Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Out of control with cruise control

Got back on Tuesday evening after a quick weekend jaunt to Brittany to check up on things and to take over yet more furniture and kids toys.

As I wrote last week I ended up having to hire an estate car from Hertz to go to France as the loan car I had from Enterprise (whilst my car is being repaired) couldn't be insured for overseas use.

The hire car I ended up with was a Ford Mondeo Estate, and although I have to admit to not being a Ford fan, it did have a lot of room inside and went OK. The "killer gadget" that got my attention was cruise control, which is not something I've ever experienced before. The principle of cruise control is dead simple, you set the speed you want to drive at and can increase and decrease it via steering wheel buttons.

At first I found cruise control incredibly frightening as if you set it at (say 60mph), you'd soon find the car in front had slowed down slightly and I'd be inexorably accelerated towards a collision - requiring a rapid jump on the brakes to disengage the cruise control. After scaring myself silly a few times I started to get the hang of it and found that I actually did quite like the feature.

In France there's much less traffic around (and in my opinion much better lane discipline on the roads) so it was a doddle to sit cruising along for mile after mile along the autoroute from Boulogne to Brittany. Even in the UK I found it useful to ensure that I remained under the speed limit and I'm sure I annoyed one or two other motorists by sticking precisely to 50mph when they were tailgating me in the M25 roadworks !

So cruise control goes on the list of desired features when I replace my Nissan Primera.

As for my trip to Brittany I got quite a lot done, I think the tally sheet was:
   Gate - rebuilt, repainted and repaired
   Builder - doing well with the plastering and due to start on the new windows next
   New sockets and TV in the master bedroom - installed
   Garden - looking good, the gardener's making a difference and there are less weeds around
   New kids slide - built
   Latch on the other set of gates - repaired and screwed back on
   Saucepan lid - repaired
   Air vent over the velux window - repaired
   Shower control - temporarily repaired, will have to be replaced

As usual there was a mixture of doing things I had planned to do and having to repair minor breakages and damage around the house. Just one of the considerations of running a holiday home I guess

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