The time came when I could put it off no longer. Something had to be done about the flooring in the shower room. I agreed that I would replace the faded and worn-thin lino with tiles and, on one of my solo trips to France, I drove hundreds of miles and traipsed round about seventy-three different outlets - posh shops, DIY stores, cavernous warehouses and builders' merchants' yards - to find tiles which I thought would please Mrs S. I did eventually find what I wanted in Mr Bricolage, the DIY store which had become my second French home and which was, of course, the nearest tile stockist to Les Lavandes. As well as the tiles for the floor, I found a similar narrow tiles to fix to the bottom of the walls instead of the skirting board which wasn't there anyway. I had insufficient faith in my French to buy adhesive, grouting and a tile cutter over there, so found what I wanted in England.
Chris came over with me: I can't think why it can be,
but he seems to like these jaunts. We removed the lino and stood jammed
shoulder to shoulder in the shower room doorway considering how to
tackle the job.
Perhaps at this stage I should explain that the
house, when it was built in 1840, consisted of just two rooms - one
downstairs and one up. Adjoining the house were cattle sheds with a hay
barn above. The cattle sheds had at some time been converted into the
living room and kitchen, while the downstairs room in the house part had
a stud wall built to provide a bedroom and an entrance hall. The hall
had been further divided to provide a shower room, effectively under the
stairs, and the shower room was therefore a little on the small side,
shall we say. If Chris and I had attempted to get in there together we
would have been unable to see the floor properly.
of the room alone would mean that this would not be a particularly easy
job: one of us would have to twist like a contortionist to reach every
corner. And it was plain to see that only two tiles could be laid
without cutting them. But there was another little problem as well.