Crooked House

A country life in France


We broke the law yesterday. Not intentionally, of course, but by a complete inattention to detail.

But before all that, the Crooked Man was up and out early and away to Montmorillon for his second Covid vaccination. I have a great sense of relief now that is done.

He was gone a long time. Apparently the Montmorillon centre is not as efficient as Auray, where he had his first jab, and certainly nowhere near as much so as Lusignan, where I had mine done and was out of there in exactly fifteen minutes, having been vaccinated on the dot of my 11 am appointment and then sat for the required 15 minute “are you going to collapse?” period. The poor man was stuck at the hospital for over an hour!

Whilst he was gone, Dusty wandered in and failed to greet me. This is always a sign. Another sign is when he disappears under the electric keyboard, which is draped in a dust sheet.

He had brought in a Green Lizard. I managed to catch him because he had a bad case of decision paralysis; should he play with the tail, which was wriggling independently on the floor, or should he go after the remaining ambulant parts of the lizard. I locked him up in his cage and did my best to rescue the lizard. It went under the drum-kit speaker, which I lifted to chase him out and immediately found the source of an awful smell that had been bothering me the night before. A previous rodent kill had been stored inside the speaker and, underneath the cabinet when I lifted it, was a writhing mass of maggots!

Horrible cat but it just goes to show that it’s an ill-wind etc. That wind was certainly ill but it was good to find its cause and to be able to dispense with it. It was a fine sunny day and we kept the front door open to circulate some air.

Work has been progressing on the back room. The plasterboard joints had been taped and skimmed and the Crooked Man had begun the process of sanding down the skim after arriving home yesterday morning. It proved to be strenuous and quite unpleasant work. We quickly decided that an electric sander was indicated.

The process of choosing the right one was lengthy but relatively straightforward. Finding somewhere to buy one was not. Local branches lacked stock and we had to look further afield. We settled on La Souterraine as having two of the required model in stock and off we went. Not only did the Brico have what we wanted but perhaps we could call at the Cave and get some sherry…

Now, we remain under Lockdown at this time. We are permitted to go out for necessary shopping and DIY is considered “necessary”. No problem there. We are also allowed to cross the Department boundary, as residents who live close to the border. We are certainly close. I could practically chuck a stone from the front door and across into Haute Vienne. This means that we are perfectly okay to head to Carrefour or the Brico in Bellac and to go with a clean conscience. We are permitted 30 Km radius of travel, though are not entirely clear on whether that is from home, or once we arrive in our neighbouring department. Nobody seems to know for sure what that intention is.

Honestly, these thoughts never crossed our mind yesterday.

I think it was partly because of the hassle of dealing with French shop websites. It’s not just the language barrier but for reasons unknown the French do not appear to be very competent with IT in general and websites in particular. We had been mired in slow, difficult to navigate, and frankly broken websites for a couple of hours. Then of course there is the fact that we often forget that we are in Lockdown. It’s impacting on us so much less this time that it is easy to forget that we do have some restrictions.

When we finally found some stock and within an hour of home, we just filled in our forms and we went.

It was only as we passed the sign announcing our entry to Creuse that the penny dropped.


We had crossed not one but two departmental boundaries and we were more than 30 Km from home. Very, very naughty. Very thoughtless.

You know what made it all the worse? The Brico didn’t have the model that their website said that they had and the Cave had no sherry, which was expected to be in “later this week” and “possibly tomorrow” (which is today).

We bought a model that would “do” – having gone all that way and broken the law, it seemed like we should have something to show for it. We also popped into Lidl and bought a few items from their Italian week and some of their Spring Beer.

We got rained on during the return journey.

It was almost curfew when we arrived home again.

Dinner was a hasty affair of bread, cheese, heritage tomatoes and Spring beer out in the garden. I really enjoyed my meal.

Whilst I write this, the Crooked Man is upstairs sanding his joints. The sander is not doing a proper job of sucking up the dust and I think that he is annoyed that we had to make do and not get the model that he had wished for. There are clouds of plaster dust everywhere and all is made worse by the fact that the previous incumbents thought that the back room had no need of a door… I am going to be cleaning for a week after this. I hate cleaning.

It’s raining today. I shall have to serve dinner indoors for the first time in over a week.

Lockdown finishes at midnight on Sunday but we do not yet know what measures will remain in place, other than the curfew – but it has been suggested that 7 pm is too early a curfew for this time of year. We think that M. Macron will be speaking to the country shortly. He currently seems to be a little confused, judging by a quote that we have seen. There is little point in second guessing. Time will tell. But I should like to return to La Souterraine, and legally, before this delivery of sherry runs out!

We shall go roaming in the van as soon as we can. We have an outline plan to have a few days away, culminating in calling at Lusignan for my vaccination top-up on our way home. We just need to know that we are allowed to do that. Once it is confirmed, I shall start packing the van again.

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