Old and New

Apparently the repairs on our car have started. Well, at least once August is over and the bodywork bloke returns. Not a lot happens in France during August,  July isn’t especially productive either. They have a term to describe the large proportion of the population who disappear on their holidays for August – Aoutiens (there is also Juilliens for those vanishing during July). Either way its two months of excuses and delays.  Its crazy by our standards, restaurants and artisans whose services would be in demand during this period, just shut up shop for the duration! As for the car though, the garage admin woman talks about a bigger courtesy car (its currently a Ka with a boot that has to be held open by a stick) – we desperately need one for when we pick up Delia’s Dad in Bordeaux in a week – fingers crossed.

Our living room progresses, Delia finished the ceiling and second under coat of the newly plastered walls. 40 four metre planks delivered Friday means I can now start the woodwork needed for the “library” shelving and spent most of today sawing pieces to size.  If the painting get finished during the week though,  I’ll try to get the laminate laid this weekend. Its all a matter of doing things in the right order!


We have a summer visitor to Beaulieu who apparently used to live in our house back in the fifties and sixties. She now lives in the northern suburbs of Paris. She had often mentioned photos but finally yesterday she produced them and we had a chance to scan them. Much has changed and much hasn’t. Apparently the room we are working so hard on was her parent’s bedroom back in the day. Other photos of the hamlet she showed us told us how most of the roads were just dirt tracks and also how some houses we had though were relatively new, were not so much. Don’t see cows pulling a haywain so much now.

Tomorrow Delia has her checkup with her Thyroid surgeon. She’s feeling better than she has for many months, so it seems the treatment was very necessary. Kind of by way of celebration, we’ve booked a weekend in a dog-friendly holiday home near the Atlantic coast for the weekend of Delia’s birthday.

Brico and baby donkey

It’s a slow process this living room! But it has to be plastered before we can paint, paint before laying the floor  and at some point building the bookcase (which was what started this all off after all). The local brico had a 15% discount (added to my loyalty card) and offers on stuff I wanted if I bought now. Plus I got all the sheets and planks I’ll be needing and getting them  delivered for half the price of hiring a van (even less since I won’t get the chance to damage it like last time).  To be honest, I am a bit bamboozled as to how the Bricomarché loyalty card works; Supermarkets such as  Intermarche and SuperU cards I use fine, points mean money – ask and they come off your bill. But I haven’t been able to make any use of the “euros” on my Bricomarché card. In fact I am not sure I even understand how the Bricomarché card works. As far as I can read on their site I accumulate “euros” and once I get over 500€ on the card I can get a discount voucher for 10% valid for 3 months. That isn’t especially wonderful or easy to use. I will do some more research.

I have been focussed on the Charente Limousine Exchange web site these past few weeks. It is so much more than I anticipated, or at least to get it right it is. WordPress is the website framework I use (27% of the internet can’t be wrong?). It is pretty hot on preventing hacking, so any changes I make to user details and the user get emailed. That’s OK when the user is me, but when I am importing 170 into the site and not all goes as planned  and I have to do it 3 times it is a bit embarrassing. It took me 3 import attempts to get all the details in the right places and unfortunately the first import got the email address correct so each time WordPress decided to email everybody, “new”, “changed” and “changed” spamming all the members who haven’t even been told the site is launched (which it isn’t yet). Perhaps not starting off on the right foot! Still I am very pleased with a lot of the new things I have been implementing in this site. There are several categories of discussion group, news and announcements all with their own special email format and separate subscribers lists as well as monthly news “digest”. There’s a classified advert section and an events system which gather bookings and payments too. My usual site has anything from 5 to 15 pages. This one has 40 not including the templates for showing different stuff in the same way. I keep thinking “next time, I’ll quote more realistically!”

The car saga is still going on. I actually wrote to the original agent I first met at the French Property Show back in 2013 complaining what a nightmare it had been and giving some of the details but not naming the girl who had been handling my claim (Delia commented that it could be his neice!). Anyway he arranged a telephone call and it seems that much  of the problem is that they have too many emails, so none get dealt with. Not very helpful, especially since their answer phone message says to email them. The girl rang me that evening to say that the “expert” had been to the garage but that they had told him they didn’t have the car and to please tell the agent to ask me to bring it in. The car being undriveable, made this nonsense laughable, or it would have if it hadn’t already been 8 weeks and several mistakes later. I actually went to the garage the next morning to find that, yes they had my car and that it was actually the “expert” who had the wrong “dossier” (the same expert who had valued the wrong model, 6 weeks earlier, and it now transpires, that same “expert” who converted the kilometres to miles in his valuation “because to was a right hand drive car” not checking that I had changed the units!). The latest is that next Wednesday I am to meet with the expert at the garage and he will confirm the kilometrage and revalue accordingly but also that the garage is to do a re-estimate of the repair costs! Watch this space, one day we’ll have our car back (we hope)

No pictures recently, so here’s some baby donkey photos from last years Fête des Ânes.