Category Archives: Pentax

Monday 14th June 2010 – This is a significant photo …

hardstanding caliburn parking les guis virlet puy de dome france… and for two reasons. Firstly, it’s the first pic of Caliburn in his new home. At lunchtime I took him for a drive on the new hardstanding to flatten it down a bit. But the ground hasn’t dried up enough (and it’s still p155ing down now) so it’s no surprise that at one stage he bogged down. But I was expecting it and I had the chain winch ready.

It’s also significant in the respect that it’s the first pic with the new Nikon D5000. I was in fact all ready to use the Pentax K100D but the battery was flat and the ones on charge wouldn’t fire it up. So it seemed to he the right time to fire up the Nikon.

But never mind being bogged down – this was one of those days where problems seemed to come along in droves. After Terry came round for some of my scaffolding poles, I went into Montlucon to pick up these tyres for the trailer – and I had a puncture.  Then of course there was the bogging-down, and then on the way to St Gervais d’Auvergne I got stuck behind a circus convoy – “Showman’s Goods” as they are described in British Road Traffic Law or “Les Forains” as they are described over here. So it was 30kph (if we were lucky) all the way there.

And at St Gervais d’Auvegne I’ve ordered all my wood. The guy in the sawmill has undercharged me, and I pointed that out to him (I don’t believe in taking advantage of small businessmen – I wouldn’t like it if someone did that to me) but he insists that he’s right. But €126 for one thing and €99 for another and then a few other bits and pieces will never ever make €167 no matter how hard anyone tries to make it.

st gervais d'auvergne birdwatching centre ornithologique puy de dome franceOnce everything was sorted out in St Gervais d’Auvergne the next stop was to Liz and Terry’s to fit the wheels and tyres on the trailer.

The route as usual took me past the birdwatching centre at the back of town, which is my favourite spot for photographing the Puy de Dome. Now that I have the new Nikon D5000 I can take a pic from here and compare it with one of the photos taken with the Pentax K100D and we can see if there’s a difference.

Terry was out earning some folding stuff when I arrived and so I put the new wheels on the trailer and then helped Liz with some weeding.

Now we are all ready for moving this tractor tomorrow. What with all of the effort we’ve put into it, I hope it all goes according to plan.

Sunday 2nd May 2010 – As you may well have noticed by now …

… I spend an awful lot of my time on these pages bemoaning the “great clear-up” of French hedgerows and fields in the 1990s that saw thousands and thousands of interesting old French cars depart for the smelter – a national tragedy.

If I were still with Nerina, she would be quite pleased because our summer holidays in the 1980s consisted of us going to France and me abandoning her in a country lane while I leapt over a hedgerow armed with my old Cosina to snap something interesting that I had found.

old car hedge st gervais d'auvergne puy de dome franceSo today was just like old times as I travelled along a road down which I have travelled hundreds of times before, did a quick double-take over something that I have never noticed before, did a u-turn through the traffic and disappeared over a hedge into a field, armed this time with my Pentax.

I’ve no idea what it is as I couldn’t get close enough but the long bonnet, wings and running boards puts it at the late 1950s at the latest. It’s restored a little bit of my faith in rural France anyway – I don’t know how I could have missed this vehicle considering all the times that I’ve driven down here.

Strangely enough, I was on my way back from an agricultural machinery surplus sale at St Gervais d’Auvergne. I’d been to see if there was anything worthwhile for me to buy for here but it was a waste of time. Just probably 20 items for sale, most of which was heavy stuff. There was a tractor for sale – a huge thing – made in 2006 and the price they wanted for it was €46000. God alone knows how much it must have cost when new. Who says farmers are poor and impoverished?

old car vintage renault Type R2161 lorry puy de dome franceAt the same time as the agricultural machinery sale, there was also a vintage vehicle exhibition. That was really the main reason why I’d come out this morning.

However, it wasn’t all that impressive. There were all of about 10 vehicles on display, most of which I have seen at other shows in the neighbourhood. This is a Renault lorry of the early 1950s and I think that it might be a Type R2161, the famous 2.5T

I bumped into Liz and Terry too – they were fuelling up at the petrol station across the road. That was the highlight of the visit to St Gervais d’Auvergne.

Back at the footy, Pionsat’s 3rd XI were playing Effiat. Effiat are propping up the division and so this was a match that Pionsat couldn’t afford to lose. The game was arranged for two weeks hence but Effiat asked if it could be moved forward, to which Pionsat agreed. Of course this weekend is a blank weekend in the calendar (it’s a bank holiday) and so no other matches are being played. And cynics might think that in this desperate struggle at the foot of the table Effiat have decided to play today so that they can reinforce their team with players from their 1st and 2nd XI.

Indeed, the team that took the field bore no resemblance at all to the team that Pionsat beat back in December. The players were younger, fitter and keener.

fc pionsat st hilaire fcpsh effiat puy de dome ligue de football league franceBut once again, Pionsat not only had a full team out (including one player from the 2nd XI who needed some match practice), they could afford the luxury of Eric, Jerome and Marc on the bench – 3 stalwarts of the team.

Another regular from the team couldn’t get a game and Thomas of the 1st XI and one or two others had turned up “just in case” the 3rd XI was short-handed, but they weren’t needed.

fc pionsat st hilaire fcpsh effiat puy de dome ligue de football league franceAnd they weren’t needed indeed.

Pionsat matched them ball-for-ball and with the luxury of 3 keen players on the bench giving the tired legs of the defence a rest every so often Pionsat prevailed by 2 goals to 0. And quite right too – they really did play well.

The season is over for them now and they ended up finishing 6th out of 10 – a far cry from where they were at the end of November anchored at the bottom of the table. They’ve struggled along in fits and starts but kept on going when things were against them. And a couple of unlikely results have helped them, as well as a good goal difference. Strange as it is to say it, losing 6-1 to Manzat was something of a triumph as 2 weeks ago Manzat beat another team at the foot of the table by a whopping 19-0.

Sunday 7th March 2010 – I think that the Pentax has finally died

I went out this afternoon to see FC Pionsat St Hilaire play Montel-Villosanges at Villosanges. I took three sets of fully-charged batteries, one of which was brand-new, and all charged up on different chargers, and I couldn’t get a shot. The batteries “depleted” while I was poised for action. I know that it was bad before but the voyage to Trappes and back seems to have made it worse.

So that’s that!

Mind you, it was perishing cold – minus 5 out there. With a howling wind and driving snow it was uncomfortable even watching the match. Heaven knows what it was like on the pitch playing. The game was difficult which was no surprise given the conditions, and ended up 1-1. The Chimps are a naggy, aggravating side as I have said elsewhere and the ref had his work cut out what with the players and a crowd (for it was a crowd, to be sure) whose passion quite often went beyond the bounds of what might be called “reasonable”. We had a “fight” between two players – and I use the word with inverted commas because had the two players have come up against a couple of British Brownies en route for a Sunday School outing my money would have been on the Brownies.

After that it was round to see Liz and Terry to discuss our radio programme next week. It’s keeping me busy, all of this.

Saturday 6th March 2010 – Well, we’re back.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire beauregard vendon puy de dome franceWe had a football match tonight – the first since early February, and only the second since mid- December. Pionsat’s 3rd XI played Beauregard Vendon and were one man short, yet they scored five goals – and still finished on the losing side.

But back in December you remember that Gregory Richen turned out for the 3rd XI as he was unavailable for his habitual 1st XI game and scored 2 of their goals – well that seems to have started a fashion for Christophe Larue who also plays for the 1st XI in attack is unavailable tomorrow so he turned out for the 3rd XI this evening and scored all five goals.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire beaurgard vendon les guis virlet puy de dome france All of this in thoroughly freezing conditions that are threatening snow. As if we haven’t had enough!

Also back is the Pentax – unrepaired and still struggling along. I’ll be happy though when someone round here pays me a pile of cash they owe me and I can think about a replacement.

I went shopping around Montlucon today and did the usual rounds. Some 12 volt LED bulbs at €3 each at Noz and a max-min thermometer at €4.99 from Vima were the highlights. Piles of gardening stuff including my seed potatoes (earlies and normals) and two blazing rows at Brico Depot – firstly when the girl in the building material section tried to sell me the wrong (and more expensive) plasterboard despite being told, and secondly when they refused to open the bulk purchases till so I had to struggle with an enormously-loaded trolley up a shopping aisle. Someone in the car park helped me get the wood on Caliburn’s roof rack to which I replied “it’s a good thing that the customers are more helpful than the staff!”

And then a freezing cold ( and I mean COLD) hour in the swimming baths only to find that the private shower was out of order. That put the tin hat on the day.

But I’m clearly moving in the wrong circles, much to my regret. As you know, at Noz I browse through the CDs and DVDs that they have on sale (I bought two twin-packs of Bela Lugosi films for 69 cents each pack today) and saw a CD entitled “Handel’s Organ Works”. Well, so does mine but no-one ever wrote a song about it!

Monday 15th February 2010 – Well, the Pentax is Kaput!

Or rather, no it isn’t but it very soon will be because I’ve just had the bill for repairing it. FIVE HUNDRED AND TEN EUROS. That’s about as much as it cost new and a new body only in the USA I can buy for FIVE HUNDRED AND FIVE DOLLARS – or less than €400.

Totally ridiculous – and why Pentax couldn’t have pointed this out to me and made me an offer on a new body I just do not know.

But in any case there’s a major sale on in a leading camera supplier in the USA and there is a Canon EOS with lens on offer at $499 (plus VAT when it gets over here) and I’m wondering if that might be the route to go down. They use lithium battery packs instead of AA batteries (and AA batteries was a major selling point) but if I buy a spare and keep it charged up that might be another consideration.

I can then flog all my Pentax gear and use the dosh to buy a decent lens.

The RRP of the Canon is $799 – Body only by the way so this looks like a good price to me

I’m giving this some serious thought.

It was absolutely taters this morning – I dont think that it’s ever been so cold at 09:15 so after breakfast I came back up here and warmed up.

Once I had reached a decent ambient temperature I dressed up – not in fishnets and stockings, basque and high heels Rhys – but in two pairs of trousers, two fleeces, two pairs of socks, my overalls and a coat and then went to seal off the fireplace downstairs so that I can run the woodstove up here.

I had a piece of leftover plasterboard that was a good size and so I trotted off to find the silicone sealant. And you might or might not believe it but it was frozen solid! In a tight-fitting plastic tube. It took ages for it to thaw out.

But it seems to have worked because the small fire that I lit in the stove burnt away to nothing in minutes without the slightest trace of a smell around the house.

I’m going to track down a sack of compressed wood pellets now and see how they burn.

This afternoon I carried on with the battening of the rear wall in the bedroom but the batteries in the power tools kept on going flat so I gave it up in the end. But with the sun shining gloriously and the day warming up (it reached 6.5 degrees in the verandah) and with fully-charged batteries in the house and barn I felt much better.

But once the dusk gathered the temperature plummeted and as I set off for the Anglo-French group it was already minus 4. But still – 18:40 and it was still daylight. So the days are lengthening considerably. It wasn’t so long ago that I was packing up at 16:30.

The roads were gruesome and the return journey was even more gruesome as the temperature has dropped to minus 8. A clear blue sky with thousands of stars and a strong easterly wind. The moment the wind drops the temperature will fall through the floor.

We could well be on course for the coldest night of the year.

And tomorrow we shall all be radio stars!

Monday 18th January 2010 – You can tell what today’s weather has been like …

… simply by looking at a few stats.

Firstly, outside the temperature made it up to 7 degrees, but in the verandah it was as much as 16. Secondly, while bank 2 of the solar panels on the house registered 29 amp-hours, bank 1 registered 89!!!

We’ve finally had the day I’ve been waiting for, with brilliant sunshine all day, the highest solar energy since 18th November and now the batteries are fully-charged. So much so in fact that I ran the fridge for an hour or so.

This morning I had an “office”day. I managed to get the printer to work so I sat down and wrote a few letters. I did the CV for this taxi company and then I had to write a letter to Pentax as I need to send my camera away for repair. For the past few months it seems like the battery life has been getting less and less but when I put the “empty” batteries into something else they work fine. Fiddling around with the batteries in the battery holder sometimes gets the camera to work again so its clearly a bad contact somewhere.

And that got me thinking. There’s a few things that I’ve bought that don’t work and are just hanging around here doing nothing much. I’m going to pack them up and send them back to the vendors with a letter of dismay and see what happens. Someone might decide to do something.

This afternoon was the drive down to Gerzat. The guy from SMADC and his sidekick sat in the front of the car and totally ignored me in the back all the way there and all the way back. At the radio station I worked out a format for the programme with the presenter. Basically it will be a cafe scenario with people popping in for a chat, talking about forthcomng events, new legislation and problems with French administration. We’ll record an hour’s worth of programme one day per month and they will edit it into four 5-minute slots. Blast-off is said to be the 1st of March and so we go into studio in mid-February.

If this isn’t going to get my name in lights, shameful self-publicist that I am, then nothing will!