September 4, 2015

A full day

Very full, actually. In fact I’ve been pretty busy during the last couple of days. Yesterday Gerard, a French builder who I know because he’s one of Victor’s neighbours, came round to check out the work that I have in mind on my house before giving me an idea of what it will cost. When Victor and Madeleine bought their house, it was literally a ruin with four walls (almost) and no roof. Gerard did all of the work needed to convert it into the delightful house that it is today, so I know what he can do and more importantly, the quality of his finished work.

Gerard’s a man of few words at the best of times and he wouldn’t give me even a rough idea of what the work might cost until he’s done some sums and possibly even come back again to take some more detailed measurements, so I can hardly wait 🙂

As I mentioned previously, my lovely young neighbours Aurelie, Benjamin and their infant son Samuel are having to move away from the house next door because their rental lease has run out. Sadly, they will be leaving this weekend and Benjamin has been working feverishly to get the house and garden back into top shape so they know that they’ll get the whole of their deposit back. I’m really glad that I got the chance to mow their grass with my new ride-on before it stopped working because it’s saved Benjamin a lot of back-breaking work with his hand mower.

Benjamin’s already given me some well-seasoned dry pine that he cut down himself and has kept for three years outside in his garden and I didn’t have to feel bad about it, because where they are moving to is heated and they will have no use for it. He then asked me if I’d like some more that has been kept in his wood store. It would have been silly to turn it down as although I’m not so keen on pine, if I buy some dry oak as usual from M. Dumas, I’ll be able to mix the woods when I burn them to reduce the chance of having a build-up of oil in the flue of my woodburner.

In theory, it shouldn’t happen, of course, as the pine is now very dry, but after my original experience when my flue blocked up totally, I don’t want to take any chances. Benjamin dropped the wood off on the grass outside my new wood store, which I was in the process of clearing out at the time.

I then worked through to get as much as I could split down and stacked ready to burn and what was left, I then also moved inside in the dry to be treated in the same way later on. Unfortunately, during the process the push-button switch on my ‘fendeuse’ stuck on for some reason so I had to call a halt sooner than I’d wanted to and will have to take a look to find out what the problem is as soon as I have the time.

I had to get cracking pretty smartly this morning to get everything done that I wanted to. First, I had to nip into Intermarché to pick up a few items that I needed so I could pay in cash and get change for parking. This was because I then needed to dash straight down to the Sous-Préfecture at Sarlat, this time with all of the necessary paperwork to register my new trailer in my name, before the office closed at 12.30pm. Mission accomplished!

Then, as I’d hoped, the second new cutting belt for my new ride-on arrived in the post shortly after I got home. A cursory glance showed that it was indeed the correct one, so after a quick light lunch, the next job was to fit it and get the cutting deck back onto the machine. Job done and it worked perfectly 😉

So that gave me the chance to quickly run around my front grass (I use the term euphemistically after the damage wreaked by the summer – it’s now really just a large weed bed) before loading the mower onto my trailer and going off to Galinat to finish off mowing the runway there. This time I took the precaution of wearing jeans with long legs that I tucked into my socks, which did the trick and kept the biting insects off my legs and ankles.

An unexpected and delightful experience was that as I drove up and down the runway disturbing the insects, for several minutes I was surrounded by a huge flock of Swifts darting all around me just above ground level feasting on them and occasionally missing me by inches.

So that was it. I got home in the early evening and by the time I’d unloaded the mower and put it to bed and then taken a shower, it was already beginning to get dark. So quite a full day and as we boring retirees say ad infinitum, we don’t know how we ever used to find the time before to work with all the things that we now have to pack into the day!

Now that I’ve cut the grass at Galinat, I think it’s time to have a flight while it’s nice and short. Temperatures here are now in the low to mid-20 degrees Celsius and from the current forecast, early tomorrow evening would be a good time or perhaps early Sunday morning. I think that I’ll go with tomorrow, and that’ll give me all of the day to plan my flight. Very satisfying!