Yes, “ouch!” indeed. I’ve just sat down and added up everything that I’ve spent today.
Yes, I’ve been to Montlucon today to do my shopping and I seem to have been considerably sidetracked. Mind you, I’m not quite sure what took me to go there because I was, once again, quite late in leaving my stinking pit. Despite having the woodstove going flat-out last night, itwas cold in here this morning.
And dark too. Not the weather for leaping brightly out of bed.I thought at first that we had had some heavy snow bit in fact we were having another one of the local Auvergnat weather phenomena – a hanging cloud drifting up the valley – and it stayed parked up on the top of the mountain all day, apparently.
Anyway, I grabbed a mug of coffee and hit the road. First stop was LIDL where I dropped a jar of tomato sauce all over the floor. Start as you mean to go on, Eric.
Surprisingly, I didn’t spend very much at LIDL, and neither did I at Amaranthe, the Health Food Shop – not the least of the reasons being that they didn’t have any of the buckwheat tablets that I like. So no breakfast for me.
It all started to go wrong at the Carrefour. I haven’t changed the gas in the kitchen for 18 months – it’s amazing what cooking on the woodstove can do – but nevertheless I’m sure it must be nearly empty by now. There was an empty propane cylinder around here so I took it with me to swap for a full one to have ready, and that set me back a massive €30:25.
When I was running the bottled gas heater, I was getting through a bottle every two weeks – that’s about €2:20 or so per day. Bearing in mind that my wood here costs me nothing, the €279 that I spent to buy this woodstove means that it’s paid for itself in just 125 days or thereabouts (and that’s not including the gas-cooking either). That’s about a year’s worth of heating and this is the third winter that I’ve been using it. You can see that it’s been a splendid investment.
Noz was another place where I spent a pile of money. Nothing of any significance, but it’s always a useful place to go for DVDs, cheap tins of food and the like. It’s always worth stocking up at Noz. And stepping out of Caliburn, I bumped right into one of Marianne’s friends, François Legay.
However it was at Vima where I really took a battering.
My old hair cutter is on its last legs and about to shuffle off this mortal coil. And there in the sales was another one, exactly the same.
Not only that, I’ve had my eye on a rechargeable LED worklight for quite some time. They charge up off the mains or off 12 volt DC, are quite large and powerful, and sit on the floor and chuck out an enormous amount of light. They were quite expensive but in the sales they were reduced by 50% and they had two left – didn’t that give me ideas?
But what was the final nail in my coffin was the mobile phone. The ‘phone that I bought in a hurry 5 years ago was the cheapest I coud find – a Nokia but a bi-band so no use in North America. I replaced that a couple of years ago with an ancient Nokia tri-band that I bought in an internet auction. The price was correct but the battery wasn’t at all and even with a new battery it’s not lasting for more that 3 days at most. And of course, it’s no use for surfing the internet at all (not that I want to but my phone plan gives me a free allowance of data and as I always run out of the time period rather than run out of credit, it’s a shame to waste it).
Anyway, to cut a long story short … "thank you" – ed … there in the sale was a Samsung Galaxy 3, the little brother to my Canada phone which is absolutely superb. Does everything that I need and even includes a 4GB micro-SD card so that I can use it as a music player. And the camera has a greater resolution than the digital camera that I took with me to North America in 2002 and in 2005. Quadri-band too, with bluetooth, and open to all networks.
And the cost? Just €75:00. I don’t suppose that I can complain too much.
Coming out of Vima, I bumped slap bank into Laurent Dumas, the President of the Canton of Pionsat (you saw him on this blog a few weeks ago). Just the man I want to see, as it happens. There are proposals to change the arrangement of cantons in the Puy de Dome. It’s something very controversial and so we want to do a radio programme on it. As it happens, M Dumas is very much parti-pris whereas Mme Daffix-Ray (who you also saw on here), the Vice-President (they cater for all sorts here) of the Departement, is very much parti-pris in the other camp. My idea is to ask them both to let me have a statement of why they have chosen their sides, so that we can present a balanced radio programme.
I didn’t spend very much in Brico Depot either. I had written out a list of stuff that I needed and then, totlly true to form, I had forgotten to bring it with me so no tongue-and-grooving for the ceiling. But they did have that “space-blanket” insulation on special offer so I bought a roll seeing as how I don’t know whether I have enough here to finish what I’m doing.
The French have a saying “jamais deux sans trois” and so while I didn’t spend too much money there, I did bump into someone from Pionsat – Marianne’s son Pascal. I can’t move anywhere these days without my movements being observed.
Anyone who thinks that I intended to go for a swim on the way home had another think coming. I came straight home and locked myself in. Winter seems to be back now.