Friday, November 14, 2008

It's not that easy being 'Green'

It's one of those once in a lifetime, rare, natural (or maybe unnatural), phenomena. A Perfect Storm of sorts.

The offspring are both on a sleepover tonight and the CH is on the same landmass!

"What shall we have for supper tonight, beloved?", I asked (because whatever it is, you'll be cooking it)

"I was thinking that as the children are away, perhaps we could go out" he replied

'Out? Hmm, what is this place 'Out'?"

I looked at him quizzically then rushed inside to consult the oracle.

I thumbed through the dictionary.

"M, N, O....ob......op.....ot.....ou........out. OUT"

Blimey, apparently it means that I leave the homestead after dark (and it's not to collect the offspring from one of their many social events) with the CH on my arm and we go 'somewhere' and be all grown up. Out.... we're going OUT!

How exciting. Where shall we go? Good point, where shall we go? Living in the deepest, darkest France Profonde and it being November, that's drastically reduces our options. No gourmet food markets where we can sit under the stars on a balmy night munching on some local delicacy (like the unmentionable parts of a goose) or going all 'foreign' with a Paella. No open air concerts around the lake watching shooting stars and listening to Country and Western, or maybe a bit of Country and Western, or even some Country of Western.

Still, our local cafe is open and it's also very good. Occasionally in these little villages you find something quite surprising, like a chef who trained with John Burton Race and worked for Rick Stein and at the River Cafe.

This is such a rare event that I shall have to brush up on 'things to talk about' but hey, at least I won't have to watch 'Children in Need'. I'm not being uncharitable. We always give money but do I have to watch it?

I've just checked the calendar of events and, thank goodness, they don't have a 'Soiree Anglaise' tonight. That would really finish me off. I shall report back later on the success, or otherwise, of this leap into the unknown.

In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint/electricity bill* (*delete as appropriate) I've replaced all our bulbs with energy efficient ones and even poor Prudence, our golden non-Retriever, is no longer allowed to have a nightlight on. She thinks she's afraid of the dark so think of this as aversion therapy.

The only trouble is that our light switches seem to be in the wrong place. Come bedtime, I have to turn off the light at one end of our lounge then make my way across the room to get to the bedroom. How difficult can that be, I hear you ask. Normally not very, but with the arrival of autumn and chilly nights all the livestock (chickens excepted of course) are now spread out on the rug in front of the woodburner, a living, breathing assault course.

On the first night of our new energy saving routine, I make a mental note of where each little body was before I switched off the light. Dark here is really, really dark. There's no light pollution to help you out.

Off went the lights. I negotiated the sofa successfully, before stepping into the void that is the rug in front of the woodburner.

Step 1 Miaaaaaooooooooo! Ooops, a tail

Step 2 Yeeeelpppp! Damn, that was the dog

Step 3 Oowwwwwouuuuuhhh! A hatrick!!

Three out of seven animals trodden on in under 10 seconds!

I've also invested in some Washing Nuts (quiet at the back!) Anyone tried them? I don't know what I was expecting, but they really are nuts. Brown, sticky things that stink of vinegar but apparently very 'green'.

For those that don't know about them you put a small handful in this little environmentally friendly unbleached cotton drawstring bag. Put in your washing then bury them in the middle, turn on and... voila!

Your wash ends, you spend 20 minutes searching around in your wet washing for the tiny drawstring bag mumbling "bugger this Green nonsense, next time I'm buying a big box of Fairy" (I've found our little bag under the washing machine, in the garden, in my knickers - not while they're on me of course) then another 20 minutes trying to prise open the wet drawstring bag - major design fault - to change the nuts. Exasperated, you stick the bag in the tumble dryer, thus cancelling out any benefit you've gained from using a 'green' alternative. Your average time spent washing has now increased by about 50% but at least you're saving the planet.

The CH is busily building an extension. Those that know him, pick yourselves up off the floor, it's for the chicken house. He busily sawing and screwing and even has a pencil behind his ear.

I built our chicken house out of reclaimed wood, (very green!), having baulked at spending 400 euros on a purpose built one. I mean, they're chickens for heavens sake. They don't stand around with their wings folded saying "well I'm sorry, but it's just not as des res as Martha's down the road", do they? (Do they?). It's the first thing I've successfully made since domestic science days at school - and thinking about it, my successes there were few and far between. I'd never get a job as a carpenter's mate and the slight Leaning Tower of Pisa effect probably can't just be put down to the slope in the garden but I was so proud of it that I even shed a tear.

Unfortunately, our chicken population has increased and so it's now time to build a small extension. It also had a couple of design faults in that the sliding panel at the back through which you collect the eggs, swells up in the wet and you can't open it to reach them. I had a mini EU egg mountain in there last week.

So, the CH drew up plans, discussed practicalities, site visits were made and eventually a design was agreed and approved. He's been working on it day and night (well, day at least) for two days now and it's nearly finished. Watch this space. (Not this one..... that one!).

Well, I'm going to sign off now. By the law of Sod, I have a nagging pain in my head, I'm typing words backwards and have the vaguely nauseous feeling in my stomach that often heralds a migraine. Just my luck. I want to go OUUUUUUUTTTTT!


Cassoulet Cafe said...

You are HILARIOUS and keep me reading (without skimming, because i have a nasty habit of skimming)...I read every darn word and loved it!
You're a great writer and find humor in normal things which is my favorite kind of humor.

blogthatmama said...

Hope you had a good night out VLiF, look forward to reading all about it. I bet you talked romantically about the chicken coop extension, didn't you!

MsCatCalls said...

Oh No Migraine .... horrid .... hope it didnt last too long . Being on the pc not the best solution , hope you were able to get out before the moment arrives when you just have to lie down and give in to it .

Ali said...

We use the washing nut thingy's but I use a lingerie washing bag instead of the little drawstring bag. They sometimes come out but at least I'm not left trying to gnaw open a drawstring bag.

(Very) Lost in France said...

CC - you are really too kind but I'm a sucker for a compliment, so thanks. VLiF

BTM - Hmmm.... see my next post. VLiF

MsCC - don't you hate the flaming things. They always ruin my plans. VLiF

Ali - welcome to my blog. That's a good idea. See, all I needed was someone who thinks outside the bag! VLiF