As I had trouble getting water into the house when we bought it, and there had been trouble with water leaving the house, I suppose it should have come as no surprise when we had trouble with water inside the house.
The problem started one Saturday morning when we were due to return to England. Mrs S was most upset to find that the water in her shower was stone cold. I had showered before her and had enjoyed hot water to start with, although it did turn cool after a while. I had assumed this was just a hiccup and that normal service would be resumed almost immediately. Obviously I was wrong.
My brother and sister-in-law had spent the week with us. They had both showered before going to bed the previous evening and reported no problems, so something appeared to have gone wrong overnight. Graham and I decided that the place to start was the combination boiler. A glance at the front showed that the water pressure was low; so low, in fact, that the needle was in the red zone. This meant that there was insufficient pressure to turn on the gas heater and was clearly the cause of Mrs S having a cold shower.
As we stood pondering the problem, I recalled that Monsieur Ebert, who had come to my rescue when I was unable to turn the boiler on, had said that there was a control knob to increase the water pressure. I knew it was somewhere on the underside of the boiler, so I sat on the floor and looked. Under the boiler were several control knobs, each of which looked vaguely similar to the one Monsieur Ebert had described. I looked in the instruction manual to see if I could find out which was the control I needed, but, as far as I could make out, the manual made no mention of pressure control knobs. I got back under the boiler and tried twisting, turning, pushing, pulling and generally fiddling with each of the controls in turn, first individually, then in combination, but nothing I did made any difference.
A glance at my watch showed that if we didn't leave pretty well immediately we would miss our ferry and be stranded overnight in Cherbourg. But we had paying guests arriving that afternoon, so something had to be done. But what?
I realised there was nothing I could constructively do and we took the easy way out. I left a note for Sue, who would be coming in later that day to change over the bath mat and shower curtain, explaining the problem and asking her if she could possible sort it out. It was too early in the morning to ring her, but when we stopped for coffee later that morning, I did so, only to get her answering machine.
We learned later that Sue spent ages going through the Yellow Pages but eventually found a plumber who dropped whatever he was doing to drive over and put matters right. The visitors, naturally, arrived at the house early to find Sue still there and the plumber working. We comforted ourselves that they did at least know we had taken steps to solve the problem of the water.
Another river. This is the Havre, a tributary of the Loire which joins the main river at Oudon.