Starting Again

The time has come the walrus said……to restart the blogs.

Bonjour a tous!

After 18 months of trying desperately to finish the last of the renovations before our busy seasons starts I have, after much determination and expenditure of superhuman effort – given up!   It’ll get finished when it gets finished. Truthfully, much progress has been made, as you can see from the before and after pictures, there is just the balustrade, window seats and bits and pieces to do now

Of course, as usual, I have been handicapped by Sheila having her normal Spring and Summer err…handicap, which means that, apart from the renovations, the garden and all the other normal jobs which one could reasonably be expected to do, is now added the housework, the washing, the shopping and the preparation of our gîtes. C’est trés dur!

This strange problem with Sheila’s back is that it is very seasonal, always starting with the commencement of the main holiday season – she is turning somersaults by the end of October.   It is like watching the great cycle of the seasons; the swallows arrive, the mattresses go on migration, (about more later), and Sheila’s back comes back, as it were.

The mattress migration is a natural phenomenon unique to this part of France. Whenever the days start to lengthen they leap into trailers and atop of cars and can be spotted scurrying all over Anjou looking for their ancestral mating grounds. Every other vehicle seems to have been requisitioned by a mattress. Two of our resident mattresses have already joined the migration, one has just gone over the road to Robert and Jeanette and another has gone up the D960 to St. George sur Layon.  And then, just as suddenly as it started, it is all over and, apart from the occasional sight of one sunning itself on a window ledge, (it is a little known fact that they are actually cold-blooded and cannot survive without the vicarious heat of the sun or a human body), they are seen no more until the lengthening days of spring ignites the primeval urge.  Having said that I have noticed  that they tend to congregate in great piles in the foyers of large supermarkets around the end of September.  Perhaps they are preparing to hibernate.

Life in Le Puy Notre Dame still goes on as it has done for centuries with the normal ups and downs and gossip of village life.  The biggest talking point at the moment being the imposition of a new waste recycling system, which is about as logical as a chocolate teapot.  Instead of our weekly collections, we now have to take everything to local depots where we all spend a pleasant afternoon posting a week’s worth of bottles, cartons and newspapers through a slot about the size of your average postage stamp.  This presumably is good for the soul and is also somewhat of an IQ test when it comes to getting an empty 10litre wine box into the said container.  Of course the commune isn’t responsible says the Mayor, neither is the region says the Prefecture.  Right, so it must have been………who?

Of course you could never expect the bureaucrats who come up with these schemes to see a obvious problem that could be foreseen by a walnut – like what do you do if you are 83 years of age, disabled or live on your own and can’t drive to the containers – sometimes you despair at the way these things are thought out or rather not thought out..

A recent guest has come up with a solution of sorts, telling us he simply removes all the excessive packaging at the supermarket check out and kindly donates it to them before leaving.  I hope it catches on!

Whilst in grumpy mode has anyone noticed how many jokes and morally uplifting messages keep arriving by the internet these days.

Has no-one got anything better to do and, whilst some are genuinely funny and highly entertaining, there are others that are simply cringe making, being along the lines of “Smile and the whole world smiles with you”.  No it bloody well doesn’t – I bet the death camps in Germany and Poland weren’t rocking with laughter every time that Adolf cracked a joke at the annual get-together of the Aryan Master Race Society.

A friend of Sheila’s has just sent a sort of mini-joke book, most of which, I admit, raised a smile, particularly the one about the blind man who had to feed the baby and put the turkey in the oven at the same time – but we won’t go there.  But then it was all ruined by this gem:-

“ Smiling is infectious; you catch it like the flu, when someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too…..”

Uggh, if any smug acquaintance of mine said that to me I am afraid that I would probably have to lamp him one.  Wack! – smile at that you condescending so and so.

Finally, I will leave you with this thought.

I was driving into Doué la Fontaine to meet some friends for our normal Sunday morning charity work of helping the local bars to survive through the economic crisis as I was running late I was giving the car a bit of welly when, from nowhere, a buzzard suddenly appeared just in front of the windscreen.  Because I was driving quite fast the slipstream took it over the car and deposited it on the road behind.  It landed with a crash, looked around indignantly, thought, “what the **** happened”, and then wobbled off into the trees, shedding a few feathers as it went, it then sat there for quite a while, no doubt contemplating the existence of god and/or chance etc.

Now, had I been going slower it would surely have smashed the windscreen, killing itself and probably me in the process, I would have left the road, crashed into an innocent walnut tree and the resulting fireball would have added to global warming thereby causing the death of some poor polar bear in the Arctic.  Thus, the moral is this, in order to save the environment – drive faster!

PS. Having just received my latest speeding ticket and subsequent point deduction, I thought of writing to the Minister of Transport in Paris and expounding this theory to him.

Sheila didn’t think it was a good idea.

But, being as he seems to delight in writing friendly, little missives to me, (in fact it is becoming so much of an obsession with him that I really think he needs to seek psychiatric help, there must be other people he can write to), I feel that I should honour him with a reply.  I don’t suppose I could ask him to donate the sort of money he keeps asking of me but then I have no doubt that the poor bloke is on his uppers and needs to make ends meet!

Bon Journée!

Brian

holiday gites in Le Puy Notre Dame