Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sausages and smash ups

Friday 29 May 2015-05-30

Overcast 16 degrees

OH came back last night, late, and car packed to the gunnels with food, garden pots, presents for my upcoming horrifically large number birthday, clothes, parcels, letters, sausage and bacon sandwiches left over from a wedding breakfast where RJ works, newspapers and books.  He insisted on bringing it all in to the house before we were allowed to go to bed.  From the contents of the freezer box, he had literally and actually brought home the bacon.

I decided not to open any of my presents – birthday and non birthday – just yet as I may be in need of lots of cheering up when the seller finds out that the US buyers no longer want to buy.  When I asked the lady why on earth her husband had left it so late to announce that he was not leaving the States and neither was their son, she said she didn’t know.  He was being malicious.  He also said the town was run down and full of drunks and disreputable people.  That would be the seller’s father and his mates, two of whom he introduced as ex cons.  Sweet.  If only I had been here and not in Spain, being harcelled by the alpaca people and those bloody Russians.  I could have kept them away from the rag tag and bone men of the town. 

I speak to the head of our agency and she says that the buyer’s notary needs to spell out chapter and verse of the consequences of backing out at this stage.  My notary says we should give them the weekend before telling the seller.  Hopefully they will come to their senses.  My poor lady buyer says she is in agony and it is a kind of death for her.  I feel sick to the stomach at the idea of the nightmare to come when I tell the seller.  His parents have taken a flat and are in the middle of moving out.  The buyers are potentially separating.

Go down town for signing of the compromis of the lovely Villa which is being bought by the NZ ladies.  All goes smoothly, although it does take absolutely forever.  The notary has the compromis up on screen and I think, thank heavens, electronic signature but alas no, more trees must expire with the French obsession for printing stuff out.

RJ messages me via FB and says the wedding party had a great time – got drunk as skunks on their own liquor, smashed up furniture and left the place in a tip.  That’s what you get for letting squaddies from Runcorn loose in beautiful Georgian manor houses, far from home.  They were too ill to finish off the sausage and bacon sandwiches so OH had enjoyed them on way down and then dog finished them off.  And then threw up (dog not OH).

At nine pm I get a call from a former buyer who says he has an Amazon package with my address and his wife’s name on it.  Bugger, must change my alias.  Said I would go around tomorrow.

Shock news and it is not good variety

Thursday 28 May 2015

Sunny 25 degrees

Terrible shock when I opened my emails this morning.  Wished I had stayed in bed.  My US buyer told me that her husband had decided he no longer wished to purchase in France. The poor lady has battled with the French administration since October of last year.  She has suffered the worst snows that Massachusetts has known since records began.  She has gathered donations for her project, started a website for the pilgrim house she wanted to run, been over here twice and now, five weeks before signing, the bxxxxrd says he wont move and he wont let her sell the US house and especially, distressing, if she goes, their 10 year old son stays with him in the States.  The poor woman's life is in ribbons.  She says staying in the house with him is agony.  She has cancelled the sale in the the States and is now going to be obliged to cancel over here.  She has already divorced once for mental cruelty.  This may be curtains for this relationship.

The penalties are substantial - agency fees plus ten percent of the purchase price as penalty.  Also, the seller has the option of forcing her to continue with the sale.  More than 30000 euros.  I hope the seller doesn't give it to his parents because the father will just drink it away.  What a sad story. 

Went down town and met with former buyer for tapas, coffee, shandy and chat.  She told me about her ex husband and treated me to lunch.  OH, for all his faults, and after many years of us knocking the edges off one another (metaphorically speaking!) is honest enough to speak his mind and courageous enough to try new things - eventually.

Came back home and threw things into cupboards and discovered the set of keys containing the front door key have disappeared.  The last time we had them is when we came back from Spain and unloaded the shopping.  I wonder where on earth they have gone.  Perhaps they are hiding with the handle to the shed, also mysteriously vanished.

My elderflower cordial is a bit thin so I boil it up and it goes the colour of urine.  Lovely.  It tastes better though.

Make chilli.  Feel depressed.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Shopping delights and vexatious people

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Hot and sunny 26 degrees

Up early for house take on.  The day is already hot and the banks and hedgerows are full of elderflower, cow parsley and dog roses.  Tiny clouds float nimbly in the bright blue skies. The house is one I had on sale many years ago.  A British couple made a full priced offer and the owners were so difficult that they backed out and went and bought elsewhere.  You think there is no such thing as a difficult seller.  Dear reader, I assure you there is - more to follow later on today.  

I arrived and a man was bent double over the water meter and banging it with a spanner. He is obviously a man like OH.  When the kids were little and the heating wasn't working in our house in the UK, our neighbour came out to look at it and RJ instantly ran and got the hammer.  He was very surprised when the neighbour said he wasn't going to use it.  The occasions when OH doesn't use the hammer are still rare.  It turned out to be the neighbour and the friend of the owner appeared from the house and let me in.

It is a wonderful contemporary property with pool and some views of the Pyrenees.  I had it in mind for a British couple (lovely ones and not emmeurdeurs) who had missed out on another property in the locality by hesitating too long.  I took photos and measured up - with difficulty as the rooms are all different shapes and then went down town for a coffee.  

The day was busy and the town was looking rejuvenated after a big rehabilitation programme by the local mairie.  It was just after 12 but I thought I would have a wander along the high street.  I came upon a shop which was chock full of the most ravishing things and managed to spend 30 euros in no time at all.  

Gorgeous hand printed and sewn card

I cant resist beautifully packaged and presented soap

I only wish you could smell this green tea - dates, almonds and flower of osmanthus

Another lovely card with baggage label as note to write on

Got home feeling happy.  A woman with transport and cash doesn't really miss her husband. For quite some time.

Walked dog and spotted some wonderful wild gladioli that are just asking to be repatriated to my garden before they are shorn off by a farmer.  Back home and planted out all the cuttings that I have taken over the past week and then had to lug over 100 litres of water in cans to rehydrate my new plantings and the veg garden.  At least the slugs and snails are having a hard time of it.  I will have muscles like Stallone.

Things started to kick off.  I get an email from the mother of the seller who lives out in the Middle East.  They have started complaining again about things which they already knew about and had forgotten.  Ended up by seller sending me a really nasty email saying they would not extend the period of the sale and the buyers must pay up or shut up.  As it is just a question of transferring funds, they are not being reasonable.  It is not the buyers fault that the bank will not let her transfer all at once.

Also got an email from a nutter who had registered to receive updates and then complained when I had emailed him, saying that I was spamming him and employing lots of capital letters in his email.  He signed his name and put solicitor underneath it.  I don't think he is a solicitor.

Had had enough of vexatious people so turned everything off and had some red wine and cheese and crackers and watched programme about the Plantagenets.  Apparently name came from Henri of Anjou's habit of wearing broom or, to give it its latin name, genista.  Planta genista = plantagenet.  

To bed and read Terry Darlington whose writing I love

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A social day

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Sunny periods 24 degrees

Woke up later than planned and dashed out to see if the car would start.  It wouldn't.  Rang the insurance company and told them that I had reported to the Assistance number that I was at home and she said I shouldn't have done that as otherwise they could have 'managed' to get the car recovered to a garage.  Rang the garage and they said they would be able to come out and start the car.  Hung up, tried the car again, and miracle it decided to start.  Rang back the garage and the insurer with the happy news and then took it down town.  

The garagiste is old and bow legged and he got into the car and it started, time and time again.  He looked at the petrol gauge and told me I was out of fuel and I had to insist that I wasn't and if he remembered, I hadn't wanted to pay over 300 euros to get the fuel gauge fixed.  He said it was the key and to leave it with him and he would check it out.  Went down town and did the tour.  Came back and he had changed something and the car was happy but I was less happy with the 180 euro bill but at least I was mobile again.

Had coffee with a friend and a number of disreputable people.  I don't know how she attracts them.  Back home again and send out documentation to NZ ladies and it appears that the notary of the buyers of my flat STILL hasn't contacted my notary.  I now award them the title of most useless notary as the previous holder has agreed a date for the compromis, just three weeks after he was instructed.  I despair.  A notary told me once that notaries in the past used to hang on to the funds from sales for up to six months and lend them out at exorbitant rates.  Some of them still have God complexes.

Took dog for quick walk and then over to local town to see delightful people who bought with me two years ago.  Dog attempted to run off, peed in their barn (twice) and was a bit of a menace.  At least he didn't drink the man's tea on this occasion.  The lady gave him and me ice cream.  Dog hadn't tried this before and wolfed it down.  I wolfed it down with some lovely warm gateau basque.  Tea was drunk and it was very pleasant.  They then went down to the local Mairie to commence Round One of getting planning application for windows and I took dog around the lanes where he peed on many things.  Did a little bit of prospecting and dropped off some cards.  We came across some sheep who were very keen on coming with us

Back home and had to water plants which I set out a couple of days ago.  As usual, whenever I plant something out, the weather instantly stops being cold and wet and bakes the poor things.  Very much hope that the plumber can fix the well problems on Friday.

OH rang and gave me things to do.  Spoke to elusive lady buyer and she was lovely and we arranged to speak later on in the week.  3 bed holiday home for 350000 euros - how difficult can that be?  Found out that competitor had told her that they cover all the houses in the area (they don't) and she should stay just with them.  Must start telling my clients this.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Hearts in the hedgerow, swarming bees and the dog goes awol

Monday 25 May 2015

Cloudy 21 degrees

I knew as soon as I tried to move today that gardening or anything involving bending was out of the question.  I was as stiff as a board.  Creaked downstairs and ate some breakfast - muesli and strawberries.  OH always goes away when the berries start to harvest and I have to eat them at every meal.  My insides must be extra red.

Decided to walk the dog and hopefully be less stiff when I got back.  What a joy there is in looking at things really closely and seeing the delicacy of natural things


Hartstongue fern

Dock seeds

Common orchid

Hartstongue fern

Common orchid

Mares tail

Oak leaves
Hearts in the hedgerow

Mares tail

This was a tranquil start to what turned out to be rather more exciting day than I would have wished for.  

I made a cup of tea and went outside to look at yesterday's plantings and heard a very loud buzzing.  There were about five trillion bees humming and dancing around my chimney pot. Running into the house at top speed, I taped up the holes in the wood burning stove, slammed all the windows and doors shut and raced down to the bee man at the end of the lane, with the dog in hot pursuit.  The bee man was having lunch.  He emerged from the doorway and a couple of bees came out with him.  He advised burning something which made a lot of smoke.  I can make piles of acrid smoke with dry wood and newspaper but today I had trouble.  I made a little pile of presoaked petrol cubes and piled on semi dry grass cuttings.  I dont know about the bees but I nearly axphyxiated myself.  The dog took the opportunity to run off.  For five and a half hours.

By some miracle, the car decided to start so I toured the lanes for an hour and he was nowhere to be seen so I came back, ate chocolate and drank a lot of tea and loaded two properties.  The American lady rang and, another miracle, she has actually sold her house. The dog snored loudly on the kitchen floor and I treated myself to stir fry chicken and some white wine.

Gardening day

Sunday 24 May 2015

Sunny with torrential showers
23 degrees

Something I have seen on FB

Advice from An Old Farmer

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered… not yelled.
Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway.
Don’t judge folks by their relatives.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.
Don ‘t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest troublemaker you’ll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin’.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in.
If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.
Most times, it just gets down to common sense.

My favourite is the one about the rain dance.

I went out this morning and hopefully had a go at starting the car and it really didnt want to 
play so I spend the day gardening.  There is a patch of lamb's ears for which OH has an
unreasonable hatred
Stachys byzantina (07/06/2009, Hampton Court, London)
It is completely infested with a small potentilla so I dug it all up and put it in the new area 
which OH had prepared as a 'surprise' for me.  I already have about an acre under garden 
so this came as more of a shock.  He may be less thrilled when he discovered that the patch
I dug up from around the steps has translated into about 200 plants which are now edging
the border of the new bed.  I added in all of the hydrangea cuttings, some shrubs which 
have been languishing in pots and some cuttings which have grown to vast proportions and
have completely taken over the polytunnel.

The rain started so I headed into the polytunnel and weeded one side.  The parsley, which 
we hardly ever use, had reached the roof and was battling it out with the nettles.  1 pm 
came around and I went on Skype and translated the compromis for the NZ ladies who
seemed amazingly relaxed until they told me that they had been on a Junk trip and had
been drinking all day.  I had a glass of wine to celebrate and spoke to OH and amazingly 
Preston North End managed to beat Swindon 4-0, end their run of nine successive failures 
to win a playoff game and are now in the Championship League.

Car trouble

Saturday 23 May 2015

Sunny periods 23 degrees

There is something about a Saturday that says, go out shopping.  When I was little, my mother always loved to go shopping on a Saturday and we would go as a family, my father providing the transport and the funds, and my brother came until he was old enough to stay at home on his own.  He does still love a trip around the shops and goes with his own girls now.  Holidays would involve lots of shopping - hours for Dad sat in an armchair with the paper whilst my mother and I flitted in and out of the steamy changing rooms.  I remember in Debenhams, an arm appearing over the changing room door and a stream of air freshener heading my way.  

No one was available to come with me so I headed off up the motorway to our nearest city 60 kms away.  I was over taken by many cars and spent at least 20 kms behind a wildly weaving Spanish lorry.  OH's fishing/bricolage car has no peps and I didn't want to commit myself to an overtake that I was not sure of being able to achieve.

Eventually I left the auto route, set up Google Maps on my trusty iPhone and headed off into the traffic.  Truffaut garden centre was surprisingly easy to find.  My trusty iPhone did lead me into a cul de sac but fortunately a post lady on a motorbike was at the end of it so I was able to corner her and ask directions.

Truffaut is a massive garden centre with indoor plants and outdoor plants, crafting items, pots, fish, many small rodents (the French call them rongeurs which is a word my father used to use for people who wriggled in bed) and coin gourmand.  What they do not have is a coffee shop.  I would have loved a coffee to steady my nerves after the drive but alas no. Bought some coir circles and some watering trays and a packet of antirrinhums (snap dragons) which so remind me of my childhood, lining the pathway of my uncle's cottage in Wales where we passed all of our holidays.

I then got back into the car and, horror of horrors, it just wouldn't start.  Many lights flashed. I tried OH's trick of locking and unlocking the car, which normally works.  I thought oh bxxxxxd I am going to be here for hours.  Leaving the car, I found a bar which sold the much needed coffee and couldn't play on my trusty iPhone because using Google Maps had used up most of the battery.  Must invent solar powered charger for iPhones.  Every one's attention was taken by a personage who entered.  In her early sixties, she was made up for a night out in Las Vegas and wearing a dress so short that you could see her underwear when she took a breath.  Her legs were bowed and her tiny feet were encased in bright blue shoes like a kingfishers wing.  

I left and went to Noz which is an allsorts of allsorts kind of shop - sometimes you find wonderful things and sometimes you find rubbish.  Today it really looked as if it had been picked over by people desperate for marked down items.  I got five sheets of repro soap labels which will be added to my stash against the day when I will actually have time to do some crafting.

Back to the car and, after some fiddling and much turning off and on, it agreed to start and I went to Orthez and I had a little look at tablets and then found myself buying one.  I am worth it.  Car started again after a lot of fiddling and I got home.  The coir circles popped up like sponge cakes with the addition of a little water so I planted seeds and set up the tablet.  It is so fast!  Fiddled on that all night and collapsed into bed feeling worn out