Tuesday, 3 January 2012

While The Men are Away...

The Men are away...so far for two whole days....and it might be three.
They have started the renovations on our house in San Jose and rather than waste time travelling have decided to stay overnight.

They have installed beds, table and chairs, gas ring and a tin opener for the cans of fish which they intend to consume...a diet sure to be supplemented by the offerings of pizza and coffee at the bakery down the road, Argentinian empanadas from the hole in the wall three doors away, dim sum from the China House restaurant round the corner...and perhaps even a beer at the bar across the road.

Not the least attraction of the house is the opportunity it presents not only not to cook...but the opportunity to have the choice of styles of  other peoples' cooking.

I went to San Jose with them on the first morning...not to the house, but to the tax office, avoiding navigational disaster by demanding to be set down by the cemetery rather than trying to drive directly to the building.
They went their way and I went mine.

As it was the first opening day after New Year, there were no queues.
A most helpful gentleman listened to my explanation as to why my tax declaration was late...swallowed by the bank...and entered all the details onto my computerised file. He then gave me a disc with which to download the electronic version of the declaration, showed me how to get round two notable glitches in the programme and sent me on my way without a fine for late declaration.

The people at French tax offices used to be nice too...but they wouldn't have waived the fine.

Home by bus, picking up parcels at the Post Office on the way and then...after the first mad rush to feed the chicks, let out the ducks and hens and play with the dogs....I was on my own.


I've been on my own before....husband's spells in hospital...but this time there is not the continual worry about when or whether he will come round and the long journeys to visit him.

So this is time to do as I please...without guilt.

What have I done then?

Skype has taken a drubbing.
I've telephoned my friends and talked for ages without howls for cups of tea just as I get to the nub of the gossip.

Experimented with the camera...trying to take a half decent photograph of myself. (Thank you, Phil!)
Results variable.
Decided that yes, I definitely do have to straighten up the pair of glasses I sat on last week if they are appearing in said photograph.

Eaten tomato sandwiches for lunch and dinner yesterday, tuna sandwich for lunch today and plan to make a hot and sour soup tonight.
No cauliflower cheeses, no mashed potatoes, no stews, no roasts, no paellas.....no washing up!

Watched BBC television on the computer screen....the programmes I like.

Beaten Amazon into submission enough to download books to the computer. Celebrated by downloading Graham Robb's 'The Discovery of France' as the reviews made it sound so interesting...and was sorely disappointed. Apart from the topographical theme there was nothing new to me.
I shall stick to Susie Kelly.

Slept. My goodness, how I have slept!
No one to wake me from my siesta on the balcony so that I can see a bird which has messed off by the time my eyes are clear enough to see anything.
No one's feet acting like the screws of the Titanic's propellers and wrapping the sheets round themselves until owner of said feet wakes screaming with cramp and has to be released from the swaddling bands.
No one to ask what I think that noise might be at 3.30 am.

The Men have taken the mobile 'phone...to keep in touch. I rang them at the arranged time and got the voice mail. Tried again...same result.
Received hurt 'phone call asking why I had not rung....

Rashly asked how things are going...got it in spades.
Everything from having to search for a builder's merchant who sold sand to a mysterious collection of pipes revealed in the kitchen and a stream running under the house.

How are you coping for food?
Well, the last owner must have been an ecologist. You know how high those ceilings are? Well, he's put these eco bulbs in all the rooms so we had to cook the sausages by sound...judging when they were cooked by the sizzling...

Why didn't you eat in the kitchen? There are two strip lights there....

We've dumped the rubble in the kitchen....

Why won't I be surprised if they roll up this evening.........

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  1. Freedom is a rare treat. Make the most of it while it lasts...!

  2. Steve, ain't it just! I can even make tea by dropping a teabag in a cup...

  3. "Dumped all the rubble in the kitchen..."

    I don't know about you, but that sounds a bit ominous to me...wouldn't most people hire a skip and dump that somewhere else??? Enjoy your BBC.

  4. e, you get used to it...!
    They propose to carry the rubble away in sacks to use as hardcore on the interior road on the finca...waste not, want not...

    On tonight's bulletin they have discovered that the plumbing was not installed properly so that the earth under that part of the house has been washed away...leaving only a fragile 19th century tile between the person stepping out of the shower and oblivion...
    Mr. Fly is having the time of his life and has solved the lightbulb problem by going to a caff for supper.

  5. My "solitude" is the return to work today of My Man.
    Bliss! I can get on with some art work, ignore the boxes of old files ("these have your name on so I didn't want to throw them out in case you want to save them...")that are destined for the recycling bin, I can even ignore the floors!
    Of course, the solitude ends at 5pm when I fetch home again, but still...
    tomato sarnies sound good...

  6. dinahmow...they certainly are! I like cooking, but not for me, except for stuff like hot and sour soup which no one else likes but I love!

  7. Having had Mr A at home for the past 3 months, I can't wait for him to start work again..I really need sometime alone...we all do. Enjoy it while it lasts!

  8. Ayak, by the sound of things I am going to get half a week free for the next couple of months!

  9. Did I miss something? You bought the huge place in San Jose?

    Well, men are all very well and good, IMHO, but they do take up a great deal of valuable time when you can be doing other things. Enjoy your free time, Fly, and thank you so very much for the kind comment. :)

    When you do manage to get the Kindle up and running, I can really recommend a wonderful book I'm reading called: Speak Swahili, Dammit. A beautifully written account of the childhood of a Mzungu child in a remote mining village in Tanganyika in the early 50s. Totally captures the heart of Africa as it once was.

  10. Ooh delicious freedom! You must be in heaven.

    I love it so much I'm not prepared to give it up any time soon. But I might reconsider when the boys finally leave home... years and years hence.

  11. nodamnblog, not the huge place...though I did go back to look. Unfortunately it is divided between five families who have each established 'territory' - five separate kitchens - and messed up the original interior to an extent that even we quailed...not to speak of a huge concrete bunker housing indeterminate uncles which has taken over half the garden, a project to build a three story clinic next door, and the equivalent of an Grade II Listed Building certificate.
    We bought a much smaller place....the entrance hall is the pic on the post..but still in the centre.

    They're back, bringing piles of washing up with them!

    Yes, the book looked interesting from your reading list and I know Mr. Fly will love it.

    Sarah, it has been bliss! And don't I realise it now that they have returned to base!
    At least they are planning to go next week too...and for several afterwards by the sound of the work to be done.

  12. Luck you having 'men away' - I love reading about your life.

    Happy New Year Doll xxx

  13. It sounds like you've been revelling in the luxury of solitude, Fly. And how good both that you have more to look forward to and that Mr Fly is well enough to be able to work on the new house like this. We want more piccies when it's all finished. :-)

  14. Lulu LaBonne...and yours fascinates me! Have a great New Year!

    Perpetua, only when they're away do I realise how much time men take up...
    Yes, it is something I never thought he'd be able to do again...hats off to the Costa Rica NHS!

    Pictures will be forthcoming...including the corrugated horror in the back garden...

  15. Glad you're enjoying your "me" time.

    This post has made me sad though - they're such small pleasures, but this is the rock my relationship has floundered on.

  16. Pueblo girl, I am so sorry.
    You're right, they are small pleasures...and, for some, reason, so begrudged at times.

  17. Glad you had some excellent 'you' time :-)

    Looking forward to piccies of the San Jose project!

  18. Niall and Antoinette, I did indeed and am making plans for next week...getting something done rather than dozing!

    I fell for the house hook, line and sinker! A wooden house built in 1910 when that quarter of San Jose was first developed.

    Here's a link to parts of the area...

    Our house is the bit of white under the big tree in the centre of photograph five.

  19. You're right "The Discovery of France" is really boring. I got it from the library so didn't buy it.
    Olof and I sitting through every episode in a row of "Doc Martin". Wonder if Cornwall is really that nice or jammed full of tourists and tee shirt shops.
    There's no snow this year here in The Frozen North so we're bored and getting fat.

  20. Sharyn, I was really disappointed! Don't those who gave it rave reviews know anything about France?

    Doc Martin! Now that's an idea for my next period of solitude!

    Catherine Higginson over on Survive France has the ideal solution to gaining weight...and I can testify that it works!

  21. Fabulous blog post! You capture the frustrations and comedy of couple-dom beautifully!!

  22. la mujer libre, you couldn't invent men, could you?

  23. Love that quiet time and the way you described the small pleasures - uninterrupted naps, gossip seshes with dear friends, but it's always good when they are back. Great imagery from this post, Fly!

  24. Valerie, yes it is good to have Mr. Fly back happy and naturally tired as opposed to 'illness' tired...but the time to myself is extremely enjoyable!
    At least this time I've done something useful...as well as gossiping and napping....by clearing out the collection of half filled boxes in the spare bedroom.
    Fatal to try with The Men about...