Category Archives: st eloy les mines

Friday 24th July 2020 – I’M WHACKED PART II

It’s been another really difficult day today right enough.

Just for a change … “quite” – ed … I missed the three alarms. I couldn’t summon up the energy to leave the bed. 06:30 was when I finally saw the light.

Rosemary brought me a cup of tea again at 07:00 which was nice, and I listened to the dictaphone in luxury.

We were moving about exploring last night and some of our party – we were in the snows – decided that we would go for a look round. he said “I’d be away for a few months” so off he went and we stayed there in our tents during the winter amusing ourselves and keeping ourselves busy. This guy never ever came back. After a month or so we were thinking of having a search party for him.

There was something else to do with – I don’t know what it was about really. The only thing that i can remember from this dream was that there were some people discussing some kind of – I didn’t know what it was. They were discussing this object and I was talking about something that needed examining and checking over. The guy said “that’s all right. I’ve replaced them anyway with normal stuff”. When I had a look, what I was looking at was a dark blue Ford Escort and what he had been referring to was some optional extra wheels that he had now taken off and put on some standard ones.

when I finished the paperwork we had breakfast.

Having rung Ingrid we set off for St Eloy les Mines and the dechetterie and tipped the rubbish into the container. And that wasn’t easy, being surrounded by people who didn’t know how to drive.

Having finally been able to empty the rubbish out of the trailer, we pushed off to chez moi again.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallOne of the things that I wanted to do that I hadn’t done the other day was to fight my way into the barn. So donning the gloves and wielding the brushcutter off I went and fought my way through the brambles.

As usual, Rosemary and Ingrid (when she arrived) followed on behind with the clippers and trimmers to make the passage easier.

It took a while to accomplish it too. Ingrid and I aren’t well and the heat was oppressive as well so we worked to a rhythm of maybe 20 minutes working and then a 10-minute pause for water and a breather. And all of this seemed to work because we made it across to the barn in the end without any undue difficulty.

From somewhere, and I’m not sure where, I even found the strength to fight my way to the downhill lean-to and I can get in there now, although I’m not too sure that I actually want to. The state of the place filled me with dismay.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallanother task that needed doing, for which Rosemary volunteered, was to sweep the concrete hardstanding.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it was overwhelmed with debris but we took most of that down to the dechetterie the other day. But there was still a lot of dust and dirt, old leaves, weeds and the like that were all over the place looking untidy so Rosemary went berserk with the yard brush.

Ingrid and I joined in later when we had finished what we were doing and by the time that we were ready to go, the place was looking all quite nice and tidy. And if that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

By the time that we were finished we were totally exhausted. It was something like a stagger back home. Nothing important for the dechetterie so in the end we just bagged the rubbish and dropped it in the waste bin.

When we plucked up the courage (round about 16:00) we had lunch and then I crashed out for an hour or so. Well away with the fairies.

Later I fixed a dismantled settee and then it was my turn to make tea. We had a stuffed pepper which Rosemary enjoyed very much.

A shower and a clothes wash finished my day – and finished me too. I’m now off to bed to catch up with my beauty sleep.

Thursday 23rd July 2020 – I’M WHACKED!

Yes, it’s been a very hard day today.

Having crashed out so definitively yesterday evening, I slept right through and even missed the third alarm. Only by a few minutes but nevertheless …

First task was to write up my journal from last night, in the middle of which Rosemary brought me a cup of tea. Even so, I managed somehow to crash out again.

Afrer breakfast we organised a few things and then set off.

First port of call was near St Priest les Champs to drop off the door. And as it happens, Rosemary knows the lady of the house so we had a chat for a while.

Second was Ingrid’s at Biollet where she made us a drink. We had a really good chat and then went round to pick up her trailer – a big single-beast trailer much bigger than I was expecting. But the bigger the better. I can fit more stuff in it.

caliburn trailer pouzol puy de dome france eric hallRosemary and I said goodbye to Ingrid and set off to my place.

Tons of stuff lying around there that was of no use to man nor beast and that was something that I was always going to do “tomorrow”. But it was depressing me seeing it all lying there like that so we heaved it all into the trailer regardless.

But as an aside, I need to work on my reversing. I’m somewhat out of practice and I made something of a dog’s breakfast getting the trailer down the track to my house.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallOne thing that I wanted to do while I was there was to check on the pointing of the wall that I had built in 2012.

No cows in the field and no farmer about so we went in to check.

It’s all holding up remarkably well, all things considered, and I’m proud of the job that I did on that considering that it was my first proper effort at building a stone wall. But the joint between the lean-to and the main house wall is separating and if I do ever make it back I’ll need to refill that.

The dechetterie at St Eloy les Mines would be closed for lunch by now so we made our way back home for something to eat. Rosemary indicated some more rubbish that needed heaving into the trailer while she made the food.

This afternoon Rosemary had a bank appointment so I went off to the dechetterie where the old woman in charge directed me to the correct bay to unload it.

Back now to my house where I loaded up the trailer yet again. The concrete parking space is now clear of nonsense, some of the rubbish hanging around outside has gone too, and I’ve even thrown away some stuff in the verandah too. Plenty more to go at too, stuff that’s been hanging around for centuries and which probably will never be used..

bedroom les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallWhile I was there, I went to check on the bedroom.

It seems to be unaffected by the rodent infestation so I spent some time in there sorting out some stuff in the wardrobes. There were a few bits and pieces that I wanted to collect that I’d stored in there for safe-keeping and so I rescued them.

The rest of the stuff that’s in there can remain for another day or until I move back down whenever

bedroom les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallBut I do have to say that it was totally depressing to see the bedroom looking like this.

It took me four long years (not continuously, of course) to convert it from A RUBBLE-STREWN WRECK into wnat you see today, complete with fitted wardrobes and everything, and I was so proud of what i’d managed to build with my own fair hands.

And all in all, I reckon that I had no more than about three months’ use out of it before I was taken ill and rushed to hospital. That was the saddest part of all about this.

As for the attic, that’s had it, I reckon. And so has everything in there, I reckon. There’s little hope of salvaging anything from there although I did bring out a set of plastic drawers.

On the ground floor I did some tidying up – just a little. And there’s plenty more to go at in there too.

All in all, I could spend the rest of my life tidying up in there and still not see the end of it all. No matter what I did, I could never make that place look tidy

The dechetterie would be closed by now so I came on back to Rosemary’s, totally exhausted, with a full trailer behind Caliburn.

We had tea and a good chat, following which I had a shower and washed my clothes. And all of that was just as well too.

Plenty more work to do tomorrow- this little visit is far from over – not by any means. A good night’s sleep is called for so that I can be fighting fit. But there’s little hope of that.

Wednesday 22nd July 2020 – BACK HOME

Yes, I’ve been back home today.

And before anyone suggests that it’s rather a long way for me to drive in my current circumstances, that isn’t actually what I mean.

For a change I was awake quite early, and so there was time to listen to the dictaphone

It was a confusing voyage last night. There were quite a few of us and I’m not quite sure of what we were doing and where we were going but we were all young teenagers, that kind of thing or a few maybe even younger and that’s basically all that I can remember.

While I was typing out all of that I even had a cup of coffee brought to me in bed. And how any years is it since that ever happened?

Having dealt with all of the paperwork I went down to breakfast and then decided (just for a change) to organise myself.

I emptied everything out of the back of Caliburn, tidied him a little, found a pile of rubbish that needed throwing away, and then threw a few gardening tools in the back.

Having made two phone calls, we set off.

First port of call was in St Eloy where I bought some petrol in a container. Second, also in St Eloy, was for some rubber gloves and a pile of rat and mouse poison.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallWe then disappeared off into the countryside and ended up back at home – my old place in Les Guis.

Time hasn’t been kind to it at all. In the couple of years since I’ve been there nature has totally overwhelmed it and it was something like an Amazon rainforest.

But by now Ingrid had arrived and the three of us set to with a will. I went ahead with Terry’s brush-cutter and cut a swathe through the vegetation, with Rosemary and Ingrid following on behind with the clippers.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallAnd it was really hard work too there. The heat didn’t help very much.

What also didn’t help much was all of the objects hidden in the undergrowth. The brushcutter and its blade looked as if it had fought a war (which it probably had) as I hacked my way through the undergrowth.

All of this in just a couple of years since Terry and I were here last picking up the mini-tractor. It’s hardly a surprise that lost cities are still being discovered in the Amazon rainforest with vegetation growing like this.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallBy the time that 14:00 arrived, we had reached the house and could go in all of the doors there.

And how sad everything was, with reams and reams of cobwebs, dust and everything all over the place. And we were exhausted too by this point and so called it a day.

As we weresitting around chatting, a neighbour came round to see us and to see how things were and we had a little discussion. But Ingrid went off for her appointment and Rosemary and I came home for a rather late lunch.

Later on, I went back to my house. Those two phone calls that I’d made earlier – one had been to Ingrid and the other had been to someone else.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve been slowly replacing the windows in the house and that I bought a matching front door. That needs a new doorframe building but because it has to be in hardwood and not softwood, it’s beyond the capacity of the tools that I have here.

Previously, I’d made “local enquiries” and someone had come up the name of a reliable joiner. It had always been my intention to have a joiner make a doorframe, so I had phoned him up.

Much to my surprise (and yours too) I asked him when he would be free. He replied “I can come at 18:00”.

You can’t put obstacles in the path of willing workmen so I arranged to meet him at the Intermarché in Pionsat. We drove up to the house and he did all the measurements. While I was at it, I mentioned the third window that is yet to be installed. “I’ll do that as well if you like”.

And why not?

So the arrangement is that I’ll drop off the door on him tomorrow and leave him to it. There’s no time schedule – he can do it whenever he’s free. Which won’t be before September because all of the sawmills will be closed for summer holiday.

Having bid my farewell, I drove back to Rosemary’s where she had made tea.

A shower to clean myself up and to wash my clothes was next and then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed right out.

The exercise had clearly affected me and I felt that I had done quite enough for today. I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Friday 13th November 2015 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER DAY …

… where I’ve not done anything much at all. I really need to snap out of this.

However, the day wasn’t suitable for doing much outside – grey and overcast – although that hasn’t stopped me very often before. And furthermore, the weather has gone colder and I can smell winter in the air.

I spent today revising what I’ve learnt over the last two weeks on my course about Hadrian’s Wall, and it seems to have worked because I took my test this afternoon and ended up with 93%, with which I’m quite satisfied, although I fell down on transcribing the inscription on a Roman monumental stone which is a disappointment because the only Latin that I can remember from my schooldays is due to my keeping it up by reading monumental stones. So Puer amat mensam, say I.

This evening I went off to St Eloy and shopping and due to my bulk purchases last weekend I spent a mere €14:00, mainly on fruit and veg, and also on the rice that I forgot to buy. And the grapes were beautiful, so much so that I bought two bags, one of which I ate on the way home and the second I’ll eat on Sunday. Not tomorrow though because I’m off to Enval tomorrow night for the football and do you know what? I’m going to buy myself a cooked pizza for tea and eat it in Caliburn on the way home.

You might be wondering how it is that I manage to eat pizza when I’m out, being a vegan. That’s because whenever I go to Brussels I buy a load of the vegan cheese slices that are on sale at the health food shop opposite where Marianne used to live. There’s always a pack or two in the coolbox wired into Caliburn’s ignition circuit and so when I order my pizza, I order it without cheese and ask the pizza place if they will stick three slices of my cheese onto the the pizza.

Of course, it’s a waste of time doing that at one of these big pizza chains, but most smaller pizza places and pizza vans do it quite happily, and I know for a fact that the one at Mozac (on the way home) will do it with no problems as I’ve had it done there before.

But depressing news at St Eloy. There was a “dispute” at LIDL between two shoppers that ended up with a punch-up outside the shop. I left the UK to get away from aggressive confrontations like this and it dismayed me to see this kind of thing over here. Mind you, St Eloy is a little … well … down-at-heel and depressed and I suppose that some of the locals relieve their tensions and stresses with alcohol and the like.

But it’s still a sad thing to witness. I’m dismayed.

Saturday 31st October 2015 – ALL THAT I REMEMBER …

… of my voyage last night was being in another grim little bed-sitter (rather like the one in Hong Kong the other night) but this time with a view over a large green open space that was being used as a public park. The boundaries of the park were a ridge with a stone wall at the top and then a road at one end, the road on which was my room on one of the sides, at the bottom was a kind of wood or copse, and I couldn’t see the other side of the park very clearly.

But I wish that I could remember what was going on.

I was up nice and early in the sunlight and after breakfast carried on with some work that I had been doing.

That took me up until lunchtime when I headed off to St Eloy and the shops. A kilo of grapes at €2:29 went down well – they really were gorgeous – but I didn’t buy anything else apart from the usual.

That was, until I went into Cheze. I bought most of what I needed (eventually after a good search) but no water tank. So I’ll have to make one out of a plastic box and hope that that can keep going. And I met a guy from the football club in there too.

On the way back I met Rob and Nicolette out walking the dog, and then I came back here and had a nice quiet evening – there’s no football this weekend.

So tomorrow will be a lie-in, and then I’ll see what tomorrow might bring me. Cold fruit juice, I hope, because I’ve left the fridge running all night again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so the football …

Saturday 17th October 2015 – SO FAR TODAY …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 8th August 2015 – MISERABLE DAY

Too hot in the bedroom last night so I had the window open. But it wasn’t the dawn chorus that awoke me, it was a torrential rainstorm. In fact 31.5mm of rain fell today.

It goes without saying that the guy whose Hyundai is on my drive never turned up to move it, and I wasn’t working in these conditions.

I was doing a few bits and pieces here and then went off to St Eloy to meet Rosemary. She’s off to the UK next week for a medical appointment and needs plenty of moral support before she goes – although since when has any support that I have been able to give anyone been moral?

On the way back, I went via Pionsat to do some shopping at the Intermarché, and it did spring to my mind that the next time that I’ll be doing any food shopping will be in the Metro supermarket in the Cote des Neiges in Montreal. I’m not sure if breakfast is included in my hotel room, so I’ll be needing my bagels and strawberry jam.

Back here I caught up with another few things that I needed to do and then I was engulfed in controversy. The football club that I follow, Bangor City, is in financial difficulty which is astonishing seeing as they are the best-supported club in the WPL and have the second-best exposure. Clearly things aren’t right in the club and, due to British law about slander and libel I shan’t go into them on here. But despite releasing three or four of their best players last season (remember that the club finished just third from bottom, even with these players in it) and having kicked out half of the development squad, today they have just sold their best player to a league rival.

These directors just don’t “get it”. Struggling near the foot of the table will cause attendances to fall, so they will lose just as much, if not more, than they have gained. And then with the inevitable relegation, they will lose the Welsh Premier League prize money, league sponsorship, all kinds of financial support and the club will go on a great big downward spiral.

It’s a classic case of “short-termism”. Press the panic button and the Directors all run around like headless chickens. There’s no long-term plan, no vision, no nothing. People like these aren’t fit to be in charge of a whelk stall, never mind a half-million-pound business.

Just one close-season signing – and he’s from a club two leagues down.

At least Afan Lido two years ago waited until mid-season to throw in the towel. Throwing in the towel before a ball has even been kicked is totally shameful.

Friday 31st July 2015 – I’M LOSING MY GRIP!

I’ve done something really silly today and I’m still bewildered as to how I managed it.

I was busy doing some electrical wiring when I glanced at the clock.

18:15! Blimey! The shops will be shut in 75 minutes!

So I quickly changed my clothes, leapt into Caliburn and head for the hi … errr … St Eloy.

The road down the hill from Montaigut was packed with traffic and I did wonder what it was all doing at that time of evening. But on the other hand, LIDL and Carrefour were comparatively empty. LIDL did have some 12-volt LED bulbs (it doesn’t now, of course) and Carrefour had some soya deluxe desserts reduced on special offer.

I picked up some cash ready for my voyage in 2 weeks time, and then drove home.

While I was organising a few things the stop-work alarm went off. 19:00.


Yes, 19:00. It appears that it wasn’t 18:15 when I shot of to St Eloy but actually … errr … 17:15. D’ohhh!

I blame last night, though. I couldn’t sleep and I was still wide-awake and working on the laptop at 03:30. And with an alarm at 07:30, no wonder I’ve been feeling rather feeble today.

I had the usual sessions on the laptop and then after lunch, stripped off all of the masking from the door, fitted the air vents and wired in the socket at the head of the stairs on the landing so that I can plug the livebox in there. And that was where I was at.

But the air vents looks good in the door. The idea is that warm air heading up the stairs (once I finally have the fire going downstairs, whenever that might be) will go in through the vent at the bottom of the door, rise up through the shower room and out through the air vent that you might remember me drilling out all that time a couple of years ago. And that will stop condensation building up too.

So tomorrow, if the parts for this Hyundai haven’t come, I’m sure I’ll find some other things to do around the house. But do you realise – in 2 weeks time, I won’t be here?

But then again, I’m not all here now judging by my performance this evening, am I?

Friday 26th June 2015 – DUNNO …

rotten sills nissan 4x4 st eloy les mines puy de dome france… who does the controle techniques around here but I hope it’s not the guy who does the controle techniques on Caliburn.

I’m the first to admit that I used to have cars with sills like this, but that was 25 years ago in another life and things were so much different in those days. I didn’t think that you would go very far with a car like this these days.

I’ve been out and about doing my shopping this evening. I know that I said that I would go to Montlucon tomorrow but I’ve ordered my circular saw by post and I don’t really need the tiles next week as I still haven’t finished the door, and then I have the ceiling to do, and I had forgotten about that.

What with having Monday off to go a-radioing, which means that I’ll have to do about 150 miles with a quarter of a tonnes of tiles in the back of Caliburn and before I go to Montlucon to buy the tiles, to empty Caliburn of all of the stuff that’s still in there.

For all of those reasons, I’ve postponed my trip to Montlucon until next weekend.

This morning, I was up early yet again and after breakfast, carried on with my website for a couple of hours. And it made me realise that I seem to have slipped rather unconsciously back into how I used to be when I lived in Belgium – doing the writing stuff in the morning before getting on with the heavy work in the afternoon. Especially as, these last few days, I’ve had the coffee machine bubbling away through the morning, such has been the amount of solar energy that I’ve received.

I’ve fitted all of the hinges to the door now and had a go at hanging it. It’s certainly the most difficult door that I have ever hung, even though I’ve taken more time over this than I have over any other door that I’ve hung.

The door wasn’t quite right – or to be more accurate, the floor isn’t quite right and the door is fouling.

using aluminium guide to cut bottom off shower room door les guis virlet puy de dome franceI’ve had to cut off 4mm from the foot of the door and that’s not easy without a circular saw. I’ve done it by hand with the rough-cut saw and you can see how I’ve done it.

I use a length of aluminium in “L” section as a guide, clamped to the surface and then I saw along the guide. It’s not too bad actually although it takes quite a while to do it.

I’ve not re-tried the door yet. I’ve drilled and chiselled it out for the mortice closer. I had to hunt around for one of those because there were none in the house. In the end I found three in the barn, one of which didn’t have a lock so I’m using that. Instead, I’ll fit a little bolt on the inside of the door. I mean, there’s only me who lives here so it doesn’t really make much difference.

I could have finished the door if I had had another hour or so to work, but I was distracted.

I ended up on the phone to Canada for ages. I need to register Strider (my Ford Ranger) in Canada and for that I need an insurance policy and an address. This meant hassling Service New Brunswick – it’s been four years since I first applied for a street address for my parcel of land at Mars Hill Road. Anyway, after much binding in the marsh, I now have an address and I can progress.

At the insurance company, they were rather bewildered. They haven’t had a request like mine before – a person with a foreign driving licence wishing to insure a Canadian vehicle in Canada. They eventually decided to go away and discuss things with their Head Office and see what happens. I have to phone them back on Tuesday.

And then, with going shopping, I checked the temperature in the solar shower. 37.5°C with no added hot water and that was perfect. At 17:45 then I had a glorious hot shower and it was lovely. And then I could wander off into St Eloy and the shops.

So you see what I mean about being distracted, as well as needing an extra hour to finish off.

I might even have a go at it tomorrow.

Friday 19th JUne 2015 – I’VE HAD AN INTERESTING DAY

I was actually working this morning when the alarm went off at 08:00. That’s not something that happens every day, so you need to make a note of it. I did!

I was putting the coat of varnish on the underside of the shower-room worktop. The top coat was dry from yesterday evening so I could run it over and begin. I wanted to do that as early as possible so that it would be dry by the end of the afternoon.

Back up here after breakfast, and seeing as I was on a roll, I did another live concert for Radio Anglais, editing and engineering it to make a continuous stream. Now I don’t know why it is but sometimes I’m there for days and I can’t ever set the joins correctly. At other times, it’s as if the joints go together automatically with only the most minimal effort, and today was one of those days.

The only real problem that I did have was with the original engineering and I found myself at times editing out the faults in the original mixing. One was particularly troublesome but I managed to overdub the following track and fade out the previous track where I’d overdubbed it, so that the annoying click is inaudible. Studying the waveforms of the two tracks, you can usually find a length in each tracks that is pretty much identical, and you can superimpose them at that position.

I’ve also restarted a radio project that I had begun in 2013 but with all of the issues that I was having in that year, I had set aside. I’ll tell you more about it at a later date when it’s complete (whenever that might be) but I need some info from Radio Tartasse that won’t be available until the end of the month.

After lunch, I found to my delight that the worktop was dry. So I could turn it back over and put the second coat on the top. This is bang on plan as the second coat always takes ages to dry and it can stay like that until Monday now.

I tidied up the shower room, brushed everything up and removed the debris. It’s looking quite tidy in there now, for a change. I’ve also fitted the missing mounting rail for the worktop (I should have done that yesterday but I forgot) and then I measured up the doorway so that I can make a start in making the door frame on Monday.

This evening it was shopping in St Eloy-les-Mines and if there was a big queue at the checkouts, I was in it. One of those days.

I didn’t buy anything extra, except for the strawberries. A huge punnet for €1:99 and the ones that I ate tonight (there’s enough for three or four days) were delicious. Well, i did have some soya cream that needed using up.

And seeing as how there were no yellow paper collecting bags out on the streets in Montaigut last week, I imagined that tonight would be collection night so I took all of mine down there. But there were none about so it can’t be every fortnight like it is in most places. But the two slugs and a snail enjoyed the run out anyway.

And now, just for a change, I’m going to have a very early night. My efforts this morning have caught me up.

Friday 12th June 2015 – I DUNNO WHAT HAPPENED …

… to my motivation today. After crowing about it for so long yesterday, that was really tempting fate because all of my get-up-and-go had got up and gone.

I struggled to find the motivation to continue with this radio programme that I’ve been writing. I only managed about 500 words today and that took me right up until lunchtime.

And I had an early start this morning too. Up and about for the usual reasons, as anyone of my age will tell you, I reckoned that if it was after 07:00 I wouldn’t go back to bed. So there I was, eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee at all of 07:13.

I’d been on my travels too during the night. I was still at school but somehow had managed to find a pass to allow me to enter into the local University. The date was valid but the bar-code didn’t work so whenever I went there I had to rely on someone else around to open the door for me. However, it did occur to me that with the date being valid I could get the Secretariat to re-validate the bar-code. However that was running a risk that they might ask for identification and then I would lose the card and the “power” of admission. There was such a lot going on there that it was well-worth keeping the card going. Meals in the refectory were good value too and last night I was there at a table with a group of students. I said that I was going up there to fetch some food, and everyone else asked me to bring stuff back with me. By the time that I returned to my table I was loaded up like a Pioneer’s donkey and performing all kinds of balancing acts.

So after lunch and another crash out, I cut another piece of plasterboard. This needed to be shaped because it is the piece that fits around the air vent pipe, so it took quite a while. But once that was in place, I refitted the rails for the false ceiling. With different plasterboard, a different stud wall by the beichsthul and so on, two of the rails needed re-cutting and shaping and that took a while too.

Consequently it doesn’t look as if I’ve done very much today.

I had a good wash and went to St Eloy for the shopping. But there was nothing special to buy and I wasn’t there long.

I’m going for an early night now and tomorrow I might cut the second shelf for above the beichstuhl. Then I can finish the remaining walls around there and then remove the rubbish.

And I’m glad that I sleep in the bedroom now. There’s a terrific rainstorm crashing down on the roof of the house right now.

Friday 24th April 2015 – APART FROM HAVING …

… to leave my nice comfortable bed for obvious reasons during the night, I had the best night’s sleep that I have had for a century. It was wonderful.

I was out like a light, and was off on my travels too. I was at a Gothic cathedral somewhere in the UK auditioning singers to choose one to front a huge concert and trade show. And after having listened to all of them, I had the very disappointing task of announcing that there wasn’t one of them sufficiently good to be given the task. That was not a popular decision by any means.

From there, I went with Liz to the Trade Show. It was in a new all-glass exhibition hall and was on several floors, and packed to the gunwhales with people. We spent our time wandering around the mezzanine between the first and second floor looking at all the technology stands.

After breakfast I finished off the rock music radio programmes for the month of June, and then attacked the shower room. I’ve assembled the stud wall and screwed it into position. And I was right too – it’s much more solid than its predecessor.

I had to cut down a sheet of plasterboard while it was standing upright. I didn’t think that this would be very easy at all, to say the least, but clamping a long and heavy straight-edge in position where I wanted to cut – that simplified the task considerably and it’s not all that much more difficult than cutting it when its lying down on its back. It’s amazing how your technique adjusts itself when necessity is driving you forward.

So having screwed the first piece or two back on, I’ve made a start on constructing the new beichstuhl. This is going to be a permanent fixture instead of a “thunder box”, but the container can lift out and be taken downstairs to be emptied all the same.

I went to St Eloy for shopping this evening. There was no-one there whom I knew, and it was a comparatively cheap trip (apart from the fact that I treated myself to a couple of things in the “reduced” box).

And that is that. I’m off now for an early night in my lovely comfortable bed. It really is the business and I keep on sticking my head in there during the day, just to admire my handiwork.

That’s definitely a sign of contentment and, strange as it may seem to say it, I’m glad that I didn’t do it earlier as my technique a couple of years ago was nothing like what it is now. This is one of the reasons why I’ve dismantled the shower room and started again, and I do wish that I could restart the attic from scratch. Compared to the bedroom, the attic is something of a shambles.

I would love to do it all again.

Friday 17th April 2015 – SO …

… after the vicissitudes of yesterday, it was “keep calm and carry on” today.

But it nearly wasn’t. I shouldn’t have had that coffee when I knocked off yesterday evening because at 02:45 this morning I was still up and about. Serve me right.

And having slept on it, I’ve decided that the next worktop that I fit, I’ll cut it, fit it into position and then build the cupboard around it BEFORE I cut out the insert for the sink. That way, it might just withstand the whole process.

After breakfast, I made a start on the new stud wall. I’m building it downstairs and then I’ll take the bits into the shower room and assemble it. It’s had a couple of design improvements too, there are also the brackets fitted for a couple of shelves, and even though I say it myself, it’s much better-built than its predecessor – the joints are tighter for a start – but so it should be, seeing how I’ve taken more time over it.

By the time knocking off came round, it had all been built, shaped and had a trial fitting. Now, all it needs is for some wood treatment to be applied because the wood has been stored in the same place where the other two bits (that I mentioned yesterday) had been stored.

At the shops, I didn’t meet anyone that I knew, but I had to go and pick up a parcel that was awaiting me – more of this anon. I spent the grand total of €19 in the shops at St Eloy this evening even with a couple of little extras – it’s definitely cheaper here than at the Intermarche in Pionsat.

So now I’m off to bed for an early night. I need one after yesterday.

Friday 10th April 2015 – I HAD AN UNEXPECTED …

… day off work today.

But that was partly because I had an expected visitor, in that Liz came round to inspect the premises at lunchtime. Consequently I had to spend the morning tidying up. It certainly made quite a difference, and you can actually see the top of the table now, as well as the coffee table.

A job well-done.

Liz thought so too – she was quite impressed with what I’ve done so far (and so am I of course) and then we had a coffee and a long chat.

After she had gone, I installed the new Livebox and, as I expected, it didn’t go anything like according to plan (mainly due to the fact that the screenshots in the destruction manual were nothing like what I had on my screen). This meant a phone call to Orange, and that was the end of the early afternoon.

Still, the thing is working now, and it does seem to be faster, which is good news. maybe they weren’t wrong about upgrading the phone lines.

All of this meant that I had a very late lunch – more of an early tea really – and it wasn’t worth starting work after that. I had a play on the internet instead.

At 18:00 I went into St Eloy les Mines and did the shopping, bumping into the Laotian girl whom I know (and whose name I have forgotten) and also Desirée, both of whom were doing their shopping. We had a bit of rain too, but nothing to worry about.

second hand ford ranger 4x4 for sale montaigut en combraille puy de dome franceDriving past the big car sales place in Montaigut, I noticed that they had a Ford Ranger for sale, just like the one that I own in Canada. So I went over for a wander.

And it’s astonishing. It’s 3 years older than mine, with a much lower spec, yet they want almost twice as much money for it than I paid for mine. Still, the more that I see of them, the more that I like tham and I hope that I’m not going to be disappointed with mine.

And here’s something to record. With the temperature up here in my attic yesterday reaching 23°C and looking like it might be just as hot today, I’ve opened the skylights in the roof.

First time this year, too. It’ll be nice sleeping in here with a little breeze sweeping around the room.