Tag Archives: kitchen

Sunday 6th June 2021 – JUST IN CASE …

food place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… you are wondering why it’s taken so long for this post to come on line, the fact is that I’ve had rather a busy day as you can see.

All of this here is the contents of the shelf unit that is in the kitchen area. That has been totally emptied later on in the afternoon and it isn’t going to go back on the shelves until it’s all had a really good sort-out and I’ve decided what is what. There has been so much confusion and so much has been misplaced and lost at the back of the unit.

Quite frankly, I never really realised that there was so much on there. The pile of stuff goes right around to the left in front of the sofa and has filled the living room area completely.

lino in kitchen place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut this is the real reason why I’ve done this.

Ever since I’ve started cooking and baking seriously I’ve been dropping bits of dough and pastry all over the floor and with it being a nice wooden floor, I don’t want to spoil it and mark it with what I drop. Back at the end of last year when I was at Brico Cash I bought some linoleum and it was living in the back of Caliburn.

Today Liz and Terry came round and they asked if they could do anything while they were there. So we stripped out the kitchen completely and laid it on the floor. And with what was left, Terry cut it to make covers for the shelves.

You have to admit that it looks really good and I’m very pleased with all of this.

But with Liz and Terry coming round to visit me today, I had done something that I rarely, if ever, do on a Sunday and that was to set an alarm. But that was something of a wasted effort because at 05:20 this morning all of the church bells in the town started to ring – presumably celebrating the D-Day landings.

Although I went back to sleep it wasn’t for long and by 08:30 I was up and about having my medication.

There was a little bit of tidying up that I could carry on doing so that by the time that they arrived the place was looking something rather respectable, which makes a change.

We had a coffee and they sampled some of my fruit bread. Liz made a few suggestions as to how it can be improved. And so my next batch of fruit bread will hopefully be better – not that it is actually bad of course, but I’m always open to suggestions. In the past many people have made all kinds of suggestions, but most of them were physically impossible.

Later on we went out for a walk in the sun.

commodore clipper ile de chausey Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing that I noticed was that out there in the distance there was something moving behind the Ile de Chausey and so I took a photograph of it for later examination.

Back at the apartment later on, I cropped and enlarged the photograph to see what it might have been. It has all of the silhouette of one of the Channel Islands ferries that sail out of St Malo and so I went and had a look at today’s departures from the port of St Malo.

My photo is timed at 11:07 which is actually 12:07 right now and at 10:30 or thereabouts Commodore Goodwill, one of the two ferries that run out of St Malo and around the Channel Islands, set out from St Malo.

But what we had really come to see was what was going on at the bunker that I’d noticed yesterday. It cost €2:00 to go in so we had to have a scavenge around for a handful of cash so that we could go in.

german doctors equipment bunker pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd this was the star attraction in the bunker this year. A complete wartime medical kit belonging to a German doctor.

It seems that a couple of years ago an old woman left her home and was placed in an old people’s home. Her house began to be emptied and when they searched her cellar they discovered this complete kit down there, where it had been since 1944. It’s been donated to the people running the bunker as an exhibit for the proposed museum that they intend to set up here.

The other room of the bunker was empty because of water infiltration through the roof. And regular readers of this rubbish will recall that A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO I was given a guided tour of the bunkers so I didn’t take any more photographs of it.

zodiac fishermen baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back to the apartment we walked along they clifftop so we could watch the sea.

And while we were admiring the view and watching the people relaxing on board the little cabin cruiser down there, a large zodiac or some other kind of rapid boat roared past them. And I bet that the people in there wouldn’t be very popular when the wake of the zodiac hits the little cabin cruiser.

We went back to the apartment and Liz made a big salad out of all of the stuff that I had in the apartment, with my home-made bread and home-made hummus and it was delicious.

Once we’d digested our meal we attacked the kitchen. Terry reckoned that it would take 30 seconds to empty the shelves but his estimate was somewhat optimistic. It took much longer than that. And then I had to go and fetch the lino up from Caliburn.

By the time that we had finished it was quite late but nevertheless I took Liz and Terry down to La Rafale to treat them to a drink. I do have to say that they had earned it.

autogyro pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallOn the way back we were overflown by one of our regular aerial pals who we haven’t seen for quite a while.

It’s the yellow autogyro that we first saw several years ago AT THE CABANON VAUBAN when I was here with Hans. I’d seen it quite regularly at one time but for the last few months there hasn’t been a sight of it, despite all of the other aircraft that we’ve seen just recently.

Liz and Terry didn’t come back to the apartment. It was time for them to go home. I went with them to their car and sent them off on their way with my grateful thanks for all of their help.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAfter Liz and Terry had gone off home I went across the car park to look over the wall to see what was going on down on the beach.

Today there were crowds of people down there lounging around on the rocks. By the looks of things there were even a few people who had been in the water.

That’s hardly any surprise for when I awoke this morning and looked at the thermometer, the temperature outside was already 23°C. If that’s not enough to being out the crowds today then I really don’t know what is.

But there were crowds of people around everywhere today, not just on the beach either. The hordes were swarming around the car park and the paths as well.

35ma aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd not just on dery land or out at sea either. The air was pretty busy too as we have already seen with the yellow autogyro.

And here, overflying me as I was watching to goings-on down on the beach is another one of the aeroplanes that fly around here. Its registration number is 35MA and she is definitely one that we’ve seen before, and on several occasions too.

It’s a shame that I don’t have access to the database where this number is referenced, and so unfortunately I can’t tell you vert much about it. One of these days I’ll have to go out to the airport to have a good look around and see if I can find more about this aeroplane and the other one, 55-OJ for which I can’t find any information either.

paragliding pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNow over the last few days I’ve been lamenting the fact that we haven’t been seeing any Birdmen of Alcatraz for quite a while.

And so not content with seeing crowds of people on the beach and low-flying aeroplanes, I’m overflown by one of the birdmen who take off from the field by the cemetery so that they don’t have far to go if they make a mistake.

But I left the birdman alone and went inside to see how things were looking. And it’s going to be a long job to sort out all of this mess. And as I was contemplating it, Rosemary rang me and we had a really good chat for half an hour before, emulating the old news reporters from the old News of the Screws I “made my excuses and left”.

According to the guys who had talked to us at the bunker, there was to be a fly-past of an American bomber between 18:30 and 18:45 this evening and I was determined not to miss it so I arranged to clear off outside to watch.

yacht baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThe first thing that I had noticed was a yacht sailing right out there in the Baie de Granville so I wandered over to have a better look and to take a photograph.

It’s not one of the big charter boats that we see sailing around here every so often, unfortunately. It’s quite a small yacht, presumably out of the pleasure harbour or even brought here on a trailer from elsewhere.

There are three or four people sitting down there so it’s probably a small family or a group of close friends out for a breath of wind on a pleasant afternoon. But I wasn’t going to hang around and watch them for I had things to do down at the end of the headland.

people fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnother thing that I noticed out there in the Baie de Granville.

There was a strange little boat out here that I hadn’t seen before. There were four guys on board and while one of them was at the controls of the boat two of the others were busy fishing while the fourth guy was busy watching the proceeding. I wonder if he had any more luck that me in seeing one of the fishermen pull a fish out of the water.

But I left them to it and wandered off down to the end of the headland to find a good position to watch the American bomber fly past.

f-bvmc Robin Apex DR-400/140 B aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIt wasn’t long before I heard the sound of an aeroplane approaching so I prepared the camera.

But it didn’t sound like a four-engined Pratt and Whitley to me, and as it came over the headland behind me, I saw that I was right. It’s F-BVMC, which is a Robin Apex DR-400/140 B that had just taken off from the airport here. She was on her way back to somewhere in the Paris area from where she had set off earlier.

And I can tell you that because I had a look at the radar when I eventually returned home. She disappeared off the radar somewhere to the south of Paris so I imagine that she must have come down to land somewhere in the vicinity. And how I wish that these aircraft would file flight plans.

canoe baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallStill no sign of the aeroplane but I was quite comfortable sitting on my nice, big and comfortable rock so I could have a good look around.

Underneath me a canoeist was paddling past in the water down there, heading towards the harbour at the end of the day. He had a good pair of oars with him down there, and we know all about that. When I mentioned to STRAWBERRY MOOSE when I was on board a boat that I needed a pair of oars, he completely misunderstood the situation and brought a couple of ladies, heavily made-up and wearing fishnet tights.

But I had to admire him being out there and shirtless in his canoe at this time of the evening. The evening was coming on and the weather was starting to cool down.

trawler speedboat men in fishing boat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut suddenly, things started to liven up down there in the water. The harbour gates must have just opened because a load of traffic suddenly started to swarm out into the bay.

This was developing into an exciting scenario, because the smallest boat that we’d just seen with the four men in it was heading back to port. And a speedboat was speeding around out there too heading into port. The trawler had to do something of a dodging manoeuvre that brought him rather closer to the little boat than I thought was prudent.

For a while I watched them and their activities, but there was no collision and no “shipwreck and nobody drownding – in fact nothing to laugh at at all” which was rather disappointing.

thais leo st brieuc trawler baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThis trawler was followed out of port by another trawler, the Thais Leo

And what caught my interest about this trawler was its registration number, which begins with SB. That indicates that it’s a boat that’s registered at the port of Saint Brieuc down the Brittany coast and so I was wondering what on earth it was doing here.

But by now it was about 19:15 and still no aeroplane so I went back up to the bunker to check the time of the aeroplane. But they had all packed up and gone home so I decided to do the same. I must have missed the aeroplane somehow.

Not long after I returned home there was a knock on my door. One of my neighbours who owns a red car who has parked next to Caliburn once or twice told me that she’d inspected her car closely and found no trace of any damage on it. We had a little chat and then she left.

Once she’d gone, I rang Rosemary back and we had a good chat that went on for about three hours, by which time it was far too late for me to think about food and even to think about writing my notes. I was totally exhausted after my long day so I went to bed and I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Friday 27th July 2018 – I’VE FINISHED …

… all that I can do in the apartment right now.

I’ve fitted the kick panel in behind the desk so that I don’t make marks on the wall with my feet, and I’ve also brought up the two worktops that I bought the other day. The small one fits nicely on the small unit where there is the kettle and the coffee machine, and the large one is on the larger unit.

They are both drilled and screwed so that they won’t move, and for once in my life I now have a decent kitchen worktop where I can prepare meals and cook to my heart’s content.

It was a bit touch and go though, not helped by the fact that despite not going to bed too early, I was wide awake at 05:10 this morning and couldn’t go back off to sleep.

The morning though was quite relaxing and then I’ve spent most of the day going through the enormous piles of photos that have built up over the years. I’ve probably reviewed a few thousand of them but then again that’s just a small drop in the ocean.

Mind you, it’s really relaxing having a proper desk, a proper seat and a proper place to work.

At lunchtime I was making my butties ready to go out and sit on my wall, but a sudden rainstorm put paid for that. It rained for a good hour too and so I ended up eating my butties inside for a change.

casino beach granville manche normandy franceThe weather cleared up in time for me to go for my afternoon walk around the walls.

There weren’t the usual crowds out there today, which is hardly a surprise given the weather. But the tide was quite far out and you can see the diving platform and how far out of the water it is.

Makes quite a difference from high tide, doesn’t it?

Back here I carried on with my work and that took me right up to tea. And even though I now have my new super-duper worktop, I didn’t feel much like cooking. And so tea was pasta and vegetables with bulghour and tomato sauce.

rainbow pointe du roc granville manche normandy franceTonight there should have been a lunar eclipse. There were crowds of people out and about waiting for it but the south-east was heavily overcast and we couldn’t see anything.

That is to say – we couldn’t see anything of the moon. We did have occasional flurries of rain and all of this produced a really beautiful rainbow.

It’s not very often that you can photograph them so well.

sunset granville manche normandy franceHowever, away to the west, the clouds suddenly dramatically cleared, just like someone pulling apart the curtains.

And slowly the sun came down out of the clouds and into view.

So at least, the crowds who were waiting for the eclipse with a feeling of disappointment had at least something to watch as the day drew to a close.

suset ile de chausey granville manche normandy franceAnd as the evening drew on, the clouds lifted even more to the south-west and we could see more of the sun setting over the ile de Chausey.

There were still a few clouds low down on the horizon so we couldn’t see the sunset at its best but it was still good enough to keep us all entertained while it disappeared.

And then I carried on with my walk, being nearly squided by a motorist on a zebra crossing.

And when I told my friends that I had narrowly avoided being hit by a car, they all expressed their regret.

So having missed the eclipse, I came back here. I’ll be having an early night because tomorrow, I’m going on a picnic.

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

rainbow pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

rainbow pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
rainbow pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

rainbow pointe du roc granville manche normandy france
rainbow pointe du roc granville manche normandy france

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france
sunset english channel ile de chausey granville manche normandy france

Monday 11th June 2018 – I REALLY DON’T KNOW …

… why it’s so difficult to give my money away.

As I have said before … "and you’ll say again" – ed … there’s supposed to be a recession on, and yet shops seem to be totally unwilling to take your money off you.

I had to go to LeClerc this morning to pick up the kitchen estimate that I had asked for last Tuesday. “Ohh yes – I haven’t finished it yet”. Since Tuesday! But at least he gave me a print-out of the price of the components.

And he can forget that. €2400 and that’s BEFORE we start to talk about any electrical appliances.

And he couldn’t do what I asked him about the cabinets. “It won’t work out” he says. And that’s nonsense too, because I can make it work without a moment’s effort. I want two cabinets, one of 90cms and one of 120cms, one on top of another, but with the bottom one turned at 90% so it opens to the front door of the apartment so I have somewhere to put my shoes and keys.

Just HOW difficult is that?

“Anyway, you’ll have your plan tonight”. So he’s clearly going to be working some very late hours because it’s almost 21:30 and it’s not arrived yet.

Prior to that, I’d been to BUT, and I made sure that I was there when it opened at 10:00 too. I finally found the girl who is doing the kitchens this week “but I’m booked up”.
“Total nonsense” I retorted. and told her what I thought of the arrangement, especially as I’d been fobbed off last week too and that was still rankling with me.

In the end, she agreed to see me at 14:00 hours, which just goes to show what you can do when you set your mind to it.

There was also the delivery point to visit as there was another parcel awaiting me. But no rizes for guessing that it was closed this morning. Monday is never a good day to try to do anything in France.

In the end, I went to the LeClerc supermarket and did some shopping. I need to eat anyway.

I need to sleep too, because I’m not getting any right now. I was in bed early enough after my exertions yesterday but it was very hard to drop off. And being wide awake at 06:00 was definitely not part of the plan.

There was plenty of time after breakfast and before I needed to hit the streets so I made a start on one of the pages of my trip to the desert back in April (was in THAT long ago?). And this page is going to rumble on and on because I’m far from finished, what with all of the interruptions.

Back out at 13:45 and stuck behind the grockles admiring the seagulls again and people who are totally unable to drive. But I was there in plenty of time nevertheless.

And now I understand why this girl only wants two appointments each day. Because despite it being a “point and click” 3D program that she uses to calculate the kitchens with an automatic counter and pricer, 90 minutes later we were still at it and we were far from finshed.

And she was another one who couldn’t understand what I was meaning about the two pieces of furniture one on top of another. And when I finally got it through to her, she replied that the computer wouldn’t do that.

So I took the computer mouse, highlighted the piece of furniture, pressed the “rotate” function and selected “90% anti-clockwise”. Took me 5 seconds.

“Ohh, I didn’t know it could do that!”

So she’s another one who is going to be working very late because it’s now 21:45 and despite her promise to do it today, it’s not here yet.

Mind you, she needn’t bother. I obtained a printout of the “price to date” and we were already at €2200 before we talk about the appliances. This IKEA price is looking a bargain.

After that I visited a few more shops, like GIFI and Centrakor (coming out of which I was drenched in a sudden, unexpected rainstorm) to see what they had going, and I went to pick up my parcel too.

Back here I had a coffee and a play on the guitar, and by then it was tea time. Vegan burger in onion gravy with rice and vegetables. Delicious.

And I’ve had my evening walk too.

So an early night and I need it too. I have quite a lot to do tomorrow.

And aren’t i getting crabby in my old age?

Monday 4th June 2018 – I’M NOT SURPRISED …

… that there are people complaining that there’s a recession going on.

Here I am, with a pile of money burning a hole in my pocket (well, I’m not, but you’ll see where we are going with this) and no-one wants to take it off me.

At least, at Brico Cash this afternoon, they had done my quote for this kitchen. But it’s not all that cheaper than IKEA – not when you consider the difference in quality.

But I wasn’t going to leave it at that. Next stop was the LeClerc DIY place, that was having a promotion on kitchens. And despite all of this money (there isn’t going to be much change from €2000 to buy what I want, if the landlord agrees to pay it) that I’m planning to commit (on my landlord’s behalf) it took over 20 minutes for someone to come to see me.

And then we had the usual salesman’s performance.
“Which worktop do you want?” – “I told you, the cheapest”.
“And which handles do you want?” – “I told you, the cheapest”.
“And which tap do you want?” – “I told you, the cheapest”.
And so we went on and on. And then he showed me two sinks to chose from. One was €98:00 and the other one was €105.
“What’s up with the one at €57:00?” – “Ohh – do you want that?”

So you can see that when I finally receive the estimate in my mailbox I won’t be going there. Someone who doesn’t understand the meaning of “le moins cher”.

But the icing on the cake has to be at BUT. They too are having a kitchen promotion so I went there. I had to wait 15 minutes while the salesgirl was dealing with a customer (but that’s not a problem) and then we got down to business.

“We only do this by appointment”
“OK, so let’s make an appointment”
“I’m going on holiday for Friday night so it won’t be for three weeks”
“So isn’t there anyone else?”
“Yes, my colleague, but she’s on holiday this week. You need to call her and book an appointment for when she comes back”
“Can’t you do that now?”
“I don’t have her diary, but I know she’s booked up when she comes back”
“So why don’t I give you the dimensions and you can do it at your leisure, and I’ll pick it up at the beginning of next week?”
“We don’t work like that. We need the customer face-to-face”.

So that’s another company that won’t be having my business either. It’s what the French called Je m’enfoutisme – or “I can’t be bothered”. And then the companies don’t have clients, and then they close down complaining that no-one is spending any money. Well, people have the money, and they will spend it, but the companies can’t be bothered to engage competent staff – and enough of it either – to deal correctly with the customers.

And I mean that too. During both of these discussions today, the phones of the salespeople were ringing constantly, they were dealing with other enquiries too and on occasion getting up and going down the aisles to look for things.

It’s a total lack of politeness, a total lack of courtesy and a total lack of respect for the customer. One thing about IKEA is that when you get your hands on a salesman, he’s yours for the duration and there are no interruptions. Even in Belgium too, and regular readers of this rubbish from many of its previous incarnations will recall the exciting encounters that we’ve had with Belgian customer service!

And the guy in Brico Cash, at least he was honest about what he could do and when he could do it, and he kept his word too.

While we’re on the subject … "well, one of us is" – ed … you’ll recall that I sent two mails to two different camera companies about camera lenses. That was about a week ago, and how many replies do you think that I have received?

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall mailshots that I have sent out in the past about solar panels, wind turbines, camper backs for pickups – a thousand other things too – and they all have in common that 99% of the recipients never bother to reply.

And that, dear reader, is why you have a recession. The companies can’t be bothered. A bunch of je m’enfoutistes.

So abandoning yet another good rant for a while, I had a real struggle to leave the stinking pit today. It’s not as if I was all that late going to bed but there you are.

And after breakfast, I actually crashed out for 20 minutes or so. What a way to start the day.

I was going to make a start on tidying Caliburn, but one look out of the window told me not to bother. It was raining. Instead, I attacked the blog and I’ve dealt with the entries going back to late April adding photos that I missed. If you’ve missed them too, you need to go back and look.

Not only that, I tidied up the shelf unit in the kitchen, rearranged things better and now there’s much more space on there, which is just as well because it was getting quite out of hand.

Lunch was indoors today – no sense in going out to eat my butties in the rain. But when I went outside to do the rounds of the kitchen shops the rain had stopped.

bad parking granville manche normandy franceBack here I went for my afternoon walk. It was school chucking-out time again and once more we have another fine example of pathetic parking.

Never mind the two cars in the background blocking the pavement, how about this guy? Not only parked on the kerb, right by a road junction, he’s parked across a pedestrian crossing too. You wouldn’t believe it.

But I did note his registration number. It began with DK. Can you think of which two letters are missing from in between?

Back here, I had another crash out and then some more blog-editing. I’m not back at 23rd April and my trip to North Africa now.

Another session on the guitar later on, and then tea. There was some of my vegan stuffing mix left over from last week and a green pepper from the weekend so I had stuffed pepper with spicy rice. Delicious it was too.

But while I was editing the blog I came across the Bombay Potato that I made myself the other week and it got my mouth watering again. So tomorrow night, in the absence of anything else, I might go for that for tea.

l'envolée granville manche normandy franceWe had the usual walk around the walls tonight and I noticed that there’s a new craft gallery opened in the Medieval town.

It’s called “L’Envolée” which, I suppose, is supposed to mean “flight”, and it’s presumably named to describe the actions of the potential customers when they notice the prices of the objects on sale, because I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anything so absurd in my life.

Small rocks painted to look like sheep, on sale for as much as €60:00. That kind of thing. One thing is for sure, and that is that you won’t catch me spending my money in there.

So now I’m going to have to gather my strength. I have a voyage ahead of me on Wednesday morning.

And remember me saying that Caliburn and I might be off on a voyage very soon? A discussion this afternoon may well mean that I’ll be going on a voyage a long time before then.

Friday 25th May 2018 – AND SO HERE’S …

VITRO CERAMIC HALOGEN HOB granville manche normandy france… the new toy that I bought yesterday. It’s a vitro-ceramic twin-hob cooker, all plugged in and working.

Strictly speaking, you aren’t supposed to plug these in. They should be wired in to a dedicated cooking point, but as you can see, it has possibilities of being either a free-standing unit as well as a fitted unit in a worktop, and seeing as the max power output is 2960 watts, that’s well short of the 16 amps that they use in domestic circuits here.

So its utility as a free-standing plug-in unit is not to be sneezed at.

And I’m glad that I bought it because I’m fed up of only having one burner, which means that I have to shuffle things around when I’m cooking. An added advantage is that you can use any kind of flat-bottomed saucepan on it. So the ones that I stuck in a cupoboard that didn’t work on the induction hob, I can fetch them out again.

I spent an exciting afternoon stripping down, cleaning and reorganising the table that I use for cooking and eating. That’s all clean and tidy … "for the moment" – ed … and it actually looks as if someone is working on it now.

I’m amazed at just how dirty it was, especially when I’d done my best to keep it clean. It’s amazing when you discover when you take the oilcloth off to turn it around.

Just by way of a change, I didn’t crash out this afternoon. But as the Duke of Wellington said about the Battle of Waterloo, it was “the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.”

You can either attribute that to the fact that I was keeping quite busy this afternoon and didn’t have time to sit down and relax, or else you can attribute it to the fact that when the alarms went off this morning, I was in no hurry to leave my bed.

In fact, all in all, it was a rather leisurely morning while I sorted out a few things that needed doing. I wasn’t in any rush.

It was quiet at lunchtime. No-one really loitering around on the streets. But a workman had pinched my spec on the wall so I had to sit further down to eat my butties and read my book. And my friend the lizard eventually tracked me down for the pear leavings.

I mentioned the tidying up of the cooking area. And I was hoping to make a start on emptying out Caliburn. After all, there is tons of stuff in there that I no longer need or use, as well as hoping to find the missing spring clip. But I didn’t have time. Looks as if that might be next week’s task.

Tea was a stuffed pepper with spicy rice. And then I went for a walk.

medieval fortifications granville manche normandy franceThe evening walk is usually the one where I go around the footpath at the foot of the walls of the medieval town and it’s a very nice walk.

But not all of the walls are medieval. There have been some later additions to the fortifications and this covered passageway down there that leads out to the part that overlooks the Place Marechal Foch certainly looks much more recent.

The stairway and footbridge over the walls is of course even more recent.

As I walked further on around the walls I noticed something away across the Baie de Mont St Michel in the distance over near Cancale that might have been another ship lurking in the doom and gloom, like the one we saw a few weeks ago.

island church ship cancale baie de mont st michel granville manche normandy franceThe benefits of having some good equipment and a decent graphics program is that you can photograph it and manipulate it so that you can have a better view of what there is to see. Hard to believe that that’s about 18 miles away, isn’t it?

And it seems as if I have photographed a fishing boat, an island and part of another island with a church thereupon. And not a ship at all, which is something of a disappointment.

I shall have to go back with a compass and take a bearing so that I can work out exactly where it all might be situated.

An early night tonight too. Caliburn has his controle technique tomorrow morning so both of us need to be on form.

Monday 5th February 2018 – MY HUMBLE AND SINCERE APOLOGIES …

… to the Crédit Agricole for having described them … "on numerous occasions" – ed … as being the worst bank in the world.

As part of my mega-letter-writing activities the other day I sent a letter to the Royal Bank of Scotland telling them of my new address. I received a reply today –
“We’ve changed your address. Thanks for your request to update your address; we’ve now changed this for your personal account. …. then there’s nothing for you to do”.

And they sent it to my old address!

I don’t know why it is but I seem to be surrounded by a staggering level of incompetence – much of which is not, surprise surprise, of my making. I’ll be the first to admit that my financial affairs are not straightforward, but this is astonishing. In the days before blogs were invented, I had endless troubles with the Generale de Banque in Belgium, but I sorted them out “good and proper” and since they’ve been taken over by Fortis Bank, they have been good to me. But I can’t be doing with the rest of the motley crew. What on earth is going on?

And I was asking myself this this morning when the alarm awoke me. I’d been driving a komatik – complete with huskies – around the frozen wastes of Northern Labrador during the night and ended with me being shacked up – or, more probably, iglooed up – with a girl called Sylvia whom I know from another parallel existence. Not my ideal choice of companion to share my sleeping bag for the 6 months of night in a dark and crowded igloo but then again in the frozen wastes of Northern Labrador you have to make the best of whatever entertainment is available, as many a Métis‘s father will tell you.

After the usual start to the day I had a task to perform. In my mission to inform the Rest of the World about the Welsh Premier League I challenge every news source that I see that concentrates on Welsh rugby at the expense of football.

I had a good attack on a news source on Friday and they challenged me to send in my own information about the Welsh Premier League. And so this morning I sat down and wrote off a report covering all six of the weekend’s matches.

It goes without saying that they haven’t published it. I didn’t expect that they would, but one has to go through the motions.

After that, I once more attacked the database, determined not to let my frustrations overwhelm me. And it was a hard task too, I’ll tell you. Eventually I ran aground in Verdun when I was taken ill, and with reams of photos and no notes, and the blog wasn’t written up for that period, I’m stuck up a gum tree. I can’t even find the map that I had with the notes on it.

As for the hi-fi, I’ve found another unexpected hitch. For some reason it doesn’t like tracks longer than 24:59. And so all of my hour-long live concerts are being cut off in less than midstream – after all of the effort that I went to in order to prepare them. One unhappy bunny here.

Lunch was onion soup with pasta and bulghour and for some reason it tasted awful and I’ve no idea why. I’ve noticed that my taste buds seem to have changed since my illness and some foods – and even coffee – doesn’t taste like it did.

This afternoon I took everyone, including you lot and including myself, completely by surprise. Having cleaned and tidied the bathroom the other day, you may remember that I resolved that, when I had no plans to go off anywhere special, I would do a little bit of cleaning. And so today, I attacked the kitchen.

It’s been cleaned from top to bottom, a home found for almost everything that was loitering about, and it’s been vacuumed and the floor washed.

And it does look different.

Having talked to Steven and Rosemary for a while on the computer I went out for my afternoon walk. And for once, it wasn’t raining. But it’s cold out there. Down to 0.5°C last night – a far cry from the -16°C and -19°C of the Auvergne but still the coldest night yet. And it even snowed chez Liz and Terry. And more low temperatures are on the cards for tonight.

Tea was another splendid tortilla and spicy rice with an excellent filling. I’m getting good at these. And then my evening walk.

Bed-time in a minute, presumably to go back into my igloo. With a different companion tonight, I hope. Where is TOTGA when you need her?

Tuesday 2nd May 2017 – THAT’S ME FINISHED!

Yes, I’m thoroughly whacked and I’ll be off to bed in a minute, where I’ll sleep until my name changes to Eric van Winkle.

It all started going wrong last night. I’d been too busy chatting and ended up going to bed quite late (for me just recently anyway). And then it took me ages to drop off to sleep. It seemed like for ever.

But sleep I must have done because I was off on my travels during the night again.

There were four of us working in an office. Our job was to oversee the writing of laws for a particular community. But suddenly three of us were transferred to law enforcement, which was not a very desirable job. It turned out that our fourth colleague had “invented” a gadget that had actually been something that we had all worked on, but he had claimed the rights to it and persuaded our boss that it was his. As a result, he was given the department all to himself and he had even gone and had a sign put on his desk that he was “lawmaker” before anything official had even been announced. I took this gadget down to the boss to explain to him about how we had done it but he refused to listen. I was so incensed by all of this that I was all for strangling him and ended up fighting with him like you would fight with an annoying cat.

The alarm awoke me this morning and hearing movement about, I went to join Liz for breakfast before she went off to work. And then I went for a quick trip out, as far as the boulangerie in the village for bread, seeing as how we didn’t have very much.

By the time that I returned, Terry was up and about. And then we set to work.

First task was to demolish a wall in the kitchen here. Terry was swinging the hammer and I was cleaning uo and taking the rubbish down to the trailer ready for the tip. By the time that we had finished, Terry’s mate had arrived so we insulated the kitchen ceiling and then plasterboarded it.

We had lunch after that, and then spent the rest of the afternoon constructing the studding for the plasterboarding on the walls throughout the kitchen.

By the time that 19:00 came round we were all completely exhausted. It took us an hour to recover before we could even put the tea in the microwave.

And I’m supposed to be ill too! I will be after all of this, I’ll tell you.

So I wonder what will be on the cards tomorrow, apart from more of the same.

Wednesday 2nd January 2013 – IT WAS BACK …

… to work today.

First time since I’m not sure when.

However, first task was to start on the web page for my visit to Lévis (that’s pronounced “Layvee”, not “Levi’s”) which is across the St Lawrence from the city of Québec. That was a brief excursion on a ferry across the St Lawrence in the middle of the afternoon during my walk around Québec.

It’s usually a bad sign for me to encounter a ferry and I’m never in a good humour, because every time I see a ferry, it always makes me cross.

Once that was out of the way I had a marathon wood-chopping session. I’ve used up a pile of wood over the last couple of weeks and so it needed to be replaced.

That took quite a while and created a nice pile of sawdust for the composting toilet.

It’s also made a nice little space in the lean-to and I’m hoping that I can crack on with that idea. I’d love to have enough space in there for my little workshop by the end of winter

Finally, I carried on with the floor in the shower room, and I’ve worked out why there’s a problem with the floor levels. It seems that with the wisdom that only Brico Depot can conjure up, the grooves are off-centre.

Now that wouldn’t particularly matter if the off-centre was consistent on each plank but in fact, while a pack might be consistent, the batch isn’t.

And that’s just plain ridiculous because there’s a planed side and a rough side, so you can’t even turn the planks over in order to even out the centres.

For tea this evening I tried a little experiment.

As well as starting off the baked potatoes in the oven, I chopped up a few sprouts and carrots, put them in a pyrex dish with some water and put them in the oven too.

Add a veggie burger and onions and garlic in a baking tray and use some of the veg water to make a gravy and I had a magnificent evening meal. Just like a king, in fact.

A wise move indeed, buying this little stove as I have said so many times before.

And setting up a little kitchen in a corner here, that’s working too.

Saturday 15th December 2012 – I DIDN’T BLOG …

… last night before going to bed, and I bet that you were all disappointed.

But no matter, I’ll serve it up this morning for you.

Actually, I was far too busy, working on the radio programmes and it was 02:30 before I went to bed. “If you have the inspiration, keep on at it”, as the actress once famously said to the bishop.

But at least it’s all finished today, all …errr … 60kbs of it. That’s the equivalent of almost 2 hours of discussion.

And then you have to add the ad-libs in too and then of course the music that we’ll be playing in between – so that should be enough for the next three years.

At least, I hope so. As I said yesterday, it’ll all come in handy.

And so, apart from writing the radio programme, that was that

The weather warmed up dramatically this morning and it was 17°C in my room when I woke up. That makes a nice change, and at least I was comfortable without the fire when I was doing the radio programme

Shopping was next on the agenda and so a run out to St Eloy-les-Mines was called for.

But there’s been a change of plan as far as the diet goes. Pasta doesn’t work in the oven, and rice is a bit samey day after day and so I’ve bought a big bag of potatoes. Baked spuds should be just about fine for the rest of the winter I think.

But while I’m on the subject of changes, I’ve changed the room around a little.

I’ve moved a bookcase or two and shuffled the pair of chests of drawers around a little, and now the end wall underneath the little window at the side of the oven became miraculously free.

Remember the table that I brought up here a while ago? That’s gone nicely just there and I now actually have a kind of kitchen in that corner. Won’t that be really handy for the winter.

And I’ve finally heard from Bill.

I set Marianne a task viz to contact the hospital. Marianne is not easily brushed aside and managed to find out where he was. So she came up with a number and so I rang him.

He’s out of danger but he’s not himself yet. Time will tell but I’m so relieved.

I was really worried.

Friday 8th June 2012 – I WAS UP …

… this morning at 08:30.

That was surprising seeing as how it was well after 04:00 and starting to dawn when I went to bed, never mind to sleep.

What was the spur to my leaving the depths of my darkest pit was a phone call telling me that I was going to have a brief visit. I had a few things to do before then, tidying up being not the least of them either.

menat gorges de la sioule puy de dome franceAfter that, it was off to visit Rosemary. She’s had car issues and needed something sorted out at the garage, but didn’t understand what the guy there was telling her.

And so yours truly was summoned to appear …

Rosemary lives in one of the most beautiful parts of the Gorges de la Sioule and the view from the road up to her house is phenomenal – it’s well worth the price of the drive up to visit her.

But anyway, we sorted out her garage man and that part of the story ended happily ever after.

Seeing as I was out and about and I am going to be busy this weekend I nipped to LIDL in St Eloy-les-Mines and did some shopping for next week – no sense in me going out tomorrow if i’m out today.

This afternoon I steam-cleaned the kitchen area of the verandah. Well, some of it anyway. It was in a pretty sorry state.

But I think that I ought to spend some time in my busy schedule doing some kind of cleaning up. The place is looking unhealthy after my long absence just now.

Tuesday 15th March 2011 – Well, I’m off!

Yes, and in news that will surprise, if not stagger, every single (and even the married) readers of this blog, yesterday I was up, breakfasted and working long before the alarm went off. And by choice as well!

We took the sofa and the mattress downstairs to Caliburn and they went off to the tip. Terry came to help so it didn’t take long. And after fuelling up at the garage where the old man moans like hell if you spill any diesel, we came home and carried on emptying.

mobalpa kitchen avenue de l'exposition jette brissels belgiumThe Estate Agent came and spent an hour poking around. She fell in love with the kitchen, which I knew she would, after all Marianne who chose it for me has excellent taste. And I mean – what with Liz whose taste is just as good, who can possibly go wrong?

Once that was done we loaded both vans, thoroughly cleaned up, hitched up the trailer to Caliburn and then fought our way through the rush-hour traffic to the motorway (well, it was 17:20 when we set off). Terry and Liz went home at their own pace while Caliburn and I pulled the 2000E on the trailer over the Ardennes and then over the Monts de la Bourgogne, so it was a long night for us.

But having towed all kinds of trailers with all kinds of cars on them, this trailer that Terry bought to move his tractor and the scaffolding is the best that I have ever used and it is well-worth the money. I’m seriously impressed with that.

I had a few hours sleep on the N7 between Nevers and Moulins as I didn’t want to arrive here in the dark. Reversing the trailer in the pitch-black with no marker lights is not my idea of fun.

But talking of crashing, the concierge of the apartments came over to chat to me while we were loading the van.
While you were taking your old car out of the garage downstairs, you didn’t see anyone trying to break into the garage opposite? There’s a huge dent in the door as if someone has driven right into it trying to break it down
To be honest, Mme Rascar, while Terry and I were down there getting the car out, we didn’t see anyone else at all
Isn’t that bizarre?

What is even more bizarre though is that in the past, if anything in the building had gone slightly wrong, people would always come round to blame me for it, even if I hadn’t been there for a month. But they can’t say anything to me right now because they know what to expect. After the issues about my LDV being parked there for a while and the fuss that they made about it, there are two vehicles even more abandoned than the LDV parked there right now. And the first word that anyone says to me about anything and they know exactly what response they will receive.

Thursday 10th March 2011 – I have to go to rescue my Minerva.

If you are fairly new to these pages I bet you don’t know that I own a Minerva. It’s something I bought years ago while I was on the lookout for an old Land Rover for hauling logs around the farm. Ever since then it’s been in storage near Antwerp but I received an e-mail today to say that the storage facilities are closing down and I need to move it.

Luckily we are here with Terry’s big trailer, and I reckon that the Minerva will fit on it. It’s rather a shame in a way because I was hoping to be able to move the Cortina 2000E estate and get that down to the farm, but it will still be nice to recover the Minerva after all  these years. Ahhh well.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’ve painted the door frame to the apartment and I’ve also prepared the wall at the back of the terrace. But when I went out to paint that, the wind blew me back inside again. It was rough out there, and so that will have to wait until another day.

This afternoon I cleaned all of the paintwork in the hall and then painted the ceiling in there.

Terry carried on with the odd jobs such as repapering part of the kitchen and fixing a few electrical items while Liz carried on with her marathon floor-waxing, with the help of Terry once the little jobs were finished. Once the floor was something like, we moved the living room back into where it ought to be and I’ve moved my bed and computer into this room while Terry and Liz started to paint the walls in the hallway.

Tomorrow I have to empty out my room of what is left there and then give it a good clean, put the second coat of paint on the door frame and paint the terrace wall if the wind will let me. Terry and Liz will finish the walls in the hallway and then paint my bedroom. The second coat for the hall and bedroom is planned for Saturday morning, and then all that will remain will be touching up in the blue bedroom where Terry and Liz are sleeping.

And that, dear reader, will be that. We’ll empty the place on Monday morning, have an estate agent round on Monday afternoon and then adjourn to a hotel for a couple of days so that the place will be completely empty so that we can do the touching up.

Such is the plan. And so you just watch something happen to upset it all.

Thursday 10th February 2011 – I was going to have an early night …

… seeing as how everyone else has retired, but I wrote up my blog and then the computer crashed before it could be published. But never mind – it can’t be helped.

So we are (or were) off to bed early because we have been busy little beavers today. While Terry was sorting out the electrics in the third bedroom I was filling in holes in the bathroom for Liz (who reminded me a short while ago that I have missed one). And while Liz started off the painting in there I cleaned up the half of the terrace that we stripped of tiles. It’s now ready for tiling when I buy the bitumen underseal.

However there is a change of plans there. So many of the tiles are damaged that it’s not really feasible to reuse them and so I approached the President of the Residents’ Council with the idea that we replace them all with some more of the black tiles that we bought to do the edging. He’s in agreement and so I rang up the tile place to order some more. We must have a half-share in that shop now.

So after I had done that, Terry and I started on the floor-laying in the third bedroom and that took ages. Would you believe that it is the same patented system that I found when I bought the flooring to fit in the attic back at home, and how much anguish did I have with that?

Liz finished the first coat of her painting early and so she took over helping Terry while I piddled off for the tiles and a visit to Brico. I ended up at the Brico at the Place Bockstael where I found everything I needed but there was no place to park and there was no-one to cut the glass.

“Glass?” I hear you say. But yes. We decided that the shower screen that we will be fitting looks so nice that we will fit one on the window side. But as they don’t do one the correct size, we will have to make one out of glass and channelling.

But at Brico I encountered a situation that would have delighted Terry had he been there. An old lady was looking for light bulbs and the server there told her that they were in aisle 21 and she should p155 off and look for herself. Terry is continually being astonished by what passes for customer service here in Belgium. I did warn him about it.

Back home Liz and Terry had finished the flooring and so we started on the skirting board but ran out of time. Now we have 2 finished bedrooms (that I did a few years ago), an almost-finished third bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and toilet ( and they may well be done tomorrow) and which leaves us just the huge living room and the two balconies to do, as well as rewire the main fuse board.

No wonder that we are tired!

Tuesday 1st February 2011 – The one big advantage …

 of having a hand-picked team is that it’s amazing just how quickly you can progress.

Terry has finished all of the grouting in the kitchen now and has done the wiring in the third bedroom and made good around the sockets. And when that was complete Liz washed down the ceiling and the walls while I sanded down all of the woodwork and patched some of the plastering that needed doing.

Meantime, back in the bathroom Terry has taken the radiator and the sink off the wall, removed the rest of the tiles that I couldn’t reach, and plastered the walls where the tiles used to be. And that bit wasn’t easy either. Whoever did the tiling in here when the place was new didn’t make it easy for anyone to follow.

But after all of that no wonder we are all exhausted. It’s flaming hard work all of this.

Monday 31st January 2011 – For some unknown reason …

… that I haven’t quite worked out, I’m totally whacked this evening. And after our day of rest too. Mind you, day of rest, when we went off on a route march all across the parks of Jette (and there are a fair few of those) in a temperature of about minus 5 or something.

Today was better, a mere minus 2, and I had the morning off to go and be rude to an insurance company here in Brussels who are trying to charge me 3 months insurance for failing to renew Caliburn’s 2009 insurance. And a profitable morning it was as I managed to overturn a €390 or something demand into a mere €72.06.

While I was away Terry grouted the kitchen wall tiles (and what a good job he made of that – I have a beautiful kitchen here now) and Liz put the first coat of paint on the bathroom ceiling. This afternoon Terry and I disconnected the water (and that was an exciting project) so that Terry could finish off the de-tiling in the bathroom, and Liz and I worked in the third bedroom – me sanding down the window frame and the door and Liz trying her best to wash the ceiling and walls (and understanding now why I put polystyrene tiles on the ceiling and fibreglass wallpaper on the walls).

If Terry can finish the electrics in the third bedroom Liz and I can make a good start in there tomorrow. There’s a lot of work to be done in there.