This week's throwback Thursday takes us back ten years, with a post from 26 April 2007.
Let’s deal with the expensive stuff first, although in the way life has of intertwining the good with the not-so-good, the expensive things were mostly very satisfying too, and contributed greatly to this being a good day.
We got the car started this morning by the tried and trusted method of pushing it down the road. One cell of the battery was so bad that I couldn’t boost it above 10.6V no matter what I tried. It started OK, and the drive to Montluçon was as uneventful as anyone could wish for. Just north of Marcillat-en-Combrailles we often see a pair of Black Kites and we weren’t disappointed today.
On arrival at Montluçon we went straight to Norauto where we bought a new battery, immediately fitted it and made sure the darned thing would start. All was well. We then arranged for them to supply and fit two new tyres to the front and, whilst we were doing that, placed an order for them to supply and fit a tow hitch to the car. They will send us an SMS when the parts are in, whereupon we shall arrange an appointment for fitting. We paid a substantial deposit on the parts and left there with good battery, good tyres, tow hitch organised and 360€ less in the bank. We then did the major food shop at Auchun – never a cheap activity!
Shortly after we got home, our supply of firewood for next winter arrived. We had ordered five stères – about 4 cubic metres – of class A logs (mostly Oak and Ash with a very low moisture content) cut to 50cm lengths. This was dumped close to the driveway for us and the driver went off leaving us with a load of logs to move (a long and heavy job in the heat of the day) and another 360€ less in our bank account. Still – we now have a supply of firewood for next winter. The next job is to order a similar quantity for the following winter. It will have longer to dry and so will be greener and hence cheaper. Staying ahead of the game seems to be the way forward.
But what of the decking, I hear you ask? Well, despite the heavy thunderstorm that visited us in the early part of yesterday evening, forcing Rik and Cas to break off earlier than they had planned, and the one this evening that had a similar effect, I think you will agree that the photograph below shows that significant progress has been made.
The main deck is complete and they are now working on the access walkway from the back door via two small steps (one from the back door to the walkway and one from the walkway to the decking). We are now throwing ideas around for the balustrade, the design of which needs to take account of the fact that there will be, on the side closest to the garden, an overall length of 4.8m (15’9″) of rail that will need to be sufficiently well braced and supported to accept a lateral load of a leaning adult at its centre.
Rik was kind enough yesterday to bring his mower, which enabled us to keep the field under some sort of control – more important now that, excitingly, we are seeing signs of not just flowers but real live fruit on some of the trees and bushes.
Meanwhile, inside, we have rearranged the lounge/diner into a diner/lounge in the French mode. The two sofas are at the back end, by the television and stuff, and the dining table becomes the centre of the séjour (picture below). It looks bigger, somehow, and the dogs have more room to spread out.
Before we went out this morning I looked very carefully into the old piggeries where the swallows are nesting. The photograph below shows what I saw in the left hand side. I believe there to be two nests in that room, but only saw one on my very brief visit. The nest in the right hand one is active, but the photograph didn’t really show anything. Very clearly though, there are young in the nest in this picture!