Don’t get shanked by a hobo….

Morning all. Couldn’t sleep so Winter Olympics on the TV from about 6 this morning. Only to watch the ladies GB curling team lose to the Swiss. Ah well.

Craig spotted that the light was on in the barn as it was still dark out. Firstly, I didn’t even know the light worked in the barn as the plug socket doesn’t. Secondly, why was it on? Just as the sun was coming up, I tromped out into the garden, wearing just my giant cow hoodie that comes down to my knees, and a pair of crocs to investigate – because rural France. Craig, slightly horrified, on watch from the window in case, and I quote, “I get shanked by a hobo”… Sure enough the light was indeed on. Figs came out to greet me, rubbing round my ankles, and I switched it off. All I can think is that the newly stacked pile of logs I moved this week, ends just under the light switch, and given that we have those big square flat switches, and the cats have been using the log pile as a means to ambush each other from above, I think toe beans may have indeed been involved. Silly kittens inadvertently subjected themselves to a sleep deprivation experiment as a result last night. Figs is now in a coma on the spare bed with Freya, and Barney must have more important mischief to attend to as he’s gone back out. Or he’s asleep in the snowdrops in the front border….

We’re lucky that the weather has been more clement in recent weeks as we have somewhat of a localised energy crisis, although a slightly different one to the UK. Historically, to power the boiler through the winter we use 4 pallets of 72 sacks of 15kgs of wood pellets. We get them delivered 2 at a time, September and January. We went to order our January pallets, only to be told by our usual supplier that they no longer sold them. Bugger, we thought, but there was a big cardboard advertising board in the next door supermarket proclaiming a different supplier, so armed with that info, we went home. We discovered that the company we order our firewood from also sells pellets and delivers them, so we order them online, and wait for them to contact us to arrange delivery as is the norm. Despite allowing us to order them, and request delivery, we were informed that they did indeed sell them but they didn’t deliver. Not helpful, given our lack of a flat bed trailer with a hydraulic arm or fork lift. We tried another company that again allowed the order to be placed online and said they would contact us within 2-3 days to arrange delivery. It’s been 2 weeks now, and nothing, no option to cancel the order and no one responding to e-mails etc. FFS! So as most supermarkets and Bricos sell pellets (they’re even produced locally as they’re a byproduct of the many saw mills of Creuse), we’ve been buying 6 x 15 kg sacks twice a week which is a right pain in the arse but we’re not cold. Yet… that is. I went yesterday to buy some, none in the Supermarket, none at the garden centre. The last 6 bags went into the hopper yesterday morning before it was quite empty. avg usage right now is 20-30kgs a day depending on the temperature because I have access to all the burning stats via the medium of the tinterweb. Craig is going to try our local bulk building material supplier this morning to see if they have any, otherwise we’ll just have to limp to the weekend and go further afield. Dear France, some things really shouldn’t be this hard. Yours Sincerely – me. This is all exacerbated by not being able to light the wood burner as we have the occasional rattly thud and almost constant sound of cornflakes pouring down the chimney when it gets to temp. This signifies a build up of creosote and my anxiety won’t allow me to light it until it’s swept for fear of a chimney fire. Our lovely lady chimney sweep is booked, and indeed should’ve been here on Tuesday, but couldn’t come subject to waiting for the results of a negative covid test as her neighbour tested positive that morning. She’s negative thankfully and coming in the morning, so at least one room in the house will be warm if we have a pellet situation. France is trying my damn patience this week.

But, that said, some things work so beautifully it’s almost poetry. I never cease to be amazed by the whole reimbursement of medical treatment thing, every time I get a statement to say what’s been credited back to our account it’s just wow. Also, my new France issued EHIC card arrived today, with no more than a couple of clicks on my Amelie account. I have yet to fully translate my accompanying leaflet, but it’s another nice to have thing, to know you’re covered for emergency medical treatment across Europe, even though I’ve taken out travel insurance for UK trips because, you know, that Brexit horse-shittery……

Laters, V x

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