Living and Building a home in the heart of France
13th March 2007
I'm not kidding when I say we've had a lot of rain in the last week or two.... new streams formed in the field beside us, rivers burst their banks, the lawn squidged beneath every footstep and our poor fig tree stood in its own personal pond. The water table rose to meet the surface of the ground which stayed sodden for many days.
One morning Tony tried using our built-in vacuum cleaner, plugged in the hose, switched on the machine and after a distinctive gurgling sound the motor gave up and switched itself off. Uh-oh, we thought, and went and checked the dustbag from the vacuum's bin in the garage. It was sloshing with water, sucked up through the supposedly airtight pipes that link the motor to the vacuum outlets in each room. We are guessing the crushed stone under our floors is full of water and the pipes within it have allowed the water in through the joints. They were supposed to have been glued together, but we never saw any glue being used when they were laid in the stone. Of course there's no way to put this right now.... short of digging up the floors which is not an option, believe me.
I feel a letter to Maison Provinciale coming on.....
We've also had an intermittent fault over the last two weeks on our phone line and therefore (gasp!) our internet connection.
The France Telecom chaps came out three times before we worked out it was probably tree branches slapping against the junction box at the top of the pole, wiggling the wires.
First we tried taping some long-handled loppers to the end the extending pole (for cleaning the bottom of the pool) and tying string to the cord on the loppers that you pull to close the cutting jaws. Thus we had a 7-metre pole waving around over our heads, perilously close to the phone cable, Tony holding it in position at a twig and me pulling the cord to snip it off.
The migrating cranes continue to grace the skies, hundreds and hundreds of the crooning great birds streaming northwards. Such a treat, what a privilege that we happen to live under their flightpath.
We read this week that there's a 54% drop in the number of goldfinches in the Limousin this year.... but they've not been seen elsewhere because they're all in our garden! A flock of about a hundred come every morning to feast on the sunflower seeds we throw out for them. We like to think we've helped them survive and thrive.
That wasn't going to work for the fir tree branches though so Tony steeled himself, went up a ladder with a chainsaw and played manly lumberjack. Problem solved, woodpile increased.
Cranes flying off into the sunset