At ten past six this morning I found myself wringing out Mr. H's string vests. They had been soaking in a bucket of bleach (due to his penchant for dribbling pizza down his front) and it all felt very 1930's housewife.
Actually a lot of my lifestyle is very 1930's housewife. This is what happens when you try to 'live the dream' without quite enough cash to make it happen. Or maybe it is just rural France? I'm sure that if we lived in a city, I wouldn't spend my time making sure that we had a ready supply of candles in case of power cuts, or getting up at half five to light the fire before the kids come down in the mornings.
Aah yes, the fire. Or more to the point, the wood. Every summer as we sit outside, sipping a glass of chilled white wine, we forget the horrors of "faireing" le bois. It's a bit like childbirth. Instead we enthuse away about how warm, cost effective and environmentally friendly our heating system is. After all, how many people are lucky enough to have their own supply of wood? Come the autumn, we light the stove and spend Day 1 basking in the glow of a real fire. Day 2 sees me getting a bit pissed off with the amount of ash and dust around the place. By Day 3, the novelty is wearing thin and by Day 4, I am sick and tired of tripping over the two dogs and three cats who have draped themselves all over the sitting room floor and are snoring happily.
Then comes the horror of yet more chopping, splitting and stacking as we realise that we have already consumed a weeks worth of wood and that what's left won't see us through until the weekend. By the time we have hauled in enough wood to last for another week, we are dripping with sweat, the house seems far too hot and we resort to opening the windows - poor man's air conditioning and slightly counter productive.
So this year we will be doing things differently. I have found a nice man who will deliver wood that is ready chopped and split. It comes on a pallet, wrapped in plastic and all we have to do is carry it inside. Bliss. Now all I need to do is stop Mr. H from dribbling pizza down his front. And persuade the dogs that sleeping in their baskets will not result in instant frostbite. Success is unlikely on both counts.