Tag Archives: laurent dumas

Saturday 25th January 2014 – OUCH!

Yes, “ouch!” indeed. I’ve just sat down and added up everything that I’ve spent today.

Yes, I’ve been to Montlucon today to do my shopping and I seem to have been considerably sidetracked. Mind you, I’m not quite sure what took me to go there because I was, once again, quite late in leaving my stinking pit. Despite having the woodstove going flat-out last night, itwas cold in here this morning.

And dark too. Not the weather for leaping brightly out of bed.I thought at first that we had had some heavy snow bit in fact we were having another one of the local Auvergnat weather phenomena – a hanging cloud drifting up the valley – and it stayed parked up on the top of the mountain all day, apparently.

Anyway, I grabbed a mug of coffee and hit the road. First stop was LIDL where I dropped a jar of tomato sauce all over the floor. Start as you mean to go on, Eric.

Surprisingly, I didn’t spend very much at LIDL, and neither did I at Amaranthe, the Health Food Shop – not the least of the reasons being that they didn’t have any of the buckwheat tablets that I like. So no breakfast for me.

It all started to go wrong at the Carrefour. I haven’t changed the gas in the kitchen for 18 months – it’s amazing what cooking on the woodstove can do – but nevertheless I’m sure it must be nearly empty by now. There was an empty propane cylinder around here so I took it with me to swap for a full one to have ready, and that set me back a massive €30:25.

When I was running the bottled gas heater, I was getting through a bottle every two weeks – that’s about €2:20 or so per day. Bearing in mind that my wood here costs me nothing, the €279 that I spent to buy this woodstove means that it’s paid for itself in just 125 days or thereabouts (and that’s not including the gas-cooking either). That’s about a year’s worth of heating and this is the third winter that I’ve been using it. You can see that it’s been a splendid investment.

Noz was another place where I spent a pile of money. Nothing of any significance, but it’s always a useful place to go for DVDs, cheap tins of food and the like. It’s always worth stocking up at Noz. And stepping out of Caliburn, I bumped right into one of Marianne’s friends, François Legay.

However it was at Vima where I really took a battering.

My old hair cutter is on its last legs and about to shuffle off this mortal coil. And there in the sales was another one, exactly the same.

Not only that, I’ve had my eye on a rechargeable LED worklight for quite some time. They charge up off the mains or off 12 volt DC, are quite large and powerful, and sit on the floor and chuck out an enormous amount of light. They were quite expensive but in the sales they were reduced by 50% and they had two left – didn’t that give me ideas?

But what was the final nail in my coffin was the mobile phone. The ‘phone that I bought in a hurry 5 years ago was the cheapest I coud find – a Nokia but a bi-band so no use in North America. I replaced that a couple of years ago with an ancient Nokia tri-band that I bought in an internet auction. The price was correct but the battery wasn’t at all and even with a new battery it’s not lasting for more that 3 days at most. And of course, it’s no use for surfing the internet at all (not that I want to but my phone plan gives me a free allowance of data and as I always run out of the time period rather than run out of credit, it’s a shame to waste it).

Anyway, to cut a long story short … "thank you" – ed … there in the sale was a Samsung Galaxy 3, the little brother to my Canada phone which is absolutely superb. Does everything that I need and even includes a 4GB micro-SD card so that I can use it as a music player. And the camera has a greater resolution than the digital camera that I took with me to North America in 2002 and in 2005. Quadri-band too, with bluetooth, and open to all networks.

And the cost? Just €75:00. I don’t suppose that I can complain too much.

Coming out of Vima, I bumped slap bank into Laurent Dumas, the President of the Canton of Pionsat (you saw him on this blog a few weeks ago). Just the man I want to see, as it happens. There are proposals to change the arrangement of cantons in the Puy de Dome. It’s something very controversial and so we want to do a radio programme on it. As it happens, M Dumas is very much parti-pris whereas Mme Daffix-Ray (who you also saw on here), the Vice-President (they cater for all sorts here) of the Departement, is very much parti-pris in the other camp. My idea is to ask them both to let me have a statement of why they have chosen their sides, so that we can present a balanced radio programme.

I didn’t spend very much in Brico Depot either. I had written out a list of stuff that I needed and then, totlly true to form, I had forgotten to bring it with me so no tongue-and-grooving for the ceiling. But they did have that “space-blanket” insulation on special offer so I bought a roll seeing as how I don’t know whether I have enough here to finish what I’m doing.

The French have a saying “jamais deux sans trois” and so while I didn’t spend too much money there, I did bump into someone from Pionsat – Marianne’s son Pascal. I can’t move anywhere these days without my movements being observed.

Anyone who thinks that I intended to go for a swim on the way home had another think coming. I came straight home and locked myself in. Winter seems to be back now.

Saturday 30th November 2013 – IT WAS THE DRIVING RAIN …

… that woke me up early this morning and as I was lying there in my stinking pit I was thinking that if this keeps up for the rest of the day it’s going to be quite amusing in Pionsat this morning for this little open-air celebration.

But never mind. By the time I plucked up the courage to tear myself away from my stinking pit it had stopped raining and there were even a few little streaks of blue in the sky. Only a couple, mind you, and they didn’t last for very long, but they were indeed there for a moment and that was encouraging as I hurtled off to Pionsat.

patrick poivre d'arvor olivier poivre d'arvor pionsat puy de dome franceHere in Pionsat, at the Old People’s Home, we were treated to the spectacle of a couple of ex-celebrities doing the old book-signing bit. Nearest the camera we have a certain Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, a name that might mean nothing to anyone reading this rubbish, that’s for sure, but in fact formerly a well-known French TV presenter and author, one of whose books we found in this house when I bought it.

Standing at the table, further away from the camera, is his brother Olivier who is also a well-known author (however, not well-known to me, I have to admit) and who is also supposed to be signing copies of his books, not that there were so many of his on display.

nouvelle salle de fetes pionsat puy de dome franceThe book-signing isn’t actually the main reason for the presence here in Pionsat of the brothers Poivre d’Arvor – it’s a mere opportunism.

The real reason for their presence is that if you have been following these pages over their many reincarnations, you’ll be aware of the story of the “Maison Ducros Maymat”. A fine Art-Deco house of the late 20s and early 30s left to abandon and bought by the town of Pionsat simply to demolish it and to use its enormous gardens for building housing, a new medical centre and a new salle de fetes

patrick poivre d'arvor olivier poivre d'arvor rue jean d'arvor pionsat puy de dome franceThis necessitates the construction of a new road through the site and it was decided to name the road after the famous early 20th Century French poet Jean Jeuge dit d’Arvor who was born in Pionsat back in 1883.

The town asked Patrick Poivre d’Arvor and his brother if they would perform the opening ceremony and now that Patrick has “retired” from the silver screen he could spare the time to come down to the birthplace of his maternal grandad and do the honours, and at the same time do some rehearsing for the local gurning championships. The brothers were born with the simple surname “Poivre” – meaning “pepper” – but Patrick, at least, added his grandfather’s pseudonym to his own surname upon the death of the latter in 1970.

patrick poivre d'arvor laurent dumas pierrette ray brice hortefeux pionsat puy de dome franceWe were also highly-honoured by the presence of all kinds of dignitaries here at Pionsat for the ceremony.

The well-built man standing to the right of the image is Laurent Dumas, mayor of St Magnier and the representative of the Canton de Pionsat at the Conseil General of the Puy de Dome. To his right, cropped unfortunately from the image, is Pierrette Ray, mayor of Youx and Vice President (yes, they cater for all kinds of things) of the Conseil Regional.

Patrick Poivre d’Arvor is there of course in his raincoat, and to his right (and our left) in the expensive suit in centre-shot is Brice Hortefeux, the area’s Member of the European Parliament and with whom I later had a very friendly chat about Brussels.

foule maison de retraite pionsat patrick poivre d'arvor puy de dome franceThere followed the usual round of speeches and presentations, under cover back at the Old People’s Home. Hardly the many millions of telespectateurs to which Patrick Poivre d’Arvor is accustomed, of course, but a crowd is a crowd is a crowd, as any celebrity will tell you.

The mayor treated us to his vision of the Pionsat of the future, which includes some kind of shopping mall at the Intermarche supermarket. And while I for one applaud his vision – he is quite right in saying that we need to progress in order to survive – but
firstly, I’ve seen the shopping mall at the Intermarche at Commentry, a town 10 times bigger than Pionsat, and that can’t sustain half a dozen independent retain outlets

secondly, there are enough empty shops already in the town, with several businesses having closed down since I’ve been here. If exisiting businesses with exisiting clients can’t sustain, what hope for any new ones? And what hope for the ones that remain when the new shops open? It reminds me of the situation when the main-line standard-gauge railway arrived just up the road in Marcillat in 1932. They had closed the narrow-gauge tacot that had run into the town for years, and built the new line right through all of the old earthworks, totally destroying them. However the new railway never made a bean and closed in 1939, but because the tacot had been destroyed, the town was left without any rail connection at all even though the rest of the tacot system was running quite happily everywhere else. I can see this happening in Pionsat with the shops. And we’ve also seen, for those of you who were with me in Labrador in 2010
that while the town of L’Anse au Loup may well be growing in importance due to the concentration of coastal Labrador’s services there, that has led to the collapse of the infrastructure of all of the other towns along the Labrador coast. I can see this happening in the Combrailles. Other towns will be forced to compete with Pionsat to keep themselves afloat, we’ll have a spending war, and it will all end in tears.
thirdly Pionsat is one of the communes of France with the largest per-capita indebtedness. So where is all of this money going to come from?

This evening, Pionsat’s match against the Goatslayers was postponed – a waterlogged pitch which is hardly surprising as everywhere is waterlogged around here right now. There was footy at Marcillat though – the 2nd XI taking on Montmarault and so in the freezing cold and frost I went to see the worst football match that I have seen for some time. Marcillat were awful, Montmarault were even worse but were better-organised and from a 3-2 lead, Marcillat suddenly found themselves 3-6 down. They clawed their way back to 6-5 before the final whistle, but I can’t say that they deserved to.

As a matter of interest we had a female referee this evening – that’s quite a rare event here. And I’ve seen worse referees too.

And my chips, beans and burger for tea were absolutely gorgeous. A good investment, this woodstove.

Friday 29th November 2013 – I MADE IT OUT THIS MORNING …

… but it was rather touch and go as it as another one of those cold clammy mornings where I didn’t really feel too much like crawling out of my stinking pit.

But anyway after breakfast I had to unload Caliburn of all the wood that I had bought the other day and that’s all now in the barn. Then round to Marianne’s and then on to St Maurice.

laurent dumas pierrette ray jean yves gouttebel st maurice pres pionsat puy de dome franceFirst thing that was happening there was a meeting of the officials of the Canton of Pionsat and for the first time that I can ever recall, we had all 10 mayors present at the same time.

And not only that, we had Laurent Dumas, the canton’s delegate to the Departmental Conseil-General and also Jean-Yves Gouttebel, the President of the Conseil-General, in attendance. We were really honoured and it seems that I am once more moving in exalted circles.

new road opening st maurice pres pionsat puy de dome franceThe purpose of being at St Maurice was for the formal opening of a road. Not a new road, but a realignment of an existing highway that has just had a great deal of money spent on it.

Someone produced a tricolour ribbon and so we had Dumas and Gouttebel standing in the middle of the road cutting the ribbon – something that would have been quite exciting had there been a truck or something coming the other way.

Long-term followers of this rubbish know that St Maurice is famous for its exotic cars – there are a few crazy mechanics here and on one occasion they had an exhibition of their output.

la jonquille longest car in the world st maurice pres pionsat puy de dome franceOne such vehicle is “La Jonquille” – claimed by its builder to be the longest car in the world, and St Maurice is where it lives.

It’s rather loosely based on a Peugeot 403 estate as you can see – well, several Peugeot 403s in fact.

Later that afternoon I went to pick up Marianne again this time for Riom for the annual meeting of journalists of La Montagne – the local newspaper. Where the meeting was to be held was only a mile or so from the big LeClerc hypermarket at Mozac and so we went an hour or so early so that I could do my next week’s shopping. No sense in missing an opportunity for that and it saves me going to St Eloy tomorrow.

Back here later it was taters upstairs and so I had the biggest fire I’ve ever had. That increased the room temperature 15°C in an hour or so and that’s some going, and it cooked my tea in record time.

So now I’m off to bed – I’m doing “minding” duties tomorrow.

Now I