26 May 2010

Summer's Here ????

What a difference a week makes. No longer looking out of the window at 8am and seeing the rain and going back to bed to ‘silver surf’. The sun is shining and that makes all the difference. We’re back to the mornings where the mist gathers in the valley (see picture of yesterday) and then gradually rises with the warm air which comes up from the coast.

It’s down into the ‘jungle’ beside the house to attack the brambles for which there is no known death other than to (a) rip them out including the roots which thankfully don’t go too deep and then (b) cover the ground with a permeable membrane which allows the earth to breathe but which kills off everything with a root.

It’s been a long time coming with each day presenting a new problem which keeps me from the brambles. Earlier this week it was my heavy-duty strimmer, called a débroussaillage which just wouldn’t start. It took me a couple of hours to strip it down, go off and buy a new spark plug and then come to the conclusion that leaving it out in the rain wasn’t a good idea. I suspect the bill which will run to about €150 will teach me a costly and valuable lesson!

So it’s up to my elbows in those horrible thorns cutting them out with my hedge trimmer and then getting down on my hands and knees to complete the job with the roots. It’s probably the worst job in the garden but at least once it’s done it’s done.

Thankfully, the pool has now reached a temperature which allows me to plunge in to soothe all my scratches without turning me blue although yesterday when I emerged after a couple of lengths, my hands were literally blue until I realized that it was the dye from my gardening gloves which had discoloured my palms and fingers – phew!

But I do miss my débroussaillage which cuts down most of the heavy weeds within seconds but which also covers me from top to toe with green bits. I didn’t understand much of what the guy was saying yesterday when I took it in to be repaired but I’ve no choice – just got to wait for the phone call to tell me it’s ready. Hopefully, it will be something simple I’ve missed when I tried to fix it myself.

But just as I was thanking my lucky stars for having a back-up in the shape of my hedge trimmer, it decided to go ‘bang’ and stop working. Taking it to bits was quite straightforward until there was a loud ‘twang’ and wires and springs shot all over the garage. A couple of hours later it seemed to be working despite several bits being left over on the garage bench!

Then there was the trip to the bank to ask them to replace my credit/debit card which had stopped working a few days ago. As most of you will agree, and most certainly J does, these cards are now essential to daily life and when the bank clerk told me I’d get a new one ‘in about 8 days.’ I was aghast. 8 days – the thought of carrying my cheque book around with a couple of forms of identity for over a week was horrific – I’d get all those disparaging looks in the queue at the supermarket as I tore out a cheque , signed it and passed it to the checkout girl for her to check it several times against my ID card. I reckon the banks take their time over this as they then have your cash for several days on which they’ll make some interest.

8 days ! Only in France! I won’t even be able to pay for my débroussaillage machine.

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