Tag Archives: beichstuhl

Saturday 25th November 2017 – YOU MISSED …

accident abandoned car park LIDL granville manche normandy france… all of the excitement this morning.

We arrived at LIDL to find this sight greeting us. No idea what had happened but someone has been hit in the rear and the car abandoned on the side of the LIDL car park. There’s a story here, right enough.

But something else I missed were the little hand-held whizzers with three attachments that they had on special offer. just before 10:00 when I arrived here, and they had all gone.

I was pretty disappointed by that.

It had been a good night last night too. I’d had a decent sleep yet again and even been on a mega-ramble too.

We started off last night in an airport in the UK (might even have been Manchester) ready to fly out to Canada. And whether we had actually flown, we found ouselves in a very neglected and overgrown field that was used by the kids as a rock concert venue. I had a caravan there. But instead of being there, we ended up in some kind of library or bookshop hiding out, because there were some weird goings-on reporte from there. And so after a few hours, three small kids appeared from out of the wall. We let them go about their business for a while and then took them up. They were telling us that there was a fourth sibling who was very ill but they didn’t have the right to fetch a local doctor. We insisted that their mother be sent for, and when she arrived she was a young girl with curly hair and glasses. One of the boys with us announced rather surprisingly that she was his wife and so he was the father of the kids, so he went off to find a doctor. We all adjourned back to my caravan where the field was even more overgrown with weeds and nettles up to head-high. And there were several (British) policemen milling around in there. Someone said that they would be wanting to speak to me later, and everyone disappeared out of what was a very overgrown entrance. I noticed that there was a wooden booth, rather like the old beichstuhl that I built years ago, that was blocking half the entrance. We’d moved it there a while ago and I was sure that the police would want us to move it back, but I knew that it wouldn’t survive another removal.

After breakfast and a shower I hit the streets and went to LIDL as aforementioned. And my little back street route seems to be fine – did the business yet again.

From LIDL I went off to NOZ. And here I spent some cash. For a start, they had some of the seat cushions that I like for the kitchen chairs. And at €2:50 each too. They didn’t have four the same colour but they did have four different shades of dark brown so I bought one of each shade.

Another thing that I did, to put me in the Christmas spirit, was to buy a chain of different coloured LED lights for Christmas. And a few other bits and pieces, bottles of drink and that kind of thing. And some caramel-flavoured soya milk which is delicious too and I wish that I had bought some more.

At LeClerc it was just the usual stuff with nothing particularly exciting, although I was dismayed to be stuck in a queue behind a woman and a cashier who preferred to spend all of the time talking to each other than dealing with the customers in the queue behind them.

granville manche normandy franceAfter lunch I went for my usual walk around the headland. But I didn’t get very far because we were having some unusual weather.

I’ve never seen Jersey as clear as it was this afternoon. Almost everything was visible with the naked eye today,especially when just for a moment, the sun shone down through the clouds and illuminated the island.

Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough with the camera at that moment, but there will be other moments.

rainstorm cancale franceBut as far as the weird weather went, I was quick enough to take a photograph of the rainstorm that was raging ovet there across the other side of the bay near Cancale.

Luckily, there was a northerly wind blowing and that was pushing the rainstorm south down the bay so it wouldn’t be coming across here and soking me.

But it really was impressive

cancale franceAs the rainstorm moved south, the sun came out over there for just a brief minute.

And just for a change I had the camera ready, complete with the zoom lens and so I could take a quick snap of the little bay upon which Cancale is situated.

It’s 18 miles across the Bay as the crow flies, but as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it’s a darn sight farther than that when you go there by road. It took me well over an hour last April to drive there.

baie de mont st michel franceI followed the storm down the bay, and I snapped this photo of a village away in the distance down at the foot of the bay.

I’ve no idea which village it might be but it’s in the area of Hirel and St Benoit des Ondes.

And having done all that, I carried on with my walk and back to the flat for my afternoon coffee and, unfortunately, another little doze. I just can’t shake this off.

foorball cerences as cerensaise us gavray manche normandy franceAnd later on this evening, I braved the cold and damp and went out. No football in the vicinity but there was a local derby under floodlights at Cerences where AS Cerencaise were taking on hated local rivals US Gavray.

I’d taken a flask with me and so as you might expect, there was a pie hut here and furthermore, it was open too.

3rd Division of District football, and that’s how it started off. And how the second half started too. But apart from that it was a very good exciting game. Cerences won 2-1 in a match that could have gone either way. I shall have to come here again.

Back here I took an age to warm up, but in the meantime I made myself some baked potatoes and beans. And still freezing cold, I went to bed. may as well have an early night.

Tuesday 29th December 2015 – AND IF YOU THOUGHT …

… that last night’s voyage was something impressive, you ain’t seen nuffink yet! No wonder I’m exhausted. I can see me having another 20:45 bedtime at this rate.

Last night, after going to bed at such a ridiculously early night, I was straight out – like a light in fact. And then we were off on a nocturnal ramble that, even though I can’t remember all of it, has to be the farthest that I’ve gone for quite a while.

Last night I was talking on the internet to the wife of a friend of mine. She’d been for a walk around Nantwich and ended up going past my old Grammar School and so it goes without saying that I went out on my travels to inspect it. I spent a couple of happy hours patrolling the corridors and apart from the fact that there were many more pupils there than I remembered it, it looked completely the same as it did back then, despite all the changes that have taken place since I was there. I didn’t see anyone I that I recognised – until I saw Joanna walking down the corridor. I had quite a crush on her at one time at school and we did become friends for a short while (although nothing like as friendly as I would have liked) but anyway I digress. Back at the ranch, Joanna walked down the corridor past me and I noticed a double-take as she briefly paused, looked at me with a puzzled expression on her face, and then walked on again. I ended up outside in the school farm looking at the animals.

At this point in the evening I had to leave the comfort and safety of my stinking pit for the usual reasons that anyone of my age would understand, and then I was back at school again. Not my old school this time though, but a High School in the USA. A big old Gothic building too, very tall and compact. I was here, having sneaked in for a wander around and to use the showers, and that had worked out fine. Next day, I was there for much longer, having a much fuller exploration. I’d found the bathroom – full of individual bathtubs where you had to put a token or a coin into a machine to have the hot water to fill your tub, and also the refectory where I was intending to have a meal. However, while I was on the stairs, I received two messages on my phone – one from the Director of the High School asking me to report to her immediately, and the second from a friend of mine asking me to phone her and then to go to see the Director. I was wondering how come everyone had been able to obtain the number of my mobile phone. I know that it was written on the side of Caliburn, which was parked up in the school car park, but how had they been able to tie up Caliburn with me? Was it merely a speculative phone call? I’m sure that I hadn’t been recognised as an “outsider”.

I never had the chance to answer these questions because I was off again down the corridor (it makes a total nonsense of this idea of having nothing to drink in the evening and I was a long way yet from finishing). And back in the comfort and safety of my stinking pit I was off yet again, this time to Brussels (or, at least, I think that it was Brussels). Here I met a family with a girl of 7 or so (but she looked older than that) and her favourite pastime was boxing – in fact she boxed at a gym there in her spare time. I remembered that Dylan, who is the same age, also enjoyed boxing so I arranged a boxing match between the two kids. I didn’t actually see the match but I remember being there at the end of Round 1 with Dylan’s mother saying that the girl (whose name I can’t remember) would not be doing a lap of honour if she won, so Dylan replied that he would have to concentrate on his jab. And the net result was that Dylan won the match by one point, which I thought was rather unfair.

Down the corridor yet again, and then I was off somewhere else. This time it might have been back to the USA, but a completely different USA than earlier in the evening, more like the Wild West. And there were two big houses close together and the occupants of these houses were at war with each other rather like the situation in A Fistful of Dollars. The house where I was had been attacked twice by fire-raisers and we were definitely on the defensive, and when the third attack came, we found ourselves out of ammunition. The person in charge told us to hold the fort while he rode off to fetch the sheriff and a posse, but I wondered how that would work bearing in mind that we were probably just as guilty as the others, and how we could hold out in the meantime with just wooden stakes with embedded nails, and pointing empty guns and shouting “bang”. We did our best to dislodge the people who were surrounding our house but we were soon overwhelmed and with no sign of relief we came to realise that this story about “fetching the sheriff” was just a ruse for the leader of our party to make good his getaway. And so here we were, all prisoners, and it all started to become rather ugly. It was just as well that I awoke (for yet another trip down the corridor) at this point.

As I say, I wish that my real life was as exciting as all of this that goes on in the evening. I Don’t know what it is that Liz is putting in the cooking that is causing all of this – or maybe it’s something in the injections that I have to have.

Having survived the morning round of injections and having had breakfast, this was another day where I did precisely nothing. The morning was spent with Terry watching the cricket but then round about midday everyone cleared off to Montlucon and the swimming baths. I stayed behind and carried on with my 3D program and made myself some toasted cheese for lunch.

Everyone was back as it went dark. No shipwrecks and no-body drownding, in fact nothing to laugh at at all in the Centre Aqualudique although Dylan loved the big water slide. I was regaled with a blow-by-blow account of this afternoon’s activities.

strawberry moose wallace and gromit collection sauret besserve puy de dome franceWe had time before tea to watch the video. Tonight’s film – or films, should I say – were the Wallace & Gromit – The Complete Collection, a particular favourite of Robyn’s.

And it goes without saying that Strawberry Moose enjoyed the film too, as did mummy and daddy.

And so that was that for today. Falafel and chips for tea followed by vegan Black Forest Gateau. There’s no more room for anything else. I’ll watch a bit of the football tonight and then I’ll be off to bed.

I wonder where I’ll end up during the night?

But here’s a thing. Do you remember a few weeks ago back at my house when one morning I discovered a trail of blood leading to the beichstuhl, and on inspecting my appendages, it seemed that I’d banged my little toe on my left foot really hard against the door frame and not noticed? This morning when I was dressing, I noticed that the nail on that toe has become detached, hanging on in there by a thread.

I must have banged it much harder than I thought – and somehow never felt a thing.

Sunday 15th November 2015 – I SHOULD HAVE …

… gone out this afternoon.

I had planned to go out to Menat for the football today. Two matches – one of the 2nd XI who play at the same level as Pionsat’s 1st XI, and the Menat 1st XI who play a couple of divisions higher. But then last night’s Pionsat 2nd XI match had been postponed until today and so I was wondering whether to go down there instead.

But then I had something of a late start today (well, it IS a Sunday) and then I had a bad attack of Writer’s Block and couldn’t make a start on what I had to do today. By the time I could tune myself into whatever I was going to do, it was too late to go anywhere and do anything. But at least I’ve finished the radio programme, eventually.

I’ve also emptied the beichstuhl today. The first time since I’ve been back home. And it needed it too. So that’s one job well-done. And with the temperature in the verandah being 19°C and then temperature in the home-made 12-volt immersion heater reaching 49°C, that was the cue for a shower. And gorgeous it was too.

Rosemary rang up for a good chat later, and we were on the phone for an hour or so. It seems from local gossip that our little ex-pat community is going to be thinned out even more, something that is surprising us because, by all accounts, it’s going to be an enormous backward step for the people involved. But then, what’s it all to do with us?

And in other news, we have had a definite candidate for not just “Quote of the Year”, or “Quote of the Decade” or even “Quote of the Century”, but what will probably end up being “Quote of All Time”. One of my “friends” on my Social Network who lives near Guildford posted, in relation to the events in Paris this weekend “… it could happen in Guildford or Bristol …”. it appears that the poster has totally forgotten that it DID happen in Guildford

And this just goes to prove a point that I have been saying for years. Atrocities committed by white-skinned Christian terrorists are totally forgotten, conveniently swept under the counter even by people who were exposed to the acts, whereas the mere threat of an attack by brown-skinned “terrorists” brings them out all in a cold sweat.

And why “terrorists” in inverted commas? That’s because one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. As a good example of this, certain white-skinned Christian terrorist swho had conducted a bombing campaign all through London in 1974 and 1975, convicted of 7 murders as well as a whole string of other serious crimes, were described as ‘our Nelson Mandelas’ by an MP who had served in the British Houses of Parliament for over 20 years and who was indeed a serving MP at the time he made the remark.

However, history conveniently overlooks all of this.

Thursday 5th November 2015 – HAPPY BONFIRE NIGHT!

I hope that you all had a good bonfire. I’m gripping the edge of my seat waiting for the news, to see if anyone has managed to successfully emulate the feat of Guy Fawkes and his colleagues. The shambles that is in power in the United Kingdom deserves to have a barrel of gunpowder ignited underneath them so that we can replace them with a real caring, sharing Government that, instead of grinding down and kicking the poor and weak, gets to grips with the bankers and the ex-pats who have actually been responsible for the UK’s financial mess. Vietnam had the correct idea in this respect, but you would hardly credit the Conservative Government with solving the crisis in this fashion, no matter how much the bankers might deserve it.

And so I carried on with my studies this morning, admiring through the skylights the nice bright blue sky that was beating down upon me. And so no surprise as to what happened as I finished and went outside to work.

Yes- it immediately clouded over and that was that as far as chopping the wood went.

Instead, I attacked the 12-volt immersion heater again and now that is finished. And not only finished, but insulated, the thermometer fitted, the wiring in place, fitted to the charge controller and filled with water, waiting for the sunshine. I’m intrigued to see how this 6mm cabling holds up. I’m not too optimistic about this but at least it’s all properly soldered and bolted up, and the wire itself is in much better condition.

It’s been heat-shrinked too. I found my box of heat-shrink tubes and with the gas pistol I could heat it all up properly. And the wires are threaded through individual holes in the pattress that protects the ends of the heating element, so that they run very little risk of touching each other.

I even found time to make a wooden box to keep my fruit and veg. In truth I didn’t actually make it – it’s the old beichstuhl from before I fitted the permanent one into the shower room. It’s not been doing very much and it is in the way, so I fitted a new top, cleaned it out a little, and “hey, presto!”.

Rosemary was on the phone twice today too. The first time was for advice about oil to put in her chainsaw and the second time was to offer me a few words of encouragement and support as she somehow sensed that I’m not feeling all at the races right now.

but now I’m off to bed and a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow id Friday and I hope that the weather tomorrow afternoon is fine as I want to cut up more wood and I need a good shower too.

In other news, I’ve had two replies from acts whom I’ve contacted about providing live music for Radio Anglais. Ross Neilsen has sent me a concert and an Australian group, Alpha Omega, has allowed me to download one of their concerts from the group’s website.

Things are looking up!

Thursday 13 August 2015 – FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE …

…I’m ready well in advance of time to go.

Well, I’m not. I have been looking for three days for the $200 that I drew out of my Canadian Bank before leaving last October, so I’m having to go without it. And now I know why I drew it all out too. My Canadian bank card expired back in May!

So I hope that my European cards work, otherwise I’m going to have a couple of problems.

Mind you, it was touch and go that I got here in time this morning. I’d been out in Eastern Europe in a city that straddled the border between the East and the West. I was in the east with a party of people (as it happened, people with whom I worked in Stoke on Trent) and we were in a coach or a train that wasn’t moving but the seats were comfortable. Anyway, who should turn up but Nerina, with her Afro haircut of the early 90s. She sat next to me and ended up sharing my bunk, and I could see all of the people looking around and quizzing each other as to who she was.

I asked her how she had made it over to here – did she come by rail through the East, because I was interested in the trains that she might have seen, but she had come to the railway station in the West and walked across the border, which disappointed me.

So first job was the washing up. And that was when I made a startling discovery – that I had brought some water up last night to do the washing-up, and then left it on the side and went to bed. I’m definitely getting old, aren’t I?

And then there was the beichstuhl that needed emptying, cleaning and refilling, such delightful jobs that I have.

I’ve also cleaned the waste bins and isn’t that a first?

Liz came for me and we went to the mairie to pick up a Certificat de Domicile but as I expected, it’s closed for the holidays. I must remember to ring up on Tuesday! I did meet Valentin there though, loading up the Commune’s little van. We had a good chat and it seems that he’s re-signed for Pionsat this year, and that’s good news! I’ve no idea why he went to play at Terjat.

piaggio APE brasserie de la gare montlucon allier franceLiz and I went for coffee in the brasserie opposite the station.And while we were there, this interesting Piaggio APE pulled up just opposite.

I had a brief chat with the owner but he didn’t say very much. But he didn’t mind me taking a few photos of it (it’s always polite to ask).

It brought back a few memories of the Piaggio APE50 that we discovered on waste land in Brussels and which now resides – or it did, the last time that I heard anything about it – in Stoke on Trent

SNCF single unit diesel passenger train franceHere’s my train – a little single-unit diesel. I’ve not been on one of these before. But it’s nice, clean and comfortable – a far cry from anything that you find on the rails in the UK.

And we set off bang on time too, which is another far cry from life on the rails in the UK. And one thing that I like about France – “we regret that the toilet on board the train isn’t functioning. If you need this service, please make yourself known to the guard who will arrange for a longer stop at one of the stations that we visit”.

Mind you – I was half-expecting that we would be offered the possibility to pull up on the main line at a suitable hedge.

I didn’t realise that there were two railway stations in Montlucon – but I do now!

The line to Riom is what can best be described as “bucolic” – what one writer once wrote as a “merry, mazy ramble” across the Auvergnat countryside. I’ve advanced about 25 kms but it’s taken me an hour and a half and about 90kms to do it.

diesel multiple unit riom puy de dome lyon franceAt Riom it’s pouring down – a real torrential downpour – and my train is bang on time. And then this is where I realise that it’s lunchtime and for once in my life I’m caught without a supply of food about my person.

By the time I reached Vichy it had stopped raining, but it had started again at Tarare.

place part dieu lyon franceFirst stop at Lyon was at the Subway for a very late lunch. And it was at here that we had the usual Subway dialogue-
Our Hero – could I have a 12-inch with nothing but crudités?
Serving Wench – do you want cheese with that?

trolley bus lyon franceThere are trolley buses in Lyon these days – I hadn’t noticed that before. It seems that all of this “obsolete” transport of the 1950s – trams, trolley buses – was not obsolete at all. In fact, it was a hundred years ahead of its time. And it seems to be doing its work here in Lyon too because the streets are much less crowded than any other European city that I’ve visited recently.

As for my hotel, it’s 5 or 10 minutes away from the station. It’s modern and clean and tidy, with all of the services to hand. I had a lovely vegetarian pizza (I always bring my own cheese) for tea. It seems that this idea of flying out of Lyon, at least to here, is paying off in spades.

And as good an idea as it might have been, it could be even better too, believe it or not, because there’s a cheap budget hotel – the Athena – with rooms at €58:00, actually built into the station block. A walk of about 50 yards.

I shall have to look closely into this, but not tonight because although it’s only about 22:00, I’m crashing out.

Tuesday 21st July 2015 – I PASSED …

… the inspection today. Rosemary came by and gave the place her seal of approval.

And so she should have, too. I was awake long before the alarm went off, having my breakfast by the time it finally did, and then, fortified by a pot of strong coffee, I attacked the house.

The attic is tidier now then it has ever been since I have been living in it and there is no doubt about that. The rubbish has been taken out and the composting bin emptied and cleaned.

The bedroom had a good clean-around too and I even managed to bring a little order into the chaos that is the ground floor where I’ve been working. All the tools have been put away, the floor has been swept with all of the sawdust now in a tidy pile, and there are pathways through the tulips where one can tiptoe without breaking one’s neck falling over something.

I even managed to give some attention to the shower room, and I emptied and cleaned out the beichstuhl, even though it didn’t need it, but one can never be too considerate to one’s guests.

All in all, Rosemary was impressed and awarded me half a melon, which went down a treat for pudding this evening. She arrived at 14:00 and was here until 18:25 – some flying visit! I treated myself to a shower too, although I had to wait until 19:45 and the water had cooled down to a delightful 38.5°C – the temperature at 18:26 was a mere 42.0°C – not far off the highest that it has ever been.

I don’t mind visitors as long as I know that they are coming. It’s a good opportunity and incentive for me to tidy up and clean the place. And it does need it sometimes. I ought to pay much more attention to my accommodation.

But I’m surprised that I had the energy to do all of that this morning, seeing as I had been on my travels again. I was in a Ford Cortina estate (they aren’t half featuring quite regularly in my nocturnal ramblings these days) and testing the handbrake by the simple expedient of rolling backwards down a hill on this new housing estate and pulling on the lever. Of course, in this case the handbrake didn’t work and the car gathered speed. The houses at the bottom loomed up rather too rapidly for my liking and so I did a handbrake turn (with no handbrake, of course!) to pull up parallel to the kerb. A tabby kitten came out of the house right by where I was stopped and so I started to stroke it. Then the cat’s owner came out to see what was happening, and it was none other than a girl who has been previously described in these pages as “the one that got away”. Anyway, she invited me in for a coffee and we had a really good nostalgic chat about old times.

Thursday 9th July 2015 – EVEN THOUGH …

… it was something of a late night last night, I was still up and about long before the alarm went off. Well, in theory anyway, because I wasn’t in a rush to leave my cosy bed.

Mind you, I forget how many times I had had to leave it during the night. It certainly wasn’t just once or twice, that’s for sure. But that’s a sign of old age.

And here’s another thing too – after breakfast I sat down and sorted out the images and text for no less than 24 days of my voyage across Canada’s Maritime Provinces – without even stopping for breath. Out of 40, with a few previously done, it doesn’t leave too many to do now.

But that’s only just the start of it. I have to retype all of the notes from the dictaphone (and it’s a good job that I saved the dictations to a memory stick on my way around last year) and merge them in, and then research and expand them. So that’s not something that is likely to be finished in a short while.

After lunch, and a big pot of coffee (which I richly deserved), first job was to empty the beichstuhl. And it needed it too. But I’ve gone back to the bigger tub, because the liners are a much tighter fit and that works much better. The smaller one is a better fit in the container, but with the liners being too large, they are just pulled into the tub.

For the rest of the day, I’ve been carving out the cable trunking in the lower shelf of the flying shelf unit that I’m building. That needs to be done precisely and it takes ages, with measuring, drilling, chiselling and filing. But it’s done now and had the first coat of varnish at 19:15 and the second at – would you believe – 23:15. Yes, me working at that time is unheard-of. It’ll have the third and final coat tomorrow early morning too.

But there’s also been a subtle change in the design. While I was lying in bed this morning, I thought of another way by which I could improve the design, and so some of what I had done yesterday ended up in the woodpile. But it’s always like that around here. Design evolves continually, especially during the actual work, and I’ve lost count of the number of amendments that I’ve made to the original plan.

And in other news, a big “well-done” to the three Welsh clubs in Europe tonight. Airbus drew 2-2 in Croatia to lose 5-3 on aggregate to much superior opposition. Bala beat Differdange 2-1, but that wasn’t enough to overturn the away score last week – a match that they should have won at a canter, never mind lost. But pride of place must go to Newtown, who beat Valletta 2-1 away from home to progress through to the next round against FC Copenhagen. So with TNS going through to meet Videoton of Hungary after demolishing Torshavn on Tuesday, that’s a 50% success rate for Welsh clubs in Europe – a percentage that matches what Scottish football could manage in Europe this week.

A few heavy defeats tonight in Europe, including an 8-0, but no Welsh team lost this week. What with 10th place in the National rankings, things are looking up for Welsh football.

And not before time. Maybe people will start taking it seriously now.

Wednesday 17th June 2015 – I’VE BEEN DRILLING ….

holse chasing drilling for water pipes les guis virlet puy de dome france… for most of the afternoon.

I need to route all of the water pies – the cold water in, the hot water in, the hot and cold out and the hot and cold central heating – around the house, and where the water tanks will be going is in the attic right above the shower. The shower room and the kitchen where the sink will be are right in a vertical row one under the other, and so I’m planning to route all of the pipework down the inside of the stud wall.

The central heating is a later addition to the plan, and as well as that, I’d only made provision for the other water pipes in the top rails of the stud wall. Hence, there were 22 holes to cut and I’ve done 18 of them this afternoon.

As we’ve actually had some good weather today, I’ve resurrected the little 330-watt mains drill and that has made rather short and effortless work of the drilling.

Or it would have done, but I soon discovered why I hadn’t used it for years. The on-off switch is broken and so the drill is permanently “on”. That makes for some interesting moments when I’m starting off with the drilling.

I’ll finish all of this tomorrow and then I can finish off with the plan to fit the worktop. I might even have finished it off today but I crashed out for an hour – and I mean crashed out too. I was well-done.

This morning I started on my website, trying to resurrect all of the notes that I have lost, and that’s not easy. It’s going to be a lot of work and I’m not looking forward to doing it all again.

After that, I’ve been working in the garden. Yes, even though I said I wouldn’t this year.

But this was urgent as I had a load of stuff, including the beichstuhl, to take down to the compost heap. But I couldn’t get down there, seeing as the weeds, brambles and everything else have totally overwhelmed it. And so for a good hour and a half I was hacking my way down there.

But in a change, I’ve put the smaller container, the 15-litre one – in the beichstuhl. This will mean that it will have to be emptied more often, as it will fill up quicker, and that suits me fine. It’ll keep the compost bin turning over and keep the shower room healthier.

As it’s sitting low in the box, I’ve propped it up by taking the telephone directories upstairs and put them underneath the container. That raises it up and that’s much better. I’ve also put the bin bags and the shredder upstairs too so it’s all to hand.

And so I’ve had an easy night tonight. Day 2 of the aubergine and kidney bean casserole that I made yesterday and forgot to mention.

I was on my travels during the night – or, rather I wasn’t for I was here. Someone with whom I used to be very friendly back a few years ago was here too and we were watching my ocean-going yacht arriving down the little lane here. It took hours for them to unload it – in fact they still hadn’t finished by the time that I woke up, even though this guy had gone downstairs earlier to chivvy them up.

Tuesday 16th June 2015 – NOW THAT I’VE FINISHED …

beichstuhl composting toilet les guis virlet puy de dome france… working on the corner where the beichstuhl is, I can post a couple of photos of it so that you can see what I’ve been doing.

That’s the worktop that I’ve been building just there. The container for the composting toilet is where you might expect it to be, and at the side is the container where the sawdust and wood-ash is kept. There’s a ladle in there for dispensing the sawdust and wood-ash.

The three contents combined (sawdust, wood-ash and the contents of a composting toilet used by someone with a vegan diet) contain all of the elements for making a first-class compost if it’s left to stand for a year or so. That’s why I have two compost bins down at the bottom of the garden. One is “working” and the other one is “standing”.

As for the container, it’s one of these huge stainless steel jam-boilers, about 25 litres of it, and complete with stainless steel lid. It’s lined with a bio-degradable dustbin liner and then a thick layer of shredded paper (I use old telephone directories as the paper is super-absorbent) to soak up any liquids.

les guis virlet puy de dome franceAs for the upper part, you can see the two shelves that I have fitted in place. One shelf is for what I call the “bathroom books” and the upper shelf is for the supplies of toilet paper and the like.

Storage space is quite important around here, seeing as how there is so much stuff that I seem to have accumulated. I can never have too much of that.

I have to fit the suspended ceiling (which won’t be for quite a while yet) and then it will be ready for tiling.

So having done that, I toot out the worktop for the sink. That had been propped into position merely to give me a kind-of workbench. Once I had done that, I had to reposition the mounting rails.

You may remember that I was planning an inset sink, but the old worktop wouldn’t support the weight of the sink once I had cut the hole in it. Hence I’m going for the type of sink that sits on top of the worktop, and this means that the height of the worktop needs to be lowered by 150mm so that the sink is at the same height.

I’ve also been drilling out the rails in the stud wall between the shower and the sink worktop so that the water pipes will pass down there out of the way.

I would have done much more too, except that I had to spend an hour or so in the barn looking for wood to make the new rails. I need to spend some time tidying up in there, although I’m not sure whenever that might happen.

And what else?

We had another bad weather day today. A hanging cloud everywhere this morning, and this in mid-June too. All miserable, wet and depressing.

I’ve been working on the laptop too, and found another technical forum that looks quite helpful, so I’ve posted on there to ask whether anyone has any ideas about whether it might be possible to extract the data from this failed hard drive.

I doubt it, but it costs nothing to try.

Monday 15th June 2015 – IN THE 20 HOURS …

… between my going out late last night to take the stats and going out this evening for something to drink, we’ve had a mere 48.5mm of rainfall. and it’s been raining ever since as well.

That makes about 120mm in the last four days and that’s an astonishing amount. We’ll all be washed away if it carries on like this.

This morning after breakfast I carried on with the internet stuff that I hadn’t finished yesterday. I’ve made a list of all of the bands that have impressed me at the Fredericton Jazz and Blues Festivals that I’ve attended, traced as many as I could on the internet, and sent them a mail to ask them if there was a live concert recorded that I could use on the radio. This is something that I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while, and I’ve finally made a start. And already, I’ve had two positive replies.

While I was rooting around with all of that paperwork on Saturday I came across a mirror. I nice bulls-eye mirror with a brass surround rather like a ship’s porthole. Someone gave it to me when I had my first house in Winsford and it’s followed me around Europe ever since. It’s finally found a permanent home on the first floor landing here and good luck to it.

I’ve also extended the light circuit here. On the ground floor where my workshop is, there’s only one light – a 4-watt LED and that’s by the front door. The rear part of the house is quite dark and it’s not so easy to see there when one is working, especially in the gloomy conditions of the last few days.

There was a light with a long lead that I used when I was working in the bedroom before I installed the permanent lights there. So today, I stripped off the plug and wired it into the lighting circuit downstairs. That’s given me much more useful light down there, even if it is just a 1-watt LED.

I’ve found a pine off-cut that’s fine for the upper shelf over the beichstuhl. I cut that to shape and varnished both sides. Tomorrow morning early I’ll put the second coat on the shelf and then that will be ready to fit.

This afternoon I’ve been cutting and fitting plasterboard for the beichstuhl corner. I’ve fitted what I can fit and I’ll do the rest when the shelf is in position. Then, I can take out the worktop where the sink will be, drill it for the sink waste-pipe and the taps and then varnish it. While it’s drying, I’ll fit the mounting rails in the correct place and then install the worktop correctly.

Then, I can start on fitting the door frame.

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.

Thursday 11th June 2015 – I DUNNO …

… what’s happened this last day or two, but today I’ve had another roaring day with the Radio programmes. In the space of two and a half hours, I sat down and dashed off 2000 words on taxation. And that includes having to read a taxation document written in official French and to translate it in my head as I’ve been going along.

So that’s not like me at all just recently given my lengthy spell of lethargy.

I had a very late night as well and struggled to leave my bed this morning. For the first half hour or so I was all ready to go back to bed, and that’s what makes this morning’s efforts all that more remarkable.

composting toilet beichstuhl fitted installed shower room les guis virlet puy de dome franceI’m glad that I chose light oak for the preparation of the surfaces of the oak worktops that I bought in Eching. I shudder to think how it might have turned out had I bought mid-oak or dark oak.

For the kitchen, I’m going to try to find a transparent surface treatment if I can. The stuff that I have is nothing like as good as this stuff that I bought.

But it has turned out rather well – you can’t deny the quality of the stuff. And here’s the worktop for the beichstuhl all in position with the fitted hinge on the lid covering the sawdust container and also with the bracket and peg to hold the lunette in position.

It’s all worked out rather well.

This afternoon I’ve been plasterboarding, spending much of the time trying to extract the plasterboard sheets from the back of the pile. But anyway, they are out and I’ve now plasterboarded the back wall and half of the wall to the left on the stud wall.

I’ve also fitted the shelf for the “bathroom books”

Tomorrow I’ll hopefully finish the plasterboarding in that corner and then I can start to empty more of the rubbish out of the shower room.

That will give me much more room to work.

Wednesday 10th June 2015 – 08:45 …

… and there I was, downstairs working. And that’s not like me at all these days is it?

But I want to have this perishing beichstuhl finished sometime soon, like tomorrow for example, and it needs a coat of varnish on the underside and another coat on the top. And this varnish isn’t like the stuff that I normally buy that is ready for a second coat in 2 hours – this needs 24 hours.

So what I did first thing this morning was to put a coat of varnish on the underside of the worktop, and the second coat on the upper side last thing before knocking off. That should be dry enough tomorrow to install. Then I can crack on with the plasterboarding. And I mustn’t forget the locating peg on the lunette either.

In between times I finished off the additional notes for the next radio programmes and caught up with a couple of outstanding things that needed to be done.

We also had a most astonishing thunderstorm – 25mm of rain fell in about an hour and we had the most impressive thunder and lightning – an enormous one going off with an enormous crack right overhead here.

I didn’t get any of that (well I did – about a ton of it all over me) because the water filter had become blocked. So there I was in the middle of this rainstorm dismantling the entire system, removing the home-made filters and cleaning and renewing them. They were blocked too, and that’s happened since the last rainstorm. Probably all of the dust that had settled during the last week when we have had no rain at all.

I said that I had about a ton of water all over me. I had to dissemble the pipe between the two filters and the water that was stuck in the pipe came out with such a force, right over me and I got the lot.

Of course, by the time that I had rebuilt all of the filters the rain had stopped. That’s about normal, isn’t it? But I keep on meaning to build a spare filter system so that I can just swap them over and clean them off at my leisure. They always need cleaning or replacing at the most inopportune moments.

And we’ve had high winds all day too and the wind turbine has been going round like the clappers. I wish that it would do that every day.

Tuesday 9th June 2015 – I HAD QUITE A STRUGGLE …

… to leave the bed this morning. I had something of a late night and a restless sleep – I dunno what I’ve done but someone was clearly talking about me.

During breakfast I started to doze off again and for half an hour or so it was a real effort to stay awake, and at times I didn’t quite manage it.

However it must have done something because in the space of a couple of hours I dashed off the additional notes for the next batch of Radio Anglais programmes – 14kb of text without a pause. I’ll check it over tomorrow and make sure that it makes sense.

After lunch, during which I fell asleep again for 10 minutes, I cracked on with the beichstuhl.

top for dry composting toiletles guis virlet puy de dome franceI’ve now finished the worktop for the composting toilet as you can see. The hinges over where the sawdust container will be aren’t fixed yet but it gives you an idea as to how it will look.

The lunette over where the toilet drop will be isn’t going to be hinged. There will be a peg to locate it in position and it will slide out on rails to provide easy access for the drop container which can be lifted out quite easiiy for emptying into the compost bins.

It’s now been varnished too, and I do have to say that I don’t really like the colour. It’s called “light oak” but it isn’t all that light – at least not as light as I want. I should have gone for clear varnish but they didn’t have any.

shelf in bathroom over composting toilet les guis virlet puy de dome franceWhile the varnish was drying, I found the pine offcut from the previous worktop. I’d varnished that because I intend to use it as a shelf over the beichstuhl.

I dunno about you, but in my bathroom I have a dozen or so of what I call “bathroom books” – books with little easy-to-read sections such as dictionaries of quotations, unusual facts, jokes, that kind of thing.

I like to have them handy as it gives me something to read. And being all in little segments, they are easy to pick up and put down.

I made a huge green-pepper-and-lentil curry this evening, enough for four nights. I’ve not been eating regularly and i need to do something about that. At least there are three more meals that only need heating up.

Monday 8th June 2015 – I THINK …

sawn through top of black and decker workmate les guis virlet puy de dome france… that I am going to have to find a new top for my old Black and Decker workmate. I thought that the circular saw was making hard work of that final cut on the top of the beichstuhl this evening.

It’s a fine old workmate too – getting on for 30 years old. Nerina bought it for me in the days when Black and Decker stuff was good, when I was planning on making some fitted wardrobes at Gainsborough Road. She reckoned that it might motivate me to do them, and I did too!

It’s been around Europe with me on all kinds of construction sites and it’s outlived a couple of more modern reincarnations which have failed to last the pace.

Yes, I’ve been working again. Cutting out and smoothing out the lunette in the top of the beichstuhl, and then cutting out the lid for the sawdust container.

It”s all been sanded down and fitted with reinforcing struts – not that it needs them but I’d look pretty silly if it were to. I can finish it off tomorrow and give it the first coat of wood treatment

Apart from that, I spent the morning on the laptop talking to Acer. seeing as I’ve been having some success about various matters on various forums, I attacked Acer today about my new laptop which is painfully slow with Windows 8.1.

The official helpdesk guy was no help at all but the self-help forum came up trumps. I was given a whole list of things to switch off and to delete, and told where and how I can reduce screen graphics to a minimum. That has certainly bumped up the speed and it’s roaring along now like it ought to do.

Even more interestingly, upgrading the RAM from 2GB to 8GB is staightforward. It’s standard DRAM 3 stocked everywhere and someone is going to find a plan of how to fit it. This one is not like the other ACER Aspire laptops with the service hatch underneath – you need to take the case right apart to get into it.

Rosemary rang up for a chat, and I had an interesting chat with a cold caller. He didn’t understand my lifestyle at all – it made no sense to him whatsoever

So tomorrow I’ll continue in the shower room? We’re are advancing quite slowly, but advancing all the same.

And with today’s water temperature in the solar shower at 33°C and the water in the home-made 12-volt immersion heater where all of the excess solar energy goes being over 70°C when I knocked off, 5 litres out of the latter into the former gave me a glorious solar shower to finish off the day.