Saturday, 24 March 2007

D.I.Y bliss in the South of France


Hailstones greeted me this morning against my bedroom window. The sky looked like someone had thrown a jam jar full of old painted water at it. Truly inspiring for the South of France. Large puddles were forming rapidly on the terrace and yesterday's washing flopped in a pathetic and delusionary fashion on the line. "Hope you remembered to put the bucket under the leak" His Lordship mumbled from under the safety and warmth of the covers.

After two quick slices of toast I was shovelled into the car. "No time like the present", "The Devil finds work for idle hands", and so forth and so forth. We were heading towards the Mecca of D.I.Y in France Mr Bricolage. Think Homebase and B&Q, to my mind they are designed by men for men. As soon as we enter the rows and rows of paint, assorted screws, plumbing bits, electrical tools for chaps with a purpose bring to my mind the phrase 'watching paint dry' but then I felt guilty and admonished myself inwardly for my ungratefulness. After five minutes we lose each other. This in itself means I have to prowl up and down the aisles far more than I would care to and the whole process swallows up half the morning. In my lethargic and unhelpful state I manage to leave behind a shower fitting which I had already forgotten once by the cash till as my eye was caught by some rather tempting wooden steamer chairs. My mistake was discovered half an hour later when we finally made in home.

As a punishment I was dispatched 'tout de suite' back to the riveting metropolisis of D.I.Y World. I was greeted like a long lost friend when I entered the store. Smiles all round, easy mistake. As His Lordship had declined the invitation of a return visit I allowed myself to linger over the chairs that had caused me all the trouble in the first place. Isn't it easy to shop without hindrance ? Decided that must have six to place seductively around the pool, first impressions etc etc. Minor problem, large bulky chairs, small car. I had to have them though, my heart was set.

I take back everything I previously thought, said or uttered under my breath. No problem. Would I care to borrow their brand spanking new, state of the art Renault van, gratuit, for free, yes absolutely free, incroyable non? I thought so too.

Wise Owl had finally appeared with my promised bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk when I rolled triumphantly up the drive tooting on the horn for extra effect. "No time for a cuppa" I explained," got to get the van back pronto". "I'll come" she cried excitedly and we grabbed the chocolate as we fled. Bliss. By now the sun had appeared as we tootled along the roads lined with ancient plane trees, the vines bent over like Lowry's matchstick men, their stumpy black outlines against the pale blue sky. And one whole hour of inconsequential gossip and giggling completely uninterrupted. Oh yes I can recomend this D.I.Y malarky.

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