The car boot sale was great, just the same as in the UK, although more commercial sellers, the biggest surprise was the amount of money they expected for everything. Items that I would have paid 50p or a pound for back home had tags of four or five pounds. I guess that the french just like the thought of doing car boot sales more than selling off their junk. Needless to say I bought nothing for myself and only a couple of pie dishes to ensure that the desserts keep coming every evening. There have been a few breakages since I got here and ovenware suitable for pies and cakes had become a bit thin in the ground.
A varied week in almost every respect. The weather has been from blue skies and sweltering sunburningly hot to thick “Devon” mist, the cold and damp sort that doesn’t feel too bad but after half an hour outside you are soaked to the skin and freezing cold, torrential rain, blustery winds that shook the caravan all through the night and dispersed well weighed down polythene sheeting across several fields, now it is cold and crisp, I am sitting with four layers on and a wooly hat and my fingers are still cold, the sun is up and it will certainly warm well for the day.
Work wise, two very frustrating days trying to work out how to fit the very expensive, brand new, wooden framed, double glazed windows into the support frames that will hold them in place whilst the straw bale walls on the other house are built. They arrived with detailing that differed to what was expected so they wouldn’t fit flush into their housing. Plenty of discussions and trials and abandonments and more discussions and adjustments...... they have to fit as airtight as possible to keep out the draughts, ideally removable during construction so that they don’t get damaged, using as eco friendly materials (that are cheap and readily available here in the back of beyond) finished quickly before the straw arrives and all in french.
A much better day helping a neighbour erect a large steel frame polytunnel in a field, that, thankfully was a hot sunny day, so hot in fact that the steel bars became too hot to handle without gloves on during the afternoon. We got the majority constructed between six of us and managed several beer breaks and a slap up four course barbecue meal at lunchtime too. New french voices and another dose of the thick accent of the region, not to mention all those new words to figure out without a dictionary.
Here, a varied couple of days mass weeding in the potager, its amazing how much gets done when there are suddenly eight people going for it for an hour or so. Tomato seedling planting, seed watering and general garden guidance. Another greenhouse challenge, sorting out a newly started wooden frame polytunnel that had been started a week or so ago and will soon be needed for pepper, aubergine and the rest of the tomato plants. A challenge for team UK, Simon, another english guy and I eventually took the whole thing apart and started again which probably wasn’t what Pierlo wonted to see. I think he would have preferred a finished product although the structure we are now in the midst of construction should eventually be sturdier and longer lasting than the original. Another first for me, going into the woods to harvest enough sticks to build a polytunnel, cleaning them so that there are no pointy bits to damage the plastic outer, then tying them all together in a uniform shape just like a shop bought one. There is always a way to do these things and we’ve found an excellent use for the box of old innertubes that has been hanging around for ages. Then an urgent reutilisation of our skills to help the plastering team finish their task before the week came to an end, the last afternoon inside, damp and covered in clay again, I thought that I might have escaped mud for a week but then again, that is what I came here to experience.