I had to face facts, no matter how much I told myself it might be ok if I just let things settle for a bit, the black goo that filled the hydrometer when I checked the battery charge confirmed that this one particular battery was broken, as they say in the construction industry, with a capital "F".
Fortunately it is just one of a pair which serve to keep our lights and pumps running, and of course the refrigerator when we have no shore power, so we do not have a crisis of any great magnitude. Without going into a long discourse on what makes a battery a battery, it is suffice to say that light, pump and refrigerator batteries have different characteristics to the ones we use to start combustion engines.
Therefore before heading off in search of someone who could help, I spent some time ensuring that I had the correct terminology in my head, and in the event that it left my head even fleetingly, written in large letters on a piece of paper held securely in my pocket,.
Incredibly perhaps, my efforts at communication were entirely successful, which meant that following each "no, sorry, (shrug)" I received in response to my enquiries, I was able to elicit from the shrugee directions successively from tyre company to auto accessory shop to anywhere within walking distance of the preceding place having established as I went that each of them stocked only the wrong type of battery, and no it's not possible to order one in.
In a way I can't say that I was unhappy, because as each new direction was given as to where I may find one of the wretched things, I found myself being lured further and further from the boat like a child being lured into the forest by the smell of fresh gingerbread perhaps, and I must admit I began to be wary of the prospect of lugging thirty or so kilograms of battery across Epinal, arriving splashed in acid with arms dragged from their sockets.
As that wariness grew into fear, I sensibly abandoned my pursuit of a battery and set off for the bank in order to settle the small matter of payment for our new bicycles.
But how quickly we forget.
Today is Monday, the day that bankers reserve for anything but banking. It's like a Sunday really in their eyes, so with that in mind we became bankers for a day and went for a long walk through the ruins of the Chateau, drank cool drinks in the shade of a tree, and wondered what anyone that didn't work in a bank was doing.