… the storm and the high winds that were blasting us here on the Pointe du Roc all through the day, let me tell you about my miserable day today.
And it isn’t as you might think, because although I didn’t beat the third alarm to my feet, I managed to only … “only, he says” – ed … miss it by 45 minutes and that’s an improvement on yesterday, for sure.
After the medication, I came back here to start on transcribing the notes off the dictaphone. And there were plenty of them today. It’s hardly surprising that I overslept with the distance that I had travelled during the night.
There had been something to do with my house in Virlet only it wasn’t my house in Virlet at all. It was about all the brickwork in it, something like that and how untidy the place was. Some people whom I knew had been into it to fetch a couple of things and I hoped that they weren’t too put off by the untidy state of it. It made me wish that the place had burnt down or something or destroyed or demolished and I could start again and build something else on the site. So I walked off and it was a case of I climbed down this cliff and reached the bottom and had to walk off. I suddenly realised that this guy was fetching something so I had to go back and stand at the foot of this cliff while he threw it down to me. I noticed that he had 3 or 4 big packages but he threw 1 down and that seemed to be all that he was going to throw down. I couldn’t work out what this little thing was that he had thrown, what it was and how it worked. I couldn’t remember what he was going to throw me anyway. I was scratching my head all about this.
I’d been out on my usual evening walk and it had been terrible, really wet weather. I was walking around the edge of Espinasse and I had to go to the bathroom so I went to the little village hut place and went in there to the bathroom but found that the bowl of the WC had been broken and was all sellotaped off. In the end I couldn’t go so I gathered up my stuff. I’d heard someone come in in the meantime so I gathered up my stuff and walked out. There were a couple of girls in there so I walked on out and carried on with my walk. I ended up right on the far side of St Gervais down where you drop down towards the Sioule. I started thinking about going home but suddenly realised that I didn’t have my camera. I must have forgotten to pick it up when I was using the bathroom. I had to go from where I was to the other side of St Gervais all across the town and the countryside to return to Espinasse to where the toilet was in the hope that in the meantime no-one like these 2 girls had seen it, taken a fancy to it and disappeared with it. I had to set off and I knew that there was a short-cut through St Gervais right up this path. It was starting to become steeper and steeper and I was having breath problems but I was getting to the top. Then the path petered out and I ended up being right by the armco barrier of a garage selling Minis. A guy had come up the path and was following me up it. We had to inch our way along the brick work up this path. When it stopped I could see that the only solution was to climb over this armco and go into the area of this garage and walk through that way. This guy was as awkward as I was so when I worked out what I was going to do I asked him if he would like a hand. He looked at me totally puzzled as if “what would anyone need a hand for?” so I thought that I’d leave him to it.
Somewhere in this we were discussing recipes and a programme was being recorded for broadcasting on TV. Someone was having difficulty understanding the issue about small weights so I offered to give them a demonstration to show them. But there was much more to this dream that I’ve forgotten that I wish that I had remembered that I was going to be doing it when I dictated it but it all disappeared.
There were other types of bread available to use but I chose that particular one for some unknown reason using this oat and flour yeast thing and I couldn’t get them to go very much at all. (it looks as if I’ve missed something out here).
There was something a little bit about someone driving a car down the Freeway and they had to pull over to the side and stop as a police car with its lights flashing went past. All the vehicles that had pulled over and made room for the police car and stopped were then allowed to proceed but the police were interested in an old pickup with old Ohio number plates towing a trailer. When they looked at the trailer they told the guy that when he got to his destination he had to have it inspected and send the inspection to them which they did. When they received a copy of the inspection they found that it had failed on several things and issued him with a ticket. Someone was telling me that in Illinois they had the most trailers and hence the most oppressive police when it comes to inspecting them.
All of these travels and all of this distance, and no-one I know coming with me either.
And if you think that it took me a long time to type out all of that, it took me longer than you think because I had a computer issue after about 2/3 of it. Everything went “bang” and the computer locked up. At least, that’s what I thought at the time.
It was still there, switched on and apparently working but not doing anything, so after trying just about everything I shrugged my shoulders and hunted around at the back for the power switch, and switched it off.
Leaving it to cool down for about 15 minutes I switched it back on, and there we had a “no keyboard detected” error message, and no mouse either. So at least, the computer was doing something. I unplugged the keyboard and mouse and tried various USB ports and eventually it managed to work. There’s one bank of USB ports on the front and two banks at the back, and it seems that one bank at the back has burnt out.
Getting to it where it is is not an easy proposition so I’ve rigged something up temporarily and hope that it holds out until the New Year. And then I had to start the dictation again, seeing as I’d lost what I’d already typed out when I’d switched off the machine.
So limping along for the rest of the morning, I did some work on some of the arrears from the summer. I don’t think that I’ll ever finish this. But it was far too late to go to the shops for the Christmas veg. I’ll go tomorrow just to LIDL and what they don’t have, I’ll have to do without.
After lunch I’ve been a very busy bee – to such an extent that I even missed guitar practice (although I did find the time to do my Welsh homework).
Yes, although it’s not Pancake Tuesday, Eric’s busy baking.
First task was to take out a roll of flaky pastry from the fridge (I haven’t tried to make it yet) and then spread it out on my baking sheet.
I have one of these silicone 6-hole mini tart moulds so using that, I cut out 6 rings of pastry to fit in. And with my last jar of mincemeat, I filled them”. I then had to re-roll the remainder of the pastry to make 6 smaller rings to go on top. I moistened the edges of the pastry already in the mould with soya milk, put the new pastry rings on top and pressed them down with a fork to seal them.
Finally, brushed the top with milk and sprinkled brown sugar on top. And forgetting to prick them to let out the steam I put them in the oven for 40 minutes.
Then I mixed 10 spoons of icing sugar with 3 spoons of vegan margarine and several squirts of lemon juice and whipped it all up into a nice frothy mix and then spent a rather long, delicate time icing the cake that regular readers of this rubbish will recall me marzipanning at the weekend.
Finally, there was the kefir. some of the kiwis were nicely ripe so they were peeled and whizzed for ages into a very liquidy pulp which was then passed through the filter stack with the juice straining through into the large jug.
And then the kefir that had been brewing for a few days followed it through the stack into the jug too, leaving the obligatory inch or so at the bottom. Into what was left went 40 grammes of sugar, half a lemon sliced, a dried fig cut in 2 and then filled to within about an inch of the top.
The kefir and kiwi in the jug was all stirred in together and then passed through the filer stack into the various bottles which were then sealed. And I mustn’t forget to vent them regularly.
And here’s the finished product. The kefir looks OK, but then I’ve had plenty of practice with that. The mince pies are somewhat “artisanal”, as you might possibly expect, and as for the icing – well, it’s only the second time that I’ve ever done it and I don’t have the correct tools to do it anyway.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say, so we’ll find out about the mince pies on Christmas Eve and the ad-hoc Christmas cake on Christmas Day. What I can say right now is that I did my best
Mustn’t forget the afternoon walk, which I fitted in in the middle of everything.
And I rather wished that I hadn’t bothered because the wind was thoroughly wicked this afternoon. I’d heard reports of wind gusting at 40mph (65kph) out in the English Channel and they mustn’t have been joking either because it really was wild out there. Even though the tide was well out, we were having nice crested whitecaps out there.
The bruit du couloir had told me that wile I was wrestling with the computer, Normandy Trader had done a quick aller-retour this morning. I’ll bet that they will know all about the storm out there in that little boat.
The few people who were out there would know all about it too because while it was pretty strong out here in the car park, the wind increased in velocity the further along towards the headland I went.
It’s a real sou-wester that’s blowing today so here on the north side of the headland we are in some comparative shade, but even so, the waves are still coming in with quite some force onto the rocks down here by the Coastguard Station on the north side of the headland.
You can see how much of the water that sprays up from the rocks here is being whipped away by the wind. I’m glad that I’m downwind of it all.
Across the lawn I went, and across the car park and down to the very end of the headland.
It was almost impossible to stand here with the strength of the wind that was coming in with full force. There was, once more, a beautiful sunset so I took a photo of it while I was here. And that wasn’t easy at all in all of this wind and I almost ended up having to go running off after my hat but I grabbed at it just in time.
Out of the corner of my eye I’d seen the spray from the waves hitting the harbour wall round in the port, even though we’re a good couple of hours from high tide so I wandered off around there for a look – and you’ve seen the results.
But here’s something that I didn’t expect to see while I was on my travels around this afternoon.
It’s quite true that we are almost at Christmas but who would have expected Santa to have come riding past on the back of an old lorry? Down the Boulevard Vaufleury there are only a handful of houses and I haven’t noticed any young kids around there, so it’s something of a wasted journey.
And as for the lorry? It’s not one that I recognise offhand and there was no insignia or anything on it to help me. At first I thought that it might have been an old Willeme LD but having given the matter further thought, I’m now pretty sure that it is in fact a Citroen U23 minus its Citroen logo.
My excuse is that it’s a lot more modern than THE LAST CITROEN U23 THAT WE HAVE SEEN
And Santa wasn’t alone either. he had some of his friends riding along behind him.
They are travelling in an old Berliet GBC lorry, a model first launched in 1956 during the Good Old Days before Renault became involved and badge-engineered everything. Yes, it wasn’t just Leyland who got up to tricks like that in Europe. It was great fun being in France in the early 1970s and seeing real lorries like Berliets, Willemes and Saviems driving around.
So I waved goodbye to Santa and his helpers and wandered off down the road out of the wind as much as I could.
Just at that moment, as I rounded the corner, the moon peeped out from behind a cloud.
It didn’t stay very long at all but I was ready for it and as soon as I could see it through the wisps I took a photo of it for the record. It’s just over half-way round so another 10 days might just see us getting to a full moon.
But I came home for a really hot coffee to warm me up and to do my Welsh homework. And having done that, I went and carried on with my baking activities. I was really enjoying myself with all of that this afternoon and I can’t wait to do some more.
But by the time that I’d done everything and done the washing-up it was already time to clear off out for my evening run.
And if you thought that the wind was strong, you should have been out in it just now with me. I ran on down to the Rue du Nord and took a photo of St Martin de Brehal just to say that I’d been out, and then carried on.
Going out was fine but coming back was not so. Both my homeward-bound runs ended up being aborted because it’s not possible to run into a headwind blowing at about 80kph. It was difficult enough to walk in it. I did what I could whenever I could do it, and then made my way home for tea.
There was a falafel burger left over from Belgium years ago so I had that with some veg and a potato followed by apple crumble and custard. And then the notes to write up.
Once more, with all of the distractions, I’m running rather late so heaven alone knows whether I’ll beat the third alarm. But no matter what, I have to make the shops tomorrow. How can anyone miss brussels sprouts, leeks, endives and seitan slices for Christmas dinner?