Fool for France

Jacques with exercise ball
Well, here we are, dealing with some seriously rainy weather. I am happy to report that exercise keeps the cabin fever away. I play something perky — today it’s Johnny Cash — and my little workout goes by just fine. My favorite is using the reformer while Jacques settles onto my chest and licks my face. There’s nothing like it. You can see that Jacques is trying to figure out why he is on the reformer and I am not. He keeps trying to climb onto my lap while I am rowing but so far, no luck.

This is the big excitement. Not only did the sun come out, just for a bit, but the sheet of 5 mil plastic that covered an easily accessed opening — that’s a public park on the other side — has been replaced by bulletproof glass in a steel frame. Reignoux said they would be here on Wednesday and of all things, they were. That used to be my normal. Now it feels like a miracle. The guys are putting in a new gate right now. Pictures soon.

Next up — way next, like this time next year, maybe — is downspout replacement. I am so glad this is the garage and so glad we have sandy soil. Water collecting at the foundations is not a good thing.

18 Replies to “Winter in the country”

  1. Lord that reminds me of my time living in Juan les Pins (if you know your Peter Sarstedt you will know why I always refer at this moment to my even sun tan) …. bulletproof everything on the Côte d’Azur and even then you have to have reinforced steel roller shutters to cover it. Glad the sun shone if only just a little …. its grey and dull here and I am regretting my decision to buy some very long jeans which only work well with heels – teetering and tottering for fear of toppling on the glistening pavements whilst being dragged hither and thither by the possessed Bean who has appointed herself la Reine de Grenoble is NOT a look I’m enjoying!! Good to see you by the way 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. To be fair to the neighbors, that plastic sheet flapped in the breeze for years with no one testing its strength. I just figured it only takes once and the bulletproof part just came with it, so why not. But yeah, there are parts of France and Spain that are under constant attack. If I were in one of them, I’d rent the apartment to someone, just to have eyes on the property.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fortunately moral reform is out of the question. I didn’t come all the way out here and drop all this money so I could clean up my act. As for the parts you can see, owie. I’m out of shape. I got that stuff unpacked and returned to service none too soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The chaps turned up on the day? And you did not need smelling salts?
    Given the little ways of insurers, better to have the glass. One band of gyppos arriving in the area is all you would need for problems to arise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You may know that they are requiring that local governments build places for “travelers,” as they put it. The protests went on for some time out here and I think they finally managed to put them right next to the freeway, that sort of thing. It sounds terrible doesn’t it, to single out a group of people, but in Paris they actually tracked crime rates and yes, when gypsies moved in, crime went up. I distinguish between gypsies and Roma, the latter being the folks who just want an apartment and a job and decent schools for their kids. It’s about the only way I can make sense of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Travellers…bohemiens….gens de voyage….manouches…nothing but trouble in all my years in France.

        There was a small site in the village where they could stay for three days: every time a group left they broke the water pipes and left human faeces among the rest of the rubbish that littered the site.
        A group were ‘persuaded’ to move from the proximity of Futuroscope in Poitiers by ‘providing’ them with a farmhouse in the next village. If something wasn’t nailed down it walked in their direction. The whole thing culminated in a gunfight in the village square when their violence became too much to bear.
        The police did not want to touch them – not caring for the violence of their response. They were like a state within a state – and very much resented by my friends and neighbours.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow. Sorry to say, that fits with my experience.I remember walking by a little girl for days, wishing I could just adopt her. She was clearly malnourished, though the adults with her always had plenty to drink. Robert’s pocket was picked a couple of times and one day he came home pretty shaken. He had been withdrawing money from an ATM and a little boy rushed up and pushed him aside, clearly thinking Robert had gotten to the point that the cash was being distributed. The boy had been standing there, counting the beeps. Robert had to shove a little boy, not his style at all. This group that looked like extras from the fortunetelling scene in “Carmen” had moved to beneath an elevated section of the Metro, just across from our apartment. The trash, the fights, the reek of urine — just across from a free public toilet — ugh. When the crime stats came out the police and mairie had the ammunition they needed to crack down, move them on. I think Delanoë wanted to have them stay — he got political points but at our expense — so it was a bad situation. Once they were gone, things settled down again. For a time, though, it was bad.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Not pretty, is it. At the big site in a local town, the guardian asked one chap to clear his site of old car parts and was chased off by the chap wielding a chainsaw…the motor running. Police? Forget it.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. In our place in Virginia we connect a large corrugated plastic gutter extension to the end of the gutter to direct the water away from the house. Cheap and easy. Is something like that available?


    1. Yes but the gutters themselves are often leaky, so there is a lot more to think about than the part in the photo. Whatever pipe you use, you have to connect it to the sewer mains. And do I want to jettison my gorgeous zinc gutters and piping for plastic? Hahahaha, you must be kidding. If I do go for plastic it would likely be over on the neighbor’s side, where I think I am legally required to deal with the runoff from the roof but the neighbor hasn’t pushed it.


  4. It hadn’t occurred to me that the shock resistant glass the insurers specify for ground floors if you don’t want shutters is bullet proof. Excellent! (I think…)

    Re the guttering: you may find your friendly local roofer turns his nose up at plastic because it’s pas joli. It does have more of an environmental impact too — the UV protection does eventually break down and release lead into the water, which is not ideal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not all bulletproof. Regular tempered glass shatters into tiny pieces rather than big shards. That’s the legally required stuff. This company, though, does a lot of work in situations with serious security issues, so bulletproof is what they do. I spend only about half my time here, maybe less when the contractors have gone, so for me, the more secure the better. This stuff will also be used at my front door, for example, where there is no shutter. In a couple of years, when I will be here full time, I will probably laugh at how paranoid I was. As for the plastic downspouts, I take full responsibility for my gag reflex. When I was in architecture school I specialized in historic preservation. I’m not a purist by any means but visible plastic downspouts on a lovely 19th century building that I look at every day, really, I can’t do it. That’s just me.


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