Monday, May 4, 2015

A day of solid toil

3 May 2015
Overcast and very hot and sticky 26 degrees

Awake and again feel exhausted.  The air in the bedroom is close and I have been battling with the sheets all night.  I throw open the bedroom window and the air is sticky and damp. Few birds are singing.  We drink tea in bed and the phone rings and the neighbour has started strimming his lawn and it is still only 9.15 am.  People ride by on VTTs.  (vélo tout terrain)  Dont these people do grasse matinées? (lie ins).  The phone call is from the owner of the house which has just received the mean offer.  She says she wants 20k more or she is not selling.

OH parks himself in front of the tv to watch recorded football.  I clean up the kitchen, hoover downstairs, clean downstairs bathroom and make beds and sort and put away laundry. Have lunch and close eyes for fifteen minutes.  Then tackle the ironing mountain.  The dog is monumentally bored and doesn't care that Columbo is closing in on the fiendish young lady who 'accidentally' shot her brother and is now taking over the family firm.  OH is still out battling the greenery on his tractor.  Take the dog up the lane.  The Spring flowers are magnificent.  Solomons seal ramps thickly under the trees and deep purple aquilegias glow on the banks.  Tiny blue faced forget me nots shine out of the dark undergrowth.

My neighbour drives up on his tractor and says hello.  He also says he may be laid off from his job at the gas factory in August.  He is 60 and unlikely to find other work and has three years to go before retirement.  He has already received an estimate and says it will be 1000 euros a month.  He does not think that this will be enough to live on.  He also says that he has thought of a way to fill in the massive hole on our land, made by an idiot landscaper when we were out working.  We had asked him to fill in and smooth an area behind the barn to make a parking area and asked him to take soil from an area by the trees.  Instead of taking soil from a widespread area, he had dug a large hole.  We have spent years throwing in all manner of things which needed to be disposed of, and it has been more convenient than going to the tip but now it is looking like a tip itself.  

I once accidentally made 'fire in the hole' by setting fire to a little bit of the rubbish in the hole.  The fire and heat was considerable and the flames were a good twenty feet high.  I scared myself to death and spent an hour running back and to from the house with buckets of water. OH came home from fishing and found me black faced and manic.

Our neighbour said that the previous owner of our house had made a 'butte' on the land (I always wondered why there was a strange flattened area) in order to put on pig housing but had never gotten around to it.  He could take soil from that area and fill in the hole. Excellent.  I gave up walking the dog in the direction of the woods; the grass was hip height and the path was deeply rutted and muddy.  Ticks and snakes abound.  Went back up the road and met another neighbour.

This neighbour has escaped the farming life and lives in Cap d'Agde.  He showed me his new quad bike and prune faced wife.  She obviously has never experienced the farming life and doesn't like the look of it.  He is strimming the grass around his fathers former house and says he is back to plant maize for the last time as he will be selling up everything.  I remind him that I am an estate agent and we swap details.  He says he wants to sell the little ruined house just up the lane.  All of his properties in the area could be described as ruins as the rooves are all caving in.  The little ruin, in addition to no roof, also has no windows or doors.  I suppose if the price is low enough....

Back home and make roast dinner and weed for two hours.  Fall asleep twice on the sofa before OH insists I go to bed.  Preston North End manage to make a very hard job of beating lowly Colchester and lose 1-0.  In the play offs AGAIN.  They have lost the last nine playoffs.  Not a good prognosis.

Internet off again.  I am never going to get the group newsletter done.