Category Archives: radio anglais

Monday 4th November 2019 – I’M BACK …

… in business!

This morning I took my completed project up to the weekly meeting of this organisation. I mentioned that I didn’t think all that much of what I had done but they were delighted, saying that it’s better than they expected.

And so I have the green light to go.

But go where? I hear you say. And I reply that you’ll find out on Friday evening at about 21:00 CET, 20:00 UK time, 15:00 EST etc etc.

Last night was a pretty late night and I’m not quite sure why because it wasn’t if I had anything special to do. Nevertheless, I still staggered out of bed before the third alarm, for which I am grateful.

Even so, there was plenty of time to go off on a nocturnal ramble. Back on board a ship again last night with two certain people who might (or might not) have been representing Castor and Pollux. We were having some kind of drawing thing, we had to draw something and label it. I was drawing something about the cliffs and the sea, that kind of thing and I was wondering about other people – like these two for example, I was wondering about what what they were doing because theirs didn’t seem to bear any resemblance to what was being asked at all. They had some strange figures that looked like girls and I wondered why they had included those in the drawing when there was no real need to. And it was all in blue too in this dream and I’ve no idea why, everything was in the colour blue (like some of my photos on that trip).

After the medication and breakfast I had a shower and cleaned myself up somewhat, then added yesterday’s photos to the blog and transcribed some dictaphone notes before heading off for my meeting.

On the way back, I called at LIDL and spent a lot of money. Mostly on a thermal ski undershirt seeing as the ski gear is now in the shops. If ever I get back to the Arctic (which is unlikely) it will come in handy.

They had carrots at a give-away price of e0:69 per kilo so I bought a kilo and I’m going to make some more carrot soup. But with less ginger this time.

And I learnt something exciting today too.

Last year in September I was in a town in North Greenland called Uummannaaq and I met a couple of people there. Subsequently I met two others when I was on my travels.

And to my surprise, a couple of them will actually be in Granville in a couple of weeks’ time, playing some music on stage at the local theatre. There were a few tickets left too, so I roped in Liz and Terry and bought some tickets.

It’s been a while since I went out for an evening.

After lunch, I finished off today’s load of dictaphone entries and then went off for a walk.

weird sunlight ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceFirst thing that I noticed was some weird lighting effect on the sea over to the Ile de Chausey.

It’s difficult to know what’s going on with that. It could be just the way that the low autuln sunlight is shining through a few holes in the clouds.

But it gave the whole thing a really surreal vista, as if we are about to be visited by something from Outer Space.

That is, if we haven’t already had visitors therefrom. I’ve no idea where they find THESE people.

At first I thought “you cannot be Sirius”, but on reflection I’m not ruling this out completely. After all, I’ve always said that anyone supporting Brexit must be living on a different planet to the one on which the rest of us are living.

helicopter granville manche normandy franceAnd while I was musing on the foregoing, I really DID think that I was about to be visited by beings from Outer Space

But the noise that I heard coming from the air behind me was in fact from a helicopter. Someone has got their chopper out by the looks of things and they were flying pretty low round the headland.

Whatever they might have been looking for, they didn’t find it. Instead, they flew off down the coast in the direction of Mont St Michel

seagull photobomb baie de mont st michel pointe de carolles granville manche normandy franceBeaten and battered by Storm Amelie, I staggered on around the headland and, for a change just recently, there was a really good view across to the Pointe de Carolles.

Such a nice view in fact that I went to photograph it and was the victim of a delightful photo-bomb from a seagull.

It’s not the first time that I’ve had an intruder in one of my photos, but it’s certainly one of the best and closest encounters that I’ve had. I hope that he doesn’t want royalties.

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy franceAs I said just now, the storm is raging just as violently as it has done these last few days.

The tide is a long way from being right in, but nevertheless you can see what the waves are doing – sending their spray right up and over the sea wall into the tidal harbour.

It’s surely no coincidence that there are no pedestrians out there strolling around on the wall. The wouldn’t need a shower at all.

On that note I went back to the apartment and much to my surprise I actually ran up one of the flights of steps. And I haven’t done that for years. I must be doing a little better than I have been, and I wonder if this new medication might have anything to do with it.

The time until tea was spent working on this project and trying to organise myself (a hopeless task). I have to focus myself much more now that people are expecting things from me and relying on me to do things. They clearly don’t know me very well yet.

Tea was a stuffed pepper (with plenty of stuffing left for taco rolls) and spice rice followed by rice pudding. The pepper was sourced from a different supplier today and was thicker-skinned, so it hadn’t cooked as well as they usually do, which was a shame. But the stuffing was delicious.

This evening I was on my own for my walk around the walls. Hardly surprising seeing as the rain, which had held off for most of the day, decided to let go about 30 seconds after I put my foot outside.

Brigitte was just coming in so we had a little chat.

And as for my run, I fell well short tonight. Like 100 metres short. I blame all the rice myself, but trying to run headlong into a howling gale didn’t help matters much.

Now before going to bed I’m going to listen to some music and do some web page updating before I’m going to bed. I haven’t done any today yet and I really must crack on.

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france
storm high winds tempete amelie port de granville harbour manche normandy france

Monday 28th October 2019 – FOR PUDDING TONIGHT …

… I had some tinned fruit salad with some of that coconut cream stuff that I like.

And that can only mean one thing – and that is that today I went to the LeClerc supermarket.

And how did I do that seeing as Caliburn isn’t as yet mobile? The answer is rather simple. I walked.

But let’s not go getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s put things in their correct order.

We started off with the three alarms as usual and I fell out of bed about 20 minutes after the final call. That’s not bad going these days, although I really would like to be out of bed maybe 20 minutes before the last call rather than 20 minutes after.

Even though the night hadn’t been as early as I would have liked, there was still plenty of time to go on a little ramble or two during the night.

I can’t remember now exactly where I was when I started off but it certainly was somewhere, and I needed to get home. I had to buy a lot of things and I was wondering how I was going to spread my money out to do this sort of thing. One of the things that I could do would be to leave my monthly ticket on the tram until the very last thing. So I was walking over to somewhere to do something or other and I saw a tram that went halfway around the ring road. I thought “God I need to get on that”. But then I thought “never mind. I can always get on the next one”. I ended up back in the office again and went down into the administration area to check on something, and noticed that the map on the wall was no longer there. Where has the map of the city gone? How am I supposed to know my way around without any reference to the map of the city? Someone else came in so I asked them “where has the map of the city gone?”. This person replied that it hadn’t been there for a while. I said that it was here earlier this morning. They replied that it wasn’t, so we had a “yes – no interlude” until I awoke.
Back asleep two minutes later I was getting ready to go on holiday and I got one of my cars ready. First of all I had to go and pick up Alison from her market stall. So off I went. She was selling cloth and was ready to pack up so I started to pack up for her, got everything ready and drover her back home. I went home again and started to get all my stuff ready and had to pick her up at about 22:00 when she finished her next market stall that night. So round about 21:45 although hadn’t finished packing, but it was only a 5 or 10 minute job that needed doing. So I said to the person with me that I’d go and pick up Alison and then come back and have 5 hours sleep, then I can get up and arrange everything and we can get off. This girl was astonished that I had got ready so quickly and I was quite pleased as well. She asked if five hours sleep would be enough, and what about the heavy stuff? I replied that I could get that into the car myself. She asked if anything needed working, to which I replied that I could do that when we are on the road – it’s no big deal. She was pleased and would tell Hans that we were ready. From there I went to work and parked my car somewhere and what I had to do – I went in a different car to pick up Alison as I probably needed the space and I could come back to the office afterwards, park this car and take mine home, and take the third car away in the morning. But when I got to the market stall Alison wasn’t there, and there were four women in her place selling tea and biscuits. Without thinking, I went to clamber over the stall, but it suddenly occurred to me, by the way that they were shouting and waving, that it wasn’t very strong and I might break it. So I had to climb back again. But they asked this boy a really weird question, and he actually got it right. That made me think about Champollion (…I’d been reading about him during the day as it happens …) the 11 year old genius. Everyone was pleased that this boy had got it right and he was beaming. Suddenly Alsion appeared again, so I told her that I was nearly ready but she said that she had a lot to do so we started to pack up her stall and that was when the alarms dragged me into the daylight.

First port of call was the medication of course and then it was breakfast time. And once I’d dealt with that and doe a few things that needed doing, I went off for a shower, a change of clothes and a clean-up.

At 09:00 I hit the streets in the rainstorm (and luckily I haven’t managed to lose my yellow rainjacket quite yet) and headed off all the way across town to the Centre Agora in the Quartier St Nicolas. That’s the building where people go when they don’t have access to the internet, so they can use the computers and internet there, and it’s a kind of social centre and advice bureau.

Quite a few years ago now, I was involved in a project in the Auvergne and it was one of the things that was abandoned when I became ill. But the world is far too small for my liking, as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … and when someone formerly from Clermont-Ferrand and now living in Granville came across my name and the fact that I too am now living in Granville and may be able to help him out, a meeting was inevitable, I suppose.

But as for what it might be, one must jamais vendre le peau d’ours avant de l’avoir tué as they say around here, and there will be more of this subject anon.

Seeing as I was about halfway there, I decided to trudge on in the rainstorm and make my way to LeClerc. I had a good lap around the supermarket and bought some stuff to make more meals. They had the burgers that I like and also some of that thin brick pastry. I’d seen Rachel using that to make some vegetable samosas which were pretty good, so no reason why I can’t have a go.

Back in the rain all the way home where I made myself a coffee and my and sat down to relax for a good while.

This afternoon I made more inroads into the dictaphone notes and that’s another 7 transcribed, including the two during the dictation of which I went back to sleep – in mid-dictate.

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper with spicy rice and I do have to say that it was the best stuffed pepper that I have ever made. And I’m not sure why it’s different from any other stuffed pepper that I have made because it was made in exactly the same way.

And then the walk around the headland in the cold and wind. And another run too, although I didn’t manage as far as last night but that was because I was running up hill, I reckon. I need to learn to walk before I run, don’t I?

But the fitbit tells an interesting story (it’s still working despite the strap, lodged firmly in my trouser pocket). I’ve done … errr … 194% of my daily activity today and walked a total of 16.4 kilometres. That’s not bad for someone who is at death’s door with but a short time to live, is it?

What shall I do to follow that, I wonder.

Monday 26th October 2015 – AND THERE I WAS …

… deep in the arms of Morpheus, when the alarm went off. And I sat bolt upright and as I did so, all memory of where I’d been and what I’d been doing was completely wiped away.

After an early breakfast I reviewed everything that I’d written, collected up some music and then shot off to Marcillat, dodging the tractors on the way.

Recording the programmes didn’t take long, but what did take a good while was to find the events for the next month. We hadn’t been sent the dates by the tourist information office and the office was closed today. But scrounging around produced enough events to make up a decent programme or two.

Back at Liz and Terry’s, we had lunch (I had what was left over from last night) and vegan ginger cake, and Terry and I made some plans for the rest of the week.

Recording the Radio Arverne sessions was straightforward too and then Liz and I went off to do some shopping. With grapes at just €2:49 a kilo I bought a supply, but it goes without saying that they didn’t make it home.

In exchange for a coffee, Liz showed me how to use my mobile phone as a modem to power my laptop and now I can use my laptop anywhere in France provided that there’s a mobile phone signal, even if there isn’t a wi-fi signal.

Back here I had some work to catch up on and I made a quick meal too. But what has caught me by surprise was that with not having used the inverter at all today, of the 200 amp-hours of solar energy that I received today, 168 amp-hours of it went into the 12-volt immersion heater and the temperature went off the scale. Consequently I went and had a really good washing-up session of plates and dishes.

Tomorrow, what I’ll be doing depends upon the weather. If it’s raining, I’m off to Terry’s. But if it’s dry, he’s coming around here.

Sunday 25th October 2015 – I’VE RARELY SEEN …

… such a one-sided football match as this. It wasn’t that Charensat were any good because they weren’t – it’s just that Pionsat were so flaming awful. For the first half, the whole team was asleep – their bodies were out on the pitch but the rest of them were miles away. For the second half, three or four of them managed to wake up and it was slightly better, but equally, three or four could have stayed in the dressing room for all the good that they did and no-one would have missed them. Pionsat, relegated from the 1st Division last season, are going to be spending several long, cold winters in Divison 2 if they can’t get it together.

Time and time again, Charensat swarmed right through the Pionsat defence as if it wasn’t there (which it wasn’t) and there were about 20 one-on-ones with Matthieu in the Pionsat goal. A few he saved, but by far the most of them were ballooned miles over the bar or miles wide of the post. The Charensat finishing was appalling. On one occasion Pionsat’s defence, such as it was, stayed around arguing with the linesman for not giving an offside instead of following up the ball while two of the Charensat players beamed down on Matthieu. He saved the first shot and had his defence been playing like grown-ups they would have intercepted the loose ball at the very least. But instead, the ball fell kindly to the other Charensat player, who blasted it about 30 feet over the bar, unmarked from about 10 yards out. This was totally embarrassing, from both teams’ points of view.

In fact several Pionsat players spent so much time arguing with the ref and the linesman instead of following the ball and it was totally unnecessary. Players of Pionsat’s experience should know better. In fact, one of Pionsat’s attackers, too busy arguing with the ref instead of concentrating on the game, was caught offside in what would have been a marvellous attacking position had he been paying attention.

Charensat did score one goal, and how they were limited to one is totally beyond me. They were completely in control of this match. And then we had the totally unbelievable. Matthieu kicked a long high ball right out of the area high up front. Cedric leapt up and headed it on over the defence, and Nico, running on, lobbed it over the keeper for the equaliser. The ball didn’t touch the ground until it was in the back of the net.

But like I said earlier, it’s going to be a long hard couple of years for Pionsat.

Now this morning, I would have had a lovely night’s long sleep except that Bane of Britain somehow confused things so that the reminder for the radio programmes went off this morning instead of tomorrow morning.

And I was on my travels too. I’d been in the far north of Labrador in a vehicle which was like a “Bigfoot” but with a car body of the late 1940s and how that cruised over the uneven roads. Back in civilisation I’d met up with Nerina again and we’d spent a while in a cheap hotel in some dingy town before I had to leave. Given the price of the return ticket on public transport, I went to the darker side of town to buy a really cheap car (I actually did this once in 1995 when I was in London and ended up with a £70 Ford Cortina instead of a Eurostar ticket, and on another occasion it was cheaper to hire a car and put the petrol in to drive from London to Bath rather than pay the fare for the train). Anyway, we had a good look around all of this area at the cheap cars for sale and one of the vehicles at which I was looking was a BMC MG-1300 in white and pale green. I was wondering whether I should ask her if she still had her Wolseley but I decided that it was best not to sho too much interest.

After breakfast I had a relax and didn’t do too much at all. But by about 13:30 the temperature in the verandah was 19°C, the temperature in the 12-volt immersion heater was 36°C thanks to the sun that we had and thus the fully-charged batteries, and so I had a tepid shower in the corner of the verandah with the warm water and a jug. And nice it was too, especially now that I have clean clothes too.

Still plenty of time before I needed to go and so I cut my hair and made myself some butties, and then I was off to Charensat.

After the football match I went round to Liz and Terry’s to rehearse the radio programmes that we will be recording.

viaduc des fades gorges de la sioule puy de dome franceThe way that I went is not a road that I take very often. It’s from St Priest down to the Barrage des Fades and for the first time today I noticed that at a certain spot there’s a stunning view of the Gorges de la Sioule and also of the Viaduc des Fades from an angle from which I’ve never seen it before.

We did what we had to and Liz made a beautiful vegan meal complete with ginger cake, and Terry and I made a few plans.

Back here, I haven’t done much and I’ll be having an early night. We have a lot to do tomorrow.

Tuesday 11th August 2015 – WELL THAT DIDN’T GO ACCORDING TO PLAN

So in the absence of any better offer this afternoon, I set to work to move this Hyundai. First thing though – the battery in the Kubota was flat. Not much of a surprise – I haven’t used it since last October. And so I had to put it on charge for a while.

Later on, I put the battery back and made sure that the Kubota started, and then went back in ready to do the job as it went dark.

later that night, I went back out, to find that the battery was flat again. So I moved Caliburn down to jump-start the Kubota. Once the Kubota fired up, off I went to tow the Hyundai, leaving Caliburn there.

And wasn’t that a fatal mistake?

I eventually managed to put the Hyundai out of my drive (it’s not easy pushing a big heavy car like that and I’m far from in the prime of life) and then set off to tow it away.

But that didn’t work, as the Kubota didn’t have the waft to pull it away. It just dug itself into the gravel up to the axles. Giving it a final whack and the motor stalled. And, of course, the battery is now flat again.

And so, we are stuck in the lane that the farmer needs for access to his field in the following order –

  1. the Kubota, with a flat battery
  2. the scrap Hyundai that won’t run at all
  3. Caliburn, the only vehicle that is working right now

And it goes without saying that Caliburn is stuck down at the bottom end of the cul de sac and can’t move until the others are gone. If only I had moved him first.

I really and sincerely wish from the bottom of my heart that I had never set eyes on this vehicle and that I had never set eyes upon its owner. I am thoroughly and completely fed up.

All I need now is for the farmer to put in an appearance and I shall be well and truly stuck. I am beginning to hate everyone and everything.

But apart from that, the morning was comparatively successful. Liz phoned me up early (and I was awake long beforehand too) and so I took her off to Riom and the hospital, in exchange for which she did a couple of loads of washing for me to bring me up to date.

Although Liz’s news from the hospital might be perceived in some quarters as being bad, for Liz it is in fact good news because it confirms her suspicions, and with the knowledge that she gained today, things can only get better and that is what she needs to know.

We went for a coffee and then off to Gerzat for the Radio Anglais recording sessions there. They passed quite easily and incident-free, which makes a great change and makes it quite a pleasure to go there.

sculpted fountain chatel guyon puy de dome franceIt was such a nice day so we stopped for a coffee on the way back.

Chatel-Guyon is a beautiful spa-town at the foot of the Combrailles. It’s a beautiful place to visit for an afternoon’s walk but we just contented ourselves with sitting outside a cafe near a sculpted fountain
looking at the water, soaking up the sun and drinking a good strong coffee in pleasant company.

And then back home to more of this total nonsense.

How I hate this car.

Thursday 6th August 2015 – *@#&*@ç&!

Yes, tomorrow is my last day to work on this car as I’m now booked up before I go away.

And the client says that he can’t come down. Apparently he has a paying job that has come in, and my convenience is apparently so much lower than that. Well, it’s nice to know where I stand.

He says that he’ll come round on Saturday morning and finish it off, but I won’t be here. I’ll be in Montlucon. And the car had better be gone by the time that I come back as I’ll be putting Caliburn in my drive. I’m off for 9 weeks and I’m not leaving Caliburn in the lane under any circumstances. I haven’t paid all of this money for this concreting that we did last year to leave my van on the public highway.

And I also need to clean my drive, with the amount of oil that’s leaked out of this car. That has totally dismayed me.

This blasted Hyundai has totally messed up all of my plans. There’s no chance whatever now of me tiling my bathroom before I go and I wanted to have this long-done before I go.

I’ve had a major sense of humour failure over this car. And the worst of it all is that, having seen the photos that I posted on here a week or so ago, you know as well as anyone else that this vehicle won’t be going very far even if we do manage to get it going. I’ve wasted all of this time and done all of this effort for absolutely nothing and I’m sure that I won’t receive any thanks for it. I shan’t see the owner of this vehicle ever again until his next car goes wrong.

Apart from that, we were radioing today at Marcillat. Two months’ worth of programmes that we recorded for Radio Anglais
this morning and that will take us up to the end of October with the next recording sessions pencilled in for 26th October. Just one more session, at Gerzat on Tuesday, and that will be that.

Liz and I went for a long chat afterwards and then I came back here. On the way back, I noticed that the construction work on the edge of Marcillat on the bed of the old railway line has now developed into a small petrol station. It seems that we will be having some 24-hour petrol pumps there. The Auvergne is definitely dragging itself into the 21st Century.

Back here, I had a pile of stuff to do, most of which I managed to complete, and I even managed for once to make some food this evening. This is progress.

I should have been having a day out on Monday but I’ve cancelled that now. I have too much to do, and it’s a shame that the tiling isn’t going to figure in that. I’m really fed up now.

Monday 3rd August 2015 – I HATE PEOPLE …

… who post on the internet photos of what they have been eating.

vegan meal clermont ferrand puy de dome franceHowever, just very occasionally, there are rare occasions where a meal merits being photographed, and this is one of them.

Right in the centre of Clermont-Ferrand this lunchtime, not one of the restaurants had a vegan meal on offer, but there was one where the chef was busy plying his art (and art it was) in the corner of the dining area and so I went over for a chat.

And this is the result. And no complaints whatever from me. I had a struggle to finish it.

So after a telephone call at a time where quite often I hadn’t even been to bed, I was down at Sauret Besserve and picked up Liz, and off we went to Riom for Liz’s hospital appointment.

I had a wait of about 50 minutes for a groggy-looking Liz to emerge, and then we went off for a coffee so that she could recover.

Next stop was the Auchan but there weren’t any of the Nikon D7000 cameras there – it’s an end-of-range deal and the prices had been slashed so I wasn’t expecting much, but nevertheless, we were nearby so it was worth a try.

tram clermont ferrand puy de dome franceAnd then a first for Liz.

We decided to go into the centre of Clermont Ferrand and the tram lines pass at the rear of the Auchan so, leaving Caliburn on the car park, we hopped on a tram that whisked us silently and effortlessly into the city.

€1:50 a ticket and there can’t be much better value than that. Anyone who has driven into the centre of Clermont Ferrand and tried to find a parking place will tell you all about that.

We went for a walk, went to the Tourist Information office and down to the Conseil-General – and I had a brainwave. I need to insure Strider, the Ranger, in Canada and I wondered if I could obtain a printout of my licence showing my motoring history.

We queued for a good while and, at the counter, “yes, we can do that. Do you have your driving licence?”
So I duly produced it
“And do you have your identoty papers?”
“Ohh blast! I’ve left them in Caliburn, haven’t I?”
“We are really supposed to see some identity papers in order to do this over the counter, but I’ll tell you what – let’s do it anyway”

So there we were!

pope urban II crusade cathedral clermont ferrand puy de dome franceBack to the city square and in the shadow of Pope Urban II preaching the First Crusade to the pigeons fluttering around the Cathedral, we had our lunch.

Back on the tram and off to Gerzat to record the Radio Anglais programmes for the next few weeks, giving Samantha Fish her first run-out, and then back home.

All in all a quite profitable day.

And hats off to the reception staff at the hospital at Riom, hats off to the chef in Clermont Ferrand and hats off also to the lady at the driving licence desk at the Prefecture in Clermont Ferrand. Things are definitely looking up!

Wednesday 29th July 2015 – I FEEL A LITTLE …

… better today, after an early night and a really good uninterrupted sleep.

It was still a bit of a struggle though to leave the bed and I had to wait until I’d had a good coffee before I felt like anything at all. And an instant coffee too. It was a wet, grey winter day with a winter’s amount of electricity being received – a portent of things to come – so no percolator today.

But now all of the radio programmes are up-to-date, including two live concerts that I’ve had to cut down and edit. And I’m surprised at just how well the songs fitted together. My technique must be improving.

I’ve heard that the parts have been ordered for this Hyundai and might even be here tomorrow – but we shall see. But according to the engine number, it’s not a Hyundai engine that’s in it but a Kia engine. It’s all looking very confusing to me.

So I’m going to have a very early night and charge up the batteries for tomorrow. And they’ll need it too.

Tuesday 7th July 2015 – THIS IDEA …

flying shelf shower room les guis virlet puy de dome france… about a flying shelf in the bathroom seems to work okay.

You can see how it’s going to work. There’s a bracket in the false ceiling (the false ceiling will eventually go over it) and from there are two lengths of threaded rod hanging down. At the moment the threaded rod is passing right through the shelves and held up with nuts, but there will be some captive nuts fitted into the shelves and the threaded rod will be cut to size.

The threaded rod will be covered by some nice stainless steel tubing and it will all look quite nice.

This morning we braved the heat and made it to Marcillat to record the radio programmes. Things went according to plan, except that Violette fell asleep and one of our 15-minute shows ran on for almost 19 minutes. She’ll have fun editing that down.

We went for a coffee and a good chat afterwards, and then I came home. I installed myself in the bedroom as 34°C in the attic was rather too much, but that didn’t work as I crashed out for a good hour – and I mean “crashed out”. And seeing as how I was in bed last night for 22:30, that was rather astonishing.

fitting bolt shower room door les guis virlet puy de dome franceAfter lunch I’ve fitted the bolt on the bathroom door (not that we need it but still, you never know) and then I attacked the shelving. That’s all cut to shape and drilled out where necessary (it’s having a cable run through it to power things like shavers and hair clippers) and now varnished, as is the shelf that I made the other day.

And surprise surprise, I was actually working at 22:30 this evening. I put the first coat on before knocking off at 19:30, but when I went out to take the stats, the first coat was dry so I put a second coat on.

Tomorrow, I’ll finish the shelving (I hope), plasterboard everything in, and then carry on with the ceiling.

Monday 29th June 2015 – BLIMEY!

Wasn’t it hot today! At one point when we were in Gerzat in mid-afternoon, the temperature on Caliburn’s thermometer was showing 41.3°C outside and off the scale (ie more than 50°C) inside. And it felt like it too.

Yes, we’ve been radioing today, haven’t we?

And I had a dramatic change of plan too. At 08:45 – 20 minutes before I’m due to leave here to head off to Marcillat and Radio Tartasse, I was busy scanning the news – to discover that Chris Squire, the legendary bassist with Yes, had died.

So with just 20 minutes before I had to leave here to record the rock programmes, I was sitting down and totally re-writing the show.

I recorded the rock shows and then Liz came to join me for the normal sessions. That will take us up to the end of July so we could then head back to Liz’s. After lunch (and finishing off the gorgeous dessert that we started yesterday) it was off to the furnace that was Gerzat and Radio Arverne.

We recoded another 5 programmes there, which will take us nicely up to the beginning of September, and another couple of goes should see us well on our way towards the end of the year. But we need to be well in advance with holidays coming up. Liz is off to the UK to see family and then when she comes back, I’ll be off to Canada.

On the way back, I stopped for fuel and a little shopping, and a nice cold drink in view of the heat, and I was back here for 18:20, promptly crashing out for an hour or so as it was far too hot up here to be comfortable.

And talking of being comfortable, I was on my travels again last night, in my nice clean bed. I was with Trixi and a few other people and we were doing a yoga tour of Europe, ending up in the Ukraine and Belarus, before coming back to the Netherlands via Northern Europe. But to cut a long story short … "hooray" – ed … the group of people who had come with us had become fed up and left the tour to the two of us. They went home via the south of Europe and had become snowed in in Northern Italy while the two of us carried nonchalantly on in the north.

Monday 1st JUNE 2015 – I’M RELIEVED …

… that it’s not just me who doesn’t do mornings. I had to take Caliburn to the garage to have his brakes fixed, and when I arrived (at 07:50) the garage owner was busy opening up the place. I said hello (or, rather, bonjour) and I was greeted by a series of grunts.

Yes, 07:50. I was up and wide awake by O7:00, which makes a change, and having gathered everything that I needed for today, I was on the road by 07:30 and that’s not like me at all.

garage jaillot st gervais d'auvergne puy de dome franceMind you, I couldn’t help a little smile as I left the premises. Here I was, taking Caliburn to a garage to have the rear brakes fixed, and here are the rear brakes on the garage’s van.

It’s certainly true to say that garages always have the worst cars, just as electricians have the worst electrics, and plumbers have the houses with the most leaky pipes.

abandoned railway station st gervais d'auvergne puy de dome franceSeeing as I was much too early for Terry, I walked into town. And my route took me past the abandoned railway station here at St Gervais.

The station and the railway line here were closed suddenly and dramatically when it was announced that a snap inspection of the Viaduc des Fades, the highest railway viaduct in the world when it was built, had discovered that the viaduct was totally unfit to take the weight of trains.

But anyone who came with me on out little walk across the viaduct will have noticed that there was nothing sudden about the state of the viaduct. It had been decaying for years and no-one had bothered to look at it – or, rather, they had put off the work so that it would all need doing at once and that would be a good excuse for closing down the line.

Terry and I went off to Riom and much to our surprise, at the sous-prefecture we were number 48, and they were dealing with number 33. That meant a wait of about an hour, a far cry from when I went to register Caliburn in 2009 and I was number 143 and had to wait until after midday.

It was painless at the sous-prefecture and then we went off to have the number plates made for his new van and for me to deal with a taxation issue at the Tresor Publique.

After lunch it was back to Gerzat for the Radio Arverne sessions, and I didn’t feel much like it due to my early start. Liz and I went shopping afterwards and had a coffee, and it was back to see how Caliburn was doing. They had managed to free off all of the mechanism but they needed some parts, which won’t be here until tomorrow. So Liz ran me home and I crashed out. I can’t last the pace these days.

Sunday 31st May 2015 – LOOKING BACK …

… over a few postings from last year, I see that I was having certain sleeping issues. Not so at the moment (said he, tempting fate) because last night I had another really good sleep. Out like a light and no danger of moving until 09:45 this morning. That’s what I call a decent sleep.

And I was on my travels too. I was in Canada driving a car with half a dozen or so other people, musicians in a rock group and featuring my niece’s husband. What was interesting about this was that even though we were driving on the right, we couldn’t turn right but had to turn left across the traffic and then turn right and right a little further along and then cross the traffic a second time. And when you weren’t on the main highway you had to travel in reverse, and reverse was powered by two engines operated by push-buttons. You had to push them both to travel in a straight line, and either the right or left button to turn right or left. And you went at such a speed backwards too but I did manage not to knock anything over or hit anything. At a Motorway Service area where we stopped for a coffee, there was a customised Harley Davidson, a kind of greeny olive green colour.

Anyway, enough of that. While I was having breakfast I was watching another film off the laptop via the big screen on the AKAI DVD player. That works well enough and I’m quite pleased with that.

After breakfast, I carried on with the radio programmes and I’ve done another pile of text for future programmes. I just need now to do some additional notes and the rock programmes and I’ll be a month ahead, which is where I like to be.

I had another play around with this 3D programme and that’s working just fine now, although I’m still of the opinion that it’s unnecessarily complicated and the file directory system is absolutely hopeless (and there’s no way of altering it either).

I crashed out again this afternoon and awoke with a start to find that I only had half an hour before I needed to go off to see Liz and Terry. But as it was nice, I had a heated shower in the verandah seeing as how there was plenty of hot water in the home-made immersion heater, thanks to the good weather, and now I smell of nice coconut.

Liz and I rehearsed the radio programmes and finished off a few bits and pieces, and then Liz cooked a lovely tea for the three of us.

Now the weekend is over. I have things to do tomorrow, including the radio, and then back to work on Tuesday. High time I cracked on with the bathroom.

Friday 29th May 2015 – THIS BACKING-UP …

… of my new laptop wasn’t as straightforward as I had thought it might be. And when I finally did go to bed – at 03:45 in the morning, it was far from finished. Mind you, I was. Keeping my eyes open at this time of night was not as easy as it used to be.

And I was up early to – a good few minutes before the alarm clock went off, and I even had time to make myself some breakfast before setting off to Marcillat-en-Combraille and the radio recordings for Radio Anglais.

Everything went according to plan and we were away quite early too. And that was just as well as I had to go to the garage at St Gervais d’Auvergne with Caliburn. Liz ran me back to her house for lunch afterwards and then Terry and I went down to Riom to sort out the tax payments on his van.

THat was quite straightforward too and we even had time for a run out to Lempdes for Terry to buy a new ladder.

It really was a gorgeous day and we made the most of it, sitting outside having a coffee in the sunshine, and then Liz ran me round to the garage to pick up Caliburn.

All of the mechanism on the brakes is working fine, so the problem isn’t there. If I take Caliburn back on Monday they will strip it all down and check to see exactly what is going on, and why the rear brake isn’t doing what it is supposed to.

The good news is, however, that according to them, there is nothing wrong with Caliburn in the grand. I dida sk them to check it over and their opinion is that he is in good condition for his age with nothing to worry about. The conclusion that I have drawn from all of this is that Barrat Ford in Montlucon will not be able to rely on any more of my custom.

Back here, I carried on with the backing-up and the re-installation of my 3d Program. However, I didn’t get very far. It’s 22:00, I can’t keep my eyes open, I haven’t even done the stats and I don’t care. I’m off to bed before I ……. (zzzzzzzzz)

Monday 27th April 2015 – THE WEATHER …

… was much improved today. We only had 30.5mm of rain.

And after everything that I have said just recently about good nights’ sleeps, I was awake at 06:30 and I couldn’t go back to sleep. In the end I got up (before the alarm too) and vegetated on the sofa for a bit.

Mind you, I’d been on my travels again during the night. I can’t remember who I was with but she was tall and quite well-dressed in a flowing black skirt. We were watching the Grand National and had to cross the course in front of the horses (I had memories of suffragettes and being trampled to death by the King’s horse) and they obligingly split into two packs to have a better go at getting us.

After the horses passed, we climbed into the car to head around the course and into town but we must have missed the course and instead ended up straight in the town. Parking the car, we had to find a cafe so we walked through an old granite building, formerly a cinema but now let into little shop units, and as we passed down the stairs we commented that this would make a good little theatre area.

We were having a coffee on some tables at the side of the street and there in a cafe just a couple of doors down was someone who, in real life, I haven’t given any thought at all but who has appeared a few times just recently in my nocturnal voyages. So what is going on here then? This is the biggest mystery in all of this.

At Radio Tartasse, Violette forgot that we were coming so I had to phone her, and we ended up running quite late. But a coffee afterwards warmed us up and then I came home.

Back here, I’ve done nothing. The weather is cold and miserable and I ended up crashing out for a couple of hours. This led to a very late (like 17:00) lunch and so I’ve had no evening meal again.

I did manage to shin up the scaffolding in the middle of the torrential downpour in order to check on the guttering. Mind you, judging by the speed at which the water was cascading out of the overflow in the waterbutts, everything must have been working fine.

And indeed it was. Everything was nicely aligned and all of the water was flowing right where it ought to flow. I can glue it all together now whenever the weather allows.

Now I’m off to bed to see if I can summon up a better morale and more incentive for tomorrow.

Monday 20th April 2015 – WELL, I’M ALL SPENT UP NOW.

€790 in IKEA today, and I didn’t buy anything like what I was planning to do.

None of the kitchen worktops impressed me except for one – and that was a mere €399 per m², which is perhaps a little over the top and in any case, I don’t have the machinery to cut the marble.

I’ll have to see what’s on offer elsewhere.

But I now have my bed and a nice and expensive firm mattress, as well as a pile of new bedding, and a nice dark-brown deep-pile rug to go by the side of the bed. I’ve also bought some mirrors for the bedroom.

And that’s where all of my money has gone today. But it’s all good stuff anyway.

This morning I finally finished off everything for the rock music programmes that we’ll be recording next week, and I’m well on the way to doing the next month’s too.

Then it was off to pick up Liz and down to Gerzat to record the Radio Arverne sessions, and then we went to IKEA.

spectacular clouds st gervais d'auvergne puy de dome franceOn the way back, we had some spectacular clouds. This one over St Gervais really was impressive – much better than it looks in the photograph.

And the town over there, bathed in the sunlight, looked quite good too. All in all, it really was a beautiful evening to be out and about. We could do with a few more of these.

buds on apple trees les guis virlet puy de dome franceDown at Riom and Gerzat, the trees are already in full bloom, so I was quite impressed to see that the fruit trees that I have in buckets outside the front door are now blooming too.

It’s all of a couple of weeks late of course, as I have said already, but it’s still as beautiful as ever when it does arrive. It’s a sure sign that summer is on its way.