Today I travelled by my usual method to Sigoules to inspect the completion of the ground floor improvements to the house.  I was very pleased with the result.  This was the first job of Saufiene and Clements’s new company, Renov Conseil 24, and they really wanted me to be happy. Saufiene, Clement, Geoffrey, Thierry & DylanSaufiene, Clement, Derrick, Thierry & Dylan (2) A bottle of champagne was produced, and we all had a glass.

The walls have been strengthened and levelled.  The flooring is in fact laminate, but it is the best quality I have ever seen, imported from Germany.  It is not squeaky, and remains firm underfoot, unlike that installed at Sutherland place when I was there.  An insulating lining has been inserted between the existing tiles and the new surface.  Redecoration is most tasteful and gives a light and airy feeling throughout.  New skirting boards have been fitted and plaster damaged by the flood has been renovated.  Pneumatic levers are to be attached to the repaired trapdoor.

Thierry, Geoffrey and a new man, Dylan, continued working throughout the afternoon and well into the evening.  Apart from Saufiene’s acknowledged optimism, one reason why they have not yet finished seemed most bizarre.  Four times yesterday the electricity supply was cut off.  I was told the men asked Garry and Brigitte what had happened, and Brigitte said that the chateau owner had disconnected it.  When the builders had tackled him he had simply laughed, as he had indeed done a couple of years ago when smoke from our log fire had somehow penetrated their house, throwing his wife into a panic.

I have mentioned before how this man is always smiling and friendly, but I don’t understand what he says.  So I was somewhat perplexed.  As if to demonstrate the problem, while the men were working in the hall, the lighting throughout the house failed.  Whilst we were puzzling over this, someone decided ‘let there be light’.  And there was.  And it was good.

I came to the conclusion that if this story were true it must be because there was still some link with the chateau to which No 6 had been attached in the past.  I telephoned Maggie to ask if she thought that were possible.  She said she didn’t see how it could be, but volunteered to come and help me talk to my neighbour whom she had always found most convivial.  We spoke to him and his wife.  They too had had the problem, as had the bar and Carrefour.  It had been a general power cut, as is sometimes the case in Sigoules.  The couple were very friendly, and I had the longest, unaided, conversation I have ever had with the woman.  We swapped hip replacement stories and compared scar lengths.  With good humour she reminded me of the smoking fire.  All was very amicable.

ThierryWhen we explained the general failure to Thierry, he immediately understood the situation, especially as we know our French neighbours on either side do not get on with each other.  Our builder realised he had been the ball in a game of ping-pong.

Geoffrey showed me a number of before and after pictures on his mobile phone.  Saufiene is to provide me with copies on a memory stick.  Thierry insists he is not photogeneic.  I disagree.

Water stick insectA bug with which I was not familiar crawled up the kitchen wall.  Thierry identified it as a water stick insect, and warned me that it could give a nasty bite.  It has gone, hopefully not up to my bedroom.

On the plane I began reading ‘A Certain Justice’ by P.D. James.

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