Tuesday 9 June 2015
Overcast and fresh 25 degrees
Awoke confused this morning and convinced that it was the day I was going to go and have my 'fragile' skin checked out by the skin specialist or dermatologue. I had a strange red mark on my chest about six weeks ago - if it had been bad it would have had a long time to entrench itself by now - and the doctor recommended I get it checked out. I put some of the psoriasis creme on it and it went away but the doctor is still keen that I go. Apparently people with blue or grey eyes have less melanin in their skin.
Anyhow, I got up and showered and dressed and found out where the place was and got out the note in the crabbed hand of my doctor before looking at my diary and discovering it was tomorrow. OH decided we could go down the rental units and move the sink.
The amenagement of the little new unit has evolved over time and the one thing I have learned is that you should really spend more time at the start and really plan what will go where and, especially, measure up properly. The sink is under the window at the moment but is too close to where the hob is going to be and even a skinny French woman is going to have trouble getting her narrow derrière into the space available. We arrive and immediately OH starts to list what he has not brought with him. All of his tools are in plastic bags which are spread over the three rental units and various places at home.
The floor of the rental unit is covered in crap, pieces of wood, ladders, bags of rubbish and pots of paint. It is complete and absolute chaos. OH just wades over it, knocking stuff over (a large container of screws for example, which go everywhere). I insist on clearing the area we are going to be working in and moving all the bits of wood to the other room. I then have to search the bags for the drill whilst OH measures up and we then take off the top of the sink unit, put it to one side and he unscrews the unit and we move it along. Mysteriously the sink is now too high for the wooden batten and OH sends me out for cake and some private swearing (him). I bump into the electrician and bring him back with me and he is alarmed at the state of the place and says oh la la and asks if we have been burgled. I tell him it is an in house job but I think it got lost in translation. It always amuses me to hear workmen saying oh la la. It just doesn't sound right.
We move the legs on the sink and OH carves out yet another huge chunk out of the back of the cupboard to accommodate the taps for turning on the water to the washing machine and in the process we discover that a double plug is now inside the cupboard. There is now virtually no back at all in the cupboard because he has carved out both sides.
This has been going on for so long. He spends most of the time undoing what he has done. Progress is so slow and he keeps on telling me I am in the way and sending me out to do stuff. I go and see the plumber and tell him the sink is in place. I am going to have to go in before here because no proper workmen can work in such an environment of disarray.
We get back home and I look at my emails and, as I expected, PB seller is absolutely furious and says I must have known for ages that the Americans wouldn't buy and I have been hiding it from him. He says they aren't married so how can they be getting divorced. (they are married - has this man never read the contract he signed?) and he wants an immediate update. I try and ring LM buyer and she is not answering her Skype. I ring her husband's lawyer and speak to someone who says he is out and I say there is a six hour time difference and can he please email me and let me know when we can talk and she says 'it is Tuesday here, what day is it with you'. It was midday their time.....
OH zooms around the lawn on the tractor mower and I pull yellowing leaves off the potatoes. All too soon it is time to go out and see a large property in a neighbouring department. The day is sparkling and the large white houses with their blood red shutters and balconies full of geraniums are magnificent and picture postcard lovely. I arrive in the village and it is dead as Tombstone before the shootout. I ring the owners and they come and get me and it transpires that the property is indeed very large but alas is a cow farm and the house itself is in poor condition. The SAFER, farming organisation, which sets prices for agricultural buildings and land, has valued it at 800 000 euros. My clientèle would expect a chateau for that price. We have a quick look round and I admire the puppies which are adorable and only one month old, and the puttock pony and the chickens. The lady tells me a useful trick for keeping blight off tomatoes - put a very thin piece of copper wire through the stem of the plant and it will act like the copper fungicide and avoid the need to spray all of the time.
In one of the buildings is a large copper and I ask what them they use it for and, horrifically, the farmer's wife says she uses it to kill her ducks by dipping them in boiling water. In their short lives the ducks also suffer 'gavage' to grow their livers and make foie gras. Gaver un canard involves forcing a long pipe down the duck's throats and then pouring corn down it. I am very upset and have to leave the room quickly. I never have and never will eat foie gras.
We have caramel infused tea and biscuits and the puppies play in the sunshine and then I leave and get a telephone call from the US lady's notaire saying what on earth is going on and she (US lady) cannot leave things til the last minute and she needs to say right now whether she is buying or not, and not keep saying different things on different days. I think it is very easy for a notaire, sitting in her office, to ask for things in black in white but LM is operating in a very fluctuating situation. I speak to my notaire and ask her to set things out clearly to PB seller so that he knows his legal position and can make a decision.
Back home and water the parched garden. Storm clouds are gathering over the tall trees. OH watches Women's World Cup football and I keep falling asleep on the sofa. Much cooler tonight.