DIY…demain

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As I’ve written here before, life in France is pretty idyllic, although it has its drawbacks.

I don’t mean to gripe, and I imagine that nowhere’s perfect, but when it comes to DIY stores then France certainly isn’t…

Commonly known as ‘bricos’, most DIY stores here – just as in the UK – exist as part of large national chains.

There’s Mr Brocolage, Bricoman, Bricodepot, Bricopro and Bricomarche, as well as Castorama and many others.

I reckon that we must have visited every brico within a 40km radius – and that’s a fuck of a lot of bricos – looking for everything from timber quadrant to tiles.

Shopping around doesn’t begin to describe this lengthy process and you have to if you want to find what you want at a reasonable price.

DIY supplies are pretty expensive compared to the UK and they also vary quite wildly in price and quality.

But there’s also another problem – availability.

Basically, if you see something you want, and it seems to be at a reasonable price, then grab the fucker!

Our local brico – Bricomarche in Renaze – has ‘supply problems’.

For example, I went in for some lasure – a type of varnish for floors. There were only two tins on the shelf, which I bought. I went in a week later and again there were only two tins on the shelf, which I also bought. This week I went in and there were none.

Strimmer line…I went in for a drum of it – the cheapest way of buying it and they had none. A week later they’d had a delivery – 3 drums, one of each of the common sizes: that’s all. Those three drums are still there two weeks later but there’d be only two gathering dust on the shelf if I hadn’t gone elsewhere in the end.

I went in today to buy finishing plaster for some plasterboarding and they had two bags left, so I snapped those babies up, I can tell you.

Light switches – two weeks ago they had about a dozen; today, two, which I snaffled.

Nobody seems too bothered, either…

But, you know what, I sort of like that.

In the grand scheme of things, if I have to go without a light switch or some strimmer line for a few extra days, it’s not really that serious, is it?

It’s just another reminder that life here is just that little bit more relaxed and, if the brico store manager gives me a Gallic shrug when I say that I need some 2.4mm strimmer line, then I can give one to Mrs Shark when I get a gentle reminder that the weeds in the corner of the garden are getting a bit out of control…

The things you see…

I popped into Lidl’s for my monthly shop there  – they sell some excellent cheese, cooked meats and ground coffee, as well as the cheapest coffee filter papers I’ve seen in the UK.

It’s also a great place for varieties of Haribo sweets you can’t seem to find easily anywhere else and also Prosecco.

However, I passed on these:

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