Abridged Too Far: Robert's Diary from
La BEHORAIS, 2003

Episode 6ème: janvier 2003

Mercredi

1

Although today is a public holiday I am working on the kitchen no 3. Had an apologetic phone call from the "friends" who let me down last night, I shall still meet up with them occasionally but keep my distance. Had severe rollicking mainly in French from Riggette for being on my own last night and not joining their party - I didn't want to impose.

Jeudi

2

Still on kitchen no. 3, the tall unit I bought has been in a temporary position for a week or so, and P loved it. It was her climbing frame and she could get up into the beams and explore - had visions of Pierre having to cut holes in new ceiling to rescue cat - anyway it has been moved today to its correct position and P is very pissed off..

Vendredi

3

Kitchen no 3 is finished, am a happy boy, P is still pissed off with lack of climbing frame.

Samedi

4

Went material buying to be able to finish off bedroom no 3.

Dimanche

5

A very sharp frost last night so I drained down eau no 1 before I have bursts. A beautiful day, so after hanging out washing had a roam round the 5 acre estate, it was wonderful, but made me realise how much there is to do, rest of the day spent contemplating with the aid of a couple of bottles Bordeaux and roast beouf en France.

Lundi

6

An even colder day today, couldn't get motivated so played on the computer most of the day. Had a letter about registering van en France and it seems as they are saying non.

Mardi

7

Finished plastering bedroom ceiling no 3, Pierre needed a hand this afternoon as he had septic tank problems - French shit smells as bad as English - after sorting the problem we were both frozen, I was introduced to hot red wine, I will now rod French shit at the drop of a saucepan.

Mercredi

8

As the ground is well and truly frozen, Pierre suggested we could move my wood from the bottom barn to my barn, we made one trip with about half the bois, but managed to get stuck, at least I have some wood near the Maison if we do get heavy snow, I shall bring the rest up by wheel barrow as I need it. Started my wood panelling of the bedchamber wall.

Jeudi

9

Got up this morning at 5.30 for an urgent en-suite crap, as a well trained boy I flushed the bog which had a touch perverse nature, instead of removing the afore mentioned turds and paper it dumped them on my bathroom floor, after clearing this lot up - surprising what can be burnt on a log burner - and when it was alight, I went to investigate. The temperature during the night had dropped to -11° C and the pipe from my shredder to the septic tank is frozen solid, spent the rest of the day trying to thaw it out to no avail. Am very pissed off tonight as I trot down to no 1 for a crap at -8° C, with my bucket of water to flush it, as I have drained down no 1.

Vendredi

10

Went material buying and shopping this morning and also to find out the latest about the van, basically I have more chance of sex with Joan d'Arc than getting it registered here. On returning home even more pissed off, I decided to cut the pipe from the shredder near no 3, thaw that bit out and do a temporary bodge so I can use my shower, the waste will flood the back part of no 2 which happens when it rains. I have also installed the porter potty from the caravan in the bathroom so I can crap in the warm.

Samedi

11

Finished the wood panelling in bedroom no 3, invited for hot wine this evening and they told me that in the paper today was a piece about a Frenchman in the area who had bought an expensive new German Campervan and cannot get it registered en France. So much for the spirit of Europe!

Dimanche

12

Artex ceiling in bedroom no 3.

Lundi

13

Build shelving in bedroom, this forms part of the bathroom wall.

Mardi

14

Started varnishing and painting woodwork in bedroom. Had my neighbours in for a glass or two of Champagne to celebrate the completion or 95% of the rebuild of no 3, impressed they are at the changes I have made to Grande Mama's maison.

Mercredi

15

Went to Souse prefecture to try and sort out VW registration en France as according to the letter I have received they will not do it, after a long wait for the ignorant bastards, they are as helpful and rude as are government officials were before we had all the charters which said they had to be nice and help you! I managed to get across that if they would not register the van I required all my papers back, I was told to come back at 2 o'clock tomorrow, and it's a good job they are protected by glass screens.

Jeudi

16

Plastered wall where the old Aga used to be. Returned to Souse prefecture at 2 p.m., they seem to have had a change of heart as the woman greeted me straight away, made a phone call and got somebody to explain to me that if I gave them a new cheque - they had returned the old one with the letter saying "non" - they would put it through again and it would probably be ok; gob smacked, I agreed. Will know the outcome when I return from England next month.

Vendredi

17

Finished off all painting in no 3.

Samedi

18

Went shopping and had a lazy day.

Dimanche

19

Washed net curtains and cleaned windows, started unpacking a few more belongings from the caravan to my now renovated house, I am very pleased with the results - it's a nice cosy petite maison.

Lundi

20

VW has been playing up recently, it has been cutting out as you go along, decided to investigate. Found that the diesel pump was drawing air with the fuel, after a few hours of replacing clips and pipe I noticed that the drain off for the filter was at a strange angle, on taking it off it fell to pieces in my hands, it looked as if the water from the fuel had frozen along with my bog and pushed the plastic drain off out at one side.
Phoned a friend George who came over and ran me to C'briant to get a new one. Fitted the new one having great problems bleeding the system, now the battery is flat. Phoned George again and he is coming over tomorrow with jump leads and all will be well...?

Mardi

21

George turned up this morning with the proper kit, a large battery charger with a boost on it, after a couple of minutes the VW burst into life, and ran like a dream no more cutting out QED! Started clearing up in no 1, will be resuming work on it soon.

Mercredi

22

Carried on no 1 clean up.

Jeudi

23

Finished the clearout no 1; took 2 loads of builders' rubbish to the dump.

Vendredi

24

Started to tape the joints and fill in the screw holes in the plasterboard kitchen no 1. Had service engineer out to look at fridge freezer as the door seal is not correct, thanks to Riggette's translation he will return with a new door in about 10 days.

Samedi

25

Shopping and maison cleaning today.

Dimanche

26

Carried on filling plasterboard no 1.

Lundi

27

Riggette's son Jason and very pregnant partner Sandrine have been staying for the weekend, Jason has helped me this morning sorting out some French paperwork that I have been unable to translate with my dictionary, I also mentioned that I may try to get a part time job when I return from England next month. It turns out that Sandrine is quite high up in the management of Adecco employment in Paris; we spent a couple of very amusing hours translating my CV, she is going to send this to Chateaubriant office when she returns to Paris.
Finally got round to going to a Dentist to have my two top front teeth which fell out at the beginning of Septembre, only went as the others were starting to hurt with the extra pressure being put on them, I now have 2 temporary teeth till next Monday as he is making 2 new ones for me and these will NOT be on a plate, thank God.

Mardi

28

Still taping and filling plasterboard no 1. Riggette and family have gone to Paris for a few days. They promise to return to look after Polly so I can go to England on Feb 10th.

Mercredi

29

Went down to no 1 with intentions of working, but even with my convection heater on full it was too cold, so had a lazy day reading in front of the fire.

Jeudi

30

Went to C'briant shopping met up with George at Rouge Hotel for lunch as I wanted to pick his brains on a few things and also to say thanks for helping out when my VW was sick. Got home just before the blizzard and total whiteout hit.

Vendredi

31

Bill Carter the Estate Agent who sold me the properties came over this morning, we had a long very interesting chat, and he has given me food for thought, which might change my plans a bit.
Chopped up the old wood I have collected from various building works, as I am getting short of wood again for log burner. Also stuffed some insulation between the main beam and floor boards, as during last nights blizzard the draught in mon maison was so strong I had to rope Polly down, it has made a great difference its 10 degrees warmer now.

End of six months en France, things are going well still think I have made a good move, I still have the feeling things have been arranged by a higher body and I am only an actor playing out the part, no problem, but I wouldn't mind a glimpse at the end page!



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