Friday, 15 April 2016

French Sabbatical Week 1: Lessons Learned

Here we go, in no particular order, in a handy bulleted list because I can't quite get work out of my system...

  • Throwing petrol on a bonfire is a lot of fun, brilliantly effective, and not nearly as dangerous as you might think (I only singed the hairs on my forearms) - I won't be using any of that wimpy barbeque lighting fluid in the future, I can tell you
  • When cleaning out a hen coop last used three years ago, check which way the wind is blowing before you throw all the doors open and start chucking bleach and water around, else you'll end up with a faceful of liquid hen shit. Hope it's good for the complexion
  • If you buy a second hand trailer off some dodgy English hippies, accept you're in for a period of angst. One of the lightbulbs was out. 'I can mend that no problem' I thought. The iffy connection in there meant I blew a fuse in the car, which I couldn't find because the towbar fitter hadn't put it in the fusebox in his infinite wisdom.  And then having finally tracked down the location of the blown fuse and its type, going into battle with French websites, which seem to be explicitly designed to stop you actually buying anything.  They probably see online shopping as another evil Anglo-Saxon invention that should play no part of Liberte Egalite etc..Still got to sort the buggered wheel/tyre that loses 5psi a day as well yet
  • If you do a nancy-boy office-based job most of the time, and you spend a week in the garden you'll break your hands, no matter what gloves you wear. Mine have got blisters, cuts, scratches, splinters and ingrained dirt, and are now rivalling my feet in own personal Ugly Extremities Competition
  • Understand how hard it is to not drink beer at the end of every working day. Dammit, I've been outside labouring all day, I DESERVE it
  • BBC4 can be a useful source of practical advice - I dismantled a shed and needed to move its parts 40 yards down the garden. It was too bulky and heavy to lift conventionally.  Aha! I remembered watching the porters on the Indian Mountain Railways, and how they bent double, then levered large items onto their back. I tried to do the same - it only flipping works, doesn't it?! Even if you do end up looking like a madman attempting unpowered flight
  • If you need to trap a ginger-and-white feral cat that's terrorising your own cat, make sure you know the difference between that one, and your neighbours's ginger-and-white cat (I don't). This one's still playing out. Let's hope when I catch it and deposit it a good few kilometres away I'm not depriving our French friends of their beloved pet
So there we are; week 1 in France. I've got another week here on my own before Mrs Monmarduman turns up, then I can start on the properly dangerous jobs....

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