We decide to visit the closest DIY place, called Weldom, in Aubigny. It’s about 30km away. We are determined to spend some money, and have spent a long time compiling a shopping list. This contains items like 6 x 500-litre barrels for rainwater recovery, guttering, and hydraulic lime for replastering the interior walls. Yes, I know you can use non-hydraulic lime, but hydraulic lime is better for damp conditions. And I wouldn’t say the interior walls were exactly damp, but put it this way – if you hung wallpaper, it would all be on the floor the following morning.

Anyway, I digress. We’ve discovered that trying to order DIY stuff in France is a nightmare compared to the UK. In Britain, simply pop in (or visit online!) a company like Screwfix, and say, “I’ll have that, and that, and that, and deliver it” and they say “Certainly, you’ll have it tomorrow.”

So, with hopes of a similar reception, we arrived at Weldom, and asked for assistance. We were handed over to a 20-something-year-old youth.

“We want this, this, that and that. Oh, and a box of these.”
“Ah, non.”
“What do you mean ‘Non’? We want to give you lots of money.”
“Ah, non, we don’t do things that way here. We first of all need to photocopy your shopping list, which will take twenty minutes. Then we return and give you your list back, take your address and phone number and email address.”
“So when do we get our stuff then?” (you understand I’m translating here, I took no part in the conversation, LSS was doing the talking. Well she is French)
“We’ll email you this afternoon with a quote.”
“But we want to pay for everything now!”
“Ah, non. First we send you the quote. Then you sign the quote saying everything is Bon, and fax it to this number. Then you send us a cheque. Then when the cheque has cleared, a week later we deliver. Bon?”
No, not bon at all.

They did indeed email us a quote late in the afternoon. Unfortunately some items had been omitted, and wrong items added, so LSS emailed them back asking for corrections.

Wildlife diary: On the way back from Aubigny I saw my first wild boar! Running alongside a field of rape, with its tail in the air just like a warthog. The ducks are still in residence in the pond.

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