After an uneventful crossing we arrived to find that cluster flies had besieged the house.
Finding their way into nooks and crannies, these little black buzzers wake up when they think Spring has arrived, and whilst striving to return outside they appear on this occasion to have felt that inside our home was the better option.
So we arrived to find two floors with black bodies all over the carpet around any window, and trying to vacuum them up discovered seething hordes around every window crevice, surtout les Velux. Which is a problem largely because you open a Velux window above your head, instantly letting them fly directly into your hair.
Good old Henry Hoover did a valiant job: by G&T time we had thousands in the bag, to be joined by delayed troops every day as the warmth continued to summon them forth. Local friends sympathised, confirming that it had been a spectacular year for these germ-free, short-lived pests, and that we should not feel singled-out by their attentions.
Unfortunately the boiler also played up during our stay, rapidly overheating on a couple of occasions and then cutting out.
However, these will pale into insignificance beside the potentially enormous bill awaiting us for a new roof. Having been up in the loft vacuuming the VMC tubes to halt the creepy, continuous stream of cluster flies creeping from the ventilation tube in the bathroom:
All of which means that I am sitting back in Hampshire rather afraid to open emails which will in all probability bear tidings of great cost. At least Martin had the foresight to transfer a chunk of sterling into our euro account just before everything (politically speaking) went pear-shaped.
Back in France we thought nothing more could go wrong, so decided to pop some washing on and take a flask and patisseries to the beach. Ha-de-ha-de-ha. The laundry was soon flooded and a lot of bailing and mopping later we found out that a wonderfully-shaped clogged filter was the problem.
(ignore the socks)
But heck, we had a therapeutic walk on the beach, including a welly-paddle in the sea, and even found a chimney-sweep on our way home (again, not available, but we have details now so can book).
Plus we achieved a lot in between bouts of failure/repair/research/appointments. Our exterior paintwork needs doing once again, so over the five days I managed to sand and paint both one salon window and the study door, leaving them much better prepared to face the winter.
We also managed some winter tidying up including bringing in the solar fairy lights which look as though they must have been on every evening in the BBQ shack since we put them up 6 months ago, and are still working well. Martin fixed the wooden supports, which looked as though they had been pushed in by a hoofed creature, and we took a walk down to the river, where we watched an otter or water-rat swimming up and down in peace.
But we can hardly complain. A good friend from choir lost her husband recently, and we invited Mark and his wife to dinner whilst we were in France so heard all about her huge operation, nasty cancer growths and continuing chemotherapy. Thank heavens our problems relate to the flight of funds rather than health.
Plus, just look at these joyous colours (no post-editing) high up by the stable roof:
Life is good.