Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

April 11th, 1957 ...

I was born*

(*) Opening line of the novel 'David Copperfield' - Ⓒ Charles Dickens

Thursday, 5 January 2017

A new appliance

I just realized that all my 'new' posts had the word 'new' in it. I didn't do it on purpose. It just came naturally ... probably inspired by the 'new' year and  the 'new' start in blogging. 

Let's continue with this tradition for the rest of January ... we'll see what February will bring. Maybe, by then, everything will be old again ... like this new appliance.

The new diffuser and, for size reference, a standard-size new year's card
that I've received from one of my neighbours in the apartment complex.

To be honest, it's not really an appliance but more a 'gadget-nice-to-have' kind of thing. I would never have gone out shopping for it myself, but having to chose among a internet list of about 60 new year's gifts, value approx. 35 euros each, proposed by my employer, I thought it would be nice to have around.

It's an aroma diffuser! It's really tiny (H 15cm x W 8cm). Inside is a small plastic tank with a volume of 50 cl, that you fill with water to which you can (not mandatory) add a few (2-3) drops of essential oil. 

Last summer I received a 5 ml bottle of essential lavender oil from a colleague who had spend a week in the French Provence. It smells lovely, but there are very few ways using it because the scent is really very strong and overpowering. However, with the aroma diffuser it is just perfect. If it weren't for the noise of the traffic outside - instead of the chirping of crickets - I could just close my eyes and believe I'm actually in the Provence ... a region I have never visited, btw.

PS. I forgot to mention that it also contains a LED light which you can put in 'full' or 'diffuse' mode. Very handy and trendy!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

A new pet

Those of you who know me, know that I'm really fond of cats. I never actually owned one, yet... And I won't for another year or two, because the lease of my apartment clearly stipulates that pets (apart perhaps a goldfish or a hamster in a cage) are not allowed in the complex. 

So I'll wait till the day I have a place of my own ... 

Image from the internet

In the meantime, I will have to make do with Nono for company. Nono is my newly acquired and extremely clever sweeping robot.You may recall that last April I lost my cleaning lady L. She was forced to retire due to a serious heart condition. She was finally called in for open heart surgery in October. The operation was a success, but she is no longer allowed to do heavy work, which is good news for her but very inconvenient for me. It's very hard to find good cleaning help you can fully trust.

That's what I liked about L.. She was not only very thorough and professional, she was also one of the most reliable people I've ever met. Moreover, she was great fun to have around. She used to come in on Thursday afternoon, my day of teleworking. While she cleaned under and around my desk, I dropped in at mother's, just to be out of the way. By the time I came back - approx. an hour later - I could continue working at my usual spot, while she cleaned the rest of the apartment. She stayed well out of my way, in order not to disturb me in my work. 

At half past three she used to emerge from the kitchen with a cup of coffee she had made for herself. I took a short break and shared some 'eclairs' and local gossip with her. She knows almost everybody in the village and all the recent savoury and unsavoury events. It was a great way to stay in touch with village life, which will be very helpful once I am retired.

To make a long story short, I heard about the existence of Nono on the radio. A quick internet search revealed that the robot had two sweeping functions: one 'dry' (an a automatic 'Swiffer' so to say) and one using water and a cleaning liquid.

Meet Nono, here the robot is sweeping my kitchen floor

It has its own battery charger and GPS. Fully charged it has an autonomy of 2 hours. It comes with two types of sweeping rags, one for dusting, one for sweeping. It doesn't do carpets. However, Nono can be a bit cheeky and something finds its way unto a slim carpet. So you can't exactly leave it on its own. It's best to stick around, because sometimes it gets stuck under a low cupboard. When this happens, it emits a panicky 'beep-beep' cry for help and its blue control light flashes red!

If I were to rate this robot, I would give it an 8 out of 10. It's main inconveniences being:

1: Despite its rectangular shape, it's not always efficient in corners (minus 0.25 points).
2: It's very stubborn, and won't always do as you tell ... its GPS being its only master (minus 0,25 points).
3: It feeds on electricity only and doesn't eat '├ęclairs', nor drinks coffee ... and worst of all, it doesn't know any village gossip (minus 1.5 points)!