Thursday, February 12, 2009
Yes folks I am back! My long silence has been due to the lack of any internet connection after the storms that hit south west France a couple of weeks ago. Like many others, although France Telecom has not yet been round to repair the line that is looped around trees on our drive or replace the telegraph post which is lurching at a crazy 45% angle, we have managed to re-connect ourselves. Spirit of the blitz and all that. In the meantime, here is the post I was busy writing as the storm hit.
Everything has gone pear shaped this week. It always does when my OH goes away. This week I have been left alone to keep the home fires burning, literally, whilst he went up north to work on my parents property.
Whilst I was busy moaning about being left to cope with assorted kids, four legged friends and day to day crap, he was busy being reminded of how cold and grey, northern France is and just why we moved south to sunshine and warm winds. More of this later.
Anyway, despite being determined to be a capable woman who could face any of the challenges a few days alone, threw her way, I failed dismally.
And it really wasn’t my fault...
The week started off with a suspect looking tyre on my car. The nice man at the local MOT centre, told me it needed dealing with and put some air in, to get me home. Driving Land Rovers, means that buying new tyres is a complicated activity involving internet orders and eventual deliveries. This is a bit of a faff but makes them affordable. So I was going to have to wait for a tyre. And not drive the car in the meantime.
Living in the middle of nowhere, means not driving is not an option.
And I couldn’t drive the OH’s car as it had an issue. Don’t ask me what; I merely recall that it was making a noise like a squashed budgie. And that this, required his friend to come and fix it. Sounds reasonable until I get to the fixing part. I got to stand outside in driving rain and sub-zero temperatures, whilst the friend asked me to pass him things. This was a linguistic challenge as I didn’t know what the tools were called in English, let alone French.
Still the car got fixed and I was mobile once more. If a little cold.
The next day I attempted to withdraw some cash only to be told that I had exceeded my limit and couldn’t have any more for five days. As the OH and his bank card were several hundred miles away, things were beginning to look grim. The children’s money boxes failed to provide a solution (I had raided them the week before) so I resorted to borrowing 20€ from another of the OH’s friends who dropped by.
The next couple of days saw only minor incidents. One involved driving the wrong way round a car park in the dark, having forgotten to put my lights on (in my defence, I did have a car full of over excited teenagers). However, I didn’t hit the oncoming car (he swerved) so that was A Good Thing.
I also didn’t drive all the way home with someone else’s car keys that I had picked up by accident in a shop. I found them in my bag, just before the poor man called the police.
Towards the end of the week, I was beginning to think that I might make it through relatively unscathed. I had only minor injuries sustained by carrying in firewood on a daily basis, plus a couple of burns caused by that thing my husband normally does. I believe it is known as cooking.
Then it all went horribly wrong....
I was feeling kind and let small son sleep in my bed. He has been on my case for weeks to spend the night with him and his Action men as he thinks this would be ‘fun’. Unsurprisingly, I don’t, so I had placated him with the offer of a night in Mummy’s bed.
I wasn’t looking forward to a night of kicking, snoring and farting but what surprised me most was that he kept waking up. And thus waking me up.
Then I realised why. The warm wind which blows here regularly, had become more of a hurricane force wind and was busy ripping tiles from the roof. This made quite a racket and was disturbing small son. So too, did the noise of things blowing around the garden. I was clearly not going to get back to sleep, so I got up and went to make tea only to find that there was no power or water.
Power cuts are a regular feature of life in the French countryside but no water was a new one to me. Assuming that this would be a temporary state of affairs, I boiled fizzy water on the stove, lit candles and told small son, who was by now, fully awake and keen to enjoy some quality candlelit time with his mother, “yes I will play lego with you, but (bloody well) let me have a cup of tea first.”