2nd June 2013

What shakes me up more than anything else?  People coming to stay. Don't get me wrong - it's lovely having people round, but the 2 weeks before?  Panic.  I think of those awful TV programmes like Come Dine with me, where guests go round the house whilst you're busy in the kitchen, surreptitiously looking for dust on bedroom shelves, under beds etc. There's nowhere to hide, but where to start?  I sometimes think the 'worst' kind of houses are old French stone houses like ours.  Nothing quite seems to fit. Doors don't quite shut. Electricity isn't always reliable, the plumbing gurgling at night.  But, at least we've now had guest bathroom fittings installed - even though the ceiling height means those over 5' 10 will need to shower sitting down! Outside too, there are so many little wooden log cupboards, dog niches and the like - all full of spider webs and gecko-retreats. So, if guests expect the English norms of shiny brass door fittings, deep-pile carpet and patio doors that glide to perfection, they're in for a bit of a shock. There're other differences too which I've yet to fathom.  Why are French houses so often sited at angles to the road?  Sometimes they're facing sideways, like ours, and I've seen others with their backs to the front, if you see what I mean.  Bizarre. So, am I excited at people arriving?  Yes!  But are they prepared for the obvious culture shock - that's the question.

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