So, my little chickadees, we are approaching the present day and the current situation with our house in France. It's been a long journey, and there are still things to do, but the end is in sight.
When last we left our intrepid Francophiles, the satellite tv and broadband dishes had been installed, and work was proceeding with the electrification of the house.
Now I have to admit I had gone a little overboard on the electrical sockets. My belief has always been that you can't have too many; so I had some here, some there, and ooh, some more over there, and why not ... anyway, there were plenty. Then we changed our minds about which side to put the tv and broadband hub, so let's have a couple more by the window. Why not? We had an electrician almost permanently at the house.
The house had originally had oil-fired central heating, but in all the years we had been there, we had never managed to get it to work. I had read the instructions, and proceeded as they said, but the sands of time had gathered in the nooks and crannies of the boiler and solidified. The plumber had removed the old fitments, the space had been given to a dishwasher, so now we needed the electric radiators we had decided were the most sensible solution for a house that would not be occupied in the coldest part of the year in any case.
Oh, said Rod the Electric, you need to go to a place in Flers for that, and he rattled off the directions, ending with "You can't miss it". We arranged to meet him at the DIY place the next morning.
Well, we did find the place in the end, after driving through Flers twice and stopping to ask a very helpful lady who was washing the windows of her apartment, and we were only ten minutes or so late. We had allowed for a certain amount of errantry, you see, having had experience of French road signs previously. What can you say of a nation that has road signs indicating the way to "Toutes Directions"? At least the British are more selective, indicating the way to "The North" or "The South".
So we got to the DIY emporium, as I said, snagged a large trolley, and went around practiacally stripping the shelves. Light fittings, more sockets, a pile of electric radiators, undercupboard lighting strips - why not get a few more? - outside lights, inside lights, lights for the staircase and the lavvy, we would have lights everywhere.
Then there was the kitchen section. Now the Old Man had insisted that a new kitchen was way down the list as far as he was concerned. As far as I was concerned, we still had money in the French account, so I took him on a tour around the kitchen units.
It seems the French have a weakness still for Formica. Personally I have a weakness for natural wood, and there was just one kitchen on display with natural wood doors. Look, it's quite cheap! We collared a sales assistant We had worked out on the back of an envelope what units we needed, if we could get doors to fit the existing units on the opposite side to the sink. Could we buy those units?
Non. The kitchen she is discontinued. There is only what there is in store. But perhaps we can get some units from the other shop in Granville.
All is well, Granville has more units, we can get them next week. Doors of such and such a size? Non.
We go to lunch in a restaurant with a WWII aircraft theme, eat les frites au fromage, and lick our wounds.
To be continued.
Doreen lives in the empty bit in the middle of Wales, where since her retirement she has taken up writing. She says it's better than working any day.
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