For the first time since its installation, we’ve switched on and tested the central heating. It’s simply a programmable timer which switches on a 12V pump. The pump circulates propylene glycol between a copper coil in the thermal store, and a radiator. It certainly works! I’ve now programmed it to switch on for a couple of hours in the mornings as well. The thermal store retains enough heat overnight for that.

A weekly task on Sundays is to empty out and clean the greywater filter. This is simply a cheap stainless steel flour sifter, through which the grey water passes on entry into the sump. I’m not impressed with Chinese stainless steel though; there are already rust spots everywhere. But it’s working fine.

On Wednesday this week, I collected the “sorry you were out” parcel from the village post office. One of the items in the parcel was a special type of hydrometer, rated for “low-density” liquids. So I was able to measure the strength of our “plum wine derivative” (if you know what I mean). It wasn’t too bad for a first effort, but it only measured 20%. I think the equipment needs some modification in order to achieve a higher – um – delivery!

LSS bumped into an old school friend on her way home one evening last week so stopped to chat. During the course of the conversation LSS explained what she was doing and how many hours she was working. The friend, typically French, was horrified. She has what LSS and I call sarcastically “A Good Job.” In other words, a job in which you start work at 9 a.m. exactly (not one second before); and knock off at 5 p.m. precisely (not one second later). Except for Fridays of course, when you finish work at lunchtime (there’s a 35-hour week here you know). Mondays to Wednesdays are spent talking to your colleagues about what you did on the previous weekend. Thursdays and Fridays are spent talking about what you are going to do the following weekend. You get a month off every year; in addition to the myriad of public holidays, of course.

“And your husband – he obviously couldn’t find a job here in France then?”
“He didn’t look for one. He has a full-time job renovating our house and writing books about it. One has been published already.”
Blank look. “But that’s not a job. People don’t write books!”

No, of course not. Libraries are full of books not written by anybody. I wonder if she’s ever heard of Stephen King?

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