November 2012.Round Robin.
I have just read the Daily Mail on my free iPad! It says how to avoid round robin letter rage, so I am keeping mentions of children to a minimum, modesty is key, and must include plenty of inconsequential anecdotes! So here goes…
“Why don’t you keep your head under the water Val?”
Our close friends Coin and Val have had a problem with their pool; a large crack has appeared under the skimmers. We have a very enthusiastic expat circle in these parts, where everything from an electrical fault, insurance, satellite dishes, internet connections, subsidence, suggestions to substitute cheddar cheese, marmite and double cream, to a blocked septic tank and until recently all medical and political problems resolved, then our medical experts, JB, and Mrs JB, along with our political genius, Mr CK, flew back to the UK and have stayed there ever since!
However, we continue to hold onto our Belgium pool experts, Jean Pierre and Tiny, much to the relief for Colin and Val. A sealant with powers of sticking to the wall of a swimming pool whilst the water remains in situ, and with fingers crossed, precious water is not lost and the crack is sealed.
Now bear in mind that it is November, their pool water is 4 degrees, it has a distinct slimy green look about it. Colin decides that since Val is braver than him, is still the owner of her all in one pale pink rubber immersion suit, and got her Paddy badge when she was sixteen, just passed her PPL, so she is the obvious choice.
Colin hauls Val into her 40 year old wet suit, squeezes her head into the cap, but realises the snorkel has perished; such is life, checks the insurance and lowers her into the pool. With sealant gun in hand, the poor lady attempts to submerge herself and face the crack. Jean Pierre has given explicit instructions, one of which is to ensure that the glue goes right into the crack and is then held there for a minute or two to harden.
Now even a blonde knows Archimedes principal, the law that states that the upward buoyant force exerted on a body immersed in a fluid is equal to the weight of the fluid the body displaces. So, can we keep Val under the water? Absolutely not. The husband ties weights to her, holds her under for several minutes, resorts to shouting at this forever rising body to stay under, but to no avail! Exasperated, Colin hauls a rather weighty sputtering Val out of the murky water, still, God bless, hanging onto the sealant gun. Meanwhile, the neighbours had gathered, peering over the electric fence, wondering as the French do, is this some sort of English tradition in November?
It took Colin 2 hours to try and revive Val and even longer to extract her from her body suit, needless to say, the crack still remains and Colin has been sleeping in the spare room ever since!
Figanieres, has finally made the 20th century. We now have a distributeur de billets, hole in the wall, or as I once told Bernard, our UK French teacher, when he asked what the name was in French, I replied, “Heaven”. However, it does need a little tweaking. Extreme privacy is a must when entering one’s personal number, and perhaps silence from the machine when it throws the money at you. But, this one is situated between the post office, and the pharmacy, opposite the hairdressers and diagonally opposite the boulangerie. As we all know, what are the busiest places in a village? Yep, you’ve got it, so no privacy and when the money is distributed, we have a grand recital of the French anthem, perfect for the lurking burglar. Grab your baguette and nick the money before you enter the chemist!
We had two German friends, Eckhard and Astrid staying for a few days and brought with them with the courtesy of German Wings a speissbraten (Google it!). Now this was a challenge for my newly renovated useless oven! (Sorry Colin, I am truly grateful) Astrid prepared the beast, popped it into its cooking bag, set the temperature, inserted the meat thermometer and we poured ourselves a glass of Blanche de noir Trocken All going swimmingly well, until Eckhard smelt burning, then flames. My French oven had taken a distinct dislike to this foreign food and was showing her fury!! The speisbraten survived, the meat thermometer melted, but it was delicious and we all remain friends!
Roger arrived in September with the “hoods down” car rally team from Edgbaston. Superb weather, good English picnics, a few problems with “pinking“ whatever that might be, but apart from getting kicked out of a French hotel at midnight all went swimmingly well!
Celebrated the O.A.P birthday in the UK. Kicked off with a massive firework party at Tessa and Keith’s house. Now, Keith is a man who can find or will know someone who can help with almost anything. So when he arrived with this massive box of fireworks, the family spectators were clearly excited. JS offered to light the fuses until he realised these fireworks would have put Pipe Hayes display to shame, one rocket was twice the size of JS!! (That’s not difficult!) Asked if the neighbours had been alerted, Keith calmly told me that after so many complaints about Tessa’s dog Keizer, from no. 47, and no. 49, all of the fireworks were directed towards them!! Don’t mess with my future son in law!!
Paid a visit to Screwfix, in the darkest of Aston. What a place, there is nothing that they can’t supply. 300000 parts available, I was looked upon by the local tradesmen with suspicion until I boldly asked for a 446457 type B transformer, and they just knew I was one of them!
Played nine holes of golf with my man Joe at Edgbaston. JS and Joe played well but I spent most of my time in the woods!! Found 6 balls though.
Tess has started a new Speech and Language post at Worcester. She has not missed the view of Dudley town centre, or the 2hour drive am and pm to the hospital. However she was exhausted and one evening was really very poorly in the middle of the night. Keith was also not well, so the daughter crept into our room for a cuddle and sympathy. JS lay there motionless, a nymph on one side throwing up and the wife on the other! Was this a nightmare or a fantasy?
Tash passed her mock exams for her business and management degree, by the skin of her teeth. So like her father, swot a few hours before and hope for the best!!
Ok,that’s the kids’ stuff finished with!
We had a showing of the wedding dress, tears from Mummy and apprehension from JS’s credit card! A birthday present from JS and all the girls, and an ipad, with matching leather case, really posh! Just got to learn how to use it now! Champers followed, a massage, pedicure and finally an appointment with Mr Levic at the Priory !! Only kidding.
Jeff, our greatest 91 year old, celebrated his birthday at St Blaise, with fish and chips and a miniature model of a Ferrari presented by the local call girl! Luckily he didn’t pass out but rose to the occasion!
Complaints?? Well, the golf still needs to improve, you have now sent the rain to St Blaise, so there is no golf and the council tax, taxe d’habitation has gone up, probably because we have a band new bus shelter, with no graffiti, built in Cotswold stone, and a small patio in front so you can sunbathe whilst waiting for you bus!
All my love
PS. Mike and Maudie. Hope you are both well, and as you can see I have sent this latest Olif dispatches out to everyone without my darling brother in laws editing! firstly I typed it on my new iPad and pressed some button or other and it shot off without my permission and secondly I know you are working so hard that to find time to even begin to correct my spelling and grammar mistakes may just send you over the top!! So Xmas will do, when you have a couple of days free!!!! (Done -9.5/10 Olif –Love Gerbil)
Cathy and Ivan. Lovely e-mail, so pleased you are both well and enjoying life to the full. Promise to come and visit you both soon and admire your garden. Xx
JB and JB. A month of hot sun and French food, perfect, but we are missing your emails. Mathias sends his love, but is coping now I have become the teachers pet!!
TC. Xxxxxxxxxxx from the FT.
DD. sorted out a 36dd, 24″ waist and filthy rich lady for you, and no it’s not me!! xxxxxx
Em, Chris, G and D. I’m sitting here with four blankets, a hot water bottle and the fire blazing, and a large glass of rosé, cos your Dad says it’s a red day and EDF charge three times as much for the electricity, please send me more blankets. Xxxxx. love the witch
TJ. I need two packets of dumpling mix by December 8th!!! Love you tooooooo xxx
Tash. Good luck tonight. Knock them for six. Love u toooooo. Xxxx
Cag. Give TJ a big kiss for me on Tuesday.
Honor. Hang on in there.
June. Have you managed any golf with all the flooding?xxx
Buzz. Do you think you will be the godfather for the imminent babe?
Kate and Big man. Keep warm and get a sunny holiday sorted soon.
J&JA. Lovely to hear from you and no worries re. The Bday, will send out regular reminders next year!!
Angel. Have just made some millionaires shortbread, will you come and fetch it cos JS is eating it up fast!
Prof Mathias. Use www.googletranslate.com it’s easier than practising your English, I promise not to tell the other students! Xxxx