The aged FIL is taken back to hospital for a scheduled operation. He has diabetic feet and is due to have a sort of balloon inserted into an artery in one leg in order to improve the circulation. However, he insists that he doesn’t have diabetes.

“Yes you do; it’s why you have diabetic feet.”
“No, I don’t have diabetes. I just have a problem with something the doctor described as blood sugar.”
“Yes, that’s called diabetes.”
“Oh, I didn’t know that. I thought I had a problem with blood sugar.”
“Yes, you do.”
“Hah! You see! I don’t have diabetes!”

(Repeat until bored).


Today was the day we attacked the pantry! Yes, pantry. That small room where you store food. It’s right next to the kitchen, obviously, but strangely the floor level is lower than that of the kitchen so you have to step down into it. Nobody thought about doing anything about the height of the doorframe though. It’s about 4 foot 6 from the floor, which means I have to remember to duck when entering the room. Even LSS has to be careful, and she’s shorter than I am.

The thing is, the shelves were attached to the wall by means of wooden brackets. And not only the shelves, but the wooden brackets too had all succumbed to the dreaded woodworm. (Why do they call it woodworm? It’s a beetle!) Anyway, all the old shelving and the brackets were removed with the aid of a hammer. This was probably overkill; I suspect they would have fallen off by themselves if I’d left them alone for another few days.

The pantry

LSS used the vacuum cleaner to remove the spiders and cobwebs from the ceiling. It’s a wet-and-dry vacuum cleaner, which is probably just as well. Mind you, I don’t think the spiders were particularly concerned about which type of vacuum cleaner it was.


Could it possibly be Sunday again? Where does the time go?

We went to a restaurant in Salbris with three of LSS’s cousins as a treat. They had not seen LSS for a very, very long time. Twenty years? Something like that.


Not much progress to report; the aged FIL is still taking up much of our time. We did manage to plant the tree seedlings which we brought over from the UK; four elders, two (possibly) peach trees – at least the leaves look like peach leaves but we can’t be sure as neither LSS nor I can remember planting peach trees; and something which could possibly be a cherry tree when it grows up.

I managed to clean up the “orchard” (simply a row of about 8 trees in a small clearing in the woodland – the trees had been planted about 15 years ago and abandoned). None of them are as tall as they should be, which is not that surprising as they were choked with weeds and brambles. They’re looking a lot tidier now. I think two of them are walnuts. There are a couple of apple trees, and two dead sticks. And an anthill.

For the first time we boiled some water using the kitchen wood burner – came in extremely handy for our bath in the garden! I used a couple of my old army ponchos in order to screen the bath from the prevailing winds…

The bath with a view


Orange/France Telecom visited today! They connected up the telephone line but obviously it’s not working yet. Once they had gone we wandered down the road to see how they had installed it. They had used the existing EDF electricity poles, and simply strung the telephone line from pole to pole. Not very well, either. The cable was tangled in some tree branches next to the road (the branches that are regularly pruned by the local Department of Roads branch-chopping machines), and the last bit of the line (furthest from the house) is trailing along the ground. We can’t even call them yet to tell them to come back to fix it!


My apologies for the break in transmission, but this was due to circumstances beyond our control.

The truth of the matter is that we are spending the majority of our time looking after the aged FIL. We jump out of bed in the morning and drive to the other house, get him out of bed, take him to the lavatory, and feed him. Then we put him back to bed, drive back to our house, manage to do one or two things and then it’s time to drive back to the other house to get him out of bed, take him to the lavatory, and feed him lunch. Then we put him back to bed, drive back to our house, manage to do one or two things, (have you noticed a sense of déjà vu yet?) and then it’s time to drive back to the other house to get him out of bed, take him to the lavatory, and feed him dinner. Then we put him back to bed, drive back to our house, and pretty much collapse with exhaustion. Generally we need to do his shopping as well, which also involves visiting the chemist for all his prescriptions (literally two shopping bags full, I’m not joking). Unfortunately things can’t continue in this vein; we just don’t have much time to get on with the renovation of our house.

In fact now that we think about it, the hospital in Vierzon has not done a good job at all. The aged FIL was simply discharged. No chat with the doctor about what care he should have at home. No word about any special diet. No advice about what assistance is available. No nothing.

The LSS was so annoyed about this she wrote a two-page letter of complaint to the director of the hospital expressing her displeasure with the way the discharge was handled. She mentioned this to the aged FIL who was in complete agreement; this was not the way he should have been treated. He was, in fact, quite annoyed with the hospital, and said that LSS should also mention this in the letter.

I have managed to clear away the banked earth from the side of the house to expose the foundations, revealing lots of missing bricks. Fortunately it’s a double wall otherwise I suspect it would have collapsed by now. The temperature is still below zero at night, and with no insulation in the house it’s pretty chilly! The wood stove is proving to be a real blessing.

Mind you, on a positive note we have managed to order our phone line which came as a bundle with unlimited Internet (hooray!) and television (which we won’t be using as our television is still in a box somewhere in the barn. We don’t intend using it other than for watching DVD’s. It’s an old analogue model so can’t receive the modern French digital signal anyway – this will come in handy when they come around to enquire why we don’t have a license).

We also requested a letter box from the Post Office.

Cat appears extremely happy and is proving to be a hit with the local mouse population. Literally. But she still eats her dinner and is not putting on weight. She must have hollow legs.