This has been floor sanding week.
Monday. Go to brico shed in Saint Girons to collect drum and edge sanders we've booked. But no - desolé madame, but they are both en panne (broken down; bust; buggered), thanks to last hirer. I've been here long enough now to simply shrug. Come home and phone friendly hire company in Foix that we've used before (and should have used in the first place) to book sanders for tomorrow.
Tuesday. John drives to Foix at - or rather before - the crack of dawn to collect sanders and ten thousand sanding sheets. Struggle upstairs with them - big machine weighs in at over 65 kilos. Set it up. Switch it on. Oh joy - it has a solid dust compartment, not a bag like the ones I've used before, so makes almost no dust. Ah ... this is going to be easy. One complete pass over the floor - and it stops dead. The drive belt has gone. Broken down, bust, buggered. Shout, swear, shrug. We decide to carry on with the edge sander (with which we have to sand the entire 20 metre mezzanine area as we've just put a semi spiral staircase in and can't get The Brute up it) and exchange the other one tomorrow. Edge sander, however, has a mind of its own, and is not inclined to do anything we want it to. It leaps manically across the floor, with one (and occasionally both) of us attached and clinging for dear life as it threatens to throw us off the mezzanine edge. I give up on it and go back to my belt sander. John persists. And so the day passes, and the evening too, and in fact half the night.
Wednesday. Back to Foix and hire company at 7.30am, exchange machine, home. Struggle upstairs. I pass a happy morning walking up and down with Brute Number Two, who turns out to be rather pleasant, and efficient, company, though not exactly entertaining on the conversation front. John's back on the edge sander, which has the bizarre attribute of having a dust bag with the opening at the bottom. Spend afternoon and evening polishing out edge sander marks with random orbital, appropriately called excentrique here.
Thursday. Back to Foix. Again. Planned trip onwards to Toulouse to hit the sales is postponed because we're on a vigilance orange - severe weather warning - for snow and ice. Buy floor finishing essentials and come home. It starts to snow heavily just as we drive up our track. Carry on sanding.
Friday. Wake to 25 centimetres of snow. Power up and down and on and off like yoyo. It takes two of us nine hours - nine hours! - to clear up all the wood dust. Commune's snow plough reaches us by lunchtime, amazingly, but still too much snow to think about going anywhere. Prepare to be here until next Thursday, when cold snap is supposed to end. Minus 8 tomorrow, apparently.