Tag Archives: anglo french group

Monday 23rd November 2015 – AT LAST!

Yes, a good night’s sleep. It took me ages to drop off but once I fell asleep that was me gone away with the fairies and I felt absolutely nothing at all. Totally painless.

And for once, no-one came to bother me during the night (well, if they did, I know nothing about it) and the morning visits were later than usual so I had a really good night’s sleep. And didn’t I feel better next morning?

I’d been on my travels during the night too. In the south of France during the war and a member of SOE had just paddled ashore in his canoe, evading a German canoe patrol just offshore (you could tell the Germans because they had 2-pronged tridents with points that pointed outwards). As he paddled along the road (yes, you ought to be used to thins right now) a Vichy patrol consisting of an old man in a Citroen H-type van silently pulled up alongside him and leapt on top of him. This is where I came in and I cracked the old guy sharply across the back of the head with a Stillsons wrench.

I had a quiet morning doing my University course but I was quickly interrupted several times in rapid succession.

Firstly, it seems that they suspect that I have leukaemia so they wanted a bone marrow sample, and that’s not something to be undertaken lightly – I’ll promise you that. And then I had a new room-mate – a guy in his 70s or maybe even older.

But what was nice was that Ingrid came to visit. She’s Dutch and lives in Biollet and came to the Anglo-French group. She works as a Health Visitor and one of her clients is in hospital here, so she popped in to say hello and have a really good chat. That was quite a pleasant surprise.

While Ingrid was here, one of the nurses came by and dropped a packet on the table. “Take this with you when you go – it’s your tea”
“When I go?”
“Ohh yes – you’re moving”
I thought that the issues that I’d been having had resolved themselves but it seems that they have resolved themselves into another direction. I’ve now been moved to a new department – the Oncology/Haematology department – and so it’s looking very much as if their suspicions are indeed lurching towards leukaemia.

I’ve a lovely little room here all to myself. Nice and modern with en-suite facilities – I’ve paid good money to sleep in far worse hotels and motels than this and for once my luck seems to be in, although the nurses aren’t quite as young, vibrant and exciting, which is a disappointment.

But you can’t have everything, I suppose.

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 …

Friday 10th October 2014 – I MUST HAVE BEEN TIRED LAST NIGHT.

10:45 when I heaved myself out of the stinking pit, and had the ‘phone not rung downstairs at that time, I would probably still be there now. Terry said that he had never known anyone sleep that long, which just goes to show that he’s clearly not kept himself up-to-date with these pages, and that he’s never gone two days with just a fitful doze or two in between. But then again, my lifestyle has always been somewhat extreme compared to the norm, I suppose. Not many people would put up for a minute with what I do just for pleasure.

After breakfast, we had a long chat about things around here and when Liz came back we had lunch. Then, on their way to see Rob and Julie, they dropped me off here.

Caliburn started with just a glance at the ignition key – good old Caliburn – but we are having some issues here right now. I have (once again) left the fridge plugged in permanently while I was away, instead of in the overcharge circuit, and so with the bad weather for the last three or four days that they have had here, the batteries are right down. And with the forecast weather for the next few days, there won’t be much chance of topping things up for a while so I’ll be on short rations again. I really must remember to sort out the fridge properly each time that I go away. I did exactly the same thing last year, you might remember.

The battery in the laptop went flat after a couple of hours’ work and so I was wondering how to charge it up. By then of course, it was late afternoon and in the pouring rain I wasn’t going to be doing much else so the idea came to my mind to go to St Eloy to do my shopping. It would fill in the time this evening, save me a journey tomorrow, give Caliburn an airing and also charge up the laptop. Problem solved. Wasn’t I glad that I had bought that 12-volt charging lead a few months ago?

At LIDL I met Amondine from the Anglo-French group. She was there with her children doing her shopping and we had quite a chat. All in all, at the shops, I spent €21 for a week’s supply of food. That’s much more like old times.

Back here, the internet is down, so I discovered. Dunno what has happened here. I just did a few other bits and pieces and went for an early night. I’ll resolve this issue tomorrow.

Or maybe some other time.

I dunno.

But as Barry Hay once famously said at a concert at Scheveningen Beach, “I’ll tell you one thing, man. It’s good to be back home”.

Monday 10th December 2012 – And there I was …

… lying in bed going through in my mind the things that I should (and shouldn’t) have done during the day, and it was then that I remembered that I hadn’t written up the blog for today. Mind you, it was about 03:00 (I had a late night) and I wasn’t going to get up and do it at that time. Hence the reason that you’ve all had to wait for it.

It had been a comparatively busy day too for round here. An early start saw me bash on with the Christmas special and I made huge strides in putting down what I need to say. In the best traditions of the Open University, I just write stuff down as it occurs to me, and then go through and edit it later. Ohhh, the joys of “cut and paste”.

A break at lunchtime though because Terry came round to pick up his orders from the UK. Piles of stuff there was too. We agreed that, seeing as he knows all of the best contacts, he’ll order on my behalf the new winter tyres for Caliburn off the internet. Caliburn won’t know himself, what with all of these new tyres just now. He’s certainly having a good Christmas, even if no-one else is.

At the Anglo-French group, at first there was just me. Terry came in later and explained that he had had to fight a major blizzard round by St Gervais d’Auvergne, which explained why no-one from that neck of the woods appeared. Jex told me that Marianne was in hospital (she hadn’t been looking too well last time I saw her) and so that explained that. I’ll have to get on to her and see how she is.

Monday 8th October 2012 – I HAD A LATE …

… start going outside to work today. In fact, it wasn’t until 16:00 that I set foot into the drizzle.

What I had been doing was much more exciting than that. I sat down and wrote out the web page for yesterday’s match between FC Pionsat St Hilaire and AS Cellule.

With it being a highly controversial match with two extremely controversial incidents, both of which called for a fair amount of comment from Yours Truly, I needed to be pretty careful about what I wrote.

Even more so as these days you can receive 12 weeks in prison for telling a joke on Facebook (I’m glad I no longer live in the UK) and I sometimes have a tendency to let my flow of enthusiasm overwhelm my discretion.

Back in Ye Olde Days, I always used to let Liz see anything controversial as she had the ability to read things objectively rather than emotionally – something that surprisingly few people have the ability to do these days – but of course that is no longer possible.

Luckily, Krys was on line and so after I finished it, she had a read and then we had something of a chat about it – hence the late start outside.

With the rain showers holding up work outside, it gave me time to reflect and I made a decision about the hard-standing.

As you know, I was planning to clean up the waste land where I had been working and dump onto there the stuff from the hard-standing, but I will need quite a few days of good weather to do the work justice.

It looks like we’ve had that now – the forecast isn’t too good – and so I’ve made a decision to put a large tarpaulin onto the land where I had my first vegetable garden, just in front of the house, and move the stuff onto that.

This is easier said than done too as I have tons of stuff to move and I forgot just how heavy some of it was. It’s going to take a while to sort out all of this.

At the Anglo-French group tonight we were rather thin on the ground and I ended up having a good chat with Cécile – so much so that we stood outside the bar afterwards chatting for a good hour or so.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a decent gossip. I spend far too much time on my own, I reckon.

Monday 1st October 2012 – BY THE TIME …

… that you read this I shall be well tucked up in the Land of Nod. I’m thoroughly exhausted.

This morning nothing much happened but with a good run at the website I managed to do all of the photos and write the text for FC Pionsat St Hilaire’s famous victory yesterday against Briffons-Perpezat.

You can read the text here if you like.

mercedes 240D les guis virlet puy de dome franceRosemary came round at lunchtime.

So while I moved the scaffolding and cleared out the weeds, brambles and small trees from around the Mercedes, she dug up the onions and garlic and pulled some dried beans off the plants.

Tons of all of that stuff she harvested too – a good fruitful exercise

But doing this garden is driving me nuts. The brambles have torn lumps out of me, the nettles have stung me to death and so on and some of the tree roots took ages to dig up

But it’s looking all quite good there now. Just that one big tree to cut down and rip up.

Tomorrow I’m off to Montlucon with Rosemary to Lapeyre to buy her window and a few other bits and pieces that I need, and then I’ll be carrying on in this patch of land, sorting out the stones and levelling everywhere off.

Then I can bring everything round there from off the hardstanding.

At the Anglo-French Group this evening we had the biggest crowd for ages with two new attendees. Nice to see some new faces.

Anyway, that’s it. Off to bed before I fall asleep.

Monday 10th September 2012 – OH DEER!

Oh deer indeed.

And to the deer that ran out in front of Caliburn somewhere between St Gervais d’Auvergne and Gouttieres on the way back from our Anglo-French Group meeting, Caliburn and I are really sorry.

But it’s a good job that I’m a vegan otherwise you would be in the pot right now.

Caliburn has a slight mark on the front bumper, which shows that he’s much more solidly built than the Chevy Malibu that I hired in Canada in 2003 (mind you, it was a stag that I hit back then) but I’m very much afraid that the deer went in all directions.

Ahh well 🙁

So apart from that dramatic end to the evening, what else?

After the usual bits and pieces on the computer, I went out and attacked the wall again.

collapsed lean to repairing stone wall les guis virlet puy de dome franceBut astonishingly, only 3 buckets of mortar went into the wall. And for a whol assortment of reasons.

  1. I had to take down part of the scaffolding. That’s major progress in itself
  2. But before I could do that, I had to move a pile of stuff.
  3. Once that had gone, I had to hack down a pile of brambles and small trees to make some working space
  4. I had to clear away all of the sand and cement  that I’ve raked out of the wall and was piling up against the foot of the wall. That took ages, and I DO mean “ages” too

But I did make two startling discoveries

  1. I knew that I had another garden rake somewhere, a big heavy duty proper one with real metal prongs.
    And I would love to know what I was doing with it because it was under the stones that fell when the wall collapsed back all those years ago.
    The handle has long since rotted away but I’ll buy a new one on Saturday at Cheze.
  2. I now know the secret of why the lean-to is collapsing.
    There’s a whole network of tree roots from the walnut tree that has infiltrated into the wall below ground level. Much of the day was spent extracting them, and I need to think of a permanent solution to deal with that issue.
    Also, this is the bit where the wall is really bad.
    Rainwater has infiltrated and washed the old mortar away and many of the stones are loose. They need extracting where possible and replacing with larger stones/
    Either that or they need to be well packed in with other stones so that they can’t move and the forces above them are spread out horizontally.

So now you know why that’s why it’s taking me ages.

But anyway, at 18:45 I called it a day and had a quick a solar shower and following that, legged it to St Gervais d’Auvergne where we had the biggest crowd for quite a while.

And that is always pleasant.

Monday 3rd September 2012 – I DIDN’T START …

… the pointing today, and I wouldn’t be doing any tomorrow save for Rosemary coming round for a lesson (talk about the blind leading the blind!) because I was rather side-tracked this afternoon.

And so I was this morning.

I made a good start though thanks to my really early night last night (in bed well before midnight) and I had a good crack at the web site.

With not being on long enough last night to charge the computer though, the battery went quickly flat and when I switched on the inverter to charge up the machine, the internet came on and my friend Marianne from Belgium was on line.

So we ended up chatting for an hour or so seeing as we haven’t seen each other on line for months.

But this afternoon, doing the pointing means of course lowering the scaffolding and as I was about to do that, I suddenly remembered that the wind turbine that I put on the side of the house in the early spring is only wired in temporarily.

If I move the scaffolding, that will be that and it won’t be long before the old manky wire that I used to connect up the wind turbine to the charging circuit in the emergency, all open and exposed to the atmosphere, rots away.

Consequently I set to to run some decent 2.5mm wire through some flexible conduit, and to install a junction box under the eaves for the second wind turbine that will one day be installed on the other side of the house.

And while I was up the ladder under the eaves it occurred to me that while I was there I could fit a light there as planned, that works off the dusk/dawn sensor and which will automatically light up the front door and down the side of the house to the door to the lean-to during the hours of darkness.

And as I was running that wire through the conduit, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to put a light under the eaves at the other end of the front of the house to light up the door to the verandah.

And so I ran yet more wire through another conduit.

Net result – the wire is ready to wire up the wind turbine, but I’ll wait until Rosemary is here before I do that. I’m going to have to be something of an acrobat and on a ladder that is hanging on a roof, I’d rather there was someone here to call the ambulance.

One of the lights, that over the front door and the lean-to, is now installed and when I came back from PIonsat tonight (it’s the Anglo-French club’s meeting) it was doing exactly what it was supposed to.

And doing it quite efficiently too.

Not that 1 watt of LED power is going to light up much, but I could certainly move around without a torch and that is what is the aim.

So an early start tomorrow to steam-clean the verandah seeing as how I’ll be having visitors. I might even clean some more in here too – you never know. I bet I still won’t find my mobile phone though.

I haven’t a clue where that might be.

Monday 6th August 2012 – I HAVEN’T POSTED …

collapsed lean to repairing stone wall les guis virlet puy de dome france… a photo of my wall for quite some time, and so this is where I currently am.

You’ll notice that all of the breeze blocks have gone, except for the ones reinforcing the corner (and I’m not taking those out at any price) and I’ve also put in the base of the second window.

As for the rest, you can see that the outside stonework is proceeding apace, as is the interior stonework.

The infill, which consists of those very lightweight hollow bricks smashed into smaller pieces and mixed with a very lightweight concrete mix (I found some more gravel) is also up to the level that it should be.

Another couple of days on this and the stonework will be done. I’ll then have to turn my attention to fitting the guttering and then doing the pointing.

I’ll be glad when it’s finished because it really is driving me up the wall, but it needs to be done.

And what else? There was the working on the website of course this morning, and this evening down at the pub with Arno, Bill and Marianne.

That was it, really.

Monday 9th July 2012 – THIS IS WHAT …

… I was doing today.

RENDERING CONCRETE lean-to les guis virlet puy de dome franceI’ve painted the end wall of the lean-to that I’ve been rebuilding.

And even looking carefully, you can’t really see the join between the original rendering and the rendering that I did.

You can however see the original colour of the rendering if you look between the ground floor window and the 1st floor window – a horrible manky dirty grey paint. This cement-based paint that I’ve been using to paint the house – a pale yellow colour, makes it look so much nicer.

And it will look nicer still when I do the second coat.

You’ll notice the door of the lean-to. That was one that I made back in 2000 and as I was leaving, and not due back for 6 months,

I painted it in used engine oil to preserve it. It’s the best treatment that you can ever do to wood and when I’m preparing wood to be buried in the ground, like fence posts and so on, I always soak the ends in used engine oil, even today.

This morning though I was as usual on the computer doing my web pages. And quite early too – I was awake long before the alarms went off. A couple of consecutive early nights are what I have to thank for that.

But I had a weird dream again – I was a-wandering down West Street in Crewe and met up with an old school-friend, and we chatted for ages about one or two people we knew and the cars that they owned. We all – a large group of us in the end – ended up back at a hotel. Bizarre!

This evening, with the hotel in St Gervais d’Auvergne closed for holidays, the Anglo-French group went round to Clotilde’s and spent a very pleasant evening there. Clotilde made loads of stuff to eat, which was really nice of her, and she gave me a doggy bag, the contents of which I have just this minute demolished.

It’s nice to meet up with good friends and chat away for ages. I really should do it more often.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All very convivial.

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

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

Monday 11th June 2012 – IT’S ASTONISHING.

Today, the weather was so much better. Only 14mm of rain.

So once again I awoke to the sound of a torrential downpour but no staying in bed today. We had to be a-radioing at 10:00 and I had a lot to do before I could set out.

But it wasn’t as if it mattered any. The woman who does the engineering for Radio Tartasse at Marcillat-en-Combraille forgot that we were coming and so we had something of a wait until she arrived.

The best-made plans of mice and men, and all that.

But eventually we managed to record our 6 weeks of programmes. Luckily I did 2 rock programmes before I went away and so they are up-to-date too.

Back at Liz’s, I was very kindly permitted to have a shower and to wash some clothes. This depressing, miserable weather has meant that I have had no hot water for a week and more, and so I’m really grateful for the good friends that I have.

No need to worry about quantity, as I have said before. It’s the quality that counts.

Down in Gerzat at Radio Arverne this afternoon we did another 6 weeks-worth of programmes and so that’s everything recorded until the end of July.

On the way back, we stopped off at the Carrefour in Riom to buy some of these ethylotests. The law in France from July 1st is that every car should have a breathalyser fitted for the use of the driver and the supermarkets are selling them for peanuts. I bought a kit of 2 for €2:00 and you can’t say fairer than that.

I also had another bit of good luck there.

Last year I bought a neat 25-litre 12-volt coolbox for Caliburn for €27:95 or something like that and it’s useful for when I’m out shopping and when I’m on my travels – I need a place to store the cold food in the hot van.

I drove all around Canada just now wishing that I had had one in the car there too, and here they are in the Carrefour again – this time for €24:90.

So I’ve bought another one and I’ll pack it in the suitcase and fill it with clothes or something next time that I go over and then I can leave it in my storage unit over there in Montreal to keep the cool food and drink in.

It’s MoT time for Caliburn too and so we called in at the testing centre on the way back. Caliburn of course passed with flying colours and so we are all happy

At the Anglo-French group it was nice to see Clotilde back from Annemasse.

Yes, I’ve been rushed off my feet today and not had a moment to myself. That’s why I’m blogging early – I’m off to bed in a minute for an early night.

Monday 4th June 2012 – I MADE A START …

… on work today.

Only a start though.

After (a rather-late) breakfast, I worked on all of the photos of the holiday and wimp that I am, there are only 1200 of them. Not a patch on the 2500 or so of my epic 2010 voyage around the Trans-Labrador Highway, but considerably more than the 78 of my first visit to Canada.

All the photos have now been thumbnailed and had the copyright text added and they are now on-line. I’ll post a link to them in due course and you will be able to see them for yourself.

DEPANNEUR QUEBEC CANADA MAY 2012That took me to a rather late-ish lunch and then afterwards I prepared a little game for the Anglo-French Group.

I took all of my photos of the Québecois language and asked them to see what they could make of them.

No-one came even close to guessing what this was all about so if you have an idea – without cheating and looking it up – make a suggestion in the “comments” bit below.

That left me an hour and a half and so I went out to tackle the weeds. There’s only so much you can do in that kind of time and I didn’t do much, but at least I can walk between the front door and the downhill lean-to now, and the area around the solar shower is free.

And if we have some sun any time soon, I might even be able to use that.

But the disappointment is the hard-standing that we laid down for parking a couple of years ago.

Every day I made it a task to pull up a dozen weeds and I’ve kept it pretty weed-free. But 6 weeks away when everywhere is going mad has just about done for it. Not only is it swamped in weeds, their roots are so deep that they are pulling up the gravel and hardstanding when I try to remove them.

It seems that the only solution is whatever is the local equivalent of Agent Orange.

This is depressing as I have tried ever since I came here to avoid the use of chemical weedkiller but as I am on my own and I’m not as young as I was, I don’t see what alternative there is.

If you can think of anything non-chemical, answers on a plain brown envelope to …

Monday 23rd April 2012 – I’m blogging early tonight

And for two reasons too. Firstly, seeing as how this is my last night here for a while, I’m going to have an early one. And secondly, I had tea early. And that was because I was round at Bill’s for a while setting him up as he is going to be doing the communication for the Anglo-Français Group while I’m not here, and by the time I was back from Bill’s it wasn’t worth coming up here to relax for half an hour.

Tea was nice as well – I used up all of the leftovers. So it was two large spuds, an onion, some garlic, some mixed veg and some mushrooms. And while the spuds were boiling, the rest was frying and then it was all fried together and covered with mixed gravy and spices. and I’ll eat that again.

While I’m away, Liz says that she will keep an eye on the garden once or twice in exchange for the thinnings, and so I thought that I had better do a map of the garden so that she will know where everything is, now that it’s all finished.

There’s just one empty bed and that’s for the leeks that are hopefully growing in a seed tray. Mind you, the leeks that I planted in the open soil have taken, and they are coming up now.

In fact some of the stuff is doing really well while the rest is taking its time, although I seem to remember that this is what always happens.

Anyway, I sowed some more carrots, parsnips, sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and beetroot, and that will be my lot. When I come back, I’ll just have to see what didn’t take and plant some of that. And the chicory in the new potato bed and that will be it apart from weeding.

I raked and hoed the two cloches today and in the small one I planted (in their pots) all of the shrubs and bushes, so that they will be ready for when I come back.

Apart from that I’ve been doing stuff off my list today. As well as the water heater the dump load will be powering 250 watts of light – 5×50 watt bulbs. This is useful because I have the potential to charge up about 700 watts on the dump load circuit and there’s already a 500-watt water heater element there. So the lights will help to complete the load. and 5 bulbs means that if one blows, then it won’t be too much of a problem. Light bulbs and water heater elements are good because the will take a graduated load – it’s not all “on and off” like, say, an electrical appliance might be and so which would not be satisfactory for this.

I’m nothing like ready really – I can’t find the spare camera battery or the charger that I take on voyages with me, and lots of other stuff. But it’s too late now. I have my tickets, passport, money, camera, dictaphone and Moose, and when I’ve recorded my rock music programme tomorrow I shall go with what I’ve got and that will be that.

Monday 2nd April 2012 – Coming back …

… from the Anglo-French group tonight, I noticed in my rear-view mirror just how nicely Pionsat was looking this evening.

pionsat puy de dome franceThere’s a certain spot near the old Roman Road up here where there’s a good view down into the valley and I’ve had one or two decent photos from there.

In case you are wondering, which I’m sure that you are, although I live 5 or 6 kms from Pionsat there’s a height difference of about 140 metres – Pionsat being at about 530 metres and me being at 667 metres – and so just here at this spot there must be 120 metres of difference.

What caught my eye, and if you look very carefully to the left of centre, is the “tent” that is covering the exposed roof of of the Medieval chateau in the centre of the town. It’s being replaced at the moment and so they have this plastic tarpaulin thing over the top. There are a few lights burning away underneath the tarpaulin, and the whole thing looked from here as if it was some kind of Chinese lantern. It really was bizarre.

So this morning I was recording radio programmes again, and then I came home and did some gardening for the rest of the day. I had another fire of all of the dried weeds and so on, and then went round pulling up yet more to add to the conflagration. This place is looking quite a bit different from a couple of months ago.

I’ve also planted the new potatoes. They are where they should be for now, and I’ll be intrigued to see what they might do. They are churning up the large bed that I laid out this year – the one that will eventually be the home of the fruit bushes. I also wasted a few surplus watts of energy on attacking the hole that I’m trying to drill through the wall. but another half hour and I reckon that I’ve advanced maybe a millimetre. there’s something not quite right about this.

All of the plants that I’ve been buying these last couple of weeks – they are now in a plastic box that has about 20mm of water in it – to give them all a good soaking before I plant them this week.

But never mind the exertions – I stopped for lunch at about 14:30, had a sandwich and a coffee, and the next thing that I remember was that it was 16:05. All of this work is taking it out of me.