Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Empty Glasses and Overflowing Cups

Half Full or Half Empty?

So, is your glass half full or half empty?  I can usually identify the half fulls and half empties in life.  The LGB is most definitely in possession of a half full glass (it’s usually half full of red wine), I on the other hand teeter-totter between the two.  The last couple of weeks however, my glass has neither been half empty nor half full – it has been positively drained, vide!

We returned home a week past Friday, fresh baguette tucked under my arm and homemade soup ready to be reheated.  I don’t like to say I told you so but I told you so, at least I told me so.  The buggers had cut off the electricity!  The Voisines said a man appeared a few minutes after our departure (he was probably hiding behind a log pile or a dung heap just waiting for us to leave).  So much for keeping everything crossed I just ended up getting my knickers in a twist.

Starving and seething we hot footed it into Angouleme to EDF. We asked if their man could just pop back to the site and flick the switch back on, but it wasn’t to be.  To cut a long story short, ERDF would not give us another ‘prolongation’ of our temporary supply of electricity, instead we had to reapply all over again.  This meant completing forms and supplying a copy of the ‘plan de situation’ and a copy of the ‘cadastre’ (a map showing the plot number and a plan of the house on the plot).  I pointed out that they already had a dossier with all this information, could they not refer to this?  It fell on deaf ears and I suppose it provides jobs for the boys.  To be fair the assistant at EDF, on seeing my quivering bottom lip and the LGBs twitchy right thumb already going into spasm with the onset of cold turkey at the thought of being deprived of teletext (did I mention his obsession with all things sporty from football scores to tiddly-wink championships) did pen a covering letter to ERDF explaining that we were living on site and could they please get the electricity back on quickly.  On day twelve we were plugged back into the national grid.

My Cup Runneth Over

What on earth did you do for twelve days with no electricity I hear you ask?  A little legal squatting, taking up those offers that were nonchalantly proffered over one too many glasses of wine on a summer evening or the LGB being a cheeky bugger and inviting himself to stay!

There was a cold snap about the time of the cut-off and we got offers of accommodation from friends who didn’t even know we were without electricity.   The LGB was building a garden wall for a couple and they generously offered their home to us whilst they were away and for us to stay on when they returned.  This kind offer came from a couple we had only met twice.  Are they mad offering us their home when they hardly know us?  I think those who do know us and still let us stay are probably madder!  We stayed with The Old Bones on Bikes.  When I managed to prise the television remote controls from the grasp of the LGBs grubby little mitts we moved on to two nights at Deidre and Conor’s whilst they were away, and a few nights with Jane and David on their fermette

Jane's lemon drizzle cakes
We enjoyed lavish lunches and delicious dinners and great company.  I have to say those twelve days would have been very different without our hosts.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to those of you we descended upon and those of you who made offers, your generosity is heart-warming and truly greatly appreciated.

St Valentine’s Day

I imagine by now reading this post you will have gathered not a lot of building work has gone on whilst we have been sans electricity. Did you have a good one?  Did you celebrate at all?  Did you even know it was Valentine’s Day and did you even care? Some friends stayed at this gorgeous chambre d'hôte for a couple of nights.  I know another couple who give each other (and expect) ridiculously extravagant presents and spend the rest of the year arguing and on the brink of divorce.

Couleurs du Temps

I usually make a handmade card for the LGB, but my craft bits are all packed away and besides all the envelopes have stuck closed from being stored in the garage.  Me?  I got a text and a yellow rose.  Aaaah, how lovely!  Yes, the text was from my lovely Dad and the yellow rose was from the (female) cashier in the builder’s yard!  Bitter?  Me?  Who’s the patron saint of battered builders these days?  The LGB doesn't hold with the commercial nonsense of St Val's Day, he can express his love any day he wants (so he says) and I have to say I do agree but the old romantic in me would quite like a little recognition of the day.

courtesy of

So you can see, in the one hand I have been holding an empty glass but in the other hand my cup hath runneth over with the kindness and munificence of friends.  And remember, whether your glass is half empty or half full there is always room for more wine!  Mine’s a sparkly.  Cheers!
Picture courtesy of Hollybank Trust.  Quality of life......for life.


  1. Every cloud has a silver lining... I'm glad you were surrounded by such generous people. French administration is so dogmatic; god forbid that any poor 35 hour contract should go up in smoke because foreigners ask them to use the same file again! The French electricity board: I hate them. I went wild when they gave our details to a list of companies who cold-called non stop to impose their services for roof replacements, boilers, windows and plus si affinités. They are extremely clever, making out that they are EDF workers and telling you that you have an appointment booked with their technician. Welcome to France.....

  2. Yes, MM we've had the calls too. I'm afraid I just hang up!

  3. Quite right too. PS : I nominated you for the Liebster award... More info here:


Thanks for your comments. Nice to know there is someone out there!