Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Help Arrives!

"It's here!" I yelled at Lester, grabbing the torch, scrabbling into wellies, shrugging on a cardi and hurtling across the courtyard with Bools racing ahead to see what all the fuss was about.

And there, in the nearly-midnight darkness, she stood. Squat, elderly, plump: our new home brought to us by angels in the form of Val and Ron, who were at that very minute getting out of their 4x4, and putting their feet straight into muddy puddles because they had parked up on the mudbath which is supposed to be our drive.

And sitting behind the car was our 'new' caravan, towed down to us by our friends who had rang us the day before to say, "We are coming down to help you tomorrow." With the gazebo no more, and a large mound of stuff sitting in the middle of the courtyard covered by a tarp, and no dry space other than the caravan and the tiny 'office', because the tempest (which is what the French are calling the big wind of last weekend) ripped all the roof tarps off the house and barns, things were getting a bit dire. Not to worry, though, we were cheerful but flat.

And then the phone call came in, and help was on the way.An Internet search had put up an elderly caravan for sale which they could pick up on the way down from the Charente, which was all of a six hour drive away. It was nearly midnight. They were here!

Inspection-time. Caravan looked pristine inside and out. For all of five seconds, that is, which was the time it took Ron to open the caravan door, and for their two soaked-in-mud dogs to barge past him and romp round the beige carpeted floor. It was very wet outside on the drive. It became quite wet on the floor of the caravan. Not to worry, though. Stoically Val and Ron spudged through the mud to our tiny office, and we all squeezed in for a warm-up and a slice of Val's homemade quiche.

Then all off to bed: us to caravan number 1, and Val and Ron to caravan number 2, plus assorted four footed friends.

Fleur was sent home. She had also decided to romp around in the mud. She has also taken to romping around underneath the tarpaulin covering our furniture in the tall barn. If the furniture rots, which it is likely to do now it is no longer in a dry space, I don't mind. At least we have done our best to save it.

But Fleur has a passion, apart from promising sexual favours to Bools, and that is to hunt down cats, and the tarp-covered pile of furniture makes an ideal hidey-hole for cats. Or so Fleur thinks. I make battle with her over this. Rotting furniture is OK. Saved furniture covered in muddy scratches is not. So off home she is being sent until the roof is done.

By the way, on that front - roofer-man came last Friday "Bonjour ....noos seimn s proshen mercredi niosrions ...." which is interpreted as "We will be here next Wednesay" we think. Well, we understood 'Mercredi' which is Wednesday, so are presuming the rest meant that they were going to make a start. It has been dry of late. Good roofing weather. Last night it rained. Like my washing - whenever I do the washing it rains. I suspect that rain will show up again tomorrow, just as the roofer-men start work. But at least we have another pile of building materials stacked up out front to show that things are happening.
Sooner or later this year it should end up on the roof.

Meanwhile, Val, bless her, cooks a humungous UK-style breakfast with provisions supplied entirely by herself, announces that she has brought down a freezer bag full of meat from her recycled animals (leg of lamb, lamb chops, duck) and a joint of pork from the half pig a local farmer sold her - apparently he plays his pigs music to them and massages them with lavender water: "A happy pig is a tasty pig" being his method of animal raising. Lester is enthused about the music. I ask if Queen would be appropriate. A good dose of 'We are the Champions' or "We will rock you" should get them frisking about. But no. Classical music is favourite apparently, preferably Mozart. I don't think Lester will do lavender massage, might do music though.

So on happy tums, Val and me battle with getting the awning up on caravan number 2, which has by now been moved into the courtyard and sits at right angles to caravan number 1. Ron decided that he was going to provide us with hot water, and that it ought to go in the house. "Where in the house?" I ask curiously, seeing as how the sky is the roof, and there is no enclosed space. "Where the sink is" he says. Silly me! Of course! But can't stand in the sink, can I, to have shower, I think to myself. Pre-empting me, Ron says "You can stand on a pallet and let the water drain onto the floor. It will just mix with the rain water already there. Won't do any harm" Silly me for not thinking of that! End of day: Awning up, dinner cooked, hot water in house, Ron had a test shower to see if it worked. I didn't look! I took his word for it that everything worked!

Sunday: Another full tum, and we wave our two angels off. Spent the day heaving the stuff under the tarp into the awning of caravan number 2. Lester has a try of shower. Didn't use pallet to stand on, might get splinters in his feet. Stood in orange Halfords box instead. We have loads of those boxes, donated by our UK removal man. Good for storage and keep things excellently dry. Also good for shower tray if you get stuck! Lester can vouch for that!

So: We have a bedroom and clothes-storage which is caravan number 1. I have a kitchen and dining room, which is caravan number 2. The awning provides more storage. The PC's are now in the PigChick Hut which is our tiny office. Gosh! Aren't we doing well! The roofers may or may not be up on our roof tomorrow depending on the weather, and Lester said the trees in our wood are starting to show signs of waking up. The year is on the move and so are we!

1 comment:

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