**dy cold in the winter!

On a more cutting note, I used my new chain saw for the first time today, after a little lesson from Tim - an Englishman who has a holiday home here. He and his wife, Barbara are out here for a few weeks, and he has every DIY tool known to man (and some...).

So I cut up some of the beams that have been in the front garden for 3 years. I stopped when I found some black and white ants in one - they seem to be wood ants - and I'll do some more tomorrow if it's fine.

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