Category Archives: fcpsh

Saturday 7th November 2015 – IT’S ALL HAPPENING …

… at the swimming baths at Commentry.

Firstly, I forgot my cozzy and had to go back to Caliburn to find it. Secondly, the big pool was freezing. 29¬į, it said on the temperature, but I reckon that that must have been Fahrenheit, not Centigrade. Thirdly, there was a group of kids aged about 7-8-9 playing on a couple of foam-rubber rafts down one lane of the big pool. They were having an enormous amount of fun, trying to row, totally out of synch and quite often in opposite directions. As a result, every now and again there was a squeal and half of the kids fell off. They clambered back on again and a short while later we had another squeal followed by a splash. And so it went on. They were having a great time and it was quite amusing watching them.

But the fourth thing was the most interesting. There I was sitting on the jacuzzi steps and some young girl swimming past under water grabbed hold of my foot. I thought that my luck was in, but it turns out that she was aiming for her boyfriend sitting next to me.

Ahhh well ūüôĀ

But you can see what the weather was like today. Totally glorious. And there I was, having disconnected the 12-volt immersion heater (I don’t want it to fire up until I’m there to see what happens). In fact, I went off to Montlucon where I spent a King’s ransom. And it wasn’t as if I had bought anything special, except for 2 inner tubes for the power barrow and a new heavy-duty wheel for the yellow wheelbarrow. It was cheaper than buying an inner tube and tyre and I must get myself organised.

But at least I’m stocked up with tins, macaroni, rice and the like ready for when the winter bites. As long as I have plenty to eat, plenty to read and a few good films to watch, I could be snowed in here for amonth and I couldn’t care less

I didn’t meet anyone whom I knew around the shops either, which makes a change. I’m not sure what happened there.

Pionsat had a really good match tonight against Mozac. They won 3-1 and we had four of the best goals that I’ve seen for ages. Peach of the night was Pionsat’s second, which started off with, would you believe, a one-on-one between a Mozac attacker and Matthieu in the Pionsat goal. The ball bounced off Matthieu’s leg and, just for once, went upfield out of danger. It was played forward to Cedric who rode a few good tackles and, surrounded by two or three Mozac defenders, laid it off to Fr√©d√©ric. He sold a beautiful dummy to his marker and stepped inside, giving him half a yard of space and he coolly spicked his spot in the corner of the net.

For once, Pionsat had the rub of the green, the benefit of a few unclear decisions, and they played like they ought to have played for the last three or four years. I’ve complained about their “powder-puff” approach to the game in the past but tonight they put in quite a few crunching tackles to make their presence felt. If only they had done this in the past, their position would be totally different.

I was on my travels last night again. Once more, as just a couple of nights ago, I was trying to catch an aeroplane out of Canada but I was running really late. During my stay there, I’d used three cars but I only had one to hand back and I was desperately trying to trace the others, and time was running out. It transpired that one of the cars was “in the bodyshop” and wasn’t quite ready. And so, I thought, there goes my return flight home. I dunno why I seem to have this on my mind at the moment.

But tonight, it’s Saturday and there’s a long lie-in, I hope. I’m all clean with clean clothes and clean undies and so what I’m going to do right now is to change my bedding. A nice clean me with clean bedding and a long lie-in and I shall be in my elephant.

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¬įC, the temperature in the 12-volt immersion heater was 36¬įC 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.

Saturday 24th October 2015 – GRRRR! THEY’VE DONE IT AGAIN!!!

And you’ve no idea how much this is annoying me.

Tonight Pionsat’s 2nd XI were playing Teilhet so I duly took myself down to the ground. It was about 19:50 when I arrived, 10 minutes before kick-off, but they were already spotting the ball. So I dashed into the ground and watched the 1st 45 minutes. A strong Pionsat side, with one or two out of the 1st XI and 2 players on the bench, played quite impressively and scored a peach of a goal without the Goatslayers offering very very much during the match.

And then the ref blew for half time and the players whipped up the corner flags. What the heck is going on here? “Ohh, we had an early kick-off tonight” was the explanation. And once more, no-one could be bothered to let me know. And they had scored 3 goals in the half that I had missed too.

But I did well to be here too because I was in a submarine during the night, and you know how unlikely that is likely to be. But it wasn’t a cramped-up U-Boat that we were in, but one of these super subs with a huge glass window like the one that went to the bottom of the sea in that television programme – Seaview, wasn’t it? Actually I’m not quite sure what is worse? Being enclosed in so that I can’t see anything, or having a window to look out of so that I could see the oppressive, overpowering and menacing sea that has overwhelmed me.

But despite a late night last night, I was up early and at 08:20 I was breakfasting. And by 11:30 I’d done the two rock programmes for Monday. And then tonight I had to do the miscellaneous programme all over again when I returned home after the football as I’d forgotten about the standards to which I work and I’d rather messed it up a little.

The live concert though, that I’ve edited, engineered and mixed, has gone together really well and you can only hear the join in one place.

I went shopping today as usual, and bought myself a pair of cheap boots for working through the winter. I met Karl and Lou too, and they told me about another Anglo-Francais group that has sprung up. They are going to try to wangle an invitation for me so that I can see what happens.

And so the football …

Saturday 17th October 2015 – SO FAR TODAY …

…I’ve changed gear three times with Caliburn’s indicator stalk and put him into first gear twice when I’ve been trying to back him into a parking space. And I can’t get the hang of this tiny button in the place where the steering wheel ought to be.

Yes, I’ve been to the shops today – first time since I’ve been back here of course. And I did a full shop that came to just ‚ā¨27:00 even with a few extra bits and pieces. It’s good to be back in Europe where you can buy the food for a week for the same price that you would have to pay for a few bits and pieces in a North American supermarket. All those people who complain about the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy ought to go for a month and do their food shopping in North America. Even with the benefits of mass-production and cut-throat competition, they can’t match the prices that we Europeans pay for our basic foods.

To give you an example – a baguette in a real boulangerie costs about ‚ā¨0:70 – that’s about 90 cents. In a North American supermarket, you’d pay $2:59 for it. These are the prices that people will be paying in Europe if the CAP is dissolved.

And so the first night back in my nice comfy bed.

And so comfortable was I that it was also first night back at my old school for I’ve no idea how many years. I’d been to the school gymnasium for the rehearsals of the school presentation of a Harry Potter play, and there I’d met the girl who was playing Luna Lovegood – who, as regular readers of this rubbish will know, is my favourite character in the series and the girl who should have been paired with Harry Potter – and we’d started dating. I’d agreed to take her home afterwards but when the bell rang, she was pushing her green and yellow bicycle towards the exit. “I’ll just take my bike home” she said, “and then I’ll come back afterwards and you can take me home” (such is the logic of these night-time voyages that I undertake). Anyway, I’d been waiting half an hour and she hadn’t come back so I wondered if I was waiting in the right place. She’d written down her name (it was Lalana or something) and phone number on a piece of paper, but somehow another piece of paper had become stuck over the top and when I peeled that back, it took off half of the girl’s writing. I then went to look for her classroom to see if she was waiting there, but there had been so many changes at the school since I was there that her class year was scattered throughout the building, not like it used to be with three or four classes adjacent when I was there. Eventually some boy gave me a school directory and so I started to thumb through that to see if I could see her in there. But by now it was 20:30 and I’d almost given up hope of finding her again, and I was distraught.

Considering how late I’d gone to bed, waking up at 09:30 (fully-clothed in bed) was something of an achievement. And even though the temperature hadn’t risen from last night, it felt rather warmer. But what I’m going to do is take the gas heater up to the bedroom. I’ve one of these portable calor-gas heaters and it’s not doing anything, so I reckon that half an hour before I go to bed and half an hour before I wake up with one bar of the fire will work wonders in there, even in the middle of winter.

While I was sorting out my breakfast, it suddenly occurred to me that last night I’d gone to bed without taking the stats, and that might well be the first time that I’ve ever done that. Ahh well – no matter.

I spent some time on the internet and then went off to do the shopping. And I’m convinced, as I’ve said before, that Rosemary has a secret camera focused on my house because I hadn’t been back 5 minutes (and the water for the coffee hadn’t even boiled) before she called me up.

Apparently her mobility is worsening and she needs a hand to move some stuff around, so in exchange for some home-made vegetable soup and bread, I’ll go round and help out – and we can catch up with the latest news.

And so FC Pionsat St Hilaire’s 1st XI was relegated to Division II at the end of last season. It’s hard to believe that just three or four seasons ago they were challenging for promotion but I’ve mentioned so oftenall of the problems that have been happening off the pitch that you are probably sick to death of them right now.

Tonight they were playing the team from the Portuguese Social Club in Clermont and so I went down to see how they were doing. They’ve managed to retain most of the 1st XI from last year and made one or two additions who looked quite useful. And they looked a lot meaner and more aggressive too.

The Portuguese defence was dreadful – even worse than Pionsat’s legendary Easter island statue defence and how Pionsat only managed to score three (from three dreadful defensive errors and mix-ups) is totally beyond me. Pionsat just failed to put the defence under enough pressure despite all of the ball that they had.

And conceding two as well against this attack. The first one was from a direct free kick that curled nicely around the blind side of the wall, and the second was from the usual Pionsat tactic of failing to clear the ball out of a tight spot in the defence and playing it right into danger instead. If I had an Euro for each time that I’ve said that the ball ought to be kicked into the cemetery, the school playground, the abandoned railway line or the garden of the Queue de Milan, I’d be dictating this rubbish to a bunch of floozies sitting on my knee somewhere on a beach in the Bahamas. And still they don’t listen.

They threw away dozens of points like this over the last couple of seasons – this is what cost them promotion all those years ago, and this has what has caused them to be relegated last season. They ought to bounce straight back, but they have already been on the end of a heavy defeat and they are going to have to work much harder than this to fulfil their potential. There are some good players there at this level. The Portuguese are bottom of the league, and quite rightly so, but Pionsat made such heavy weather of this victory.

Saturday 18th April 2015 – I WAS ON MY TRAVELS …

… again during the night.

It was supposed to be in Brussels but not the Brussels that I knew. However I was with Laurence and Roxanne and we were moving from an apartment to a big 1930s-type of semi-detached house in a cul-de-sac somewhere, a house that was situated down in the far corner. And I had a collection of Cortina Mk111 saloons, all different colours such as yellow, white, bronze and so on, and I used to leave a different one outside the house every day. From here, my friend (he who lives in Stoke on Trent) had to go home and I had to go with him to the edge of the city to put him on the correct road to the coast. Of course there was a huge traffic queue at the roundabout so we were there talking when someone came around the outside of the traffic on a kind-of motorcycle which was coughing and spluttering. So I made my excuses to my friend and went off to see if I could be of any help to this guy.

And on that note, I woke up – or rather, the alarm woke me up. And I’ve spent most of the day on the radio stuff. Finishing off the additional notes was not anything of a problem but I’m STILL doing the editing for the live concert and I’m nowhere near finished with that.

But it is a difficult one as all of the tracks are scattered about here and there and the lead-ins for one track are on the end of the previous one (something of a regular occurrence these days) so they have to be cut off and grafted into place. It’s going to take me for ever.

To give you an idea of how much interest the players of FC Pionsat St Hilaire have in their club, there were about half a dozen of them missing this evening – attending a party so I was told (and how true this is I really don’t know). And that’s with the club battling desperately to stay up in Division One. There were half a dozen from the 2nd XI out there tonight and young Vincent was in goal. They lost 4-0 to Sayat Argnat and while it looks like a heavy defeat, Pionsat had their moment with two shots that hit the woodwork, one kicked off the line and a couple that went close.

In fact, had Pionsat had a full team out there tonight, then they could have dealt with this opposition quite comfortably, but if the players themselves don’t care, why should I?

But credit where credit is due. Those players out there tonight played with fire and spirit and two or three of them, who probably never ever dreamt a year ago that they would be turning out in Division One, had the matches of their lives. So never mind the defeat – the performance is the thing and it was a good performance tonight. The only players who let down the team were the ones who couldn’t be bothered to turn up.

Sunday 5th April 2015 – I HAD A LOVELY …

… afternoon out today.

My prayers of yesterday were answered and we had the first sunny day for I don’t know how long. And this afternoon I set off all the way across the D√©partement of the Puy-de-Dome for Cisternes-la-Foret, where Pionsat’s 2nd XI were playing.

A gorgeous drive it was too, and the ground is in a really nice setting. But much to my surprise there was just me and two other people in attendance. It seems that Pionsat has once more had difficulty in raising a team (and I’ve no idea why for the 1st XI doesn’t have a game this week) and have forfeited the match.

It’s not the first time that they’ve played this trick on me either and if the truth were to be known, I’m just a little annoyed about having been dragged halfway across Central France for no good purpose. They do have my telephone number, and a little message would not have gone amiss.

Still, as I said, it was a nice drive out.

It also gave me a good excuse to have a really good wash, a shave and some clean clothes (because I’m becoming a little slovenly in things like this just now). But if the weather does keep up like this for the next couple of days, I’ll be back in the shower again. And I can’t say that it’s before time either.

So tomorrow is my last day of rest and then Tuesday it’s back to work. Cleaning, sanding and varnishing the stairs is what I have in mind for that on Tuesday if the weather holds, and I sincerely hope that it does because I want to pull up all of the paper and cardboard that is covering the stairs right now, and have this place looking more like home.

Sunday 29th March 2015 – SUNDAY IS A DAY OF REST

But not for me it isn’t – at least, not today.

Mind you, it was the day of a lie-in and it was 11:00 (or 10:00 in real money because we put the clocks forward today) that I crawled out of my stinking pit.

After breakfast, I carried on with the tidying up. And it looks a little more respectable in here (only a little, though) and another pile of stuff was taken out. I’ll crack this place yet, even if it will take me a century to do it.

At the footy this afternoon, FC Pionsat St Hilaire’s 2nd XI were playing Sauret-Besserve. With a full side out, and even a substitute, the team was nevertheless rather imbalanced. Felix, the goalkeeper, was playing in attack and Vincent was in goal. That filled me full of foreboding as his only other match in goal had … well, not been a success.

I was proved right in the first 5 minutes. With a howling gale roaring down the pitch towards Pionsat’s goal, Sauret took the lead with a spectacular 40-yard punt that was picked up by the wind and sailed over the despairing Vincent’s hand into the top corner of the net. And in the first 40 minutes, I don’t think that Pionsat had managed to put the ball in the Sauret half.

Things changed as soon as the wind dropped slightly. FC Pionsat St Hilaire found a lull in the wind and soared upfield into the Sauret penalty area where a rather hopeful cross hit the arm of a Sauret defender. A cruel occurrence, but no-one can really complain about the award of a penalty. It may not have been intentional but it did deprive the attack of an advantage. Anyway, old Eric stepped up and calmly slotted home.

30 seconds later, Anthony did well on the right wing to hold up the play and then he hit another hopeful cross into the area. The Sauret keeper and the central defender both hesitated for a second as each one expected the other to come for the ball, and that gave Christophe just enough of a moment to slide his foot in and push it past the keeper into the net for the lead.

In the second half with the gale at their backs, Vincent (who has a huge kick for such a thin boy) was punting his clearances downfield well in front of his attackers. Nevetheless, Pionsat had three or four golden opportunities to bury the game, including one where Christophe sold a marvellous dummy to the Sauret defence, letting the ball go through his legs for Bertrand, running wide, to shoot across goal when surely it had to be easier to score.

And they might well have regretted that too, had it not been for Vincent in goal who made a couple of excellent saves that his big brother Matthieu would have been proud to make.

But with the game in its dying seconds, Felix (who had a good game up front for a goalkeeper) held up play on the edge of the penalty area, drew the entire defence onto him, and then just at the last minute slid the ball across the empty penalty area for Christophe to sidefoot into the empty net.

Yes, a good game, and a good result too. Pionsat’s team can be very proud of that.

Back here, I had a little fire tonight. Not that I really needed it, but it’s Sunday and pizza night. I may as well be comfortable while I’m cooking.

So tomorrow, back to work. And back to emptying the house.

Saturday 28th March 2015 – I’VE BEEN CARRYING ON …

… the moving round of everything today, despite it being a Saturday.

I’m annoyed though that it’s taking me 10 times longer than I anticipated. I’m nowhere near anything like finished and that’s depressing. Mind you, I did find ‚ā¨2:12 in loose change mixed up in the pile of dust so I can’t say that it wasn’t rewarding. It works out at about ‚ā¨0.25 per hour and you can’t say fairer than that.

Anyway, the two wardrobes up here are emptied and dismantled, and all of the spare bedding has gone downstairs into the wardrobe in the bedroom along with the clothes that were hanging up.

I’ve swept up all of the dust where the wardrobes used to be and moved the desk into that space. That means that the alcove is almost empty and the water tanks can go in there whenever I’m ready to start the plumbing.

There’s tons more stuff to be moved out to the bedroom, and not only that, rearranging things has created piles more rubbish all of its own and all of this will need to be sorted out too.

This is going to take forever.

In between times I went to St Eloy for some shopping. Not to the Intermarche at Pionsat, you’ll notice. And there’s a reason for this. That is that I’ve been noticing a gradual increase in prices there. The fruit and veg are no longer affordable and the quality is going downhill rapidly. I don’t mind cutting down on quality if I’m cutting down on price, or paying more out for better quality, but this is starting not to work. I reckon that ocompared with the prices at the Pionsat Intermarche, I’ve saved about ‚ā¨4:00 on the weekly shopping bill.

At the footy tonight, Pionsat lost 2-0 to Montel Villosanges. No complaints about the result – the Chimps were easily the better side and Pionsat offered very little. The defence was quite rocky, with Matthieu in goal performing heroics to keep the score down, and the midfield and the attack were pretty ineffective. It’s all looking quite depressing.

I was on my travels again during the night. I was with the two guys with whom I played bass in a rock group in the 1970s. We were going somewhere in Bill Badger, the A60 van that I had in those days, and we had a pile of scaffolding to move so we were loading it up on the roof of the van. Ohh happy days!

Saturday 21st March 2015 – THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING …

… although you xould never have guessed it from the weather. We’ve had a hanging cloud on the mountain all day, it’s been pouring down with rain and I’ve had almost no solar energy. Consequently I’ve disconnected the fridge

bedroom les guis virlet puy de dome franceIt hasn’t stopped me from working though. Yes, I’m at it again, working once more on a Saturday morning.

I’ll tell yuo how good that little machine of Simon’s is, because it took me two hours to fit the final three runs of floorboarding using a hammer and nails. There’s not enough room to use the machine on the final three runs. To fit the other 35 runs, it took just five and a half hours, so you can see exactly what I mean.

bedroom les guis virlet puy de dome franceEventually, I finished it and all that remains to be done (the big stuff I mean) is the varnishing, the skirting board and the glass panel over the door. This is a dark house so you need as much light as possible filtering around.

When I had finished that, I went and did my shopping and then came home to chill out.

Now if anyone had said that FC Pionsat St Hilaire’s 1st XI would draw against Aulnat, anyone at the club would have taken that without even kicking off. And when I saw that 5 of the players on the field were regulars from the 2nd XI in the 4th Division, then even more so.

But drawing 2-2 after being 2-0 up and having a 3rd goal disallowed under controversial circumstances has to count as 2 points thrown away rather than 1 point gained. To make matters worse, the equalising goal was really rubbing salt into the wound. Cedric, playing at centre-half, clears an attack by hoofing the ball out into touch, but the ball cannons off the back of one of his own players, rebounding right into the path of an unmarked Aulnat player standing in front of goal.

That just about sums up FC Pionsat St Hilaire’s luck as far as I am concerned. It’s a tragedy.

Sunday 15th March 2015 – WHAT A NICE MORNING!

I woke up this morning at 07:00, but sod that for a game of soldiers. I turned over and went back to sleep and that was that until 10:00. That’s much more like it on a Sunday.

And while I was deep in the arms of Morpheus I was on my travels again. Just across the Combrailles in fact to the house of a woman who lives near here, where I’d been invited for a party. The guests here were all women and they were so busy doing things that they totally ignored me, making me wonder why i’d been invited in the first place.

A nice leisurely breakfast and a film on the DVD player, and then I had a good wash and shave and hung out the damp washing, seeing as how it was such a nice morning. Cold though – it had been -2¬įC here during the night.

Pionsat’s 2nd XI was playing at Le Quartier today and lost 1-0. Most unfair, seeing as how they had the lion’s share of the play, missed a penalty, hit the bar and had about a dozen good chances. What made it worse was that they had just 9 players. With a full team out here today, they would have won this match at a canter.

But there’s something clearly not right at the club, the way that they keep on losing players and never seem to be able to sign any repacements. I smell a rat – there’s definitely something going on that I don’t know about and no-one seems to want to discuss it. Someone is clearly upsetting everyone else there and that can’t ever be right.

Back here, I had a leisurely evening too. I deserve it after working on a Saturday morning yesterday. A good day of rest will do me good, and it’s back to work tomorrow.

Saturday 7th March 2015 – THE EXPERIMENT …

… of leaving the fridge running through the night worked just fine. The voltage in the batteries dropped to a minimum of 12.47 volts, which is quite acceptable and so it will have another run-out tonight.

As I said yesterday, leaving it running for 24 hours per day is something that I do from about mid-May to mid-October. I’ve never had it running 24 hours so early in the year.

It was nice to have freezing cold orange juice, soya milk and soya yoghurt for breakfast. That was well-worth waiting for. And after breakfast I cracked on with the scripts for Radio Anglais. I’ve ended up doing 5 weeks for our recording session at the end of the month because, believe it or not, my services as a long-term live-in carer for the sick might once more be in demand, if an e-mail that I’ve received recently is anything to go by.

I also found time to tidy up in here and on the ground floor a little, and to empty and clean out the beichstuhl. Such exciting jobs that I have to do these days.

Cecile rang up too. Apparently she’s coming back on Thursday for a couple of days, so on Thursday I’ll be spending the afternoon away from here warming up her house for her.

And the football season has restarted after the winter break. Pionsat’s 2nd XI were playing Charensat and ran out 4-1 winners. And that despite playing with just 10 men. Yann, who has been out injured for about three years and has just made two or three 10-minute cameo appearances during that time, played a full match. Clearly not yet match-fit, still nevertheless it was good to see him play the full 90 minutes.

There was a new player too. Almost as old as I am and … errr … somewhat larger than I am. I was told that he had played for the club years ago but had come out of retirement to have another run-round. And despite his lack of match-fitness, it was quite evident from some of his touches that he had played at a much higher level than the Puy-de-Dome league Division 4. He’ll be an asset to the club when he finds his feet again.

Friday 23rd January 2015 – WE NOW HAVE …

beading around window and doors stairwell les guis virlet puy de dome france… some nice and pretty beading around the window and the doorways on the stairs up to the attic. Yes, I’m going all suburban and pretentious, aren’t I? Whatever next?

The Ryobi mastic gun did the business here, along with a tube of contact adhesive. Cut the beading to length (remember to cut the bevels the correct way round – GRRRR!), stick some glue in the angle, press into place and then tack down with a couple of 25mm lost-head nails, and there we are.

And doesn’t it look pretty too? It’s not like me, is it?

plasterboard on wall on landing les guis virlet puy de dome franceIn other startling news, we have also turned the corner. at least, as far as the plasterboard goes. I’ve put the first pieces on the stud wall for the stairs that go down to the ground floor.

This is quite symbolic progress. All that’s now needed is one more piece of plasterboard on the reverse side of the stud wall to the bedroom, three end-pieces, some filling and sanding down, and then I can wallpaper the walls on the landing and that will be finished too and I can start on the bedroom. I shan’t know myself.

I know that I said that I would be sanding down the stairs and vacuuming them ready to varnish them this weekend, but several things have conspired together to put an end to that idea.

Firstly, I’m not going out tomorrow. C√©cile is having a visitor to her house in the morning tomorrow so I have to go round there early. That means that I won’t have time to varnish it before I go out.

Secondly, Mondays radio recording sessions have been cancelled due to illness at Radio Tartasse, so the third consecutive day that I need for varnishing isn’t going to happen either.

Thirdly, we’ve had a hanging cloud over the mountain all day today and I’ve received precisely nothing in the way of solar energy. There’s plenty of power in the batteries of course, but not enough to run a power sander for a couple of hours and a vacuum cleaner afterwards.

Fourthly, the temperature didn’t rise above freezing all day today and the next few days are likely to be the same. The temperature downstairs is just 4¬įC and the varnish won’t ever stick in that kind of temperature. It’ll just sit on top of the wood and freeze, and then break off when it’s knocked.

Accordingly, I left the varnishing for another time. Never mind. There’s plenty of other things to be going on with.

I was invited out this evening. It’s the annual dinner for FCPSH – the Football Club Pionsat St Hilaire, and I was invited to go along. I didn’t stay to eat because you can’t expect them to cater for my diet, but I was there chatting for a couple of hours.

And it really was freezing when I returned. I had a hard job to keep my feet on the concrete. And in my room the temperature had fallen to 9.8¬įC – the coldest for quite a while, but a roaring wood fire soon had that back up to normal again.

I’m glad that I bought this woodstove.

Sunday 14th December 2014 – GRRRR!!!!

Guess who forgot to turn off the alarm this morning?

And serve me right too.

Mind you, a quick visit to the beichstuhl and then back to bed and back right into my travels at exactly the point where I had left off. That’s twice this week.

I’d been talking to David Cameron about his plans to leave the EU. I was driving a lorry with tonnes of EU papers for filing. He argued that none of that would be needed – it’s just a waste of space – and so I invited him to go into the lorry and throw out any papers that he considered unnecessary. he said that he was more than willing to do so but that he didn’t have the time – and spent an hour or so saying it.

I then ended up in a coastal town in the USA back in the 1880s. This town was on a promontory of a wide river estuary and on the other side of the river was untamed Indian country. However, a huge railway tunnel had been built under the estuary, and my response was that it was a superb avenue into the town for a marauding band of Indians. First through it though was a wagon train, pulled byn would you believe, reindeer, and they had a difficult time in passing through the tunnel as their antlers were too wide. We then spent a lengthy time discussing how to defend the tunnel against Indians. And do you remember that woman and her daughter who appeared the other night? They were back again too.

So after all of the excitement, I was up and about by 10:15 and had a very leisurely morning doing not very much at all.

This afternoon, FC Pionsat St Hilaire’s 2nd XI were playing Haut Combraille. Somewhat short-staffed, Pionsat ended up playing Michael in goal. he was formerly the 2nd XI’s goalkeeper but broke his shoulder four years ago and has been forbidden to play in goal. Still, he bravely volunteered and showed everyone just what the club has been missing since those days.

This was a top-of-the-table clash and rightly so – Haut Combraille were the best team that I have seen in Division 4. They relied very much on speed against an ageing Pionsat defence and I really did have to run, rather than walk, the line this afternoon. So much for my cleanliness after my shower of Saturday.

Yes – running! I was linesman again!

Pionsat won 4-3 and quite rightly so. Anthony finally broke his duck with a brave and strong run through the right wing, and Florian, the young lad about whom I spoke the other week, scored another goal – again running on to a loose ball in defence like I’ve been telling him to do. Julien and Gregory scored the other two.

So a good weekend, finished off by my having to search out for some events to broadcast on Radio Tartasse tomorrow as, once more, they’ve forgotten to send us any.

Sunday 30th November 2014 – GRRRR!!!

It was a lovely bright sunny day today and seeing as this is the last good day of autumn (the high winds of the other day tell us that the weather is changing for the worse and there will be snow here by midweek) I took advantage of the bright weather for a leisurely drive down to Chamalieres and Pionsat’s 1st XI away.

Chamalieres have a very good footballing side and Pionsat’s team was the weakest that I have ever seen. Yet they took the lead with a good free kick into the area from Cedric, headed across from almost out of the keeper’s hands, right across to the far post and a simple nod in.

Pionsat only had 11 players today and apart from Cedric, the rest of the defence was all 2nd XI players. Didier, the 2nd XI right winger, was playing at right back and he was carried off after 20 minutes with a knee injury, leaving the team with just 10 men. Chamalieres scored twice later in the first half, and yet Anthony had the ball in the net from a corner (which was disallowed for handball but which will nevertheless do his confidence the world of good) – and then the fun began.

Chamalieres’ ground is situated in a bowl that was an old quarry, in the forest high above the town, and just before half-time a deep, thick cloud rolled in. No-one could see a thing and after waiting for half an hour to see what was going to happen, the game was abandoned.

And so we all had to go home. And not half a mile away from the ground, the weather dramatically improved and we went home again in bright sunlight. Mind you, this might fo Pionsat a favour as when the match is replayed, Pionsat might have a stronger team out.

And I didn’t sleep through the alarms yesterday. They simply didn’t ring.

And how do I know this?

Well, at 0è:30 the perishing alarms went off here. it seems that somehow the date on the telephone has advanced one day so yesterday was, according to the phone, Sunday (hence the absence of alarm) and today was Monday (hence the alarm).

So after the early start, I wrote another radio show for Radio Anglais, to match the Christmas Special that I wrote earlier in the week.

That’s the radio programmes for the month of January now completed, except for the rock programme, and that’s next weekend’s work. I’ll crack this yet!

Saturday 29th November 2014 – WHAT A PLEASANT DAY.

We were invited round to Clotilde’s for lunch today. It’s been ages since I’ve seen her so I was quite looking forward to it.

I had a little lie in this morning (slept through the alarms again – whoops!) and then had a nice relaxing morning catching up on a few things that I’ve let go while I was doing this Christmas Special

At 11:30 I cleared off down to Clotilde’s for lunch, and was delighted to see not only Clotilde, Liz, Terry and Rosemary, but also Ingrid who I haven’t seen for years. There was also another couple there who I had never met before.

Clotilde had cooked a really nice vegan lunch, which was very thoughtful of her and then seeing as how the weather was quite reasonable, we went for a walk.

st priest les champs combrailles puy de sancy puy de dome franceFrom Clotilde’s house there’s a good walk through the old quarries of the Gr√© de lapeize, the stone with which much of St Gervais and St Priest was built.

From the top of the hill at the back, near to where Arno lives, there’s a magnificent view of the town of St Priest les Champs across the valley in the distance, with the Puy de Sancy in the distance.

puy de dome franceFrom there we went round the corner and up to the top of the next hill, and from there was a lovely view of the Puy de Dome in the distance.

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of it. And I’m glad that we are in late autumn because the absence of leaves on the trees at this time of the year add some different kind of dimension to the photo.

This evening I was down at Pionsat for the football. Pionsat’s 2nd XI were playing Teilhet. And despite the strength of the team that Pionsat put out (and there won’t be a stronger team than this on the field for the 2nd XI), they really struggled and the attack offered absolutely nothing at all. And that’s a surprise considering the fact that in the 8 games to date, they’ve scored 31 goals. An utterly impotent offering.

They ended up beating the Goatslayers 1-0, with the goal coming from a corner. The ball was headed out but only as far as blond Frederic on the edge of the area who put everything into it that he had, including the kitchen sink.

Still, a win is a win, as anyone will tell you, and the top 4 clubs, including Piosat, have now broken well clear of the pack.