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Summer? what summer?

July 13, 2016

The surprise result of the EU referendum continues to reverberate and as per usual we are being fed a diet of FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt). UK politics is in turmoil as it is clear no-one expected the result we got and no-one had planned for it. We’ll soldier on and indeed the stock market has already recovered all its panic losses. However, I trust in the future and I hereby promise that’s the last I’ll say on the matter here.

The new car is fully sorted now but it did provide a couple of surprises not least of which was the parking brake. Unusually for a UK vehicle this is foot operated and although I’m used to them clearly someone else wasn’t as the cables were stretched and seized and it appeared the car had been driven with the brake on as there was no lining left on the shoes. Fixing this wasn’t difficult but it did make a dent in the wallet – the cables are only available from Lexus and cost £100 each! The other shocker was the rear disc brake shields, one had got a bit rusty and so we investigated replacements. The part is about 8” in diameter and simply a pressed steel dish; a similar item for a BMW (e.g.) is about £40 – the Lexus ones are £330 each!!!!!! The garage kindly did a bit of welding on the rusty one for me at a cost of £30 so it’s good to go. Parking sensors were sorted; the selling dealer reimbursed the cost and I did find some replacement floor mats – basically because I want to preserve the originals.

Having made all those nice remarks about the DVLA last time I suppose I was tempting fate. When I got the new V5 registration document they had misspelled my name so, following the instructions, I carefully completed the relevant section, added a BIG note that this was just a correction and sent it off. I got a new V5 with my correct name and address but they had entered it as a change of ownership, updated the number of former keepers and refunded the road tax! There followed an interesting phone call in which they admitted the error, reinstated the road tax, swore me to tear up the cheque and promised to send a new V5 suitably corrected. It duly arrived a few days later and there is still a very minor mistake but the number of keepers is now correct and that was the most important. Then they sent me a final demand to return the refund tax cheque – another interesting phone call sorted that out.

The weather has definitely not been kind to us, even sitting outside is a challenge, cooking & eating outside nigh on impossible. This is cramping my culinary style, grilling meat, fish etc is simple and tasty and is something I know about. Planning and preparing other meals is a skill set I never needed until now and I find it a challenge. Not so much doing it as knowing what to prepare and plan for. I keep reading older and some newer cookbooks (real and on-line) and I find with almost every recipe there is at least one ingredient I don’t have. I think what I need is a sort of playbook with about 10 main meal ideas and some snacks and then I can mix them around as I want. What I need is a “round to it” other than on my email address or CA license plate!

I have done some more garden work and appear to be winning with the unwanted plants and weeds, slowly but surely it’s coming together. Last time I was in the garden centre I enquired about stuff to kill off mushrooms & toadstools in the lawn – they recommended Jeyes Fluid. I haven’t seen this stuff in years and in fact I thought it had gone the way of creosote and other useful items but there it was, and it seems to work. There are still a number of the old plantings appearing and I really need to get down to this but whenever I think about going outside for a while it rains and/or gale force winds strike. I suppose summer will arrive soon but I wish it would get on with it. My climbers seem to like it though and all are going gangbusters, the back wall will probably be covered this year as will the wooden fence.

There is one major task I need to complete soon; I have three full 200 litre water butts and I want to move them to create some space for the rubbish bins. I need them to water the garden and I do not want to be walking to & fro with a 10 litre watering can so some form of pump is indicated to power a hose or (wait for it) an irrigation system! And to think I left all that behind in California. Anyway, in researching pumps I found one by Eckman that will do the job and will also enable me to empty and refill the barrels as I move them. It works really well; the only drawback is that in order to clean the intake filter you have to unscrew the base-plate – a simply clip-on base would be an improvement especially as my barrels appear to have several inches of accumulated crud in the bottom. There is a solution to this too which I’m trying to source here in the UK.

Our garden birds have become very picky; having bought two large (5kg) bags of food they have decided they don’t like one of them so not much is getting eaten. The other one appears to be the favourite of starlings and they can empty the feeder in two days. I’m not sure how to sort this but I plan on persevering until the less popular variety is gone. An unwanted side effect of spilling some bird food in the shed is that I now have a wee cowering timorous beastie for company. It seems totally unfazed by me but I don’t need it breeding or leaving droppings around so out with the mouse bait – still had a few blocks left that I acquired years ago in the States. It seems to like them – it’s eaten a whole 1” cube and its appetite seems undiminished. Maybe the stuff doesn’t work on English mice, although it did on French ones – time will tell.

The BPPV dizzy symptoms disappeared for a while but then they returned so unless they disappear again of their own accord I shall have to visit the doctor again. We seem to be fairly lucky with our local GP practice, our doctor is really efficient and a nice person as well. The various nursing staff are great too and we have a visiting (self-employed) podiatrist who is an absolute gem. The only drawback to the whole situation is that for anything requiring specialists or examinations such as X-rays we have to go to Norwich which is a good 40 minutes drive without traffic.  The NHS dentist we found was sadly lacking as I noted earlier so we have bitten the bullet and gone private with an insurance plan – what a difference! We had a full check-up and screening including X-rays; a comprehensive plan for future maintenance and I needed a couple of fillings replacing which were done a few days ago. Very professional set-up and a really good caring dentist.

Right, we’re ready for summer, bring it on 🙂



David & June

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt Gay permalink
    July 20, 2016 20:33

    Hi David,my name is Matt and we have bought a house in Brittany this year, We need a new fosse septic, what is the contact details of the guy you used? my email is , many thanks, Matt .

    • July 20, 2016 21:17

      Hi Matt,

      Hi name is Andrew Barnes and he has a company called ProFosse (

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