We arrived last Friday - 10th February after spending the previous night just 15 minutes away with our dear friend Ton. We had talked much about sampling his fabulous b and b and we were not disappointed! Have a look - www.lebourg.eu - after a long journey it was a delight to have hot showers and a comfy bed and Ton's wonderfu1 company. Thank goodness we did, for the next 24 hours were taxing in every way!
We drove over to Toury the next morning with blue skies and sunshine to welcome us, but it was so cold...This area has been gripped by sub-zero temperatures for over 2 weeks and we were on orange alert according to those in the know at the department HQ! The fire had been lit by our wonderful neighbour (more of him later), and although the house was cold we were prepared and kept our coats on. Of more concern was the lack of water! We soon realised that the pipes were frozen and we didn't really know what to do except that we knew that we had to warm them gently. There were immediate concerns - the toliet was a block of ice, hmmm, where's the camping toilet we thought. Out it came from the cellar and with water that was flowing off the hillside and into the local lavoir we were sorted in that direction! We went next door and asked if our empty water bottles could be filled. That done, the advice was to take a hari dryer to the pipes in the cellar, and we were assured it was a problem many were having across the region in such cold weather. We have 2 hair dryers so we each took one cellar and warmed the pipes. Suddenly to our delight the water started to flow into the water tank and we were even more delighted when it bagan to come through the taps. However, the water coming through the cellar ceiling was of more immediate concern to us. Racing up the stairs into the house we were confronted with a large and increasing puddle flowing over the tommettes in the salon. The hot water pipe serving the bathroom had sprung a leak at a joint and we could have paddled! Off went the water again!
We went to bed, cold but relaxed - we could sort this, we could - but not tonight!
We woke on Saturday, ate porridge and wondered what to do. We had rung the plumber but it went to a message box - all plumbers were busy our neighbour told us! Then our neighobur appeared - how are the pipes - we showed him the leak..oh he said I can fix that, I'll go and get my equipment!!!! What a man! He returned with oxygen tank for the blow torch and solder. It was really difficult because we now think that there was ice in the pipe and it was this that forced the joint open. This meant that each time he tried to solder the joint the ice in the pipe melted and the joint was wet and the solder wouldn't take. However after 2 hours work he managed a partial repair and promised that if we would drain down the system on Sunday morning he would come and complete the job - and he did!
We have managed a couple of short walks and a drive to look at some of the wildlife so far. It is really hard to take photos of them as they seem to spot you long beofre you get the camera trained on them! However I did snap this heron relaxing in a field in the vallley on Sunday.
The bitter weather was brought to an end on Tuesday morning when we awoke to a layer of snow enfolding the valley. This was our first experience of snow here and it wasn't much but quite beautiful. Whilst our neighbours were wrapped up warm in their houses we took the camera and went out to record the scene (mad English!!!)
This is just 200 yards front our house - and amazingly the road had been cleared by the local mairie(town hall) and was so much better than our English experience of bad weather!
In my next blog I'll tell you about our first experience of cinema in France!!