Ian has been spending time on the digger.
The priority has been to try to stop the cellar from flooding every time it rains, so ditches have been dug and drains have been laid,
culminating in the biggest ditch of all; constructed around the house like a moat. This was dug by the builder using his very big digger, when I was working in Bordeaux and consists of a two metre deep pit across the front of the house filled with gravel. The theory is that as the rain runs down the hill, along the rock bed, it will hit the drain and run off into the field before it reaches our cellar. We are so confident that it will work that yesterday we started to paint the walls of the basement (although we stopped just above the flood line!).
I have done another two days in Bordeaux and although it was exhausting it didn’t feel quite as strange as on the previous occasion (although I was in bed by 9.00pm and asleep by 9.30). This time I took the early train and my Brompton bike and navigated my way through the rush hour traffic and trams to get to the school. On Saturday we were both tired and decided to have a ‘weekend’ day. We went shopping to Bergerac and spent our time buying groceries, a new doorbell; a mat to put our muddy shoes on and a chimney for our Canadian drain (more on that another time). Despite what some English people here seem to think, food is not more expensive if you buy fresh food in season (although tea bags and other things imported are naturally a little more). The best place for fruit and veg is a shop called le Grand Frais (or the big fresh), which has rows and rows of beautiful looking fruit and veg; some of them long forgotten types, such as purple potatoes and carrots. As we were there, three monks from plum village were doing their weekly shop.
So, life goes on in rural France as we continue to adjust to our new life.