Category Archives: Mr Bricolage

Monday 29th November 2021 – SAY HELLO, EVERYONE …

marité normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021… to Normandy Warrior.

Moored down there behind Marité is the newest freighter to visit the port. You won’t have seen her before because we are lucky enough today to catch her on her maiden voyage to the town

She’s the sister ship to Normandy Trader and you can tell them apart because Normandy Trader has a small upper deck behind her bridge on which lightweight articles can be loaded.

normandy warrior port de granville harbour Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A few months ago I mentioned that the crew of Normandy Trader were talking about buying another boat.

What I had assumed that they meant was that they were going to replace her with a larger ship, but actually there’s an issue about licences and permits for larger boats and so they have managed to track down a sister ship and they are going to be operating the two simultaneously.

So here is Normandy Warrior busily being loaded with a huge pile of freight that has accumulated over the last few days for her first return journey from Granville to Jersey.

replacing christmas decorations Place Général de Gaulle Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Something else that has been going on today has been the repair to the town following the devastation of Storm Arwen.

The Christmas decorations in the Place General de Gaulle were savaged quite badly. Father Christmas was blown halfway down the street and the trees that they had erected to surround him were all bowled over.

As I walked past on my way to the physiotherapists they were busy re-erecting the trees. Santa had already been restored to his previous place, so let’s hope that he stays there this time.

broken slates rue general patton Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021That wasn’t the only sign of a tragedy either.

As I was walking home along the Rue General Patton I was trying to avoid all of the broken slates that were littering the floor.

It seems that there has been a roof quite badly damaged in the storm and there were broken slates everywhere. This is going to be quite a bill for someone to have to pay

It’s actually quite a testament to our building that despite being exposed to the full force of the wind, we seem to have escaped quite lightly.

school children college malraux place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021However I’ve no idea what might be happening here.

When I returned with Caliburn from having his windscreen replaced, all of the schoolkids from the College Malraux were outside on the public car park hanging around.

Whatever had caused it had happened before I arrived so I wasn’t able to identify a reason, but the fact that all of the fire doors are open seems to indicate that there has been a fire alarm and the school has been evacuated.

While we are on the subject of alarms, my alarms didn’t go off this morning. Not that it made any difference because I was wide awake. I’d had another bad night where it seemed that I hadn’t slept at all.

And seeing that there are no files recorded on the dictaphone (and it’s been quite a while since that has happened, hasn’t it?) that’s a distinct possibility.

So I fell out of bed at 06:00 and staggered off for my medication. Then back here I checked my mails and messages and then had an hour or so working on the radio programme that I should be doing this week, although when, I don’t know.

A shower was next, to get myself cleaned up, and then I changed the bedding. I’m not sure when I did that last but one thing that I did notice last night was that it was high (and I do mean “high”) time that I changed it.

And then I put set the washing machine on the go.

Having made sure that Caliburn would start, I prepared myself to leave and then headed off to the windscreen fitter’s. And with the temperature being at 2.5°C, I put my woolly hat on my woolly head for the first time this winter.

Having dropped off Caliburn I went for a walk – to buy the stuff that I need to clean his wheels, to go to Bio-Coop to see if they had any vegan cheese (which they didn’t) and then to LeClerc for a coffee, where I fell asleep for 20 minutes.

When Caliburn was ready I picked him up and drove home, and I was amazed about how pitted and grimy his old windscreen must have been.

unloading scaffolding place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Back at the building there was someone here unloading a scaffolding.

Not to climb up onto the roof, but they were actually taking it inside the building.

These rooms are quite high and to reach the ceiling is not very easy at all. It looks as if someone is redecorating and the scaffolding must be to enable them to paint the ceiling.

Back here I sat down to carry on with the radio programme but unfortunately I dozed off again. As a result I had rather a late lunch.

After lunch I tracked down the rest of the things that I need to give Caliburn his showroom appearance and then headed off to town.

black pearl spirit of conrad Courrier des Iles charles marie anakena aztec lady port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the viewpoint on the corner of the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne and the Boulevard Vaufleury I could see that a trawler was just pulling up at the Fish Processing Plant.

She’s Black Pearl, one of the newer trawlers in the port whom we saw sail into port a while back.

Also in the shot are a load of the hire yachts that re laid up over the winter. We have, from left to right, Spirit of Conrad on whom we went up the Brittany coast 18 months or so ago, and then Charles Marie with the little Courrier des Iles moored against her.

Over on the right, Anakena is moored against the quayside with Aztec Ladymoored against her.

installing christmas lights avenue de la liberation Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021With the Rampe du Monte à Regret being closed while they repoint the wall, I carried on down the Rue des Juifs.

Down in the Avenue de la Liberation the Council’s cherry picker was out installing more Christmas lights. I wonder what this lot of lights is going to be like this year.

Heading through town, I climbed back up the Rue Couraye towards the physiotherapists, stopping off at Carrefour on the way. I forgot the tomatoes this weekend and I bought a can of energy drink to help my climb the hill back home.

At the physiotherapist’s she tightened up the screw on the cross trainer t make it harder for me to work the machine, and then I had a few kinetic exercises to carry out.

Finally I was put on the tilting platform and she obviously likes my company … “I can’t think why” – ed … because she let me stay on the machine for an extra 10 minutes.

abandoned railway line parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back down the steps at the Parc Du Val Ès Fleurs to see how the work was going.

From up above though, I could see that they are slowly advancing with the kerb along the line of the old abandoned railway. They are still a long way from finishing it though.

They’ve not made it to the road yet so it was something of a muddy tramp across the churned-up grass onto the car park and then down the steps to the bottom by where they have installed the keep-fit equipment

cutting wood parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021While I was on my way down there I heard the sound of a circular saw being used .

As I walked a little further on I could see that there was a van and a trailer. There was a generator in front of the van and they were using it to power a circular bench-saw.

Having cut the wood into the required length the guy working the saw carried it off to his friends who were working out of shot on the course of the abandoned railway line.

And judging by the amount of wood that he has on the trailer, he’s going to be working there for quite some time.

creating boardwark abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021What they are actually doing is construction some kind of boardwalk at the side of the concrete pathway that they have laid.

While I was going past I asked them if they would be going the full length of the abandoned railway track and they replied in the affirmative. And I can imagine that it will be fun riding a bike on that in the pouring rain.

But once again it’s pretty dismal, all of this concrete that they have been laying all over the place. I’m sure that they could do much better than that if they really tried, but they seem to be singularly lacking in imagination around here.

parc des docteurs lanos Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Meanwhile further down the road I came upon the Parc des Docteurs Lanos.

It’s still quite a mess, churned up by all of the heavy vehicles that have been driving on there moving all of the stuff about, and that is going to take a considerable amount of effort to restore it, unless they do as they have done elsewhere an sink it under a mass of concrete.

And talking of stuff, there seems to be considerably less stuff on there now. They are using it up as a considerable rate and the fact that they aren’t replacing it with any rapidity seems to indicate that the work is slowly coming to an end.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021And talking about masses of concreete, here’s a photo of the view behind me showing the Rue du Boscq.

Last time that we looked down here they were laying yet more concrete reinforcement matting and sure enough, while I was away in Leuven they have poured yet more concrete down.

One of these days I’ll post a photo of the car park at Lezardrieux where we visited with Spirit of Conrad. There, they laid out the car park with small stone setts and used setts of different colours to mark out the lines and it all looked quite nice.

rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the other end of the street, the situation was just the same.

Another mass of concrete poured down at this end too. It all looks so dreary and depressing.

Mind you, there’s a lorry-load of earth down there and they are tipping it into the gap between the edge of the concrete and the stone wall to the right. I wonder if that is where they will be planting the hundreds of trees that they have promised.

But anyway I left them to it and carried on home dodging the broken slates in the Rue General Patton.

sunset baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Yesterday we saw a really nice sunset, with what remained of the sun peeking through a small gap in the clouds.

This afternoon, we had a similar phenomenon. There wasn’t as much cloud this afternoon and so the effect was much more dramatic.

In the background we can see the church at Cancale across the bay on the Brittany coast, silhouetted against the orange sky, just to the left of centre.

It is one thing that I like about this time of year. At the time when I usually go for my walk, we have some wonderful lighting effects. We’ve seen quite a few already and there will be plenty more before Spring, I hope.

beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Before I went in for my afternoon coffee, I went over to the wall at the end of the car park to look over onto the beach.

There wasn’t anything going on down there this afternoon, for the simple reason that there wasn’t much beach for anything to be happening on. The tide was well in right now.

So on that point I came back in for my coffee and carried on with some work, but I knocked off earlier than I normally do.

That’s because in a fit of extravagance (or forgetfulness) I bought two loads of peppers at the weekend and I had no idea of when I was going to use them. So I made one of my mega-curries with peppers, mushrooms, a tin of diced veg and a tin of white beans.

It was absolutely delicious and there’s plenty left. So when it’s cooled down and there’s some more room in the freezer, I’ll parcel it all up into individual helpings and freeze them for later use.

But right now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a very long day, walked miles and I’m exhausted. I want to make the most of this and hopefully have a really good sleep for a change.

Saturday 28th July 2018 – A DAY AT THE SEASIDE!

Kate, Darren, Dylan and Robyn are spending a week with Liz and Terry. Today they were going to the beach at Agon-Coutainville and Liz asked me yesterday if I would like to join them.

I’d had another one of those nights where I was wide awake at 05:00. I did manage to go back to sleep again, but I was up and about as the alarm went off.

After breakfast I had a shower and then made my butties for lunch. Caliburn and I then went off to the shops, spending most of the trip through the town stuck behing a grockle doing about 20kph in a caravanette as the driver and his wife admired the seagulls.

At LIDL there had been a power failure and only half of the tills were working. A fine start for one of the busiest days of the year, especially as the place was heaving with tourists.

Having been stymied with my attempts to find some black-faced melamine, I went to Mr Bricolage and bought a couple of pine plank boards, one at 40cms and the other at 30cms width.

They are both 2m long so the narrower one I had cut in half so that there are two boards of 1m length which will make two shelves over the desk. The longer one will go across and bridge the gap between the two cupboards, one on either side of the desk.

At LeClerc I remembered the new memory card. But the difference between a 8gb card and a 16gb card was just €1:00, so I bought the larger card. I hope that it will work in the big Nikon.

But apart from that I bought nothing special at all. Not for want of trying, but the place was heaving today. It was almost impossible to move around in there. Mind you I ought to have had a clue with all of the traffic about on the roads. It was nose-to-tail from the ring road to the town centre.

simca 1200S agon coutainville manche normandy franceIt was a comparatively quick drive to Agon-Coutainville so I was there first before the others, and so that gave me a chance to have a good look around.

And I’m glad that I did because I came across one of the rarest of all mass-produced Western European cars of the late 1960s parked up on the car park.

And when I say “rarest” I really do mean that because in total there were only 14,400 of them ever built.

granville manche normandy franceIt’s a Simca 1200s coupé ans in my opinion it’s one of the most beautiful cars ever produced, but the chances of me ever finding one for sale would be about zero, I reckon.

Apart from being a Simca, and with all of the associated quality issues that it would have had, the steering was very … err … imprecise and the brakes had a reputation for being, well, “unmatched” to the performance of the vehicle.

With all of that and with the car being something of an icon amongst the well-heeled and reckless youth of that period, they had a tendency not to last very long.

All eight of us (because Robyn had brought Strawberry Moose with her) went off for a coffee and the little ones went to buy some cakes too.

sand yachting agon coutainville manche normandy franceAnd then we went for the highlight of the afternoon.

It’s Darren’s birthday today and so for a treat Liz had arranged a session on sand yachts for him. And Kate, Dylan and Terry went along as well.

Dylan was rather light though and his yacht wouldn’t move along so easily. But he soon got the hang of it with a little personal instruction. The others didn’t have the same problems and had a great time, enjoying it thoroughly.

sand yachting agon coutainville manche normandy franceAfterwards, we headed off to a quiet corner of the beach and set up our little camp for a picnic.

We chose a little sheltered spot out of the wind where we would watch the next session of sand yachting, and ate our butties in comfort.

Which was just as well because it was now about 16:00 and my stomach had been thinking that my throat had been cut.

Our neighbours were a French man, his English wife and their two daughters, aged about 11 and 7. At one point, the mother asked the youngest daughter, in English “where’s Ruby?” (presumably the elder daughter).
The younger girl replied, immediately without even a pause for thought “elle est partie chercher des crabes” in perfect French.
There’s a family and a couple of kids who have all of the right advantages and who will go far in life, that’s for sure.

beach agon coutainville manche normandy franceAfter lunch I had a little bit of a snooze and later, being only half-awake, I had a very interesting conversation with Kate, thinking that she was Liz.

Kate took the kids down to the sea and they all had a good swim. The water was quite warm apparently but the sun had disappeared so they were frozen to the marrow when they came out.

So everyone had a good warm-up in woolly towels and then we all headed for home. It was 18:30 – amazing how quickly time flies when you are enjoying yourself.

I came back here, to discover that Brigitte had left the window of her car open so I had to ring her and tell her about it.

And during my evening walk I met another one of my neighbours who invited me around tomorrow evening for an aperitif.

But despite having had a good crash-out during the day, I was quite tired. So no tea and an early night.

It’s Sunday so I can have a lie in. And I need it too.

Thursday 26th July 2018 – IT RAINED!

First time for at least 6 weeks I reckoned. On the way back here from Roncey we had a brief downpour for about five minutes. It was quickly here and quickly gone, but it rained just the same and that is something to note.

Last night was rather a mixed night. In bed early, I awoke at some time during the night, although I’ve no idea when, but I was quickly back asleep, where I stayed until the alarm went off. And then, to my own surprise, I was out of bed quite quickly.

The laptop had stalled during the night and so the transferring of the dashcam files had stalled to. And so I restarted it with the broken laptop as I suggested last night. And to my surprise, it was all done in a couple of hours, never mind a couple of days.

In the meantime I’d had my medication, had breakfast and even had a shower and a good clean-up.

Once everything was organised, I went out.

michel patrick granville manche normandy franceFirst stop was the harbour to check out the yacht that I saw yesterday.

She was still moored where I saw her, and so I made a note of her name. She’s called the Michel Patrick otherwise known as Milpat.

And having said that, I’m still none the wiser. I’ve not been able to find out anything else about her and she’s not in any database that I can locate.

So I headed off and and tried the remaining DiY shops, but again, no black melamine. So I fuelled up Caliburn and headed out with Strawberry Moose to take him on his holidays with Liz and Terry. Their grandchildren are arriving tomorrow and so he intends to have plenty of fun with them as usual.

Liz and I had a good chat and then some lunch, following which we went to Countances. Liz bought the contents of the LeClerc supermarket and then we went to the Biocoop for some stuff, where I found some gluten-free cornflakes.

Bricomarche, my last hope, let me down for the black melamine, and that was that. It simply cannot exist. I shall have to think of a Plan B.

Back at Roncey, Terry cut the worktop just how I wanted it for my home, while Liz produced something out of the freezer for tea. And I’ve no idea what it was and, strangely enough, neither does she. But whatever it was, it was very nice.

We sat and watched the clouds close in, and then the lightning in the distance. And I told you about the rainstorm on the way back.

So a productive day meeting friends and shopping, even if I wasn’t able to find my melamine. But at least I can press on with my kitchen tomorrow.

Saturday 31st March 2018 – YOU MISSED …

cite des sports us granville cs villedieu football granville manche normandy france… an exciting football match this evening.

US Granville were playing CS Villedieu – a team one Division below them – in the Normandy Cup, and ran out 5-1 winners.

You might think that this indicates that CS Villedieu were on the receiving end of a right spannering, but nothing could be further from the truth. The scoreline is extremely unfair to them.

The game hinged on a two-minute spell after about an hour. Up until then the teams had been very evenly matched and although Granville were 1-0 up thanks to a goal after about 15 minutes, the lead was by no means whatever a comfortable one.

But then CS Villedieu broke away upfield with some nice play and had a shot on goal that beat absolutely everyone, including the US Granville keeper, but flashed about half a millimetre wide of the post. Had they scored, it would have been no more than they deserved.

However, from the goal-kick, Granville roared upfield and won a corner. And the Granville centre-forward had a free header into the net.

From the restart, the US Granville midfielder intercepted the ball, played it upfield and with some neat passing play from the forwards, the n°10 (I think) found himself in a one-on-one with the Villedieu keeper and made no mistake.

So within 60 seconds of what should have been 1-1, CS Villedieu found themselves 3-0 down.

After that, things went from bad to worse for Villedieu. They were still playing some nice football and even pulled back a goal, but every time Granville had the ball up front they looked dangerous. As well as 2 more goals, we had two point-blank saves from the keeper and a resounding, thunderous volley that came back off the foot of the post.

5-1 it was. 2-1 would have been a fairer result but it could so easily have been 7 or 8 for Granville.

And I’ll tell you something else that I missed too. And I’m as malade as a perroquet about it, as they say around here.

There’s been a dash-cam in Caliburn for several years and it’s never ever recorded anything interesting. And yet today, there we were at the roundabout near LeClerc and a motorist a few cars in front of me stops to give way. A tourist behind (yes, it’s grockle-time again), too busy admiring a seagull, runs slap bang into the rear of him. Ad here I am with the dash-cam running!

Or, at least, I thought I was. But it turns out that the SD card filled up about 100 yards beforehand and so had switched off. How upset am I?

With having had a late night last night I didn’t have much sleep . And although I’d been on my travels, all memory of it disappeared in the time that it took to reach for the dictaphone.

We had the usual morning ritual followed by a shower and a general clean-up, and then it was shopping-time.

LIDL and NOZ came up with nothing much of any excitement, and I went to Mr Bricolage for some PTFE lubricant for the machine heads of the bass guitar.

We then had the accident, and as I was pulling onto the car park at LeClerc, I almost collided with Liz and Terry coming in the opposite direction. So we went for a coffee, that passed into lunch, and I’m very grateful to Terry for hosting me.

Nothing much of any excitement in there either, but I do now have an office chair (even though I don’t have an office as yet – but I will in early course) and that was quite by accident.

With all of the time that it took for chatting and so on, it was just coming up to 14:00 when I was driving past BUT and they were reopening after lunch. And there was a big sign outside – “Clearance Sale – Massive reductions – Free Installation on Fitted Kitchens”.

So I went in to see about a kitchen for here because I hate what I have and I want something much better than this. However, it won’t be happening from BUT. The “free installation” only applies to purchases of over €2500 and I’m looking to spend a tenth of that.

But I had a look at the office chairs and there was one that was quite comfortable and quite robust. Not quite like the one that I had in Brussels that I could (and did on many occasions) curl up and go to sleep in, but it was €79:99 – which is cheap in itself – reduced by 50%! And they had run out of stock so after much discussion they let me have the display one for €36:00. I’ll go for that.

This evening I had a brisk walk out to the Cité des Sports in the rain and howling gale for the football and because I’d brought a flask, the Hall and bar were open. Isn’t that typical?

And on the way back I grabbed a portion of chips for tea. It’s good to catch up with old habits.

Tomorrow is of course a Bank Holiday and a Sunday, so I’m going for two lie-ins.

And why not?

Saturday 3rd February 2018 – WELL, THAT WASN’T …

… very much of a walk this evening. And I didn’t go out at all this afternoon either.

Mind you, I can’t say that I blame myself at all. The respite that we had from the rain yesterday didn’t last and it’s pouring down outside. All football cancelled tonight, which is hardly a surprise. This has to be the wettest winter that I have ever encountered.

I ended up being late to bed last night, but I still found time to go on a perambulation during the night.

I was working … "he means “employed”" – ed … in a Government office such as the VAT office somewhere and it was announced that we were moving out to another town. The secretary of the local Workingmen’s Club had been sending us notes about entertainment that I had been using in the Staff bulletins so I decided to go to thank him and return all of his notes. I had them all copied into a mauve-coloured binder that I intended to return to him. In the club he was on the stage so I climbed up there to thank him and return his notes but at the very last minute remembered that there were all kinds of other notes from other people in there and it wouldn’t do any good whatever for them to fall into the wrong hands and enter the public domain.

Once more, it was a struggle to leave my bed and you’ve no idea how much I’m looking forward to my Sunday lie-in tomorrow.

After the usul start to the day I had a shower and a general clean-up in my nice, clean bathroom, and then headed for the shops.

In the usual shops, LeClerc and LIDL, I just bought the usual stuff with nothing exciting at all. And I bought the hi-fi cable and connectors at Mr Bricolage.

But I discovered a new shop that has just opened – an office supplies shop called Bureau Vallée. And here I struck quite lucky.

Remember me saying that I wanted some 2GB memory sticks? Well as it happened, they had three on sale at a reasonable price too, so they have disappeared into my shopping bag. They had a decent 4-hole perforator at a reasonable price for which I have been searching for years and a few other bits and pieces too for good measure.

I shall be going back there too, because while their mainstream stuff is rather pricey, their budget products are really good value, which makes a change these days.

But I had to laugh at NOZ. That’s the kind of place that’s almost impossible to describe. It sells surplus, fire-damaged and bankruptcy clearance stocks, time-limited food goods a,d all of that kind of thing. They try their best to keep it tidy but it inevitably turns into something like a jumble sale within half an hour of opening.

Now my new smartphone is a cheap Chinese import that I reckon might have been for a mainstream manufacturer but now outdated. I’ve had it a week but with there being no case for it, the screen is already scratched more than I would like.

And there in NOZ was a huge heap of all different kinds of mobile phone shells, all mixed up and (for the most part) taken out of the boxes so that people could try them.

I spent a good 15 minutes rummaging around and in the end found one that is an exact fit for my phone, with even the switch buttons being uncovered, but the camera hole is slightly out of position (I can drill that out). Not in the box of course but after a good five minutes rummaging around I found an empty box and packaging, and put it in that to take to the checkout.

The fact that the price tag on the box said €2:99 – the cheapest that I could see – had nothing whatever to do with my choice of box.

Just for a change, I decided to spice up my lunchtime soup a little. It’s tomato and vermicelli for the next couple of days, so besides the usual pasta and bulghour, I added some basil, oregano and chili powder. And different it was too.

With no football and no possibility of going for a walk this afternoon I sorted out the music onto the 2gb data sticks. I now have three and I could do with a pile more. I shall have to go back to Bureau Vallée next weekend and hope that they have some more.

But as well as that, I sorted out a box of paperwork that I had collected ages ago from hanging around in Caliburn. That’s been weeded, sorted, filed and some of it binned. And I didn’t say that I found in NOZ some container that will do fine as a waste paper collector.

Having organised that, I set out to master this database that I want to build for my photos.

And if there is a worse database program in the world I have yet to find it.

In the old days, you could program them so that the numbers would automatically increment, fields would “fill down”, “fill up” or “fill series” like with spreadsheets, and columns could be programmed to auto-adjust for width of data. But if this can do all of that, I have yet to discover how to make it work.

I was hoping to have this running in a couple of hours but I have this uncomfortable feeling that unless I can find out how to make it do what I want, I’m going to be here for ever.

Like with most computer programming, there has to be a way to do things like this because they are the kind of requirement that everyone needs.

But I wish that I knew how to do it.

Saturday 20th January 2018 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… 24 hours I’ve had.

It all started to go wrong round about this time last night when I was thinking about going to bed. Never mind not being tired enough to go to sleep, I wasn’t even tired enough to go to bed – and that’s a surprise after everything that I did yesterday.

Instead I sat on the sofa, read some stuff on the internet and listened to a continual stream of Led Zeppelin until about 03:30.

Going to bed after that although still not in the mood, but I must have gone to sleep at some point because I went off on my travels again. But it’s another one that you won’t want to know anything about if you are eating your tea or have a nervous disposition.

But nevertheless, I was awake at about 06:00 before going back to sleep again – and a very tired and sad me hauled itself out of bed at some time later than the alarm.

After the medication and breakfast I had a shower and then hit the town – rather later than intended. I did the usual round of the shops and the only thing that I bought as an extra was a spectacle repair kit for €5:00. That’s important because it has lots of little stuff in it that will come in handy for dismantling this smartphone and seeing it I can fix the touchscreen.

However, firstly I didn’t spend a centime in NOZ and that’s only happened once or twice over the past seven or so years. There was nothing of any interest at all. In fact, I’ve been noticing that their prices are slowly creeping up and it’s nothing like the bargain basement that it used to be.

And secondly, no tickets for the football on Tuesday night. I tried at LeClerc, the stadium, the ticket agency and a couple of Sports bars. Not a one. And that’s surprising because the opponents, Concarneau, are only one division higher than Granville – it’s not at all like Bordeaux.

Back here, after lunch I found that I had forgotten to put on my fitbit after my shower. So that was a whole morning’s effort unrecorded. And I had so much to do too but instead, I crashed out completely and was gone into a really deep sleep for a couple of hours. 17:15 when I awoke.

There was football this evening at Cérences so off I set in the torrential rainstorm, only to find the stadium in total darkness. That’s not really surprising with all of the rain that we have had. A waterlogged pitch is inevitable.

So I had a quick drive around a couple of other grounds and they were all in darkness to so I came home and had tea.

The rain subsided later so I went for a walk around the walled town, keeping to the cobbled streets so as not to sink in the mud.

So now I’ll be off to bed if I can tire myself out enough. And Sunday is a lie-in and Day of Rest. But I doubt if I shall be able to have one. I’m not doing too well right now.

Saturday 13th January 2018 – ISN’T IT NICE …

NEW TELEVISION place d'armes granville manche normandy france… to be able to watch the football on the big screen?

Unfortunately the laptop with the broken screen didn’t work – it’s quite an old laptop of course and the software in it won’t run the video plug-in for the browser.

But the laptop that I’ve been using as a media centre up until recently did the business, that’s for sure, and I was able to watch the first half of Cefn Druids v Llandudno in perfect comfort.

Unfortunately it wasn’t such a perfectly comfortable night? I was awake in the middle of the night and took a while to go back to sleep again. But I was dead to the world when the alarm went off and it was a struggle to leave the bed. How I’m looking forward to a nice lie-in tomorrow!

After breakfast I had a shower, a good clean-up and change of clothes, and then off to the shops, where I spent another pile of money.

LIDL had some hand towels of the type that I bought the other day so a pack of three disappeared into Caliburn, as did a battery charger. All of mine are back at the farm and in any case are over 30 years old. A little hi-tech modern one will do much better when I might need it.

At Mr Bricolage I bought a knob for my saucepan lid – the one on which I broke the handle the other day, and NOZ came up with the usual stuff.

Centrakor provided a new washing-up bolw of the correct size (so my wok and my pizza platter will fit into it), a few other bits and pieces and a box with a tight-fitting lid – just the thing in which to keep my socks and undies.

At LeClerc I went to look at the HDMI cables because the one-metre cable that I have isn’t really long enough for what I need. And with -metre ones on offer at just €9:99, that’s long enough for just about everything.

LeClerc was also having a sale on suitcases. And a small cabin-sized one on wheels at just €15:99 – just the thing for my trips to Leuven – also ended up in the back of Caliburn.

And I’m glad that I had bought that TV last weel, because there wasn’t a cheap one anywhere to be seen in the shop.

After fuelling up, I came back home, made myself some soup and then … errr … had a little rest for half an hour. And then cracked on with organising the shopping and sorting out another pile of papers. There’s actually some room in the drawers here now, and isn’t that astonishing?

At the end of the football I had to leave.

football us cerencaise us mouettes de donville cerences manche normandy franceCaliburn and I went off to Cérences where we were the other week.

It’s the nearest Saturday night match and the home side were playing the Mouettes of Donville.

The first half was all one-way traffic towards the Donville goal. But the Donville keeper put in a performance that neither he nor I will ever forget, including a magnificent “Banks” reverse save. It was the performance of a lifetime and I don’t think that I’ve seen better.

At the start of the second half Donville made two substitutions and the two players that came on, playing down the left, changed the balance of the game and we had a much more even contest.

However it didn’t last. The new left winger had clearly unsettled the defenders and after about 25 minutes he was on the receiving end of a bad challenge and limped off the field. We then went back to the one-sided match that we had in the first half.

The Donville keeper was finally beaten with just 10 minutes to go – a long-range shot that dipped and curled out of his reach and in underneath the angle of the post and crossbar – but he still made a couple more top-class saves to make the result look a lot closer than it deserved.

But there was a lot of naughty stuff going on in this game about which the referee didn’t seem at all concerned. One Cérences player made two tackles in as many minutes, either of which merited a red card in my opinion but nothing was given. And so a minute or two later a Donville player exacted his own retribution by giving him a kick that would have felled an ox. No card for that either.

And that’s just a couple of examples. There were many more.

So, frozen to the marrow, I drove back here and now I’m going to bed.

A nice lie-in, I hope. I deserve it.

Friday 2nd June 2017 – HAVING A RIDE …

sand sculpture crocodile montmartin sur mer manche normandy france… on Rosie the Crocodile – and just look at those big scary teeth!

While I was out doing my shopping his morning I had a phone call from Liz. “We’re all going down to the beach at Montmartin sur Mer this afternoon after lunch. Would you like to come with us?”

Do bears go for picnics in the woods?

Last night was a really bad night for me. I was still wide awake at 04:35 and wasn’t sure that I would ever go off to sleep. But I must have done, and crawling out of bed at 07:00 wasn’t very easy either as you might expect.

A shower brought me round somewhat, and then I noticed a little calamity – something along the lines of the fact that I seem to have run out of clothes again. I had a good rummage around and managed to find a few clean things but I really shall have to go to the launderette next week. I have actually found one in the town by the harbour.

Once I’d organised myself I headed off to the shops. Going on a Saturday morning, is, as we know, a waste of time. I went to the Bio shop for some vegan sausages (I fancy sausages, beans and chips), to Mr Bricolage for some fittings for the curtain rail in the bedroom, and to LeClerc for the groceries and some diesel.

But I’m going to have to think again about the bio shop. The stuff in there is quite expensive, the choice isn’t up to much and the staff is quite surly in there. I shall have to see what I can find in the way of mail-order outlets once my bank account is FINALLY organised.

And we weren’t alone on the streets either. By one of the roundabouts was a police motorcycle patrol who was interested in vehicles entering the town. Not quite sure why, but he took a note of Caliburn’s registration number.

After lunch I headed for the beach at Montmartin sur Mer.

french army aeroplane montmartin sur mer manche normandy franceWhile I was on my way up the coast I was overflown by a flight of four aeroplanes. Big four-engines French Army transport planes of some description – I’ve no idea at all what they might be.

But when I was walking down onto the beach after parking up Caliburn they flew back again, directly overhead. This gave me a good opportunity to take a close-up photograph of them as they roared by. They were certainly impressive – and noisy. Just imagine what 500 Avro Lancasters going by overhead must have sounded like. No wonder you needed an intercom

french army aeroplane montmartin sur mer manche normandy franceAt the end of the beach, away in the distance, they performed a U-turn and flew back off at a tangent somewhere inland. They were clearly up to something, that’s for sure.

As an aside, it was explained to me later that there’s to be a drop of parachutists over the Invasion Beaches to commemmorate D-Day in a couple of days time. I reckon that these would be just the type of aircraft to carry paratroopers and so maybe they are having a quiet rehearsal of low-flying over the beach.

lighthouse pointe d'agon montmartin sur mer manche normandy franceWhile I had the camera out – do you see that lighthouse across there? That’s the lighthouse on the Pointe d’Agon where we were the other day. We’re actually at the mouth of the River Sienne (not the Seine) and the currents offshore are gradually shifting the mouth southwards by that huge sand bar over there.

Built in 1856 on the site of an old fortress washed away in 1776 by an exceptionally high tide, the lighthouse is now a good kilometre from the mouth of the river today.

We had fun building Rosie the Crocodile and then the lack of sleep last night took hold. I can’t think of any finer way to spend a sunny afternoon out at the beach than by having a good crash-out for a couple of hours. I was well away. And everyone was laughing because I’d put my cap on my face to protect my face from the sun, and as I was breathing in and out, my cap was going up and down like in one of these cartoon films.

Liz and Terry very kindly invited me back for tea and we all had a really good chat, as Kate, Darren and the kids are going home tomorrow. And then , I came home.

It had been a long day and so it wasn’t any longer that I hung about before going to bed. I have no plans for tomorrow so we’ll see what that day brings.

Saturday 4th July 2015 – NOW THAT WAS A REALLY NICE …

swimming baths piscine commentry allier france… afternoon at the swimming baths in Commentry. Glorious hot weather, I was all sweaty, what more could I say?

The sides of the pool were open and people were disporting themselves on the terrace and on the lawn (picnicking allowed) and the pool was packed out. So much so that I was going up and down the pool in one of the swimming lanes.

I was there for well over two hours too which is something of a record. But then again, there was so much to see. Ohh yes – I can still chase after the women at my age. I just wish that I could remember why.

tiles for shower room les guis virlet puy de dome franceAnd why was I all hot and sweaty? That was because I’d been mauling about half a tonne of tiles and cement about.

Caliburn is now loaded up with tiles for the shower room. You can see in the photo what I’m having. I’m not having those joining pieces though. I’ve bought some “different shades of grey” mosaic tiles, the type where you can cut the string with scissors. That way, if I start from the bottom with the darker tiles and start from the top with the lighter tiles, the gap in the middle can be filled quite easily without the aid of a tile cutter.

Quite astonishingly, I’d been around all of the usual places, done two laps around Brico Depot and loaded up Caliburn by just 11:45. Having the Dawn Chorus wake me up in the morning is an excellent idea. I even had time to go and buy the glass for the window above the shower room door before they closed for lunch.

A trip around LeClerc (where I remembered to change the empty gas cylinder for a new one) and round the Auchan, and I was away from there by 13:45 and in the pool at Commentry by 14:30.

old cars unic pick up montlucon allier franceI’d seen a few old cars on my travels too. This is a Unic pick-up that I saw at a tyre-fitting place in Montlucon on my way around.

Unic was a popular French car-maker before World War II, and many of the taxis that took the French troops to fight at the Marne were Unics. After the war, the company was taken over by Simca, for whom it was the commercial vehicle arm.

old cars unic pick up montlucon allier franceIn 1968 the marque was sold to FIAT and in 1975 was incorporated into the IVECO mark.

You can tell by the FIAT- like badge that This pick-up is from the period 1968-75 and so it’s doing really well to be still on the road and working. and I do have to say that I was impressed by the bodywork repairs on the cab corners, but you have to resort to tricks like this with such a vehicle, as I imagine that body panels are almost non-existent.

Chenard et Walcker peugeot D4 durdat larequille allier franceThe second interesting vehicle that I saw today is almost certainly older. This is one of the Chenard et Walcker vans that were sold by Peugeot as the D3 and D4 series from 1950 to 1965 when the model was replaced by the J7.

This os one of the later ones, as you can tell by the snout at the front. The very first models were powered by a 2-cylinder flat-twin two-stroke motor but that quickly gave was to the 4-cylinder four-stroke engine out of the Peugeot 203 and later the Peugeot 403. The 4-cylinder engines were too long to fit in the body, hence the snout.

It is possible to tell whether this is a D3A, a D3B, a D4A or a D4B, but not by me at this distance. Still, it’s pretty old and quite an interesting curio.

market hall commentry allier franceAll of the roads around Commentry were closed for repair and so I had to come back through the town. This took me past the Market Hall, the first time for ages.

I remember the market hall as being a dreary, dingy place when I first came past here years ago, but they seem to have done it proud with a programme of modernisation. It looks so much better now that ever it did before.

So that was my day – another expensive one, but loads of interesting vehicles and a lovely day at the baths. i’m off for an early night now to make the most of it.

Wednesday 25th March 2015 – I DID WELL …

… to light a little fire up here last night. I awoke to a relatively balmy 16.2°C and yet outside we had 5cms of snow. So much for Spring, hey?

And I’d been on my travels during the night too. I had aroused the antipathy of the factory bully who ended up chasing me around the factory brandishing an enormous club. He was intercepted by a few of his colleagues who persuaded him to use a slightly smaller club. But it all ended happily ever after as I ended up walking across the park towards some buildings in the distance, hand in hand (and later, arm round the waist) of a girl who, over the past two or three weeks, has appeared out of nowhere to accompany me on several of my nocturnal adventures. I’ve absolutely no idea at all what has prompted the strange inclusion of this unexpected companion, no matter how sweet many of the people in the park described the pair of us last night.

After breakfast I used up the rest of the cheap varnish on the window and the shelves in the wardrobe, and then I varnished the floor with the first coat. After that, I went off to Montlucon as I predicted.

First stop was Pionsat to sort out the boulangère. Sophie, the regular Friday livreuse, is off sick and so they’ve been taking on anyone that they can get. That explains all of the confusion about the delivery of Friday’s bread, and I hope that we’ve managed to sort it out.

At the LIDL I witnessed a very disagreeable incident of a young guy verbally abusing the young female cashier over the price of an article (but he cleared off before I could have a word in his shell-like) and then at the Auchan I stocked up with the next month’s major supply of food.

At Brico-Depot I managed to forget the floor-join and the brush for the bedroom door but I managed to fix myself up with some tackle to make a couple of Heath-Robinson hanging rails for the wardrobe, as well as a couple more 4-watt LED light bulbs. I also bumped into Pete Marsh and his friend, who were stocking up on supplies for their next contract.

I was disappointed though – the cheap but good varnish is no longer carried. It seems that the supplier has closed down. So to be on the safe side, I bought another large tin of the expensive stuff just in case. If I don’t use it, it’ll come in handy for the ground floor.

Problem solved though over the road at mr Bricolage. They had big tins of cheap clear varnish on offer so I bought one,as well as the glass that I need to do the window over the door. I’ve managed to bring that home in one piece – it’ll be interesting to see if I can manage to get it into the doorframe without dropping it.

NOZ came up with nothing so I came home, crashed out for an hour and then made myself a Heath-Robinson meal of a handful of pasta, sone peas, carrots and green beans, and some olive oil and mustard sauce. Cooked on the oven because I’ve had the fire on again tonight. The left-over wood from last night-s fire and a floorboard offcut and that was sufficient. It’s amazing what you can do with a good fire.

Saturday 27th December 2014 – I DID MENTION …

… that we had some wind last night, didn’t I?

tree blown down by gale virlet puy de dome franceI wasn’t joking either, as you can see. Here’s a tree at the back of Virlet that has been blown down overnight by the gales that we had.

I went off to Montlucon today to do some shopping, and in particular to buy the stuff that I need for the stairs and so on. I didn’t feel much like it this morning, listening to the icy rain clattering down on the roof. However, at about 09:00, a small amount of sun broke through the clouds temporarily and that was the signal for me to get on my way and not miss the gap in the weather, seeing as we are about to descend into deep midwinter.

And I’m glad that I did because not long after I returned, the weather broke and by 21:00 we were having heavy snow. Now, at least, I’m set up for a week or two.

In Montlucon I was able to buy most of the things that I required. No wood for fairing off the ends of the plasterboard though. The good pine planks were in Brico Depot but they don’t cut, and in Mr Bricolage, where they do cut, the pine boards were rubbish. I’m going to have a go at cutting the pine boards that I have here, and see how I do.

I couldn’t find any paint that I wanted either. So in the end, I bought a 10-litre tub of white emulsion and a tube of yellow paint dye. I’ll have a go at mixing that up and see how it turns out. One of these paint mixers driven by a portable drill should mix it up nicely I reckon, and I have one of those somewhere.

I didn’t buy much that was special, although I did stock up with the usual stuff. And in Amaranthe they had some Edam-style vegan cheese so I’m going to give that a try over the next few weeks. They had jars of Tajini -at quite a price, it has to be said, but I bought another one. At least I can keep my supply of home-made hummus going.

And diesel at €1:09 per litre. It’s not been that cheap since about 2006. I fuelled up Caliburn and now here I am – with no plans to go anywhere until Spring.

Saturday 29th September 2012 – I SAW SOMETHING …

… this evening that I have never seen before.

I was at St Eloy-les-Mines watching Nord Combraille play Beauregard-Vendon in the league cup, and halfway through the match the home supporters started to hurl abuse at the visiting linesman.

The Miners’ captain ran across the field to his supporters and told them to “fermez la geule” – or “shut your gobs”. And how I wish that more captains of more football clubs would take the initiative like that.

It was an exciting match too – with 10 minutes to go Beauregard-Vendon were comfortably winning 3-1 but then the Miners scored a goal right out of nothing to bring it back to 3-2.

Then, with the last kick of the match, they scored an equaliser from a corner.

Extra-time followed, and the Miners ran rampant, winning 5-3, including as the 4th goal one of the best that I have ever seen at this level of football.

That led to me doing something that I have never done before in all the time that I’ve been here. By the time the match had finished, what with extra time and everything, it was 10:45 and so I wouldn’t be home for another 20 minutes.

Far too late to cook tea, but the kebab house was still open and so I bought a large portion of chips to eat in Caliburn on the way home.

No vinegar, of course, but they were pretty good chips and I’ll go there again if ever I’m out late at weekend.

So what about today then?

I nearly missed my shopping slot at Commentry today as well. But there was a good reason for this.

Just as I was closing down to go to bed (at a comparatively early 02:30) I had a message to ring Rachel in Canada urgently. And so I did, and it turned out that at the garage in Centreville they had mislaid a box which included, inter alia, my bank card that they keep for me.

It’s surprising, if not amazing, that you can spend over 90 minutes talking to people whom you like, about a subject as simple as that (and it was all a false alarm anyway as they found it this morning)

The result of that was that it was gone 04:00 when I finished and then I couldn’t sleep – still awake again at 05:30. and so it’s just as well that the guy up the road started up his chainsaw at 11:00 otherwise I’d still be asleep now.

So what with one thing and another it was gone 14:00 when I set out for Commentry. One of the things that I needed to do was to buy even more tool handles as I’d broken one or two more during the week, and so I needed to strip out the old broken bits before I could go.

At Mr Bricolage I managed to sort everything out (at a price) but the handle for the pickaxe. They didn’t have a wooden handle and so he sold me a fibre one.
“This is unbreakable” said the salesman
“Leave that to me” I replied. “I’ll see to that”.

I also bought the bits I need to do some work for a client with a solar hot water system, and at LIDL they still had a couple of packets of those LED light strips and so I liberated them.

Makes me wonder how many I might have liberated had I managed to make it there last week.

No swimming baths though – far too late to go there, and so I came back here and crashed out for a couple of hours instead after my bad night.

Tomorrow I’m off to the Mont Dore – FC Pionsat St Hilaire are playing Briffons-Perpezat in the cup.

Saturday 17th March 2012 – I HAD ANOTHER …

… bad night’s sleep last night.

But I was still up and about at 08:30 in time to go to Montlucon.

The trouble is though that after only about 3 hours sleep I’m never in a good mood, I can’t concentrate and I can’t think straight. I couldn’t remember what it was that I needed from Brico Depot and when I did find some things I wasn’t able to summon up the energy to load them up onto Caliburn’s roof rack.

In fact, for several reasons I wasted my time in going.

It didn’t help in that the Auchan only had early seed potatoes. No onions, no garlic, no shallots, no maincrop seed potatoes and so that was a washout. In the end, I went to Mr Bricolage to see if they had anything exciting.

Nothing at all, as it happened but firstly I bumped into Rob and Nicolette from down the road and we had a good chat;

And then who else should turn up but Liz and Terry. We all had a good chat and then Liz, Terry and I went down the road to Jardiland. They had everything that I needed in the vegetable line, but at quite a price.

Never mind though, Liz and I went halves on most things and so it wasn’t too bad.

After a coffee together my early start ended up being one of the latest returns from Montlucon that I had ever had and I almost missed the start of the footy matches back at Pionsat.

There were two tonight – the 3rd XI of Pionsat St Hilaire against Biollet-St Maurice and the Ist XI against Malauzat.

fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire football club de foot biollet st maurice puy de dome franceIn the away match at Biollet St Maurice the 3rd XI had led for much of the game but faded away at the end to lose. But today, with a full team out (but no goalkeeper) they looked the business.

At one stage they were 3-0 up but faded away at the end and hung on grimly for a 4-3 win. And if Biollet St Maurice hadn’t have missed a penalty earlier in the game it would have been a different story again.

fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire football club de foot biollet st maurice puy de dome franceBut a win is a win, and it’s a rare enough event for the 3rd XI so they are quite right to celebrate it.

The big difference in the team today was that Simon, who used to play for the 1st XI, was out there playing at centre-forward. He now lives in Switzerland but luckily the club has retains his French football registration.

He he had come back this weekend to visit his family and one of his friends from the football club had talked him into playing.

fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire football club de foot biollet st maurice puy de dome franceIt was his irst match for over a year, he told me after the match and to be honest, it looked like it too,

But there was no denying his skill and ball control, and he and Stéphane Gomet, playing on the left wing, spent most of the match tearing the Biollet St Maurice defence to shreds.

It’s a shame that they can’t find a decent goalkeeper for the team because that really is the difference.

fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire football club de foot esv malauzat puy de dome franceFC Pionsat St Hilaire’s 1st XI were playing ESV Malauzat in the second match and they also won their match.

2-0 the final score was, and they never ever at any moment looked under any pressure. I don’t recall Matthieu having much to do in the FC Pionsat St Hilaire goal.

However ESV Malauzat’s keeper was working overtime and if it wasn’t for him we would have had a cricket score this evening.

The weather broke too at about 22:00 and now it’s pouring down. And I’m off to bed because I’m really whacked.

Saturday 29th October 2011 – IT TOOK …

fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire puy de dome france… just 30 seconds of madness for Pionsat to throw away a football match this evening.

4-3 up and in the dying minutes of the game against a team 2 Divisions higher up, one of the attackers elects to take the ball down to the corner flag and sit there to waste a minute or two.

But he loses the ball, it’s played hurriedly upfield into space deep into the Pionsat half. There’s a race on for the loose ball, which is won by a Pionsat defender

fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire puy de dome franceUnder pressure from two attackers, and after all that I have said and after all that I have written and after all the time that I have been saying and writing, he goes to whack it upfield instead of playing it out into touch to give his fellow defenders time to come back.

His kick is poor as you might expect, and it cannons right into the midriff of one of the attackers, and then bounces out into the path of the other who has only Matthieu in goal to beat and that, dear reader, is that.

So it’s now 4-4, and Pionsat go to kick off.

fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire puy de dome franceAnd from the restart, Pionsat lose possession and Clermont go on the attack. The forward is brought down and a quickly-taken free kick is fired into the penalty area and headed home while the Pionsat defence is still trying to organise itself. And Pionsat are out of the cup and thats a shame because this was an excellent match played at high speed and in a good temper.

One of the best matches I’ve seen played here since I’ve been following the team, in fact.

Today was shopping in Montlucon and I was off on the wrong foot again as I slept through the alarm and so was 2 hours late going.

And I spent a fortune too. I’ve all the hydrofuge plasterboarding for the shower room seeing as how it was on offer at Brico Depot, and I’ve bought a wheel for Caliburn. That’s because I have two snow tyres that I fit in winter and one of them is on the spare wheel but the other is not on a wheel at all and I have to keep getting it swapped over with one of the summer tyres and that costs me €15 a time.

It makes much more sense to pay €65 for a wheel and keep the tyre on it around here like that, and then I can swap the wheels over whenever it suits me to do so.

But I have also spent €279 on a new woodstove for in here. You may recall that I bought a cheap pot-bellied stove for up here and though while it does what it’s supposed to do it has a very small capacity and it needs to be filled every 15-20 minutes, which is quite difficult when you are chatting for 30 minutes to someone on the telephone.

What I saw in Mr Bricolage a short while ago and which I mentioned at the time was a more conventional woodstove with a glass front. It’s larger and it takes logs of 33cms. It burns horizontally and not vertically, then I can stack it up and it should last for quite a long time without reloading.

But that’s not the exciting bit. This woodstove has a rear exit for the smoke and I recall mentioning that the top of it has a lift-up lid, under which is, I suppose, a small top-loading oven about 6 inches or so deep. I’m immediately thinking “pizza”, “shepherd’s pie”, “oven chips with spicy been taco rolls”, “baked potatoes and baked beans”, “rice pudding” and loads of other things besides.

Yes, when winter bites and I feel the need for hot food and it’s too cold to go downstairs and cook in the verandah at -10°C, and when I want to boil some coffee last thing at night and put it in a flask so I have hot coffee in my room first thing in the morning, I can see a lot of benefit in this new stove and its oven.

I’m hoping to have my money’s worth out of this machine.

The pot-bellied stove isn’t going to be lost, though. I have a cunning plan for that, more of which anon.

I also managed to fit a swim in this afternoon at Neris les Bains. And it was perishing freezing in there again. Even the Polar Bears were complaining. I’m going to have to give the piscine at Neris les Bains a miss for a while if it carries on like this.

Saturday 8th October 2011 – WINTER …

… is definitely here now, just as I predicted last weekend that it would be.

Freezing cold, damp grey and depressing with hardly a drop of sunshine.

I was up before the alarm, which makes quite a change for just recently, and in Montlucon for the shops quite early. Disappointingly there was nothing that was exciting there and I spent almost nothing. Just a few Louis de Funes DVDs reduced in the Auchan.

But while I was in the Auchan in the TV section you couldn’t move for people watching the televisions. France was playing England in the rugby and had a pretty comfortable victory, much to the delight of everyone (including Yours Truly) in the shop.

I had to visit Monsieur Bricolage as well and they had two things that caught my eye – a two-storey wooden cabin – a display model – reduced to €5000 which is cheap, and also a small wood stove with a kind-of top oven for €275 – and I was sorely tempted by that.

The swimming baths at Neris-les-Bains has been taken by surprise by the cold spell. They didn’t have the heating on and so we all froze to death in the pool – all 10 of us in there. That’s a far cry from last week when it was packed out to the gunwhales.

football fc pionsat st hilare aigueperse puy de dome franceAt  the footy, Pionsat’s 2nd XI played Aigueperse and won 2-1 in a hard-fought match.

In the first half they were all over the opposition and should have had a hat-full but in the 2nd half they went to sleep as usual and allowed the opposition back into the game. And they would have struggled if their opponents hadn’t missed a penalty. 

>We had a floodlight failure too for about 20 minutes, to add some spice to the entertainment.

Overall, what with all of the drizzle it was all quite a depressing day. A foretaste of things to come, I reckon