26 & 27 March

Phoned Orange and as suspected the Tech helpdesk is closed so I got onto the Invoicing and an hour and a quarter later, we had some sort of answer. They are going to send us a SIM for £3 extra a month because we have to have a French phone and therefore they reckon the engineer cannot speak to us as they can’t ring English mobiles. We have to give all our details again including passports because it’s a change of contract – so bloody bureaucratic. 

I had to give Carol’s number so I rang to tell her and she told us there is a new attestation form, as of 23rdMarch and we don’t have it of course. I went round to V&S to ask them to print off for me. I was able to copy it on our new printer but we don’t have any paper. I went to Chalais and got stopped at the roundabout, where a very young gendarme asked me if I was going to Intermarche. I said Lidl pour le nourriture and  Intermarche pour le gaz. He smiled and waved me through. That was about 11.15. when I got back from Lidl they had gone – French lunchtime!

Couldn’t get printer paper. Had to buy a pack of squared paper in single sheets and hope they go through the printer, I think they will.

Mike’s mowed the rest of the lawn while I’ve been out, looks much smarter. My potato pot has been knocked over. It’s a big heavy pot, wonder what did that, I only planted it yesterday, so no damage done, just shoved potaoes and soil back in.

Mike rang one of his tenants – Roberta – whose parents live near Rome and they’re fine. The virus is mainly in the north with a terrible death toll. I think it’s to do with families all living closely together in flats, same in Spain.

Washed all the small cushion covers and wrestled them back on, feel better now it’s all been cleaned. Put the aspirator together and I will clean all the mucky rugs tomorrow. We had tarte de poireaux, and salad potatoes which I put in the bottom of the oven with some butter to keep warm, completely forgetting that the bottom of a gas oven is where the flames are, and so we had roast potatoes – delish!

Cold today, no shorts or drinks outside, heating on tonight, getting colder.

Friday 27th

Another beautiful sunny day and not as cold as yesterday. Roselle texted to say Lucy much better and the awful Boris has the virus. Couldn’t happen to a nicer man … so is all the cabinet in isolation now? What about the civil servants – who is running the country?

Had loads of texts from Rosie this am and, lovely surprise, one from Marijke. They’re ok. I love to sit after lunch in the sun and write this journal as Mike does the washing up. We have 2 dishwashers, neither of them connected. If only Dave could come and do some work, because we’re a bit tardy about washing up! It would be great to have speakers downstairs as well but we’ll have to wait for wifi on that. We need lots more sockets everywhere, another job for Dave.

I’m trying to get the green off the balcony railings. They are wrought iron, black but with strong overtones of green mould. It’s a scrubbing job, not my favourite but has to be done. It’s a worse job than I thought. Scrubbing it is fine but when it dries the green is still there, albeit less than before. Hmm. It needs painting as well but that is for the future when we can get the right paint. Is it enamel paint? Clueless in Aubeterre!

Both ipad and iphone are complaining that they have not been backed up for a fortnight, so went round to V&S’s but it took ages, over 30 mins, and I could only plug in one device so the phone didn’t back up, will try again, maybe tomorrow.

In the meantime, Mike took Stuart’s advice, got a hose and syphoned off the water. Slow process but infinitely better than buckets on the end of a pole! I was using the water running off to water the garden but couldn’t keep up with the flow. 

I had 161 Whatsapps, most of which seem to be funny videos that I couldn’t open, and 50 emails which I wish I hadn’t. Condor have cancelled all sailings until 30th April, so that settles it, we can’t go home until May. Worst news is that Battle is cancelled. I’m desperately hoping everyone will still want to come over, but gutted just the same.

There were 5 emails from Orange that I couldn’t begin to interpret but which seemed to contain threats of no service unless we did several things. Mike read them and he thinks 4 of them are asking for information that is provided to us in the fifth! There are attachments so I will have to impose on the voisins tomorrow to download them.

Mike sorted out his shed, put hooks on the wall and corresponding hooks on the top of each implement and now it looks very shipshape. He ripped the old canvas off 2 old deckchairs and I washed them and will paint them. I don’t know where you get new canvas from though, probably from the Internet – if only …

I got frozen fish in Lidl. The first time I got salmon which was fine and solid. This time I got white fish and when it defrosted it was a third water. Not impressed.

Watched a documentary on Eel Pie Island Blues club where Mike spent his youth. He saw loads of people there but sadly didn’t appear in the footage. Nearly famous – again.

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