THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
The Last Big Run

At ease in Aquitaine

IMG_6138It is remarkable how cool it is (in the literal as well as the figurative sense) inside the 17th Century French home where I am fortunate to be a guest. Outside it’s been unpleasantly warm at times. Inside it’s crisply cool. The walls are made of thick stone and the floors are tiled. One cannot achieve the same efficient result in modern buildings without expensive air conditioning. If they could time travel, our ancestors might wonder why, with all our other advances, our technologists can't replicate the insulating properties of stone. It would save a lot of energy.

The only downside is that it blocks wifi and cellular signals. As there's a penthouse element to my London apartment, the concrete slab of the roof  divides my two floors and has the same effect in relation to wifi. I suggested they invest in some of the adapters I use to make my electrical mains function as an ethernet and create additional wifi zones. That wouldn't solve their problem with cellular signals, but my phone is set to use wifi calling at home and they could do the same. There's a sweet spot where their Skylink network is powerful where they have their home office set up, so I have had a good connection when I need one.

I had a restful first full day here, performing some duties in Second Life®, catching up on episodes of the TV show I was watching back home before the trip began, reading in and by the pool and generally chilling. I feel very relaxed and happy. Babička has attended to our nutritional needs and it's been wonderful to have home cooking. It will take a while to readjust to my diet of Marks & Spencer ready meals when I get home!

The two grandmothers are each excited in their own ways (two more different characters could scarcely be conceived) about meeting their new granddaughter and of course the grandson they already have in common. Babička's daughter and her family arrived in London from the Middle East on Saturday. They are staying in her home there and will fly here on Monday. There's a barbecue planned for Monday evening, which I am looking forward to.

I will head off to Bilbao, my penultimate stop on the way home, on Tuesday morning. I am hoping for clear skies so I can drive with the roof down all the way, rendering the lack of air-conditioning irrelevant. Even if that's not possible, I'll be happier knowing there's no companion in discomfort because of it. I did my best to fix it, having spent about €1,500 in Lorraine on an AC service kit, but still Speranza is my car and I have felt guilty. Also the poor lady has not been able to make herself heard over the wind noise, so I have missed much of her wisdom that might otherwise have elevated my being.

There was a spectacular thunderstorm at night and I left my door out onto the yard open to enjoy the display.


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