This year has been difficult in terms of keeping up our supply of firewood. Our regular supplier has not had any available all winter, due to it being inaccessible to his heavy equipment in the wet weather. He dropped off half a stère early one morning, but subsequently, every time I rang, said he couldn't help. (A stère is more or less a cubic metre.)
Monsieur A delivers wood.
So then we turned to Le Bon Coin, where private individuals list stuff of all sorts that they have for sale. I contacted a young man from Lésigny and he brought over what he said was three stères, but looked to me more like two stères. But it was dry, so I paid up and said nothing.
5 cubic metres of firewood, a mixture of oak and hornbeam, and cut to 50 centimetres long.
Quickly the two stères was used up, so just before Christmas I rang Nicolas, the brother of a friend. He'd supplied us with wood once before, but I'd already spoken to him earlier in the winter and he'd said he couldn't take on another client. Nevertheless, with me pointing out it was coming up to Christmas, and any other pitiful tale I could think of to sway him, I finally succeeded in him agreeing to deliver three stères. I was very grateful, because we could genuinely have had a miserable Christmas if he hadn't been generous. I gave him some nice red.
I tackle the pile, which needs to be stacked neatly in the garage.
I mentioned our firewood struggles to my friend Alan, who I volunteer with at the local food bank. He suggested I phone Monsieur G as he had heard he had wood. I did that and Monsieur G said that he didn't have enough to supply me, but 'not to worry, I could rely on him, he would phone around and find someone'. And he did. He told me to phone Monsieur A and say I was referred by him.
Stacking the wood in the garage.
Monsieur A said he could deliver a minimum of five stères and would come and have a look at our driveway to check that his tractor and trailor rig would get up it. He rang me while I was at the ophthalmologists, apologised profusely when he realised, then rang again the next evening to say he would deliver on Wednesday morning around 9am.
The pile when we went for lunch.
Wednesday was fine and frosty, perfect for a wood delivery. Monsieur A reversed carefully down the drive and tipped out his neatly stacked wood on to the ground into an untidy pile. It was a nice mix of oak and hornbeam, good and dry.
Simon and I were getting over a bout of bronchitis, so the thought of moving and stacking five stères of wood didn't sound like the ideal way to spend our day. But needs must. We worked in half hour bursts, with 10 minute breaks. There was a good deal of huffing and puffing, and nose blowing. Then we took a two hour lunch break. After lunch another round of hauling and stacking, for an hour. Then I had an appointment with my GP. Finally, at 4pm I was back, and we finished off the last little bit. Phew! Exhausting.
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