We decided to paint the window shutters, the gates and the outbuilding doors a deep, rich green and the new gates were duly painted before being transported to France. Naturally, all this took some time as it had to be fitted in between my weekly perambulations, but eventually the gates were taken out to France.
Removing the old gates was no problem - it was simply a case of lifting them off the brackets: removing the hinges for re-use on the new gates was a different matter. The nuts had rusted onto the bolts and gave every indication that they had been attached with something stronger than the strongest superglue I have ever come across. I made a trip to Mr Bricolage to buy what I hoped was penetrating oil, I visited the supermarket and bought some best butter, I even thought of asking the old lady next door to boil some olive oil for me. But the penetrating oil must have worked more slowly than I expected. As the sun sank through a glorious sky, the first nut started to move. Later, sipping a glass of wine as I waited for my escargots to be served, I couldn't help but feel a rather smug self-satisfaction - even if I was half a day behind schedule.