...or it seems a long time, but actually I see that it has only been just over two weeks. An eventful two weeks...
In mid-January I got a call to say that my stepfather (who was in a home) had died, and his funeral would probably be early February. As I would go back to England for this, I knew I would have to close the shop and it made me think whether running the shop this second time around, was actually a viable proposition. I knew that it wasn't. From November to January I had taken €118, opening 3 days a week, using electricity for heating and driving a 60 kilometre round trip each day. No contest. I decided to close the business, have a grand sale and get rid of as much stock as I could. Then I got an email saying the funeral was to be earlier than previously thought - the 25th January, to be precise, so I had to do everything in a bit of a hurry.
I had the sale, closed the business formally and ended my status as AutoEntrepreneur and paid my dues for the meagre takings over the three months. I duly booked my crossing, via Eurotunnel, and off I went.
What I unfortunately forgot to do in the rush, was to turn off the water and drain down the pipes and - yes - you've guessed it - Le Dorat had the coldest winter since the 1950s, with the lowest temperatures exceeding minus19 degrees! Lots of people had burst pipes, and they were occupying their houses at the time! Fortunately I have wonderful English neighbours who heard the running water, investigated and turned it off in the street. A zillion thanks to Polly and Colin of Maison Lapeyriere.
So now I am back - having stayed on in the UK for yet another funeral (that of my mother-in-law) - and trying to deal with the shop.
Oh - I forgot to mention that, 2 days after the flood, someone broke into the shop and stole the fridge-freezer, the microwave and the coffee machine from the upstairs kitchen. Just my luck!
So, now I am boxing up all the things that were in the shop and the flat above and storing them in the barn at my other house until I can think of what I am going to do with them. There are no charity shops here like in England, and I really don't want to get up at the crack of dawn in the summer to do a brocante, where most of the things will not sell anyway. As the majority of things are china or glass, or heavy, like the two typewriters and the sewing machine, putting them on eBay is not an option. Any ideas?
I am a bit paranoid now thinking that, if another break-in happens, they will find it dead easy to take everything else as it is all neatly wrapped and packed!