It might as well rain until September

This is getting a little tedious now. The rain. The never-ending, even though it’s now summer, not just any old rain but heavy, torrential downpours that only come in storms. After living in Scotland together we’ve come a thousand miles south to Rochechouart to discover proper rain. We were told that it was the wettest winter here for decades, now after a miserable May we’ve two weeks into what we’re assuming will be the wettest summer too. Some of the views from our terrace have been quite spectacular in a sort of “shit, look at those amazing storm clouds approaching” kind of way. After searching for rain-related songs, and passing on some that didn’t quite hit the mark, I’ve settled on this beauty by Carole King for the title, and hey, why not let’s just enjoy her brilliance, like some sort of bizarre anti-rain dance song… 

Enough about the weather, we’ve been getting busy. We’ve been getting hit too, by some booze-laden wannabe F1 racer who decided to take a sharp bend at 90km/h at 1 in the morning in sleepy Rochechouart. His car hit a neighbours’ who was parked behind ours, and such was the force our rear end was totally done in. We’ve not only come to Rochechouart for the rain (sorry, won’t mention it again) but also to be involved in two serious car smashes in six months. This wasn’t what we had in mind when we arrived, but as much as possible we’re trying to adopt the it’s all part of life / just one (two) of those things / oh well, we’ve just got to get on with it sort of attitude. Still, at least the car is getting newer rather than older with a new back end soon to match the recent brand new front. Plus our vocabulary is expanding in areas (mechanics) we weren’t expecting. See, it’s all good.

Our gite improvements are now full steam ahead, and with bookings taken from the end of July we now have a date for completion. We sourced a plumber and electrician to carry out some essentials. The former has come in and worked marvels on our bathroom, which has been transformed from a strangely laid out and tired space to a salle de bain élégante et brillante. There are finishing touches to be done but that’s where our electrician comes in, followed by our paint brushes. We were expecting to start on the terrace before moving inside, but paint and render don’t appreciate the rain (sorry!!) so that’s on hold until you know… it stops raining. Thankfully, after an inspection from our insurers, they passed our car fit to drive until the repairs will be done. It doesn’t look pretty, but most importantly over the last ten days the boot still just about opens.

Our trips to Brico this and Brico that have become almost comparative in regularity to our lovely neighbours whose amazing house renovation is entering its final stages. Our current storms (I’ll stop apologising now) were preceded by 30+ degrees and high humidity, during which time we were taking daily trips to buy bathroom furniture. What’s French for deep, resin shower tray? Or waterproof tile adhesive? Or, to get to where we’re really at with our French – a tile? But, we’re loving being active and making progress, getting our hands dirty and washing them off in the rain (there was no need for that one). With gite work in full swing, plus our search for Etsy treasures a constant, our days are now nicely, very productively full. Our lifestyle couldn’t be any more different (it could) from when we were working for Shelter in Edinburgh. We miss our colleagues and customers almost as much as we miss our families, but all this warmth and sunshine (☺) makes it all a little more bearable.

Having worked in retail for decades off and on we’re all too familiar with the peaks and troughs of sales. It’s human nature to puzzle over quiet spells in trade, to wonder where the customers have gone, and with Etsy it’s no different. One week of no sales, the next week brings ten. I’m loving most things about Etsy, and if nothing else it’s the perfect excuse to spend hours and hours, and more hours and hours trawling around flea markets and brocantes. I’ve always loved antique shops and vintage clobber, now I have to source it for a living. Ho hum. As with pretty much all of French life so far, Etsy has been a steep learning curve. Not just about Etsy itself but more about the items we’re sourcing and selling. I’m loving reading about the history and traditions of antique stoneware, vintage French bistro and barware and more generally about French culture pre Eric Cantona.

Our daily walks (through the puddles) with Pepper remain a daily joy. We love saying “bonjour” to the animals we recognise and when a herd of cows no longer appear in a field they’ve been chewing for the last two weeks we titter when we say “they must’ve mooooved”. There’s a tree that looks like Roland Rat, some particular spots where we can peak back at our house and just smile, and fields we approach in excitement at how well the crops are growing. It’s the little things. We’re both one jab in to our two-jab vaccination, Heather has her Carte Vitale (health card) whilst I’m still waiting, and both of us have a date next week to receive our Carte Sejour (residence permit). We have a lengthy list of things to do including upgrading our temporary (for the dry summer months) terrace irrigation system, many of which we know may not happen in the next week, month or maybe even this year. But we’re beginning to adapt to life in France. A slower life. So, here I am thinking of a French phrase or proverb to describe a more relaxed, gentler way of living. But right now this one seems far more apt… Après la pluie, le beau temps.

Too many brackets (sorry)

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