Don’t bother me…

As an update to the previous post regarding the theft from the aged FIL, further items have come to light. Or rather, they have not come to light because they’re missing. There’s a steel toolbox which apparently had a lot of spanners in it; a boxed screwdriver set, and also last week I needed to pump up the tractor tyres which were a bit flat. Lo and behold, the tyre inflator is also conspicuous by its absence.

So yesterday LSS spoke to the Garde Champêtre (the local town clerk/village policeman) who suggested that she make a statement to the police. It’s not that we are hopeful of getting the stolen items returned, but if it helps to prevent thefts from other aged persons in future….

Off we went to the Gendarmerie in Salbris where the only person on duty in the entire building seemed to be the desk sergeant. LSS explained the situation. The desk sergeant then informed us that we had to call the thief to ask him to return the items he’d taken.

Yes, dear readers, that’s what he said.

This advice seemed rather odd, so we slept on it. This morning, it still seemed odd. In my view it opens the door to all sorts of nastiness including possible defamation of character lawsuits etc. etc. But as we don’t have the thief’s telephone number, LSS spoke to the manager of the domestic aid service (the thief’s employer) and the manager was equally puzzled by this advice.

So LSS called the police sergeant again, to make an appointment so that she could give a statement.

The sergeant was considerably annoyed that LSS had not followed his advice. “In my experience, this usually solves cases of theft,” he said. I kid you not.

Wow, groundbreaking stuff! If this technique gets out, I can see the crime statistics dropping through the floor. It makes one wonder why we have a police force at all.

Personally I think the desk sergeant didn’t want to have to do any more work than was absolutely necessary. We discussed the matter with the aged FIL (who is now aware of what’s missing) and he just wants the whole matter dropped.


Not much news to report today; I spent the entire day removing the old bedroom window and installing the new double-glazed replacement. I managed to retain the external frame which holds the shutters, so that’s another job for LSS to do – repainting the shutters!

Wildlife diary:
A woodpecker was practising his percussion solo in the chestnut trees. No idea which sort it was as it was difficult to see through the leaves. I can tell you it was not the green woodpecker as it was much smaller than this species.
Also we saw four deer at the far end of the garden.


This morning LSS and I visited some of the bramble patches which exist all over the property. Two hours or so picking blackberries, and we had just over 4kg. These will be used to make our first attempt at blackberry wine. I just need to wait for our home-brew beer to finish fermenting, then I can start the wine-making procedure.

I also took the opportunity of using some of our stock of piled-up smaller branches to burn in the brazier. This was not wasted fuel; I made some more charcoal at the same time. Yesterday I spent the afternoon with the chainsaw, cutting up one of the fallen branches from a large oak tree. There’s certainly enough wood there for the winter! And I also need to cut up an entire oak tree when I have some spare time. It was blown over by the tornado we had earlier in the year. The base of the trunk must be over one and a half metres in diameter.

This afternoon I made some more bread (yes, I make my own. I have done so for years. I do use a Kenwood breadmaker machine though).

We’d also noticed that the pump which draws water from the well had been rather slow in filling up the pressure vessel recently. I suspected that the filter on the well side of the pipe may have become clogged, so we opened the well cover to have a look. Unfortunately we discovered two drowned rats floating in the water. They’d been there a while I think, as one of them seemed to have lost all its fur. Ah-ha! That’s probably what was clogging the pipes! We fished them out with a landing net (normally used for fishing). Not a very nice discovery – not that we drink the well water of course. But I had thought our bath water had been starting to smell a bit funny. Before use, that is.


Well, I was going to title this post “How to steal from elderly persons in two easy steps” but on further reflection I’ll keep to the date format. I’ll explain this shortly.

I’ve been back at La Darnoire for a week, following my trip to South Africa to see my mother. She’s unfortunately not doing too well, as she suffers from dementia at times. She’s in the “frail care” section of a care home. At first she didn’t recognise me, but then I apparently progressed through the stages of being my sister’s boyfriend, her husband, my father, and finally me. Still, she is 92 this year so it’s excusable!

So, as for my intended post title: quite a few of my mother’s things have been stolen since she’s been in the care home, including her gold wristwatch that she’d had for decades. Anything nice which my sister brings her disappears as well. Very sad. I suppose there’s some consolation in the fact that Mum doesn’t realise things have gone missing.

But I don’t want you to get the idea that thefts like this only happen in South Africa. Whilst I was away there was a theft from the aged FIL’s workshop here by one of the carers. The carer was male (the only male in the bunch) and knowing that I’d be away, had asked the FIL if he had some welding glasses he could borrow. Stupidly the aged FIL gave him the key to the workshop so that he could go and look. He then said that he had “lost” the key (so we think he came back that night). LSS went into the workshop to investigate as soon as she was aware that the key had gone missing – having first searched for and found a duplicate. She discovered that the chaotic mess in the workshop appeared even more chaotic. Fortunately the locked cash box which the aged FIL kept in the workshop was untouched (and in case you’re interested, it’s now no longer in the workshop!) LSS changed the padlock on the workshop door.

It was only last Sunday that I had a chance to visit the workshop to see if I could recognise whether anything was missing from amongst the piles of tools. Unfortunately something was missing. Probably the most expensive piece of equipment there. A petrol-powered Stihl branch trimming chainsaw, priced at around €800.

The aged FIL is unaware of the theft and we can’t tell him because it will, quite literally, make him ill. We can’t tell the police, because the theft happened two weeks ago. And we also can’t claim on the house insurance because the aged FIL had stupidly given the thief the key to the door! On a positive note, that particular carer is not looking after the aged FIL any more (he handed in his notice on that Friday – I wonder why!)

Anyway, that’s enough negative news. On the day after my return from South Africa I received a document from Honda Paris saying my motorcycle is actually road legal to use in France, so yesterday we went to the Prefecture in Blois, and after paying them just over €100, I was issued with a temporary Carte Gris. Next stop – new number plate! Then unfortunately I commence battle with sundry Insurance companies. Once the vehicle insurance is sorted out we can take the bike out on the road again for the first time in months.

Workwise, since my return I have installed an electricity supply to the loft (which is where the borehole pump controller will be located) – and this included the installation of a fluorescent light. Finally we can see what we’re doing without needing a torch or having to plug in a long extension lead! Next week I continue with the double-glazing installation, so hopefully by wintertime we’re fully insulated!