Now some of you may already know but we recently invested in an electric car and I do mean completely electric. Now said vehicle was situated in a town called Bar Le Duc which is approximately 780km from home in the north of France close to the Belgian border infact. After consultation with the salesman he was not willing to transport the vehicle for free and suggested to Gavin that seeing as he was a farmer he would be able to make a plan. So Gavin decides he will go and fetch the car. How complicated could it be...
The train to get there worked out fine and the overnight hotel was also good, the learn to drive your new electric car lesson was also good.
However the reaon why our car was considerably cheaper than any other electric car in France was that the Bar Le Duc garage did not have a charging point that worked so that meant leaving without a full charge. Aha...light bulb moment...
Renault have a policy that if you run out of power they have a breakdown service that will come out and fetch you and take you to the nearest charging point for free... No Gavin did not end up constantly returning to the same point. He made it as far as Troyes and then learnt that when your electric car has 10km left in the battery that is exactly what it means. So 2km from Troyes he had to phone the breakdown service to tow him in and then had to find somewhere to sleep for the night.
Lesson learnt the following day he was a little more cautious. So after 82 hours,14 charges (not all of them full charges) 8 at Renault, 4 at multi storey car parks, 1 at a Town Hall car park and 1 at a Leclerc supermarket. He returned home. Car park tickets 2.90 euros. Cost of refuelling ZERO.
The charging takes between 6 and 11 hours depending on the speed of the charging station.
Gavin said that the people en route were great the car was fantastic to drive (I can second that now). The scenery along the Loire was beautiful even though the weather north of the river was not up to much. The worst thing about the trip was that french public toilet facilities leave a lot to be desired, so he ended up spending more on food than anticipated just to have access to a clean loo.
We have started on the rather arduous job of replacing the plastic sheeting on our sheep tunnel before winter starts. I know it looks like Patrick is the only one doing some work but he is making up for down time after rather spectacularly leaving the quad whilst racing Abbey (the dog) back from the bottom of the field. Abbey won. He now requires a stool to reach his pride. With any luck he will be more cautious in the future, though I have my doubts. He is having fun with machinery this week as he ran out of battery power in our John Deere garden mower at the bottom of the farm and had to walk back home twice to find something to jump start it with. I think he is looking forward to going back to the uk next week where the equipment works and he can't fall off it.
A friend of ours Karen,is starting a new business selling store cupboard groceries from the uk she intends to have a stall at Riberac market soon and will be availble to customers on Saturday morning when Gavin is at The Butchery.
See you all soon
Yes Number one child (Patrick in case you had forgotten) has returned to the flock for a brief period of what he thought was going to be catch up with mates, a bit of paperwork and a touch of leisurely navel gazing.....
Ha ha ha Gavin got wind of the arrival of a spare pair of arms and legs and hastily set in motion his cunning plan to do a tour of France, to fetch our new car and have a kind of bizarre, whacky, Gavin-Franklin-style road trip/holiday. He is currently in Amilly charging (the car) and he left yesterday from Bar Le Duc. Only another 490 km ish to go. ETA dunno possibly Friday, I will let you know if he has arrived next week.
We digress back to the youthful shepherd/dogsbody.....
We are very lucky that we invested years of training to produce children who are habituated to a life of hard labour and drudgery. So young, healthy, Patrick willingly took up the offer of a few days gadding about on the quad.... "looking like he was"..... (sorry Patrick I meant to type "actually" but my fingers got the better of me)...... doing some work, safe in the knowledge that soon he would be long gone, back in the land of money, pub grub and easy access to that fine Irish beverage known to most as Guiness.
Thus far things are running according to plan the sheep are doing thankfully not what they usually do and are staying in their paddocks, and even though the weather is feeling decidedly chilly and autumnal the wet is staying away.
We are just about to start on a couple of weeks of school holidays again with the run up to the Toussaint hols, otherwise known as All Saints Day. I am certain the children were only just at home all the time for the summer vacation. Life is whizzing past at a disturbing rate. And yes you know what that means, it is now a mere 71 days until that fateful day. Which to me means I have an awful lot of organising to do. Fortunately I have put some hams in the cure and I have actually decided on the stuffing for this years Christmas Lamb roast. Now all I need to do is tell some people about it.
Our Fleet of Tractors! (and Abbey)
A couple of weeks ago our trusty vacuum that arrived second hand (from my Mum) when we first came over to France 11 years ago started to make quite disturbing death rattle noises emanating from its motor. Hmm not good. It has never been the geatest vacuum in the world and we have always purchased other vacuums in between which have lasted various amounts of months or years in between. On reflection I think we have killed about 6 or maybe 7 vacumm cleaners in our time in France. However the one from my Mother has always been a dependable back up plan despite its irritating filter system and lack of suck power.
The purchase of a new vacuum cleaner was a distressing process as I am not one to follow the pack and purchase a brand name as invariably they cost the earth and are no better than the cheap ones. So I decided to consult with my Bed and Breakfast friend on the subject figuring that she has probably trialed quite a lot of vacuum cleaners. After much discussion about quantity of animal hair and general dust that is in our house due to the nature of our work, the conclusion was we would have to get a Dyson. With intrepidation I started to check out prices.....and hey ho imagine my delight when I discover they are significantly cheaper in France than in UK and are quite comparable with other vacuum cleaner prices, and that they would deliver in 2 days.
We are now a couple of weeks into our Dyson days and I am still emptying the container every five minutes. Surely our house isn't that dirty but after consultation with B and B friend again she said it was the same with their house and business initially. The theory is that because the Dyson is actually cleaning properly we are making up for 11 years of bad vacuuming.
So I have turned into a Dyson bore and we will see now if it stands the test of time and farming. I live now in fear that one day I may become an "Apple" bore and follow in the footsteps of my husband who as you can see above is a John Deere bore.
See you all soon
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area