I spent the morning hoovering and tidying the rest of the rooms.
Following Elizabeth’s sensible suggestion, I changed my bedding in the main bedroom just for the last night. This obviates the need for trying to get it washed, dried, and ironed on the morning of departure. Possible in the summer, but certainly not at the moment.
The sitting room and entrance hall have had the heaviest usage. The defunct washing machine and ancient ironing board in the hall are waiting for a kind friend with wheels to help me take them to the municipal dump.
I did not venture into the cellar that lies beneath a trapdoor in the hall. At the bottom of a narrow winding set of stone steps the entrance requires me to bend double, and I’m not often up for that. This opens out into a spacious area Mike had kitted out as a workroom. It would now be used to store winter fuel, had I got round to buying any. When the Kindreds first lived here, a friend fell through the open trapdoor and broke his leg. This prompted Mike to build one of his inventive constructions. He fashioned a retractable balustrade to surround the entrance to the nether regions when open; rigged up a wall-mounted pulley such as would hold an elephant; and equipped this with a powerful webbing strip to be attached to one of the iron rings from which the trapdoor can, by slowly cranking the winch, be raised. The instructions for doing this are pasted, in French and in English, on the wall beside it. Mike is not a games inventor for nothing. I keep the balustrade hooked in place on the wall and cover the tiled trapdoor with a carpet. Jackie’s sunhat conceals the machinery.
The bathroom will have a thorough clean in the morning; and, in order to allow time for drying overnight, the ground floor tiles and lower stairs will be washed before I go to bed. My mobile phone lies on the ledge behind the loo because that is the only place where I can sometimes receive a signal. It beats a stack of joke books beside the seat.
The last three weeks have been so wet that I haven’t been able thoroughly to sweep the tiles in the courtyard garden, although there was a brief window of warm sun this afternoon enabling me to sit outside for a while and even get a king sized duvet cover iron-dry. The birds were joyful. Maybe the chicken will finish the sweeping.
The usual excellent lunch in Le Code Bar was my last until my next trip. When Fred offered me more delicious onion soup I resisted temptation on the grounds that ‘Max has scared me’. Octopus rings in batter (how’s that Judith?) with a bowl of tomato sauce was to follow. The main course was a beef stew containing numerous chunks of tender lean meat. My response, when offered a second helping of that, was to decline, saying ‘Max would beat me’. The sweet, described as ‘home-made cake’, had the consistency of a moist quiche and contained small pieces of pear.
After lunch I ironed the duvet cover and did some more washing, courtesy of Kim’s machine(see 31st July 2012).
Whilst I was in the bar posting this, Sofiene arrived. He had, in passing, visited No.6 to find me not at home. Knowing where to look, he found me. He had brought me a present of a book of French poetry. Naturally we had a drink together.