A daughter of the village had an 18th birthday party this week. A celebratory lunch was held in the salle de fetes for relatives and selected locals. Speeches were made and much wine flowed. I tried to work out who was who but both parents had new partners and new kinsfolk and it proved too complicated.

The new chateau owners were present and we went round there in the evening to examine the work carried out. I was told that the living space there amounts to more than 2,000 square metres, which means nothing to me. Himself’s computer was powered up so that he can run his business and a shower in the cellar has hot water. Some of the roof is now watertight and a machete has been hacking its way through the worst of the cobwebs. But with very rudimentary services, very limited power and very little furniture, it all looked a bit bleak.

I go to a new dentist in an hour or two and will spend more than €1000 on new plastic teeth. The last ones I had broke half a dozen times and this should not happen. I have had dreadful teeth all my days and if I’m lucky these should see me out. I’m distressed to see that NHS falsies are capped at £244.30 but it’s too late and too complicated to fly to the UK to be sorted out.

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