My roof ladder still hasn’t arrived – it will be two weeks this coming Monday – and I’m beginning to fear that this will develop into another ‘microwave’ incident with the supplier taking my money, it never turning up and me the having to battle to get my money back. I’ve already had the ‘smooth words’ in response to a message from me assuring me that it takes a long time to deliver a large object like a ladder across France, but I’m not convinced. Fortunately I used Amazon to process the order so hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard to get a refund.

I’m appalled that it should be such a tricky and uncertain business buying stuff on line and knowing that it will be delivered in a timely way in France. It seems positively medieval that the only way that you can guarantee getting your goods is to go to the shop and pick them up yourself and in my view it goes a long way to explaining why the French economy is in the state that it is. It would appear that on line merchants here can’t really be trusted, which comes as a shock to someone coming from the UK who is used to routinely buying almost anything and everything on line.

And what is really annoying is that having been let down once again, my plans have been put into total disarray. The weather was perfect this past week for me to have climbed up onto my roof and fitted a new rain-proof cap to my chimney and it would have only taken another day or so to have put my wood burner in place. As it is, as I write this we’ve entered a cold snap and the house is almost as cold as it became by the end of last winter. And still I have no heating apart from a small fan heater, which I’ve got running to warm the place up a bit, and the electric wall heaters that I fitted that are effectively unusable for any length of time because of their running cost. I’d been warned that they would be expensive, but it came as a massive shock when I got an electricity bill of over 700€ after last winter, mainly due to running the electric wall heaters, which were not that efficient in warming the place up either.

So you can see why I need to get the wood burner installed. But before doing so I have to cap the chimney and to do that I need the roof ladder. Last year I was let down by a contractor who said he would do the roof work for me and then disappeared off the face of the earth, it being made worse by the fact that he was a fairly close neighbour. That was why I left it too long before it became too late to have the work done and I must prevent the same thing happening again. I now have to decide how to tackle the problem which, as the rain steadily drips down my chimney as I type this, is really now way beyond a joke, let me tell you 😡