I’ve been on my own all week. Clare has been in Paris with Tania during that difficult phase of house purchase when you have been assured everything is going to plan, but you just know that there are a few things that can still go wrong – the cup is close to the lip, but they ain’t touching yet. We are keeping everything crossed for her.
In the meantime, I have had a few projects that needed my attention which, coupled with the largely unfriendly weather, have kept me in the study for most of the week.
The first issue, which exercised my mind for a while, was that my newly refurbished PC does not have a parallel port. The laser printer was plugged into that PC after its network card gave up the ghost, so I was unable to make a connection. I couldn’t use the parallel port on Clare’s PC as that has the colour printer connected to it, that printer’s USB connection having failed a few months ago. I finally decided to plug the laser printer into the Linux box and set up a secure network such that all printers can be used by all PCs including, hopefully, any guests making a wireless connection.
The next big issue was the estate agency site whose underlying software was in conflict with new security rules put in place by the hosting company. Not a major problem; the latest upgrade to that software deals with that. Upgrading that software is easy – upload the new files and run the install routine. I tried it on my Linux box at home and it took just over a half hour. I then started doing it on the live site and eleven hours, twelve support emails and a forty-five minute live chat session later the upgrade was complete (except for reworking the customisation we had done to the software, which was a couple of hours the following morning). I stand by my statement of a number of years ago – the only people who ever have stable software are horse breeders!
Our weather this week has been decidedly autumnal. Mind you, at almost 2000 feet altitude and close to the volcano chain we expect to be a tad cooler and subject to more windy and stormy weather than some other places. During dry spells I did manage to get out to cut some of the grass (the front of the house and the side of the road for a couple of hundred metres – the main lot at the back is too wet to cut yet) and pick a few veg. There is still a lot more to do but I did collect, in one brief session, over a Kg of French beans and ten overgrown courgettes totalling 4.3Kg.
I left the bulk of the courgettes, taking mostly only those that I considered had grown more than large enough, thank you very much indeed. I shall leave most of the stuff to ensure Clare has something to write about in her garden blog.
For my treat, I went down and picked a sweet corn, which I opened and ate raw on the way back up the garden. It really is the only way to eat the stuff – never mind getting it into boiling water as quickly as possible; it is so sweet and tender straight off the plant!
It’s not perfect – there are a few holes where the fertilisation didn’t work, but it is a lot better than we had last year, and it was gorgeous!
After all the kerfuffle we had to go through to become accepted into the health system here, I have now received from the relevant people, a request to justify our remaining in the system for another year. We need to prove that we are legally resident in France (copies of passports), that we are bona fide residents (copies of utility bills and Taxe d’Habitation demands) and that we are currently in the system (copies of Cartes Vitales and attestations). So that they know how much to charge us we also have to provide a copy of this year’s Income Tax demand (not yet received but, fortunately, available on-line).
Now I remember why I needed the scanner and printer working!
That is now all ready to go off, although I shall wait until Clare gets back so I can put in a copy of her Carte Vitale, too.
Meanwhile, another visitor. Not human this time (although we have a friend from the gardening site arriving with her husband at the end of this week for a couple of days, which we are really looking forward to), but welcome nonetheless. Here (s)he is:
It’s a slug eater! Much to be encouraged. It looks quite fat and healthy, so we are now considering whether to provide an accommodation opportunity in the shape of a covered pile of logs or similar. The only trouble is that would also provide more opportunities for the rat we occasionally see. We have recently stopped feeding the wild birds in a bid to discourage the rat, but in so doing we have deprived ourselves of the constant chattering and activity that we love to see through the back door.
Life is so hard!
Have a good week.
À la prochaine