There is nothing quite so stressful as juggling with the unpredictable. This is what I have been doing for the last week and am likely to be doing for some to come. The first, and most important, unpredictable event is the arrival date of the roof tiler. Already he is two months behind on his work schedule because of bad winter weather. Apparently we are now in third position on his works schedule which puts his potential arrival date about 15 days from now, say early May. Unless time consuming snags arise on sites one and two. Or unless it suddenly starts to seriously rain.
JP and I were relatively serene about the whole event, nothing we could do about it, so why worry....then other people started panicking. 'Where are you going to go?' 'You can't stay in the house with men on the roof'. 'The noise, think of the noise.' We had not really thought about it, despite having had the roof done at least twice before in the thirty-plus years we have lived at La Chaise.
The first time the roof was re-done we were not living at La Chaise because there was no hot water, cold water or electricity either – nor very many solid floors. The second time we were only having one half done. The workman concerned was M.Parrot, senior couvreur of St Aquilin. He came with his own flat bed truck, ladder, tiles and cement, sand – all the necessaries. Later he came up with his trusty Manitou (a French brand of fork lift truck) which, he observed, was a lot more hard working than any ouvrier and incurred neither wages nor social charges. The third time it was the other half of the roof and M. Parrot again.
But this time it is going to be Pascal Maillet from Tamarelle (the hamlet where strange men throw their dancing shoes into the road, see an earlier blog) together with his equipe, scaffolding, underlay, new tiles and vast metrage of bache to cover any open parts of roof over night. They might even bring their own radio.
The first, obvious, solution is to bolt down to Spain – but we cannot do that in case A Decision has to be taken because A Problem has arisen, which it will do. Occasional admiration of work in progress is obligatory. Also a friend is coming for a long promised visit – and he has 'done' Spain and does not wish to 'do' it again. He is due to arrive in the second week of May, definite.
So the other solution is to install ourselves in the Farmhouse which, by a great stroke of luck, or subconscious prescience, I have not let until the third week of May. But we do not know how long the roofing work will take – depends on any possible imprevus - in other words, as long as a piece of baler twine.
On a much more cheerful note, though equally unpredictable – the first orchids are flowering, and in great numbers. Never have there been so many 'Early Purples' under the ash trees as this year. And there is a discreet clump of 'Serapia' amongst the pines in Pont François field, possibly serapia lingua, the tongue orchid but we won't know until it flowers, until then it is quite unphotogenic...
note the grape hyacinth that has snuck in on the left..!