August 2008


Our steadily failing technology (first the phone – thanks for the replacement Café del Nightmare – now the ethernet port on the Mac)is forcing us to return to the Old Ways of Doing Things.

Which is why I find myself sitting on the sofa over here, typing as hard as I like, instead of perched on a chair over there, delicately tapping the keys, desperately trying not to lose our interweb connection.

I have to say, I prefer it like this.

But this is just one of many backward steps we are making.

In a few weeks, we’re moving into this winter’s accommodation of choice: a beautifully decorated farmhouse with wood-burning stove, TV, bath (we’ve just survived a year without a bath! – us! – a year! – with no bath!) that is both remote and devoid of landline.

Yes, people. If you’re friends or family, it’s time to break out the pens, pencils, crayons and paper, and rediscover the joy of writing long hand.

This seems like a good time to mention a very bloggable moment from a few weeks ago: A friend asked if we still needed a place to stay over the winter, as she knew someone who needed people to house sit. Her Outdoors said we were sorted, thanks all the same. I’ll just show you a picture of it, our friend said (this is not the picture, but this is the place):


I couldn’t help thinking about The Shining, and Her Outdoors couldn’t stop thinking about two young kids, cats, a dog and expensive furniture.

We said no.

Still.

It’s nice to be asked.

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I’ve got plenty to say. But with a Mac that’s finally lost the ability to go online, no way of saying it. More on this, later.

First there was one.
Then two.
Three for quite a few days.
And today, for the first time, four.

We may never buy eggs again.

I thought you’d want to know how Daniel the builder’s getting on with persuading our neighbour to sell us her land (so we can build an access road the fire service will approve, so the mayor can give the go ahead, so we can apply for planning permission and get the eversoslightly different ball rolling that might – just might – have a chance of being approved in time for…).

It’s very French.

(All of this was reported to me third hand. I’ll paraphrase to save virtual ink.)

First, Daniel phoned the neighbour and asked if she’d be interested in selling the land.

‘Non,’ she said. She was very emphatic. The French often are.

‘Can I phone you back?’ he asked. (In French. Clearly.)

‘Yes,’ she said.

A week later, he phoned back. A lengthy conversation. Was she interested?

‘Not really. It’s been in the family for years.’

‘Can I phone you back?’

‘Yes.’

The third conversation (two more than we would have made) went along the lines of:

‘Are you interested?’

‘Well… I’ll have to talk to the rest of the family… Find out how much we’d want for it… Can you call back after August 15th?’

‘Yes,’ he said.

Gotta love the French. (Especially when you have one of them on your side.)