Sometimes I compare our arrival on this island to Peter Mayles's Year in Provence. Other than being in a beautiful place, with quirky neighbours and a bit of cultural dissonance, our life is really much different.
Check for instance, the above picture. My brother is demonstrating extreme resourcefulness in a desperate situation. The hole in front of him is the old septic tank, full, yes, of what we will gracefully call "sludge". In the course of trying to pump it out with a rented, under-powered waste pump, the filtering end of the intake device, er, "came off". And dropped into the "sludge".
After a well-deserved episode of colourful language, Rob decided the best way to retrieve the metal end would be with a powerful magnet. But here, you can't just run down to the hardware store and pick one up. Or jet back to London, a la the Mayles, and return after some good meals and shopping to find that your quirky neighbours have fixed things for you.
So, here is where the Free Store triumphs again. We had a pair of stereo speakers that we had picked up from the Free Store, thinking they might be useful if we ever had a party. Now, they were our best and most convenient source of MAGNETS. A few bold cuts with the utility knife, some duct tape and a length of twine, and Rob had the perfect retrieval device. He got the filter out on his first cast into the murky depths.
And, far less dramatically, here I am in the garden, picking lettuce for a salad.