This morning we meet up with Janie and Hugh for tea and cakes. Except it was only tea as Janie forgot we were visiting! Not a good start. Slight prick in my ego, but there you go. We are housesitting for them briefly in Auriac-sur-Dropt for a few days at the end of May just before we pop over to the UK. They are only 25 minutes from Les Lèves-et-Thoumeyragues so we suggested driving down to see them rather than Skype. Very nice people and all good so will let you know how it goes. Just a tiny little dog, 2 cats and a cockerel with 3 hens!
This afternoon there was an impromptu Senija Group partners meeting to evaluate progress so far and confirm the strategy for the remainder of 2018. The meeting was prompted by our experiences to date. Whilst good blog material it has helped us revisit our priorities and what it is that we want. It takes a short time to decide and we now put the new approach into action. What is it? That would be telling!
Jo didn’t leave enough dog meat so we purchase some as they do need it. Not being a dog or an expert on these matters I still have a view on what a dog likes. So I ask Sarah to get a brand that has lots of gravy. I don’t like that hard meatloaf stuff that is all dry. We end up with something much better although I think it makes puppy fart, so not such a good idea. Especially when it is so foul.
Its 10:00 pm. Sarah has gone to bed … late. Puppy and Big Dog are with me in the lounge. I alternate between stoking the fire and updating my blog. Outside is a strange noise. I look out of the glass door leading to the veranda. It is Buzz, the black cat. Again he has a gift and is meowing between his gritted teeth and the mouse that his jaw is clasping. He will not release. It goes on and on … and well … on and on. This time the mouse still has its head. The noise gets louder and so I have to switch off. I don’t know if Buzz will be offended. All I do know is that he has a way in if need be, through the window at the top of the house that Jo leaves open for the cats to come and go. It has a grill so secure in any other regard. But I don’t want to wake up to a Godfather movie scene with a mouse’s head on the bed.
I suspect that he will think me ungrateful, but I am not. Down at the tack room where the horse and bird feed is kept I have noticed that the large sack of maize has been nibbled in the corner the last few days. The following morning I discover that the mouse has been abandoned on the doormat. Later when I go down to the tack room I find another one floating in a bucket of water. Perhaps Buzz is moistening this one for later. But I guess Buzz catches a mouse … and another one turns up … and then another…
This was the most bizarre day of our stay here. If you have been following this adventure you may have read the earlier blog from our first few days at Le Peyrail and the irritating fact that we would not be alone for the first week due to the incumbent lodger and the German guests that were sprung upon us. Well … listen on. It was about 2:50 pm and the landline rang. We tend to leave it as the calls are for Jo and usually someone rambles on in French or they just hang up when they hear our Australian version of Bonjour. It seems in fact that it was Jo herself calling from her parents house in the UK as moments later I received a text message from Jo saying she also tried my mobile. As the signal can be quite weak the phone does not always ring and goes straight to voicemail. Another feature of being here. Without word of a lie and word for word, letter for letter this is the transcription of the text message that I received. My additions in italics.
“Hi Sarah and David … I’ve left a message on David’s phone begging you to get me out of a scrape with a client who I thought had cancelled their booking but have not and are arriving in about an hour!!! …. Yes, you did read that right .. in a bloody hour! Could you do the booking and I will pay you for it??? They want a double and two single rooms … that might be tricky too!!! You could put them in Wantans room and the upstairs attic room or the end one?? Oh my I’m so sorry I am such a crap business person?!!! Please let me know what you think … I’m holding back … and if you are ok to help. The guests are lovely German people called Thanner she is Renate and they speak English. Oh my …”
And it finished, just like that! Yep .. oh my!
Sarah and I looked at each other in total, utter, disbelief! This can’t be true. It just can’t be bloody true! What the f*ck! Then I thought it was a wind up. That perhaps darling Eileen was up to her tricks again. Having suffered a minor heart attack after her last text I thought she was trying to finish me off. If she doesn’t want us to housesit just say … why submit us to this torture. But no, the text was from Jo. In seconds we went from shock, disbelief, denial to a blank white world where we all floated and nothing mattered anymore. … could have been the wine though…
To start with the house was not in a welcoming guest state. Hey, funnily enough that was because we were not expecting any guests because we are housesitting not running a business for our host. And to add, it has been raining like fuck here and everything is damp, the floor in the bathroom and kitchen are leaking, we have a towel down on the bathroom floor to mop everything up and there is no dryer to get the sheets and towels in a usable state.
Without the pleasantries Sarah uses my phone to summarise the situation with Jo and that we cannot do this. Although invited, Sarah actually didn’t tell Jo what she thought and I think that it was just as well that Jo was in the UK. A series of texts went backwards and forwards as Jo went into a state of shear panic. She was now looking for alternative accommodation for her guests, a B&B in Le Chollet. About 40 minutes later 2 of the 4 guests turned up. Jo had text them, but they still headed here to Le Peyrail as they were meeting their other 2 friends. Sarah was apologetic while I tried to help her Mum Deidre who had called us from the UK because she had received a scam phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft, saying that her computer was corrupted and they needed to guide her through a reboot. This is a well known scam that has been going on for some time. What they actually do is take control of your computer through a series of tasks that gives them access to your data. So if you get one of these calls just ignore it.
And so back to the German guests, who are not guests. It seems that they had booked, would you believe it, I don’t believe it, I just don’t believe it … for 4 nights. Yes, 4 bloody nights and Jo thought we would just bend over and let her ram that one up our arses. What?! What?! What?! Sarah invites them in from the far front door so they navigate the first hanging sticky tape of flies, over the first dog bowl into the kitchen where there is the first dog snarling, another dog bowl of water slopped all over the floor, cats on the kitchen top and Big Dog playing roundabouts. Having navigated the kitchen and the last sticky tape of dead flies they step up into the lounge and walk over to the veranda door. They step outside and comment how lovely it is. What?! Are you fu*king blind or what? Or stupid or what, what, what?
More texting and phone calls. Sarah calls Janie who we met in Auriac yesterday to see if the Gite is available and she gives us a phone number that we pass on. Sarah offers them to come back and have tea if they get stuck or need to wait for their friends, but the germans return to their car and go down to the farm house that they visited prior to arriving at Le Peyrail because they couldn’t find the address. Oh really! Apparently the farmer was going to help. Not that we wouldn’t, but he spoke french and that does help in these sorts of circumstances. Jo texts that she is in touch with her boyfriend Ian to see if his airbnb is available. Incidentally … He returned to France on Sunday and didn’t have the courtesy all week to phone, visit or make any sort of contact.Eventually Jo finds somewhere for them in Les Leves next to the poney club … oh my god they are sleeping in a stable. It must be Jesus of Munich! Anyway, probably better than here actually. The germans return with their friends and the lady wants to use the toilet. Go for your life sweetheart. Make your way through all our stuff, past the clothes horse with our clothes because it’s not dry enough to put anything outside and squash through the dripping wet towel on the bathroom floor and thank your lucky stars you are not sleeping here tonight! Why don’t you just pull your knickers down and piss on the floor!
And then they depart like they were never here.
Sarah and I look at each other. All we can do is laugh, but a crazy sort of creepy laugh. Then I become curious. Why do I get a text now when Jo wants something and she never replied to my other texts or WhatsApp link. I check the number that she text me on and it is different to the one she gave to me. Jeepers I have been using the wrong number all along. Did she actually give me the number? Did I look it up wrongly? Did I write it down incorrectly? I just can’t remember, but I need to know. I go back over the TrustedHousitter emails from her … and there it is in black and white … the last 3 digits of her number are 491 … but she gave me 494!!!
The fury “Pop-Up” roundabout!
Until next time 🌏