Monday, 23 December 2013

The run up to Christmas 2013.....

I was surprised to see that nearly three weeks have gone by since I last posted on here!  I know I've said it before but I really don't know where the time goes!  We have both been busy with various tasks; poor Danny has to devote a little time every day, come rain or shine, to chopping wood!  So imagine how worried he was when his chain saw stopped working one day!  A chainsaw is something we must have and we'd started to think about whether we ought to buy a cheap one (if there is such a thing!) to keep as a spare.  Anyway, we took our one to the local DIY type shop (Brico Pro) which has a workshop with it. 
Danny assumed they would just give us a receipt and tell us to come back when it was done BUT the man looked at it, tested it, adjusted various bits on it, cleaned it and hey presto! It worked! He asked if we wanted it sharpened while we were there and naturally we said "Oui, merci!" and after all that he charged us the princely sum of 8€50.  What amazing service!  But as I said to Danny, there's probably an appreciation that, at this time of year, people need their chainsaws to chop wood for their burners so they know that you want it sorted out straight away.  I'm sure if there had been a major fault, it would have to have stayed there but the willingness to sort it out straight away was very impressive.

I have finally finished unpacking all my kitchen equipment and we had a very therapeutic time taking what seemed like 100s of cardboard boxes to the déchetterie (tip) on Saturday.  We did this using Danny's truck and my car.  I mentioned last time that Danny's son Paul was here working on the truck, which has been off the road for some months now.  I don't think I explained that between the two of them they identified the problem as a faulty injector.  Well, Danny ordered a new one; it arrived and he has fitted it along with a new battery that the truck needed.  Aside from a small petrol leak to be resolved, the truck is now ready for its journey back to the UK.  Paul will be coming back in a few weeks' time and he will drive it back so that it can be put up for sale.  We never managed to get it registered over here and aside from that, it is so difficult and so costly to get parts for it as it is an American truck, so we really are going to have to say au revoir to it! 

But what to have instead?  Danny would have liked a Land Rover but it doesn't make sense to have yet another vehicle.  It's extremely common out here for people to have a trailer and that's what we have decided to do!  We didn't have a tow bar on the Mondeo so that was the first step!  I managed to convey to the local Ford dealer what we wanted and get it booked in to have the tow bar fitted.  We started looking around for suitable trailer and decided to get one at the local Brico Pro.  We thought we'd have another look at them while we were there having the chainsaw fixed and found out to our delight that there was a special offer for a few days whereby everything in the store had 10% off!  It was too good a bargain to miss so we went ahead and bought one, together with a tarpaulin cover and a spare wheel.

Here's the tow bar (not very exciting I know!) and the new trailer.  I don't think Danny actually needed help from Finn or Liam but they do like to be involved!

So what else have we been doing?  Well, for one thing, we had our annual blood tests!  We hadn't realised but it is the norm here to have such a thing.  I know it is common in other countries but, as far as I'm aware, not in England!  Neither of us likes blood tests so we were a very apprehensive pair as we waited in the waiting room of the local "Infirmières".  I guess the nearest UK equivalent to this is a district nurse's office.  There are no appointments; you just go along and wait your turn.  We were warned that it was best to get there early but even so we waited about 30 minutes.  However, it was a breeze!  The nurse was very nice and before we knew it, it was done.  Two days later, our results came in the post!  Incredible!  We're off to the doctor on Friday to discuss one or two of the results!

Christmas is nearly upon us and although we have been to another couple of Christmas markets, they were nothing very special.  I have to confess that we did most of our Christmas shopping online again this year but I'm determined to get out and about to discover more shops next year.  I think when my friend Anne returns in the Spring, we ought to make it our mission for the year!

Talking of Christmas, I must just tell you about how the streets and shops are decorated over here.  I regret I haven't remembered to take a picture of our nearby town of Moncoutant but from early December there have been festive lights up across the main street and lights in several of the trees that line the streets. Outside many shops are real Christmas trees, leaning up against the shop fronts, between shops (if that makes sense!)  The trees are decorated very simply with red ribbons and bows but look so effective in their simplicity.  It seems remarkable to me that the trees seem not to get stolen as I can't help wondering how long such a thing might last in Essex!!  Many shops have beautiful displays in their windows.  This is part of the window of our local newsagent.  The window is too big for me to have got all of it in one shot but I hope it gives you an idea of the nativity scene display.

Our local supermarket decorates its foyer with a special Christmas carpet and a lovely display.  Here they are...

Well, this is likely to be my last post before Christmas so I shall leave you with this picture of our own festive decorations - our new fireplace in action and decorated for Christmas....


 I plan to do at least one more post before 2013 draws to a close so all that remains for me now is to wish you all a good Christmas. I hope you all enjoy yourselves, however you are spending it, and that it brings you lots of happiness and good things.

Joyeux Noël!


  1. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your latest blog Roz - Wishing you and Danny all the best for a Merry Christmas and a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year - Hope you got my "home made e-Christmas card" I'm not very good at stuff like that lol... but I tried!

  2. All Good things to you both. Love the blogs , from Frimette