25/10/2015

The week started on an interesting note. I was in the workshop when LSS came to see me. “The electricity has tripped. Are you using any machines?” I wasn’t, so went back into the house to reset the breaker. I noticed a strange plasticky smell, but didn’t pay too much attention.
Five minutes later, the electricity tripped again. This time there was definitely a smell of burning plastic. A CSI-type investigation ensued, and the culprit was traced to the three-phase main circuit breaker, which had melted.

Fortunately the husband of one of LSS’s cousins is an electrician, and a year or so ago he had given me a cardboard box of unwanted bits and pieces. One of these pieces was an older-style three-phase circuit breaker! This was duly installed, and the electricity switched on again. As you can tell, because I’m typing this on a piece of equipment which requires electricity, the installation was successful. However, I ordered a replacement circuit breaker from the French website I’d used before, Bis-Electric. If you’re in France, I can recommend this company; the part arrived the following day – which, if you’re not in France, is very unusual indeed. Next week when LSS is away giving English lessons, I’ll replace the replacement circuit breaker with the new one. We’re still no wiser regarding the cause of the failure. It could have been a power surge – after all, this is an old farmhouse at the very end of the electricity supply line.

Another trip to Orleans was also undertaken, in order to purchase a tile backing board. You see, the wall next to the bath will be constructed from wooden framing and OSB (Oriented Strand Board). This is easy to install, but after some research, I discovered that it has a disadvantage; you can’t fix ceramic tiles to it. So I purchased a 4mm-thick tile backing board. This will be glued and screwed to the OSB. One can then happily fix tiles to it without any fear of them falling off. And, as you may agree, tiles falling off a wall would not be a Good Thing.

The Aged FIL is now slow-roasting, and is nearly half-baked. In other words, I installed the two wall-mounted panel heaters. A grand total of 3,500 Watts of EDF’s finest electrons are now heating the immediate exterior of the farmhouse and contributing to Global Warming. You see, his house is not insulated. It’s not something he was prepared to do.

Here, the floor tiles have now been grouted, and another coat of sealer applied. Next week: Wall construction! I’ll need to bring the scaffolding into the barn, as I’ve discovered that the stepladder is just too unstable on the newly-sealed floor tiles.

This year’s batch of elderberry wine has finished fermenting, and is now ready for bottling. This will be done today.

And finally, a word regarding last night’s dinner; chicken drumsticks and chips. As is customary in this household, the chips are my department. LSS took care of the chicken. And as the kitchen wood-burning range is now in daily use, the chicken went into its oven.
After twenty minutes or so, LSS removed the dish to turn the drumsticks. She must have been momentarily distracted by something else, but returned the dish to the oven, and informed me that I could commence the chip frying. Twenty minutes later, the chips were done, and she opened the oven.
“BUT! WAIT A MINUTE! WHERE’S MY CHICKEN?” she cried.
I looked. The oven was empty.
“Uh oh.”
She’d put it back into the GAS oven. Which was obviously not in use. I must admit I burst out laughing. Which did not go down too well.
So dinner was a bit … delayed.

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