"What story?" you ask. It's the story of Les Lavandes, the house we bought in France. I started the story here when it ran every day for about a week, then again here for another week, and again here. The last episode appeared here. For those who can't be bothered to turn back the pages (and it's not compulsory) or if you just want a quick recap, I had commuted my pension on retirement and we bought an old farmhouse on the edge of a small French village. It was basically sound but needed freshening up.
Two weeks later I was back in France, accompanied this time by Mrs S as our trip had coincided with the half-term holiday. No camping out for me this time; it would be a hotel or nothing for Mrs S until the renovation was much closer to completion and blow the budget, which is exactly what we did. But credit where credit's due, she did buckle down to scraping the floor tiles so that by the time we returned home the downstairs bedroom floor was perhaps ninety per cent cleared.
The floor of the upstairs bedroom was covered in a somewhat unhealthy looking linoleum. Even through a couple of centimetres of dust it looked a bit gruesome. It would have to go, all sixteen feet by twenty feet of it. For someone whose regular hard labour is pushing a pen, rolling up a twenty foot length of lino is not particularly easy. Picking it up is even worse. It took me three attempts to roll it in an almost reasonable fashion, but there was no way I could lift it to heave it out of the window. I went in search of my trusty old Stanley knife to cut it into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Maybe it is just something that happens to me, but no matter what I am looking for in my toolbox, it has worked its way underneath everything else and I have to empty the entire contents of the box before I find the tool I am looking for. This time was no exception, but at least I did manage to find the knife. Unfortunately, I did not find any blades. I could have sworn there were still two left in the packet and that the packet was in the tool box, but there was no sign of it.
I returned the tools to the box, except for the knife, and made the first of many trips to Mr Bricolage, the DIY store in Châteaubriant some twelve miles away. Back ‘home' again I put the Stanley knife back in the tool box and unwrapped the new one. Blades for my trusty old friend were not to be bought in any of the three large DIY stores in Châteaubriant and I had been forced to buy a new knife. But it did a superb job of cutting up the lino. Both layers. Did I mention that the floor was covered with a double layer of lino?