Saturday 23rd January 2010 – I didn’t sleep through the alarm this morning.

I had all three going off in close proximity and that’s enough to awaken the dead – such as the OUSA Executive Committee. It’s well-known that they spend most of their meetings sitting round a table holding hands and trying to contact the living. So much so in fact that Caligula and her horse’s predecessor was once heard to say
Is there anybody there? Knock once for yes – and twice for no

So after I heaved myself from my stinking pit I made a coffee and went chaud-pied round to the Intermarche to find out why they hadn’t rung me (or Liz, for that matter) about this famous flight in a chopper.
We didn’t have time to ring everybody” the manager wailed. And me, having amongst my many and varied talents the ability to read upside-down, noticed that in general all of the people with a French name had been contacted, and none of the people with a foreign name had been contacted.

So we just turn up a l’improviste tomorrow. well, we’ll see.

Then it was off to Montlucon and shopping. Apart from the usual items I bought a pile of plasterboard, a load of wood and some more insulation. I’ll be starting on the cupboard on the first floor next week if it’s too bad to work outside. And learning from the work in the attic, I won’t be wallpapering it. In one of the cheap shops (the VIMA) they were selling indoor crepi (that’s the cement-based paint for brick and stone walls and looks a bit like fine pebble-dash) for €9:00 for 15 litres so I’ll be covering the plasterboard in that.

I also bought 12 x 3-metre lengths of shuttering for concrete. That’s 175mm by 25mm rough-cut and cheap. I’ll be making my raised beds for the new vegetable plots with that. The current raised beds are 1.33 square – these will be 1.50 square and I have enought wood to make 6 of them. I can salvage the others in due course. I like raised-bed gardening.

In the other cheap shop (the NOZ) they were having a DVD clearout with titles as low as €0.78. I spend €20 in there on seven or eight DVDs, including a copy of “the Definitive Barclay James Harvest”.

Now see if you can guess what the first track of this DVD is? Yes, you’re right. It’s “Mockingbird”. Barclay James Harvest is another one of these 1970s groups that lost its way after the first 4 or 5 albums and the early stuff is incredibly good. But no matter how good the group might be, it will always be remembered for “Mockingbird” and that’s one of these tracks a bit like “Hotel California”, “Freebird” , “Stairway to Heaven” and a couple of others. A reasonable example of a group’s output but by no means the best, and totally ruined and spoiled by being played and played and played to death.

BJH has done much better stuff that “Mockingbird” and thankfully “Medicine Man” is on the album. But where is “Galadriel” ? And where is “For No-one”? And about half a dozen others that I can think of? This is going to be some “definitive Barclay James Harvest” but at least it only cost me €1:99.

On the way back I noticed that is was 17:00 just as I was passing through Neris-les-Bains. So I went for an hour in the swimming baths. Twice in 8 days! I’ll wash myself away at this rate.

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