Friday, October 28, 2016


This photo is about a week old. It's been way too foggy in recent days to get the same shot showing how much more orange and yellow the leaves are now. I'm hoping to get some shots before it all goes brown and the leaves drop, but it will depend on the fog.

Looking generally eastwards, toward the Cher River valley.

We had some minor computer issues on Thursday that took a couple of hours to mess with. First, my inkjet printer is on the outs. It's producing an error message telling me it needs to be looked at by a service technician. That's something that will likely cost more than a new printer and, given the printer's age, may not be worth it. Then, the laser printer seems to have died. After much trial and error, we think we figured out that the printer was interfering with our internal network, causing all kinds of little headaches. It's now been removed from the circuit and the network seems to be working normally again. We have a third printer that's working, so that's ok. Ken is looking on line for a new color printer. The question: inkjet or laser? We shall see.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Did someone say, "Halloween?"

Bert the black cat is doing his best to get into the Halloween spirit. Here he is posing next to one of the pumpkins from our garden. You can tell he's into it. After two or three photos, he high-tailed it out of there.

Bert says, "Happy Halloween!" Can I go now?

Halloween is not celebrated here like it is in the US. The holiday is November 1, called la Toussaint, or All Saints Day. It's a day off from work, and many people will take a long weekend, or even a week, for vacation. Kids are off from school for two weeks. It's the last gasp before the big holiday season coming up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pigeon wire

The window openings in this old building in Châtillon-sur-Indre are lined with what we in the US call "chicken wire." I'm assuming that it was put there to keep wild birds out and not to keep chickens in. Pigeons and other birds can really make a mess of empty building if they find their way in.

There look to be some breaches in the bird defense network.

Our contractor has finished his work until Monday. In addition to installing the towel drier, he also replaced the faucets and drain on the bidet and installed a second outdoor spigot on the back of the house. We wanted a new spigot because the existing one will be inside the new greenhouse, which is impractical for outdoor use, so a second one outside the greenhouse made sense. On Monday, he'll start the plumbing work for the new shower.

Work on the greenhouse is expected to conclude on Saturday with the installation of the glass panels. Fortunately, our weather forecast is for dry days through the weekend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Le seche-serviette

I've been calling it a towel warmer, but in French it's called a towel drier, and rightly so. The goal is to have dry towels on cold winter mornings. Nothing is worse than a cold and clammy towel, right? And now the new towel drier is installed and working. Yay! The plumber finished up the hard work on Monday.

Before photo. The old radiator.

There were some unforeseen issues, like a leak in the main line after he had to mess with it. It's "only" fifty years old, so some problems are to be expected. He had to replace a section of the main line with new pipe. If you're wondering why the time on the second photo is earlier than the first, I took the second photo on a different day. Ha!

During photo. The old radiator is gone.

But all seems to be well. Next, he started on replacing the hardware on our bidet, which you can see on the left in the photo. The new faucet handles are fabulous. Where once the water trickled, it now flows. We still have a little problem with the drain plug, but he's working on that.

Installed and working! The supply & return pipes on the bottom will eventually be painted white.

Work on the shower will start on Monday next. The plumber's truck had a little problem last week when the transmission failed. So he's getting that fixed on Thursday. He doesn't want to start the shower until he has the full use of his truck (with all the supplies and tools inside). So Monday it is.

Monday, October 24, 2016

We need the rain

It hasn't rained very much at all this month, continuing a dry trend since the beginning of summer. But today it's coming down. It started spitting a little on Sunday evening. This morning we woke up to actual rain and it seems that it will last a few hours before tapering off. That'll be good for the ground.

Some more orange and red leaves among the grape vines.

The plumber comes back this morning to finish the towel warmer installation. All he has to do is connect the two pipes to the main line and test the system to be sure it's working. Then there's some finish work, mainly filling and grouting where he removed old pipes and filling in the holes in the floor around the new pipes. After that, we need to talk to him about his schedule for the rest of the work, namely the new shower.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Optical Allusion

Alluding to a time past, that is. If you read Ken's blog, you know that we were in a town called Châtillon-sur-Indre one day last week for lunch. After lunch, we took a short walk around the center of town. It's a pretty place, but kind of sad. Most of the businesses that once thrived around the central square are gone. Stores stand empty, except for a bakery, a second-hand shop, a newstand, and a café or two. The town has lost much of its population over the past decades.

A now-defunct optical shop on Châtillon's main square. The shuttered building next door is for sale.

The landscape guy and his dad showed up Saturday morning to start work on assembling the greenhouse. They worked until just past sunset (!) before packing up for the day. They put most of the frame together and poured the concrete footings. They'll be back next Saturday to finish up the frame and install the glass panels. It looks like a complicated job, but they seem to be doing it well.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Criss cross

I noticed quite a few contrails in Wednesday morning's sky. We are under a major north-south air corridor and there are always jetliners high overhead. Paris and London are more or less due north of us, not to mention Brussels and Amsterdam. Southern destinations include Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Barcelona, Madrid, and cities in Italy and North Africa.

Looking roughly south over the vineyard parcels.

Work on the towel warmer got under way bright and early Friday morning. The old radiator is gone and the new one is up, but it's not connected to the system yet. The contractor has the new pipes fitted, but he hasn't yet connected them to the main line. He'll be back on Monday to finish up. We really like how the bathroom looks with the bulky old radiator gone, replaced by the sleek tubes of the new towel warmer. We're taking photos, of course!