Monday, September 29, 2014

Learning To Fly (Aint Got Wings) ...

For those of you blissfully unaware of current events, it can now be revealed that Margo is winging her way across various oceans and the odd continent, destination NooZild for three weeks. Originally she'd planned on going with Malaysian Airlines but had second thoughts after the first little incident, so finally she settled on an Air France flight from Montpellier to Paris at some ungodly hour of the moaning, then from there to somewhere unpronounceable in China, and thence to Orcland.

The timing was kind of tight, as she only had four hours to get across Paris from Orly to Roissy, but it was doable if there were no hiccups ...

Of course it all went titsup, as while she was off swanning around in Alsace the Air France pilots decided to go on strike in order to a) protect their grossly inflated salaries and b) inconvenience as many people as possible, and when I checked on the website I discovered that they couldn't tell you whether or not you were going to be able to fly until 24 hours before the flight, which is kind of short if you have to make alternative arrangements. Given that Paris is not next-door.

Stupid EBK! That is yore dirtbox!
It could have been boiled down to a little statement along the lines of  "Thank you for trying to fly Air France. If you're planning on doing so, please don't count on it for the next few weeks. We appreciate your custom." So I booked her on the TGV from Montpellier direct to Roissy the night before, just in case ...

In the meantime I had to head back up to Chambéry so I dropped the retards off at Margo's friend Mimi at Canet and puttered off in little Suzy. (Mimi has a swimming pool outside, and the garden around it has all been gravelled. Thanks to Indra and her OCD, she is still finding gravel all through the house, sometimes in the most unexpected places.)

When Margo arrived back at the house she finally found an email from Air France (for the internet does not yet extend to the darkest reaches of Alsace) to say that her flight to Paris had indeed been cancelled (godnose what contortions we shall have to go through to get reimbursed for that) and so she was definitely going to have to take the train: of course that meant that I had to be back on the Wednesday, before 15h, to get her off to Narbonne in time to catch the TER that would (hopefully) get her through to Montpellier before her TGV left.

Managed that: sadly the TER ran late so she missed that TGV. By dint of pouting and jumping up and down on a small controlleur she persuaded them to let her on to the next TGV to Paris: that did not - of course - go through to Roissy but stopped at Gare de Lyon, which meant hopping on the RER to get out to Roissy. And when she got there it was around 23:30 so the meal she'd kind of hoped to get was down the tubes ... she spent a sleepless night in the uncomfortable seats in the departure lounge, but finally boarded and as I write I guess she's on her way to China.

Sadly the Brit Food Stop Shop (or whatever) at Narbonne is closing down: it's conveniently located just across from the gare and I went in to see if I couldn't get Margo a proper sticky bun or something for sustenance on the train but the shelves were almost bare and when I indignantly protested the Scots guy who, with his Swiss wife, owns and runs the place gave me the bad news. She's having both hips replaced, which means that she won't be able to work for about a year, and rather than his working 12 hours a day six days a week all that time they decided it was perhaps about time to retire and learn to play golf.

On the bright side what stock there was left was all at half price, so I picked up the last packets of suet and some emergency supplies of golden syrup and a few bags of demerara sugar and more malt vinegar and, because I could, some decent sherry. Also something I hadn't suspected even existed: freezer bags of mushy peas. (I'd always thought that to attain this nadir of gustatory delight required personal attention from an English cook to turn each individual pea into a revolting squishy green bag, but apparently - such is the pace of technological progress - the process is automated these days.) Neville's from Barnsley and has often sung their praises, so I picked up a couple of sacks for him.

In other news, by dint of careful application of all those bushcraft skills I learnt so long ago in Scouts, I hunted down and trapped a plumber in the wild. Yes, André finally turned up on Thursday and started hooking various bits and pieces of pipe and stuff up, and on Saturday I got a text to tell me that the wooden benchtop I'd ordered from Lapeyre had in fact arrived so I went off to Carcassonne and stuck that in the boot, headed home and lugged it up the stairs.

Somewhat to my surprise André was still there so I set that up on its trestles and he set about things with a will, and didn't leave until all was done. So now we have a hot-water cylinder connected to the central-heating boiler up there (the electric cylinder will be disappearing in a few short days), the heaters are connected (as are, no doubt, the hip-bone, the thigh-bone and godnose what else) and - very important - there is a shower, a handbasin and a toilet, all three functional.

To celebrate, I immediately went off and had two showers, just for the fun of it, not because I was particularly filthy.

These little things may not seem very important to you, but as on Thursday Cédric and his little helper come and start demolishing the bathroom on the first floor, and our bedroom, it means quite a bit to me. I'm no stranger to privation, and I can live under rough conditions, taking things as they come with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart, but I do insist on having a toilet, or a reasonable approximation thereof, and a shower handy. If not, I am not a happy camper.

But now, even if I have to sleep on the spare bed in my (temporary, for the past year) office downstairs until such time as Margo returns to paint the bedroom upstairs so that I may lay the flooring in there and we can move in (for I am not going to have time to do the painting myself, have to earn money somehow and I still have my bathroom up there to tile and floor in the near future), I do not care for I will still be able to rush upstairs and have a shower when I feel like it.

Haven't had much time for photos this month: sorry about that. Things will get better, I promise. But right now it's persisting down - not in the brochures - and I think maybe I'll go have another hot shower.

1 comment:

  1. personal attention from an English cook to turn each individual pea into a revolting squishy green bag

    There speaks the man with the personal Watties-related experience in mushing peas.