Disaster, kitchen and fireworks

Returning home after just a few days and the wheat field looked different, it took a while to realise that all the ears had dropped down so the surface was less “fuzzy”. That day it was harvested and the stalks rolled up to be turned into silage I guess. Being new things in the field, Siena was hackles up and unsure of them but being able to chase a huge bird of prey (taking advantage of the newly exposed mice I expect) soon resolved any nervousness on her part. I like to give Siena time off the lead since she loves to run and usually veers crazily in large circles until she tires. One morning however she suddenly stopped stared into the distance and streaked off. The poor jogger she eventually accosted was not enamoured by a dog who was convinced that since she loves everyone, everyone must love her. After a dance where I interposed myself between jogger and dog and circled several times I finally grapped the little pest (the dog that is). A further parameter in my choice for walks then… will the jogger be out. Other parameters include, horsefly locations, cows, gardeners in remote veggie patches, open doors in houses normally unoccupied which Sienna explores enthusiastically.

This past fortnight I have mostly been working on the kitchen. Some hiccups with the router being somewhat more vicious a tool than I’d intended but its mostly done, just a few final touches next week – a bit of wiring here and some upstands there – hopefully I’ve posted photo heres (below) showing our wonderful integrated oven(in which I can finally cook good roasties) and induction hob. A bit of a disaster with that, the electrician had replaced our fusebox and hard wired it in and I still had some aligning of the worktop into which it would be placed – to cut a long story short I dropped it and broke the glass top. Fortunately it was still on sale at half price so I got another one delivered and it ended up costing me about what it would outside the sale. I looked at getting just the replacement glass top and found it would cost me more than the actual hob even before shipping from the UK!


fyi here’s some before photos, before my lights, worktops etc and before delia’s door painting.

As well as these kitchen photos here’s some of a photo “field trip” from last Sunday – the object was to take some “misty” long exposures of running water. Plus some Bastille Day fireworks.


ISS meets my plumbing

I haven’t made a lot of progress on the kitchen this last fortnight, though I did make a partial model of the International Space Station and, whilst waiting for its solar panels, attached it to my new sink.

iss plumbingApart from the Blue Peter ISS project, my problems mostly revolved around my router, wrong size bits, not deep enough plunge, replacement router doesn’t fit the guide bush adapter plate, replacement router missing bits I need. Plus I find that the wall has a bulge I need to shape (either the worktop or the wall). Oh and the ISS doesn’t align with the outlet so a trip to the brico (diy store) for the requisite bits (no ISS solar panels unfortunately) but I did find that the only adaptor I could get was shiny metal as opposed to the white plastic so that’ll make my undersink-scape more interesting!

I had my car insurance renewal recently and I found I had signed up for the less than 8000km per annum option whilst I had driven 12000km – I thought that losing the commute would cut my driving down, it has but visits to the brico (70km) and tourism (1000km to Caen, and to Giverny) And just recently another 1200km on our Mediterranean break this last week. So, long discussion with insurance agent looking to confirm control technique (MOT) kilometrage (the garage put in my miles value not converted to kilometres (so last Feb it shows a 44000 instead of 69000) making my annual driving an even larger number – anyhoo, after all that, its only 25€ extra to go to unlimited mileage!

A propos of the Mediterranean trip… My brother and sister in law (R&L) invited us to join them for a few days in the dog-friendly apartment they had rented in Aigues Mortes.

aigues mortesAigues Mortes is a beautiful medieval walled town on the west of the Rhône estuary, originally built to be a major port but which silted up and ceased to be navigable. That’s why its so well-preserved… it was never valuable enough to be attacked.

millau bridge from arThe journey down was through beautiful countryside, climaxing at the Millau Bridge. We went to the street in Augues Mortes given as an address for the apartment. It was actually inside the walls but turned out to be a misdirection and the actual apartment was in a much less picturesque seventies 3 storey block. Nevertheless still with a nice view of the river and an easy walk for the town with all its restaurants and such.

Dave (R&L’s dog) and Siena (our’s) got on very well, spending most of the time in friendly tussles when not lying sparko on the cool stone tiles in the glorious heat that much of Western Europe seems to be still experiencing. Siena did actually do a bit of swimming at a dog beach we found but she got loose and scampered about just out of reach – locals on the beach called her “fou” which translates variously as crazy, mad, insane, crazed, maniac, demented… take your choice. The whole area is a part of the Carmargue marshes and consequently we were all dined upon by gourmand mosquitos.

The tower on the walls. Off right is the apartment that looked out onto this.

The tower on the walls. Off right is the apartment that looked out onto this.

There was a bit of an adventure with R&L’s car battery requiring several jump starts and a final visit to a garage in nearby Montpellier. I impressed R&L with my “mastery” of French but I expect the garage mechanic thought otherwise.

There were some lovely meals, wonderful wine (Sables de Sables Gris – a light rosé; being one of them and one which allowed L to lose her prejudice against rosé engendered by the terrible stuff one can get in England).

Millau Bridge from MillauAfter just 4 days we were back on our way home with a small detour for a different view of the Millau bridge and back home to mosquito free outings. Perhaps mosquito free, but not horsefly free unfortunately. Those evil creatures bite through trousers and don’t give up on swatting. The first thing one notices is a little pin prick, I had one near my groin (now then, now then!) and swatting just moved it a bit and got me another bite (to add to all the others)! We can’t walk the shady routes at the moment without full hazmat gear to brave the swarms. Sunny paths seem fine albeit hot.

I expect Delia will talk more of the Mediterranean break next week and in the meantime for my next blog I hope to show more progress on the kitchen project.