Sunday, July 5, 2009

05/07/09 Ever had one of those days?

Or, more to the point, one of those weeks?

We've been suffering temperatures up in the high thirties for the past week or so, cooling off to around 32 as we head off to bed and then I wake up to a balmy 24 ... it's all a bit much, especially as the giant thunderstorms we've been promised for so long are basically skulking around the massifs, farting a bit just to let us know they're there, then not doing anything. Which at least means that I don't have to mow the lawn just at the moment, as it's about as arid as the Sahel down there. Apart from the weeds of course, which are flourishing. I'll get them yet, though. May involve napalm.

Whatever, with weather like that it was just natural that we should get a leak under the sink, dripping a couple of litres a day onto the floor. It's also natural - given the age of the house - that the pipe in question was more or less completely inaccessible, so I ripped a fair amount of skin off yesterday trying to patch it up with that miracle stretchy rubber tape - to no avail, alas. I suspect that I also terrified the cat and any passers-by with my language, especially when the skin came off.

So we left the house dripping merrily away this morning to head off at some ungodly hour to Pierre's Bar Mitzvah. I have nothing against this sort of thing - truth to tell, I find it all quite friendly, and oddly conducive to a quick nap (provided you can do this without falling over, so as not to call attention to yourself, and it's good if you've learnt how to sleep with your eyes open) - but spending two hours in slacks, shirt and tie in a small stuffy synagogue with the sun blazing against the windows (which don't open to let in any fresh air) does, I admit, make me start to wither a bit. And then, after the ceremony, when we were all released from the Off-White and Institutional-Green Hole of Calcutta, seeing Jeremy dressed all in black lounging around in the sun soaking it up as though he was some sort of lizard made me feel like melting down on the spot. Went back to the car and spritzed myself instead, which worked for a while.

Then came lunch, which was (remember, I told you so) leisurely. And well watered. Jeremy, surrounded by girls, seemed to be holding court at the table reserved for the adolescents - we just sat, ate and chatted - and, of course, drank. No rosé, sorry. Nice cold white. Probably drank more than was reasonable, but I promise I went on to a water-only régime around 16:00.

Got back home, having done none of the usual market/supermarket/butcher visits which make up my normal Saturday moaning, and girded my loins (metaphorically) to attack the plumbing. First of all, a quick trip down to the hardware store to get a spanner or two of the right size. (Of course, they weren't. They'll come in useful sometime.) Then down on my knees under the sink with a jigsaw to remove the back panel of the charming 1970's sink surround so that I could actually get to the pipe in question without removing any more skin (I only have so much, you know), then time to play with the spanners. Which is when I found out that I have to use the frikkin adjustable wrench 'cos I still do not have a 19mm spanner. I must have everything but that ...

As it turns out, the little rubber joints or seals or whatever you want to call them don't last more than fifty years. I probably should have guessed, having had to replace one in the cellar a month or so ago - I really should stock up, as I'm sure that there'll be others that give up the ghost in the next few months. At least we no longer have a swimming pool in the kitchen.

Jerry has, by the way, been accepted for the lycée technique at Challes-les-Eaux. We need to buy him white shirts, black trousers (not baggies), decent shoes, safety shoes (for the kitchen), chef's apron and toque, knives ... I really should have gone in for financing an America's Cup contender, I'm sure it would have worked out cheaper. And probably feel better, scrubbing yourself with $100 notes under a cold shower ...

Anyway, as you may have guessed France has gone into summer recess. Now that July has kicked in, the place has basically shut down, and will remain that way until September. Which gives us two months to finish our plans for world domination, using Sarkozy as a glove puppet. (Which will be literally the case, if our fiendish plot to catch him on the beach at Cannes and pith him like a frog - which of course he is - works out.) Mwahahahaha! I just have to buy myself that big volcano somewhere in Africa, and stock the subterranean lake with sharks. Ones with lasers on their heads, of course.

Apart from that, our plans are to head off to Pesselière in the last week of July with Jeremy, dog, Lucas, Karen and her four brats in tow for a week of admiring the wheat fields. Sounds good to me. (On the other hand - three adults, at around 60cl of rosé per day per person, for 5 days - that comes to at least 10 litres, not counting special occasions like getting the barbecue to work ... perhaps I could work out a discount at the supermarket for buying in bulk.) Whatever, it should be a good week doing absolutely sod-all, apart from the odd bike ride and yelling at Jeremy to stop sucking Amelia's face off. And trying to stop Julia from climbing up Jeremy (understandable mistake, she's only 12 and thinks he's some sort of climbing pole).

On top of that, Margo has just informed me that the sink in the first-floor bathroom is leaking. Maybe my spanners will come in useful after all. Although I rather doubt it. I'll order in some skin grafts, just in case.

OK, I'm off for a glass or three of red. (Can't be arsed going down to the cellar to get another bottle of the other stuff. Too hot, anyway, don't want to move.)


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