Abridged Too Far: Robert's Diary from
La BEHORAIS, 2002

Episode 5ème: Decembre 2002

Dimanche

1

Carried on with building bathroom no 3, things not going well today so gave up and cooked my lamb chop and had 2 bottles of wine.
End of month 4 still no regrets, needless to say things going slower than I hoped, and euros quicker than I hoped. Am now on plan 273B which is I concentrate all my efforts on no 3, and God willing will have this finished by Christmas, I shall then resume work on no1 and with luck will have 1 room to live in plus a bathroom and kitchen, then I can let out no 3 to holiday couple, it will not bring in as much as I hoped but it's still euros, I can then finish no 1 during the Summer.
As this is the last diary before Noel I wish my family, friends and anybody else who reads this crap a happy Christmas.

Lundi

2

Picked up cooker and destroyed the rest of Terry's old kitchen. Took a couple of hours outside to clean up cooked with the help of a hailstorm.

Mardi

3

Allowed cooker to dry out over night, and installed it in no 3 it is 2 rings gas and 2 rings electric with electric grill and oven, another step towards the 20th century - I'll not live long enough to catch up with the 21st.

Mercredi

4

Had a very good day finishing bathroom walls no 3.

Jeudi

5

Materials buying, shopping and laundrette day today.

Vendredi

6

Filling in gaps and screw holes in plasterboard, or "placo" en France, some people find God but I have found "map" - this is what you fill holes with and it's fantastic, sticks like shit to an army blanket, you can fill a ceiling in your best suit, as it stay where you put it! Yesterday on shopping trip I bought a white sliced loaf no please do not stop reading, am a great lover of French bread, oh but the joy of eating white processed bread / crap again was magic.

Samedi

7

Slapping the first coat of paint on the walls of new bathroom no 3 when the door is rattled, upon opening afore said door I find a Fireman, no problem, maison not burning, he is selling calendars, the French fire service is full time and under the control of the local Mairie, but to raise extra funds for new equipment and extra staff they give up their weekend to sell fire brigade calendars, as I live on a diet of Radio 4 long wave I can't help thinking as with most things the French have the right idea, who is going to say "Non, I don't want a calendar," when you know when you need them it would be "Open the other bottle of vin rouge - it is only the English wanker's maison at La Behorais on fire, who didn't buy a calendar last year".
On the subject of Radio 4, I am amazed at the fuss being kicked up because first lady Mrs Blair used a convicted Con man to help her buy a couple of flats, what else would she do as she is married to one - not yet convicted - this comes from the keyboard of a life long socialist, something that is still practised en France; here endeth the lesson.

Dimanche

8

Slapping 2nd coat of paint on. Invited over to Rigette's in evening for a drink and a few crêpes, when we have eaten all the crêpes it is suggested we have some more, I offer to cook the English version pancakes which thy love, especially when eaten with sucre et crème de cassis.

Lundi

9

Positioning Sani-plus and toilet today.

Mardi

10

Installing washbasin no 3, it's taking a long time to kit out no 3 bathroom, but when I think about it I have never built a bathroom before, let alone a French one.

Mercredi

11

Food shopping and materials hunting today. Bumped into some friends in Hyper U, we had a couple of drinks at the famous lock in bar and decided we should go for a meal, we had a wonderful meal and got on to the Beaujolais nouveau, which is very good this year, it is very expensive over here as well as in England.

Jeudi

12

Walking round like a headless chicken this morning scratching my head and balls as most males do, trying to work out how best to build the base for my shower tray, when Pierre asked in our now fluent mime and sign language - what are you doing? - to which I showed him my problem; after muttering "English Pratt", he disappeared, returning a few moments later with barrow load of bricks and his tools, pointed me to my heap of sand and cement, so I did the labouring while he built the base, upon fitting the tray it is perfectly level cut into the walls and marries up to my waste pipe: what a wonderful neighbour.
During our work la poste parcel wagon turned up with a parcel, which I signed for but did not open, as we were at critical stage shower tray wise.
Later that evening when I did open it, I was gob-smacked to find my friends in Glemsford had sent me and Polly lots of little Christmas presents. I was so taken aback that I just stood there crying like a baby, what a wonderful surprise - none will be opened till Christmas day despite P moaning; thank you all for making my day, I hope the e-mail of thanks has reached you all.

Vendredi

13

Carried on connecting up soil pipe to shredder till I ran out of materials, went to C'briant and after a lot of hunting as always, managed to buy what I wanted. Had a very nice Christmas present from my family, in the form of a euro cheque, which will go towards a washing machine for the en-suite no 3.

Samedi

14

Up early this morning, to finish soil pipes to en-suite no 3, had to wait till dawn at 9.30 before I could see to dig trench for 25 mm pipe from shredder to septic tank connection, connected up and tested with first piss at 12.04pm, first s**t since arrival en France in a warm environment an hour later, OH JOY OF JOY not having to walk down the road and sit on a freezing bog. Put up shower screen this afternoon.

Dimanche

15

The en-suite was put to good use last night, I suspect this was due to an overdose of cheap - but very good - red wine drunk by yours truly to celebrate afore mentioned bog. After one of my visits to luxury bog and after loading of bois to log burner, I opened the door for P who came in doing her impression of drowned rat, howling gale and heavy rain.
On inspection this morning a bit more of no 2 will not require demolition. Just waterproofing placo prior to tiling shower today. As I type lamb cooking, log burner roaring, P in bed, moi back to the barrel of vin rouge - can handle the s**ts with en suite.

Lundi

16

Had a good day plumbing bathroom, but still have a lot more to do.

Mardi

17

A BAD, BAD, BAD DAY.
Started the plumbing in new bathroom no 3, did not go well. I think I have expressed an electrician's view of plumbing before.
Eventually finished the cold water supply to basin bog and shower, no food in house so went to butcher Rouge and bought a lovely bit of steak, cooked it, ate it enjoyed it, went round the corner for an en-suite p**s to find Polly blowing up her water wings: we had a flood.
Turned off new cold water supply chucked a couple of sodden blankets and pillows in the back of VW, and with mop and bucket removed 50lts eau.

Mercredi

18

Woke up this morning still pissed off.
First time I have wished I were back in Glemsford.
Found the cause of the flood - it was fractured brass fitting - at least not my fault.
Pierre had seen the carpet etc. outside and came to ask problem!
On showing him the fitting he went and found me a new one, and offered to tile my shower, which he has done and is wonderful. As they are off to Paris tomorrow for Christmas and New Year they invited me in tonight for drinks and snacks, God bless 'em - I'm no longer pissed off.

Jeudi

19

Very quiet around here this morning, as the 3 geese were topped yesterday and as I write these are on their way to warm ovens in Paris - bon noël.
Finished installing the hot water to bathroom, no major problems - I hope. Grouted the tiles in the shower.
Polly is not a well cat, did not eat her tuna last night and has hardly touched any food today, picked at a bit of pink salmon, not well at all, will see how she is tomorrow. I have the address of a Vet, it may be a trip there.

Vendredi

20

Polly must have hacked into my diary on her chat top, as she is a lot better this morning, I think the 2 V words - vet and visit -did it.
Finished all the final plumbing connections on the shower, took a bottle of cheap Champagne into the shower at 6 p.m. and had a wonderful drink and 1st en-suite shower, prior to going to Tania's birthday party.

Samedi

21

P is definitely back on form, and has taken the clothes peg off her nose now I have a shower. Went to C'briant to buy bog roll holder, mirror, soap tray, towel rail and washing machine, also food as I have been so busy getting en-suite ready we are down to our last crust. A good day - got the lot; will be wash day tomorrow as am in my last pair of knickers and snot rags ran out days ago; bed needs changing but no clean sheets.

Dimanche

22

Washing day cancelled, have been frogged again: bought fitting for washing machine cold water supply yesterday but it's the wrong thread. Spent the rest of the day ransacking the house, as I cannot find the cheque Mum and my family sent me, very cross and pissed off.

Lundi

23

Washing machine working; 4 loads done now all I have to do is get it dry, confessed the sin of losing the cheque to my sister Margaret - she is going to try and stop it.

Mardi

24

Finished titivating bathroom and am very pleased with the final result. Had a couple of drinks with some friends in Rouge, cooked and eaten my bangers and mash, will be Christmas day in a couple of hours so Bon Noël from me and Polly.

Mercredi

25

Bon Noël!
Polly out all night bought me a present in the form of a slightly chewed dead mouse,
Enjoyed my present to myself in the form of the 3 s's in my en-suite.
Started to open some of the wonderful presents from Glemsford to me and P.
Went out to friends for a nice turkey Christmas lunch, came home about 5 and finished opening presents, thanks to Stuart, Joan and Steve, Mo, Jim and Gill - the cake was bootiful had it for Christmas tea - Colin and Fran - cigarette lighter in van does not work, promise to repair it for next year - Tessa - well stocked up with tea and coffee, tried to ring you this morning to say thanks for posting the box - you all really made my Christmas, understand it was a Colin idea, take a bow!

Jeudi

26

Had nice lay in this morning although it is not a holiday today en France, cooked full English heart attack breakfast. Dropped log on my foot while collecting wood burner fodder.
Went shopping to buy a kitchen unit and new table and 2 chairs, had to cut the trip short as foot is so bad can hardly walk and drive, plunged it into very cold water when I got home nearly made me wet myself, I hope it does the trick.

Vendredi

27

Foot is a bit better, until you try and walk on it much, spent the day by the fire, reading and wallowing in self pity, needless to say not a sympathetic meow from P, if that was my old dog Ben he would have been all over me and probably sat on it!

Samedi

28

Offer of amputation of foot from P has been rejected, is a lot better today. Rigette, Pierre and Monica are back from Paris early, with Pierre's help managed to unload the van of kitchen unit table and chairs, went to C'briant to finish shopping.

Dimanche

29

Put in hot water supply to old sink no 3, I was going to rip this out but have decided it stays. Had roast poulet and a lazy afternoon. Invited to Rigette's for a drink this evening had a good sign language discussion putting the world to right.

Lundi

30

Started to re-tile no 3 kitchen sink, finished at 1 p.m.. Finished plastering new kitchen wall.

Mardi

31

Finished tile in kitchen, went to get booze and nibbles for Bonne Année party tonight, after purchasing these I bumped into most of the people I had invited to my first New Year's party en France, at the supermarket bar they were as pissed as rats and argumentative, so I told them not to bother turning up.

Spent a quite New Years eve with P - who was nearly sober!

End of 2002 and my 5th month en France, still happy to be here, work going well, money going even quicker, P ok, it has dawned on me that I have taken a lot on. But if it works, as it will, address all correspondence to Utopia.

Bonne Année



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