Category Archives: neris-les-bains

Saturday 16th August 2014 – I’M ON ABOUT …

bad parking intermarche commentry allier france… this parking again, aren’t I? It must be that time of the year again.

I just can’t believe just how selfish some people are. The Intermarché at Commentry is a busy place and there’s always pressure on the parking here – and even more when someone such as this takes up two places in an old nail like that. It’s bad enough when someone in a brand new car does it – it’s even more sad when it’s something like this.

So yes, I was in Commentry doing the shopping this late afternoon. And it was a quiet time there, apart from the stuff that I bought in Bricomarché, such as more trunking and also the cement rendering for the outside of the house.

Prior to that, I spent the morning finishing off the backups that I had been doing and sorting out the stuff for taking with me in 10 days time. I need to sort all of this out as quickly as possible.

After lunch I went over to St Maurice to pay the deposit for the stuff that I had bought the other day, and as usual I forgot to take any photos, so you’ll have to wait for a good while to see what it is.

And then, to the baths at Neris for my weekly swim. There were about half a dozen of us in there and that’s hardly surprising seeing as it was not that warm and the sides of the pool were open. But it did fill up a little later, and there were quite a few kids having a whale (well, we are talking about water) of a time. One girl was just 5 years old but was really at home in the water, leaping into the 2-metre depths and then doggy-paddling to the side to start all over again. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a kid having so much fun, and I had a good chat with the girl’s grandma.

So then off to Commentry for the shops.

And the parking.

Saturday 9th August 2014 – SOMETIMES …

… I have a bit of verbal constipation and I can’t find the inspiration to write very much (usually when it’s most important) when I’m trying to do something. On other days, quite the reverse happens and I can’t somehow manage to stop writing.

This morning was one of the latter days and between 09:15 and 12:30 I churned out a grand total of 4679 words on neighbouhood issues – and there’s still plenty to go at. This is is going to be another one of these mega-opuses I think, and it will put me well in front of where I need to be for when I return from Canada, which is just as well.

Once I’d done that, and had lunch, I braved the rain showers to go a-swimming at Neris-les-Bains. Once again, there weren’t too many people in the pool. And once again, they had opened up the sides of the pool. I’ve no idea why they do that. It’s not as if it’s summer.

It was raining as I left the swimming baths, and the rain increased in volume as I drove to the shops at Commentry. LIDL was having a sale of these elasticated ankle and elbow protectors and so I bought two of the former to deal with the issues of my cement burns, which still aren’t healing.

hanging cloud les guis virlet puy de dome franceOn the way back home, I was astonished to see this. My house is on top of that mountain and there’s a huge hanging cloud right over the top of it.

This is early evening in early August, remember, and a phenomenon like this is astonishing at this time of year in the evening. And back home, I found the place devastated. Bent branches and fallen leaves, and my verandah has flooded – only the second time ever that that has happened since I’ve been here.

But, as I said, this summer is rapidly turning into a disaster. I’ve never ever known a year like it.

Saturday 2nd August 2014 – WHOSE SILLY IDEA WAS IT …

… to open the sides of the swimming baths at Neris-les-Bains today? It wasn’t actually all that warm today. The water temperature was 29.5°C in the pool but the air temperature inside was just 21°C. That’s a long way short of the usual summer temperature of 28°C.

I should explain that when the pool was built, it was a nice open-air Art-Deco swimming pool but these days there’s a marquee over the top of it, with sides that can be rolled up in the summer.

But today was not the day to do that.

There weren’t all that many people in there today either which was a disappointment. No attractive women of the opposite sex to ogle. Yes, I still eye up all the ladies, but I can’t remember why.

After the swimming baths (which unfortunately did little to relieve my cement burns) I went off to Commentry to do my shopping, and I was back home by 19:00

Before going swimming though, I’d been working on the programmes for Radio Anglais. I’ve prepared another live concert – something that takes me ages to prepare but having heard one that was edited and spliced by the people at the radio station a few months ago, I’m going to be doing them myself. I’ve also written almost all of the notes for it too.

That just leaves the tourist information for out travel guide, and with a bit of luck I can finish that off tomorrow.

Saturday 26th July 2014 – WELL, THERE I WAS …

… lying in bed this morning waiting for the alarm to ring, and after a while I thought that this can’t be right. Yes, it was 08:30 and bith the battery in the phone and in the alarm had gone flat through the night. What are the odds on that happening?

So after a rather late breakfast I sat down and dealt with this outstanding programme that I have to write for Radio Anglais. I did five and a half weeks, and there’s just the bit about tourism to finish off. Then there are two rock programmes and some information notes to do.

I tried a different tactic about shopping today. I worked on the radio programmes until about 14:45 and then ent straight to Neris and the swimming baths. It wasn’t as nice as last week – just a mere 9.5 out of 10 – -and there were a couple of bizarre goings-on in there too today.

I then went to Commentry to do the shopping and ran straight into a motor-cycling weekend and the town was packed with people and motor bikes.

I didn’t buy anything extra either today, and I was back home at 19:00, nice and clean (for a change) and shopped. And then I crashed out yet again for half an hour.

And that was today finished. Tomorrow is a day off and a lie-in.

Saturday 19th July 2014 – WHAT A NICE AFTERNOON.

Not particularly sunny, but lovely and hot, so just for a change I went swimming at Neris-les-Bains. Not too crowded but the water was lovely and warm even with the sides of the pool open and I spent a very pleasant hour or so in there. And that gave me an opportunity to give the cement burns on my legs (which are still troubling me) a really good soaking.

Last night it was still too hot to sleep and it was 04:00 again when I went to bed. But about 01:00 we had a sudden hurricane that sprang up out of nowhere and a huge stream of wind blew right through the house.

I was up and about again at 08:00 all the same and after breakfast had a few hours on the laptop as well as a little session with that computer program. I’m determined to crack it, even though I’ve been tempted to delete the newer version that I’ve uploaded and go back to the previous one.

I did my shopping at Commentry – first time for ages, and while neither LIDL nor Intermarche came up with anything special, I bought all that I needed from Bricomarche to complete the guttering on Monday.

Back home from the swimmng baths I crashed out for an hour or so.

Tonight now that I’m nice and clean, I’m going to change the bedding and have a really good sleep in a nice clean bed for just a change. Tomorrow is Sunday and it’s a day off.

Saturday 31st May 2014 – I WENT TO MONTLUCON TODAY

And I wasn’t alone either for Rosemary came with me. We met up at the Total garage at Montaigut, but first port of call was back here. Rosemary needed a new worktop for the two cupboards that she had bought and although Brico Depot no longer stocked it, it was exactly the same as what I had bought for my house and I have tons of it around here. I could certainly spare a sheet of it.

After that we blitzed the shops – I did my usual round and Rosemary did hers. As well as that, we went around a few furniture shops as Rosemary needs some things for her cottage.

I loaded up Caliburn at Brico Depot with a pile of breeze blocks and some metal pylons for next week’s work around here, and I bought a two hook from Espace Emeraude. The Kubota came with just a stalk for ring-coupling trailers whereas my trailers are ball couplings so I needed a stalk with the ball on the end.

Rosemary bought lunch and on the way home we stopped at Neris-les-Bains for a cold drink. it was the start of the theatre season there and so we were serenaded by an Opera singer, just by way of a change.

Tuesday 1st April 2014 – IT WAS A LITTLE BETTER …

… getting up this morning, which was just as well as I had a lot to do today. So I was sitting eating breakfast before the 08:00 alarm reminder went off. I can’t remember when (or if) that has ever happened before.

And at 08:55 I was at the bank at Pionsat ready to withdraw some cash, only to find that the Credit Agricole plays right along with this Poisson d’Avril lark by having expired my bank card yesterday. And, according to the guy behind the counter who has tken over since Madame de St Rémy retired, “we posted your enw one to you three weeks ago”. So now I’ll have to sift through this enormous mountain of post that accumulated while I was in the Pyrenees.

Off to do this furniture removal and either I’m becoming much less tolerant as I grow older or else people are just losing all sense of proportion and priorities, in that the place wasn’t even packed up – even down to last night’s leftover food still in the saucepan on the cooker.

Everything should have been packed up and the furniture dismantled … "disPERSONtled" – ed … a long while ago and we could then have slung it into the van and cleared off. As it was, we didn’t even have the first load (because we ended up having to do two trips) into Caliburn until long after 11:00.

On the way into Montlucon we had to make a diversion as the mother of the guy who was helping us had had a power failure and Yours Truly was asked to take a look. But I tell you what – I am never going to complain about the standard of my wiring ever again. The fuse box of this house had been assembled on a wooden frame and whoever assembled it had trapped a wire in the framework and then driven a screw right into it, missing the wooden support completely.

So we just dumped the stuff into the garage and went back for the second load, by which time we were having the hottest day of the year so far. There was tons of stuff left over, but none of it packed and so they can pack it themselves and move it in a car.

Then of course we had to take it all upstairs. And by that, I mean three and a half storeys without a lift. And no hot water here – I spent about an hour trying to make the gas water heater work, but with no luck.

We’d done about three quarters of the work but they decided to knock off for lunch (it was about 15:30 by this time) so I left them to it and went to Neris-les-Bains. Yes, an absolutely gorgeous day and so I sat in the park and read a book until 17:00 when the swimming baths opened. First time for ages, and I was feeling all hot and sticky and sweaty.

Feeling much better, I came back here and had a coffee and then crashed out. Finally I managed to make one of my legendary aubergine and kidney bean casseroles, and that will keep mein business for three or four days.

And now that I’m clean, I’m going to have clean bedding tonight. Definitely pushing the boat out here.

Saturday 18th January 2014 – BARKING!

Yes, indeed I am. I went for a swim today at Neris.

And about time too. Last time I went for a swim was in Montlucon just before Christmas and I reckon I must have been picked upon radar a dozen times since. And while the water was tepid, the swimming baths itself was cold, cold, cold and if I wasn’t in the water I was freezing.

Mind you, the shower in the disabled toilets was piping hot and so I had a really good scrub for a change and now with new undies and new bedding tonight, I’ll be in my elephant. I feel really clean just for a change.

This was all in consequence of going to Commentry for shopping. It’s ages since I’ve been there and there were one or two things that I needed and of course, I’m only 10 minutes away from the baths at Neris.

This morning though, when I finally managed to struggle out of my stinking pit, I wrote some notes for the radio programme. Some on Value-Added Tax and I started on Speed Cameras.

I’ll have to finish that tomorrow morning though – we are rehearsing tomorrow evening. It’s that time again.

Saturday 9th November 2013 – DUNNO IF YOU REMEMBER …

… a couple of years ago and I posted a photo of the local village shop in Ronnet which had caught fire and burnt out.

burnt out shop restaurant fire ronnet allier franceThe owners moved to other premises in the village with their shop and opened a little café-restaurant there too. But that’s not lasted too long, because this was what I discovered when I went through Ronnet at midday today.

We’ve had another fire and all of this seems to have gone for a Burton too. Even more importantly, when the first place caught fire they had a tarpaulin up and over it almost as soon as the flames were extinguished. Here though after the fire at their second premises, they seem to have abandoned everything to its fate and that seems to be that.

Yes, I was in Ronnet today, on my way to Commentry for shopping, and rather later than intended too. I’d heard the alarm go off but I decided that, seeing as how I’m still recovering from my exertions, I was going to have another morning of rest.

But what a beautiful morning it was though, not a cloud in the sky and the batteries were fully-charged by 10:45. I emptied some more stuff out of Caliburn and tidied up some more in here, slinging some filled rubbish bags into the van and then went off to Commentry, via Ronnet.

Christmas isn’t too far off and so I’ve started buying Christmas nibbles today. And nothing else of note or excitement, except that at Centrakor I picked up a couple of small pepper mills on special offer, to use for grinding my cardamon seeds and so on, and also some waxed table cloth. That was what I wanted, because I don’t want to ruin this new table when I use it as my kitchen worktop up here.

As the weather deteriorated, clouded over and started to rain, Neris was next, and the swimming baths. Ages since I’ve been there and it was freezing in the building. About 25 of us poor souls braving the extremes, but at least I’m clean for once.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceSo now that I’m back home I can return to my usual haunts and habits, FC Pionsat St Hilaire being one of them, and tonight the Ist XI were taking on Chatelguyon.

I had to get dressed for it too as it was freezing outside, although the rain had stopped. And it’s as well that I did for nothing that happened on the pitch served to warm me up at all.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one francePIonsat started the stronger and were peppering the Chatelguyon goalmouth and it was no surprise that they took the lead. A beautiful cross across the goalmouth from Nico and Pavel, this new Polish striker, volleying in a superb shot at the far post.

In that opening spell wre had shots kicked off the line, shots pounded into the woodwork and shots put wide when it would have been easier to score and I can’t think how it was that they missed. Pionsat were threatening to run riot.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceThey were however living dangerously at the back and it was no surprise to anyone that Chatelguyon equalised – with just a few minutes to go before half-time.

A break down the left wing saw a Chatelguyon forward clean on with the ball and although Michael managed to get down and stop the shot he couldn’t hold on and as the ball ran free from his grasp, another Chatelguyon forward following up had a pretty simple tap-in and that, dear readers, was that.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceThe second half started just like the first half. Pionsat came out of the trap like a rocket and for the first five minutes had Chatelguyon pegged right back in their own half and under something of the cosh.

We had the Pionsat missed chances, the woodwork peppered with shots, the Chatelguyon keeper making some excellent saves, and then the unbelievable happened.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceWell, it isn’t unbelievable if you have been following what I was writing about the matches three and four years ago. Back in those days Pionsat were struggling because they had a defence that had a tendency to switch off and gp to sleep at important moments, and this was exactly what we had here.

And it didn’t happen just once or even twice, but FOUR TIMES, would you believe, and what looked like a comfortable Pionsat victory turned into something of an absolute rout as they went on to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceI felt sorry for Michael in the Pionsat goal. He’s not a goalkeeper but with injuries to everyone else he’s in there keeping goal and doing his best.

No one could fault him for any of the five goals that he conceded, but with two Pionsat centre-backs standing too far apart so that an attacker can go straight down though the middle for a one-on-one with him, what is he expected to do?

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceWe had two of those, one after the other, and that was followed up by two balls over the top of the defence when the Pionsat defence was pushing too far forward and not quick enough to get back. For the fifth goal we had Michael on his own against three Chatelguyon attackers and no-one can do much about that.

Back home, I was skyped by an old friend of mine, telling me that he’s moved house. He has, but his wife hasn’t, meaning of course that their marriage of some considerable number of years has come to an end. That’s really sad news as between them they made quite an impressive couple with many qualities. But I suppose that it’s none of my business except to dole out the sympathy.

Saturday 6th July 2013 – DAMN AND BLAST!

I went to Commentry today to do my shopping – the first time for I don’t know how many months. And we had two of what can best be described as disasters.

Firstly, there’s a shop there called “Les Bonnes Affaires” – one of these surplus shops that sells overstocks, bankrupt stock and so on. I’ve bought  … ohhh … tons of stuff from there and it’s all been useful too – something of a paradise for me.

But I won’t be buying anything from there ever again because there’s a notice on the door – “Fermeture Definitive 23 mars 2013” – yes, closed down for good over three months ago. That is definitely a disaster;

The second thing is not really a disaster – it’s more of a calamity.

Bricomarché has been selling a range of wood stoves and I’ve had my eye on one of them – it’s a wood-burner with oven and back boiler, exactly what I want for downstairs to heat, cook, and to boil the water for washing and heating.

Every time I’ve gone into the shop I’ve been eyeing this oven and thinking to myself “one day you will be mine”

But damn and blast!

Bricomarché has changed supplier and that type of model isn’t in the new range. Of course, Brain of Britain hasn’t made a note of the manufacturer and of course he asked the staff of the shop but none of them could (or would) remember who it was.

Now I’m well and truly snookered.

So after another exciting dream I was up and about in what was the most glorious morning of the year so far (and it held throughout the day too which was a complete surprise).

I didn’t do much in Commentry (there wasn’t much to do in all honesty) but I did go to Neris-les-Bains, the swimming pool was indeed open, and I had the best swim for absolutely ages.

I really felt the benefits of that too.

This evening I went round to Marianne’s. It’s been 6 months since Bill’s death and so a group of us had a little party and get-together in his memory.

She had found a bag with all of Bill’s drawings and paintings, and we were allowed to choose one each as a memory.

I have many paintings here, all painted by people who have flashed in and out of my life at one time or another, and I was pleased to add a small watercolour of a beach scene to my collection.

Now I’m nice and clean (for once) and so I’m going to treat myself to clean bedding tonight. That’s pushing the boat out rather far, isn’t it?

But I’ll be on my own tonight because Strawberry Moose has gone on a sleepover.

And the dream? Ohh yes, I forgot. I was working in a big office and I had a pile of folders on my desk with post in that needed to be dealt with. The post was put inside the files ready to be worked, but some of the cases were quite complicated and I had had a few sitting there for months and I hadn’t told anyone about them. I’d just learnt that I had been transferred to another office immediately, which meant that these cases had to be abandoned and would be inherited by another who would immediately identify my misdeeds and wouldn’t my name be mud? I was in something of an awful panic about this.

Saturday 29th December 2012 – I went swimming today.

And how!

And the reason for that is that on the informal weather scale that I keep, this morning was classed as “scattered clouds” but this afternoon was classed as “glorious”. Nothing in the heavens to stop the sun streaming down, and I had the amount of solar energy that would have been expected in the summer.

So after a lie-in I finally finished off the Quebec pages after all this time and these are now on line. After that, it was a quick thrash around the shops in Commentry and then off to the swimming baths at Neris-les-Bains. And for a change it was reasonably warm in there and I’m nice and clean, and I’m looking forward to a good sleep tonight.

All in all, a very quiet day. I’ve been having a few of those just recently. I’m saving my strength for the new year.

Sunday 28th October 2012 – BRRRRR!!!!!!!

puy de dome franceIt’s absolutely freezing outside. And I mean that too. Minus 1.6°C outside when I took the stats just now.

And it’s been cold all day as you can tell by just looking at this photo of the Puy-de-Dome that I took from my usual haunt – the birdwatching site at the back of St Gervais d’Auvergne.

Winter has arrived, early as we predicted exclusively on these pages just 10 days ago, and we are still in October too.

puy de sancy puy de dome franceAnd just look over there at the Puy de Sancy and the Mont Dore. It’s more like Mont Blac over there right now. And those heavy clouds are threatening more punishment

And the snow isn’t just scattered over the high ground either. There’s piles of it in the middle distance too.

When that lot was unleashed last night, we were still on SUMMER time would you believe. The weather has gone totally crazy.

So this morning with the extra hour in bed, I was up and about at 09:20 and after breakfast and the usual paperwork, I spent a couple of hours doing some housework, cleaning and dusting and the like.

It’s certainly been such a long time since I’ve done any, and I can actually see some floor now.

This afternoon I went out to Terjat to watch AS Terjat play Neris les Bains’s 2nd XI.

An Allier Division 1 match, theoretically the same level at which FC Pionsat St Hilaire’s 1st XI play, but there wasn’t a single player out there whom I would chose for my team. The quality really is quite poor in the Allier.

Neris-les-Bains are quite high up in the league and AS Terjat are mid-table, yet you wouldn’t have thought so from watching this match.

The first half with AS Terjat kicking into a howling wind, the match was played mostly in the Terjat half, but Neris-les-Bains were to all intents and purposes clueless in attack.

In the second half, playing with the wind, AS Terjat scored 2 goals in quick succession and as the wind dropped, Neris-les-Bains scored late in the game, due to a defensive howler in the AS Terjat penalty area.

fter that I went to Liz and Terry’s to rehearse our Radio Anglais programmes for the coming week. Liz made a lovely tea and I had a nice warm shower for which I was grateful.

Back here though it’s freezing and I was sorely tempted to light the fire up here. November 17th was the first fire in 2010 – November 27th was the first in 2011,but the first fire in October is just crazy.

If it’s as cold as this tomorrow and I’m in all evening it will definitely be lit.

Saturday 8th September 2012 – WHEN WAS THE LAST …

… time I saw an SD1 Rover?

sd1 rover 3500 ohio usa october octobre 2010I can in fact vaguely remember – early October 2010 in Ohio, USA as it happens. Here’s the photo to prove it and I’m still recovering from the shock.

In the UK is must be years ago when I borrowed one that a mate was halfway through dismantling, so that I could go to Kings Lynn to drops some stuff off on a girl that I was seeing at the time and the exhaust fell off halfway out.

And so this morning in Montlucon I was completely stunned to see one drive past me as if it was nothing out of the ordinary. And seeing a second one drive past me an hour or two later was even more astonishing. I’ve no idea what was going on there and I bet that I won’t ever see something like that again.

And I nearly didn’t make it to Montlucon either.

The effects of the last few days have been telling on me, because despite the early night I slept right through the alarms this morning. It was only the farmer bringing the cows back (I’m glad I did that wall when I did) that woke me up.

I had a good wander round and bought nothing much out of the ordinary – maybe a pair of these shell trousers that I wear. Auchan had them on sale at €9:99 so I reckoned that I would buy a pair and see what they are like.

I’m fast running out of clothes because I left a huge pile in my lock-up in Canada to pick up when I go back – which should have been this weekend but it isn’t and that’s why I’m running out.

I had a good hour in the pool at Neris-les-Bains as well and finally managed to see the remains of the Roman Baths – how long have I been going there and I haven’t seen them before?

In the blistering heat the baths was crowded as you might expect. And someone was having a load of fun!

A couple were standing about 5 yards apart and hurling an object about between them – the object being a girl of about 3 or 4. And every time she hit the water she was squealing with delight.

I was squealing too, but for a different reason. All of the pool was open and the water was absolutely freezing. Almost as cold as that pool in Québec back in May.

Tonight the football season gets under way and with no game at Pionsat I went to Marcillat en Combraille to watch AS Marcillat’s 1st XI.

One division higher than FC Pionsat St Hilaire in theory (but they play in the Allier leagues, not the Puy de Dome leagues) but you wouldn’t think so. The match was awful and so was AS Marcillat – they only lost 5-2 but they were lucky to get the two and St Prix should have had a dozen.

I’m off to two matches tomorrow – at Chateaugay for the 2nd XI at 13:00 and then down the road to Clermont la Glacière at 15:00 for the 1st XI.

Two teams that I haven’t seen before.

Saturday 25th August 2012 – I’VE BEEN …

… spending my money once again.

It’s the rentrée pretty soon – yes, all the kids will be back at school in 2 weeks’ time and so the shops are filled with all kinds of stuff.

There’s one shop, called Centrakor in Commentry that is a kind of down-market CASA if that’s at all possible, and they had something on sale that was quite phenomenal.

It’s a kids’ workstation type of thing – a few shelves, a slide-out shelf for a keyboard, a tabletop and then a couple of shelves at eye-level (well, eye-level for a 12 year old) and one good thing about it is that it is on castors.

The best part about it though is the price – a mere €19:99

Here in my little attic I have a kind of tiny round cheap plastic coffee table with two shelves and I have the DVD player/TV on the top shelf and the computer external drives on the other. And it rattle along and bits drop off and there’s no room for anything at all on it.

So when I saw this workstation thing my mind went into overdrive. So now there’s one in the back of Caliburn waiting to be brought up here and assembled whenever I get a moment (whenever that might be). But it’s ever so impressive, especially at that price.

I did quite a mega-shop today in Commentry in fact, including a proper stonemason chisel for raking out the cement from between the stones.

High time I had some decent tools and equipment around here – it might make the next bit of the wall somewhat easier.

From there I went on to Neris-les-Bains and the swimming baths. The weather has cooled down considerably over these last few days but the had all the sides of the pool open and so it was freezing in there. I managed 24 lengths today which is something of a record these days.

I came home afterwards and … errrr … crashed out. I’m not as young as I was.

This morning though I finished off the radio scripts – they need some alterations but I don’t really have the time to do it now and I was too tired this evening.

And after all of my worries as to whether it’s going to be enough, it weighed in at 38kb. That’s the third longest ever.

So now it’s bedtime ready for my day of rest tomorrow, when I’m going to be rushed off my feet.

Saturday 23rd June 2012 – PHEW! I’M EXHAUSTED!

And I’m not surprised either, for I’ve had a busy day today.

This morning I was busy tracing the antics of Séraphin Margane de Lavaltrie and his regiment, the Carignan-Salières along the banks of the St Lawrence River, as well as unravelling the tangled web weaved around Quebec by the enigmatic Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac.

Yes, this is all very exciting, doing these web pages. I’m certainly learning a lot – and that’s the whole point.

Anyway, in the afternoon I shot off to Commentry and did a pile of shopping, but didn’t buy any wire netting. The price of the stuff is exorbitant and I’m sure that I can do far better than that elsewhere with a bit of exertion.

In the meantime I’ll see what I can conjure up or otherwise invent.

I did however manage to fit in an uncomfortable hour in the swimming pool at Neris-les-Bains. Note to self- “don’t go swimming straight after eating a tub of LIDL sorbet”.

bonfire feu de joie fete de st jacques Virlet puy de dome franceAnd so in the evening a nice clean me went back out and off to the village for our traditional, annual walk to explore some of the lesser-known back lanes of Virlet.

I’d stuck a note on the board of the Anglo-French group and so instead of the usual 20 or so people we ended up being quite a crowd – many of whom I knew – and we all had a really nice, cheerful and friendly walk around.

People from all ages were here and that’s nice to see – I like the idea of the youngsters being involved.

strawberry moose bonfire feu de joie fete de st jacques Virlet puy de dome france. It’s not only the villagers who are drawn out by the likelihood of crowds and of an audience.

Whenever there’s a possibility of a photo opportunity with a new group of admiring fans, you can bet your life that Strawberry Moose won’t be far away.

And sure enough, he leapt out of his seat in Caliburn to mingle with the crowds and made the acquaintance of a few more admirers. His fame is certainly spreading and he had just as much fun as everyone else did tonight.

bonfire feu de joie fete de st jacques Virlet puy de dome franceBecause fun there was, and plenty of it too, and for all ages.

After the walk we all headed back to the field at the back of the church. Here, seeing as it’s the Fête de St Jacques we had a feu de joie, a barbecue and snacks, a film and dancing with music provided by my friend Rick the Trailer Guy on cello and his violinist friend.

All very convivial.

A good time was had by all although I didn’t stay too long. I didn’t stay as long as I might have though. For some reason I was absolutely exhausted, and so I was home by midnight.

It’ll take me a week to recover, I reckon.