Tag Archives: lean-to

Monday 27th March 2017 – I AM COMPLETELY …

… utterly and absolutely whacked.

It all went wrong at about 04:30 when I awoke. 5 or so hours sleep – that’s not bad going.

And I couldn’t go back to sleep either and so by 06:30 I was up and about, tucking into my breakfast when the alarm went off.

After a brief (and I DO mean brief) pause, I went out to work. Whenever have I been out at work before 09:00? And by 10:30 I’d searched through the bits of the barn that were accessible (and a few bits that weren’t either) and while I did find a few things that will come in useful, I didn’t find what I was looking for.

And then I decided to tackle the job that I have been putting off and off for the last 6 years, ever since I returned from selling Expo – and that was to attack the stack of boxes in the lean-to.

6 years hasn’t been kind to them and there are several, complete with their contents, that are totally beyond redemption. Whatever I was keeping, and why I was keeping it, it’s all academic now. I filled another couple of bags of rubbish and that’s not half of it.

But at least by lunchtime that was half of the lean-to sorted through and a couple of boxes rescued. I dragged myself up into the attic for a break and a butty. I reckoned that I had earned it.

A little later, I was joined by Ingrid and we had a really good chat for an hour. We discussed the lean-to and then, to my surprise, Ingrid girded up her loins and we both went downstairs to attack the rest of the lean-to. The beauty of there being two of us was that we were much more focused and within about 45 minutes it had all been reviewed and a few more boxes rescued.

Good old Ingrid.

That was enough for today. Ingrid went home and I had to go to Evaux-les-Bains – apparently I had left a pile of papers and some money (and not an inconsiderable amount) in the hire car when I took it back on Friday.

So what a day. I’m done for, I reckon. I managed some pasta, mushrooms and ratatouille for tea, and now it’s bedtime. I can’t move.

But at least that’s a few things accomplished. And if I had more time, there would be more accomplished too. A raging bonfire is called for, I reckon. We’ve not had one in a bit.

And funnily enough, listening to the music and Velvet Underground come on. “I am tired, I am weary. I could sleep for a thousand years”.

Sounds about right.

Sunday 26th March 2017 – I SHOULD HAVE …

… gone out this afternoon but for some reason or other I wasn’t feeling up to it.

I’d had a late night last night and had a little awakening some time before the dawn. But I went back to sleep again and the beauty of it being Sunday and no alarm was that it was 09:45 when I finally awoke.

To find bright blue skies and a gorgeous sunlight pouring into the house. In fact, the temperature reached over 20°C in the attic, without any heating at all.

A leisurely breakfast followed as I slowly came round to face the day, and then after a while I attacked the sorting out of the attic. Everything that I can think of taking – with the possible exception of some food to tide me over for the next few days, was all boxed up and ready to go. And seeing as it was a bright sunny day, I vacuumed the place again with the vaccum cleaner thingy that I have.

That took me up to 13:00 and I should be now have been at Le Quartier. But sod that for a game of soldiers. I wasn’t up to it and so I stayed here and had a butty and a rest to gather up my strength.

Liz, Ingrid and Rosemary were on line so I had quite a lengthy chat with everyone. And by this time it was 16:00. I can’t sit here all day idly doing nothing. I started to move the boxes from here and from the bedroom downstairs.

I gave Caliburn another tidying out and then put the boxes in the back. I fetched a pile of stuff from the downhill lean-to and put that in there too. 12 boxes in all, and all of that took well over an hour. By the time I had finished and crawled (and I DO mean crawled) back up to the attic I was finished. From deciding that I needed a coffee to actually summoning up the force to make it, it took me an hour.

But I’d had a visitor too. A young boy who told me that he was looking for diodes and things like that. But it looked mighty creepy to me.

Tonight I finished off Ingrid’s stuff (the lentil, pepper and tomato sauce stuff was even yet better tonight) and once I can do the washing up, I’ll be off to bed.

But I bet that it’s going to be another hour before I can summon up the energy to do that. I’m clearly not well, as we all know and I must stop harping on about it.

Friday 24th March 2017 – CALIBURN HAS RETURNED!

And I should know, because I had to go and fetch him back. Of course that meant that I had to take back the little Skoda hire car but that’s no big deal.

Caliburn has had his rear end fixed (they even repaired the towing light sockets that I broke about 5 years ago but I didn’t say anything) and not only that, the nearside was stripped bare, all of the rust and stone chips ground out, the bare metal treated with anti-oxydiser, everything stopped, filled and sanded down, and a coat of primer then a coat of paint and then some varnish.

All of that came to a mere €283 – well, my bit did anyway – and I was expecting it to be more than twice that.

It’s true to say that you can see the join between the old and the new paintwork, but I’m not bothered about that. Caliburn is 10 years old and showing his age like I am. I just need him to keep on going for as long as I do without dropping to bits – that’s the plan anyway. Spending less than €300 to keep the bodywork together sounds like a good investment to me.

Last night was not so good. I went off to sleep easily enough but was awake by about 04:30 and struggled to go back to sleep again. By 06:30 I was up and about, and drinking my morning coffee when the alarm went off.

It was cold, damp, wet and miserable too, and so I lit a fire. I’ve decided that I need to keep warm no matter what while I’m here. It’s not as if I’m short of wood, as Terry keeps on reminding me.

I didn’t do much though this morning – spending a lot of time thinking about this and that and tidying up a pile of files on the computer that I have here – the old one with the smashed screen that I use as a desktop computer with added mouse, keyboard and external screen (the HDMI socket of the DVD viewer in fact).

Lunch was the rest of Ingrid’s delicious soup and then gathering my wits, I decided on a plan of attack. I fought (and I DO mean “fought”) my way into the verandah and the lean-to.

And there I really did hit the depths of despair because everything that I had set aside all those years ago – everything from Expo, the crockery and cutlery that I had bought specially – well, it’s all in a lamentable state having been stored in the verandah and the lean-to for 6 years. I should really have unpacked it all years ago, but I really didn’t have anywhere to put it.

Anyway, that really depressed me. I started dumping stuff into plastic bags to take to the tip – piles and piles of it – but that was soul-destroying and I lost all enthusiasm. The freezing cold and driving rain didn’t help matters either. I ended up with nowhere to put anything.

Instead , I went and fetched Caliburn, and then came up here for a warm by the fire and some more of Ingrid’s pepper, lentil and tomato sauce to go with my pasta.

Now I shall endeavour to fight off the depression that I’m in and go to bed. And hope that I can sleep too. It’s been a long hard day and the next four days are going to be even worse.

Wednesday 16th December 2015 – I WENT BACK …

… to my house this morning. And what’s more, Terry came with me.

Terry has no work on at the moment and I’m not in much of a state to do much right now, and so I made an executive decision (an executive decision being one in which if it all goes wrong, the person making the decision is executed) that perhaps we should go and do the tiling in my shower room. It’ll give Terry something to do, it’ll help me catch up with work at the house, and so on and so forth.

So that was what we did.

But it didn’t work out quite like that – for the simple reason that my shower room is very small. There wasn’t room in there for both of us and so after five minutes in which we had done nothing but get in each other’s way, I left Terry to it.

And we’ll go back tomorrow and do some more too because by about 16:00 it was far too dark do do anything.

But while Terry was tiling, I was tidying up on the ground floor. And you can now actually see the floor in there, a huge pile of stuff has gone out into the lean-to, I’ve sorted out most of the tools that are in there and so on, and now there’s actually a pile of room to move about. If I can do as well tomorrow as I did today, it will be quite impressive.

Of course, we’d parked the van in the little lane at the back of my house to unload it as there was so much to do, and so of course, not having seen the farmer for months and months, it’s today that he decides to bring his cows to the field, so we have to move the van. You could have bet your mortgage on that, couldn’t you?

On our way to my house this morning, we went into Pionsat. I have a huge pile of used needles from my twice-daily anti-coagulant injections and I need to dispose of them. The pharmacy seemed to be the best place to start, and he gave me a couple of boxes to put them in and take them … to the dechetterie.

And so we did. And there at the Council tip at Pionsat, a woman worker took the box off me and put it in a much bigger box of the same shape and colour, to join many other smaller boxes in there. Apparently, it’s what you do around here. We also went to the Intermarché for some bread for lunch, and I met Nada there. I haven’t seen her for ages.

But back to the shower room, I stuck my head in once or twice to pass Terry tiles, or trim something down with the angle grinder, but I haven’t had a really good look in. I’m saving that for tomorrow because although it will be far from finished, it’ll be good for me to be surprised – pleasantly, I hope. I’ll post a couple of photos too if I remember, but I won’t be posting a photo of the ground floor because it is rather a mess, even with it being tidied up. There’s still too much rubbish in there, although I’ve nowhere else to put it and I need to make some extra room somewhere – anywhere!

On the way back here, we were pursued down the lanes by Liz whose last lesson of the day at Montlucon was cancelled. She’d seen some nice Christmas trees and so after a coffee, she and Terry nipped back up to St Gervais to do the necessary. After all, with little people being around, a Christmas tree is essential.

So I’m off to bed for an early night. I have a blood test in the morning and I need to be on form. And I hope that my blood count holds up because if it doesn’t, I can see me in Montlucon on Friday having another blood transfusion and I’m becoming rather fed up of them.

Tuesday 17th November 2015 – I’M FEELING A LITTLE …

… bit better today.

With having crashed out yesterday afternoon, it was gone 02:00 (more like 03:00, I reckon) when I went to bed. As for the alarm at 07:30, well, the least said about that the better. 09:30 it was when I crawled up here, and then I had to make some muesli as I’d run out yesterday

I had a good day on my course and astounded my tutor with an observation that I made about an Iron Age encampment in the vicinity of Hadrian’s Wall. But with the late start, it was after midday when I finished.

I crashed out again for an hour or so, but then found from somewhere the energy to go outside.

First thing that I did was to fit Caliburn with new windscreen wipers. The ones that were on it were the originals since 2007, so eight-and-a-half years is some going. They weren’t much good, in fact. but when I was at the Auchan the other day, they were having a sale of windscreen wipers and so I took advantage of it, ready for the winter which isn’t surely far away.

Apart from that, I’ve started to empty Caliburn. There was food in there (tins and stuff), some of which dates from before I went to Canada in August, as well as a pile of washing that Liz did for me. It can’t stay in there for ever so I made some space in the downhill lean-to and most of it is stacked in there. Some other stuff, including the washing, I dragged up here (and I do mean “dragged”).

Tomorrow, I’m going to be brave and carry on with the emptying, including the tiles and the tile cement. I may not be up to much at the moment, but tiling doesn’t take too much effort and with the old electric tile-cutter that I have, that doesn’t take too much electrical energy

Monday 13th April 2015 – I SMELL ALL WHEATY TODAY

And the reason for this is that I’ve had another shower.

solar shower unit les guis virlet puy de dome franceI started off today by dismantling the solar water heater and giving it a really good clean out. The solar water heater by the way is a black plastic box with an old caravan window over the top, and the back is insulated with some of this space blanket insulation. It’s stuck on the roof of the outside shower cubicle where it catches the sun quite nicely. The water then descends by gravity through a tap and then to a shower head.

It needed a really good clean too as it’s not been used in a while and there were all kinds of dead leaves inside the tank busily decomposing, and the window needed a really good clean too.

guttering uphill lean to les guis virlet puy de dome franceNext job was to fix the guttering on the uphill lean-to. The guttering has become detached because it’s too low and the door into the upstairs but where I keep all of the paint keeps knocking it.

But this wasn’t as easy as it might sound as I needed the folding ladder, and that’s all overgrown with brambles that have grown over the wall from Lieneke’s field and which one of the days we’ll have an accident with 5 litres of diesel.

I had to cut the ladder out of the brambles and that led to a general clearing of the patch of ground in front of the woodshed. Now I need a place where I can have a garden fire to dispose of all of the dead brambles.

So once I’d freed the ladder, I could dismantle the guttering, reposition the brackets and then refix the guttering. Now, not only does it slope all of the right way, but it clears the door too.

I’ve run a mains cable through from the house into the downhill lean-to, via the hole that I drilled through the wall ages ago. And with the electricity now in there, at lunchtime I did another load of washing. That’s come up nicely but there’s still a pile to do. It might not be done this week though as the water level in the water butts is quite low. 5mm of rain would do quite nicely right now to fill the water back up again.

I found 3 centimes in the bottom of the washing machine too. I hope that I’m not going to be done for money laundering.

After sitting outside eating lunch (it was really beautiful today again) and supervising the washing, I went and attacked the shower room and that’s almost empty now. Tomorrow I can start on fitting the shelves in there and the composting toilet.

Finally, the water in the solar heater was at 33.5°C. 5 litres of water at 61°C out of the 12-volt immersion heater soon sorted that out, and I had a really nice outdoor shower, followed by a shave and a change of clothes.

2 showers in 2 consecutive days? Whatever next? I’ll be washing myself away at this rate.

And I was on my travels during the night, working on behalf of the occupying forces during the day but directing resistance activities during the night. Nerina was here in this journey and we were somewhere in the UK in one of these areas with small Victorian detached houses with big gardens. The road to where we lived was a tortuous route though this built-up area but all of a sudden someone had put a direct road through the houses that curved around to where we were.

Wednesday 8th April 2015 – GUESS WHO HAS BEEN A BUSY BOY THEN?

Yes, I’ve accomplished a lot today. It’s really been keeping me out of mischief.

I was up early too for a change. When the alarm went off, I was eating my breakfast. I must have been keen.

varnishing landing floor les guis virlet puy de dome franceFirst job was to varnish the floor and the stairs with the third coat of varnish. I gave it a good wallop and it was all over by 10:30. All it needed to do was to dry and set thoroughly – that’s usually about 48 hours. And then I can fit the skirting.

While that was drying, I went outside and had a look around at what jobs that I can be doing. First job was to start on the compost bin. But I didn’t last long on that as I remembered something else quite important to do.

new wheels summer tyres ford transit caliburn les guis virlet puy de dome franceAnd doesn’t Caliburn look nice with his new clean wheels?

Yes, I needed to change his winter tyres and fit the summer tyres. Of course, I have two sets of wheels so I really just change the wheels. And because they have been outside for 4 months, they were pretty grubby and so I gave them a really good clean and polish.

One or two of them have come up really well too, but I’m thinking that I might give all of the wheels a good clean, scrub and coat of paint over the summer. I’ll add that to the thousand other jobs.

Another job that I wanted to do was to fix the guttering on the house. This involved assembling the ladder now that I’ve recovered both the parts, but on my way up to the scaffolding I noticed that I hadn’t painted part of the fascia board where I couldn’t reach off the scaffolding. This meant that I had to reposition the ladder, and then I could deal with that.

While I was waiting for that to dry, I started to cut the lengths of wood that I needed to start to make the compost bin (which was where I started) but in a search for something or other, I started to tidy up the downhill lean-to. And I made some progress too, much to my surprise.

fascia board guttering les guis virlet puy de dome france After lunch, I put the second coat on the fascia board and then started to reassemble the guttering.

I’ve repositioned it slightly because in the past, it drained down to the roof of the verandah and into the water tanks there. Now, I’m having drop onto the roof of the lean-to at the other side, because it’s there that i’ll be digging the hole for the subterranean water tank.

It took a while to do that because I had to work out the levels and cut a few lengths to size. I did as much as I could (I need to check it in the rain and make sure that it works like it should before I glue it together) but when I went to move the ladder round to the side of the house to fix the downpipe, I noticed that it was already 19:20

Doesn’t time fly quickly when you are enjoying yourelf? That was enough for me and I called it a day. I’d earned my rest.

Thursday 2nd April 2015 – I’VE FINISHED …

… work for the next four days. Tomorrow is Good Friday and so I’m having an Easter Break. And I think that I deserve it too after the work that I’ve done so far this year.

I put my back into it today too. The living room is now emptied as far as I can reasonably empty it, and it’s now looking like it did last January and February after I had emptied it for the first time. Making a space in the barn to put everything was really a good move, although I’m not quite sure where i’m going to empty all of the rubbish. I’ll be dropping sacks off at each communal bin all the way to St Eloy.

It was all over by lunchtime too – a good couple of hours ahead of schedule. It’s not like me to be so far in advance, is it?

As a result, I had a couple of hours to spare and so I made a start on the lean-to – the one on the downhill side of the house. I’ve thrown out a good pile of stuff from there too, sorted out some space on the shelves for the gardening stuff and rearranged the gardening tools.

You can see floor in there too, and it’s been a long time since that happened.

I’d rounded up quite a pile of stray wood in there too (there’s still a huge mound of course that needs to be sorted) and that was just as well, for today has been horrible, cold and damp. Consequently, for warming up my tea tonight, I lit a wood fire up here. I may as well profit from the heat if I need it.

Now I’m off to bed. I’m going to have an early night to prepare myself for my nice long weekend off.

Thursday 30th October 2014 – I HAD ANOTHER …

… garden fire today. But to be honest, it was really the same one as yesterday, with a lot more fuel added to it.

Outside the house, the tidying up is done as much as I can do for the moment and it really is a great improvement on how it was before. That, at least, is noticeable. And where I couldn’t reach with the lawnmower or the brush cutter, I’ve poured a load of weedkiller over. That’s something that I’ve always been trying to avoid, of course, but sometimes it is necessary, especially as time is something of an issue right now.

Having dealt with that, I’ve been in the downhill lean-to. I’ve done some (but not too much) tidying up in there now and I can move around again. Dealing with that properly and comprehensively is another mediul-term goal of mine, and that depends upon what the winter this year is going to bring us.

This afternoon, I spent a considerable amount of time on the telephone. Firstly, I had to call the UK and my bank there to find out why a banking transaction hadn’t gone through. After what can best be called “a frank exchange of views”, this transaction might go through properly now, and there will be some news about this on these pages in early course if all goes according to plan.

The second call was to Canada and to my niece and her husband. This is something else that is going to involve a considerable financial outlay, but my best estimate is that it will pay for itself in just three voyages to North America, and I’m looking to reduce my outlay in this respect seeing as how it’s becoming a regular thing, these voyages. And there will be more of this anon too..

Once those were out of the way, I spent a delightful afternoon downstairs on the ground floor of the house tidying up all of that, and it’s now back to the pristine condition of how it was in the Spring. That left me just ebnough time to make a start on tidying the first floor where the bedroom will be.

As it went dark I had phone calls from Terry and from Rosemary. I’m exceedingly popular these days. I can’t be feeling myself these days.

And quite right too. It’s a disgusting habit.

Friday 11th July 2014 – THANKS TO TERRY …

kwikstage scaffolding erected rear les guis virlet puy de dome france… for helping me erect my scaffolding at the rear of the house this morning.

It was pouring down again at first and I was feeling that we were going to have another day like yesterday when I had the lowest July solar energy figure since I began keeping records in 2007 (just 17 amp-hours for those who are interested).

The field at the back is totally sodden and the scaffolding was sinking in in places but we’ve managed to underpin it. It’s not particularly stable but it’s the best I can do.

The plan is that starting next week I’ll be cementing in under the eaves, something that I have never managed to do since I did the roof in 2009. THat needs to be made good to keep out insects, animals and plants. The ivy needs ripping off the back of the house for a start.

I then need to fit some fascia boards to the end of the chevrons and give everything a really good going over with some wood treatment to keep out the weather. And when that’s done, fit the guttering to take the rain water to the underwater tank that I’ll be fitting and away from the base of the house. I’ll check the roof as well while I’m up there.

Finally, I’ll have to check the mortar to see if the ivy has pulled any out

You can see that I’ll have my work cut out.

I crashed out for an hour or two this afternoon, which was no surprise. I’d been to Mons during the night with the British Army in August 1914 and I do remember that we were being switched around from battlefront to battlefront by wading through filthy, dirty water up to our waists in these canals.

Later in the afternoon I carried on looking for one of these missing black jump leads. This ended up as a full-scale tidying up in the upstairs of the downhill lean-to and I discovered all kinds of exciting things. And also a metre or two of heavy black cable formerly of the starter of a car, and this will do for the 12 volt immersion heater.

I can finish that tomorrow.

Tuesday 8th July 2014 – I’VE BEEN A BUSY BOY TODAY

And I had a restless night too. I can’t remember where I was or what I was doing but it was certainly something quite active and I was quite worn out when I woke up.

So after breakfast I cracked on with the website until about midday, with an interruption from my solicitor in Belgium.

Downstairs I stripped down the water filters as nothing is getting through to the water tank. As I expected, the filters are all blocked up and so I cleaned them all out, fluhed them through and refitted them. Now they are working fine – I can tell you that because we’ve been having further rainstorms today.

I keep saying that I ought to adopt a regular programme of cleaning the filters – every four months or something – and that way they won’t block up. However I keep on forgetting to do it.

Next task was to reorganise the car parking. I’ve moved the Kubota and the Sankey Trailer over so that I can put Caliburn on the concrete. This is why I’ve done the concreting and it certainly does look better.

black and decker portable air compressor les guis virlet puy de dome franceTalking of the concreting and parking the cars, this is something that I bought on my travels. I’ve been looking for an old-type portable air compressor for ages. In the old days farmers used to have air compressors with detachable air tanks so they can charge up the tanks and take them off down the fields to blow up tractor tyres and the like.

I’ve never found one, but in Belfort I found this. It has just an 8-litre tank and runs off a 270-watt motor which, as you know, is perfect for my low-wattage electrical system. It’s light enough to carry around as well.

I changed over the plug to a British plug (I use British plugs and sockets here as the plugs are fused) and gave it a try. It charged the tank in seconds and inflated the wheelbarrow tyre in an instant. I’m well-impressed with this if it keeps this up.

I also changed the plug on the 500-watt vacuum cleaner that I bought the other week and tried that out. That works fine too.

I’ve been tidying up in the barn too, and then I set to to pull down the ivay and rip out the weeds and brambles and so on from the back of the house so that I can fit the scaffolding and get up there to do the guttering. I’m hoping to have the scaffolding up this week so that I can crack on with that.

Thursday 23rd January 2014 – I FINALLY MANAGED …

… to pick up Cécile’s letter this morning, after all these weeks.

And so seeing as how I was going to have a morning out, I decided to make the most of it, especially as it was once again p155ing down.

First stop was the Mairie. I need a form to say that I’m still alive (and judging by the smell around here, you would be excused for wondering) and the best person to do that is the Mayor of the village. They have a nice big and official-looking stamp that gives a really impressive look to any kind of document.

Then off to Cécile’s. I need to put an accompanying letter with this form and so I typed one out last night and saved it onto a memory stick. Also, Cécile sent me an authorisation to collect her mail, and so both of these needed printing. I have three printers here – one stopped working when it fell off the desk, the second only prints in blue and only when it feels like it, and the third one, that I rescued from Marianne’s, that ran out of ink on me.

So round to Cécile’s and her printer and – guess what?

Quite right. Hers ran out of ink too but there’s an override button on it and so we ended up with documants in light grey ink.

Nevertheless, the authorisation was accepted at the Post Office and I collected the letter. And then off to Pionsat and the Post Office there. That’s a real Post Office and so I posted my letter and form, and also a packet for Malou. When I was stuck in Brussels with no ‘phone charger for the old Nokia, she very kindly sent me one. And she’s a big fan of Edith Piaf and Marianne had a German version of the film La Vie En Rose. Malou speaks German fluently, and so that’s now on its way to Luxembourg.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, that was the morning gone. And so I’ve spent all of the afternoon firstly, picking up the bits of wood from the construction project to use as firelighters, and then sweeping up the sawdust for the composting toilet. It’s impressive that I can actually do that.

Secondly, I started to load up the new shelves. The little cheap lightweight shelf unit that I put in the downstairs room as a temporary measure, that’s now completely empty. There’s a pile of stuff gone out of the barn onto the new shelves, and a pile of stuff out of the verandah has followed it. And, much to my surprise, the shelves aren’t even half-full. There’s tons of room for more stuff.

This evening, seeing as I was in a contemplative frame of mind, I watched The Wild Bunch. Peckinpah rather prolongs the violence unnecessarily, I reckon, but apart from that, it is one of the most magnificent films that has ever been made and the performances of William Holden and Ernest Borgnine have no parallel in anything that I have seen elsewhere. It’s a film that is in my Top 5 Films of All Time and quite rightly so.

So what’s the plan for tomorrow then?

When I dug out the flooring to put in a large battery box, I made the box the size to suit the Hawker batteries that I use. However, one or two of them are starting to creak a little and I can no longer obtain the replacements, and so I bought a while ago some massive 200 amp-hour batteries.

The battery box isn’t big enough to take them and so I’m going to be making a start on digging out some more flooring and enlarging the box.

And why 200 amp-hour batteries? Why not go for anything bigger? The answer to that is a simple question of logistics. I can just about manage to pick up a 200 amp-hour battery on my own. Anything bigger and it will be beyond the realms of possibility, and I have long-since given up the idea of doing anything that I’m not able to do on my own.

Wednesday 22nd January 2014 – HERE YOU ARE THEN

shelving lean to les guis virlet puy de dome franceHere’s the shelving unit in the downstairs part of the lean-to, allnicely fitted and made to measure.

It didn’t take long to finish it either, about 3 hours or so. But I was interrupted by a heavy rainstorm so I had to take in the washing, and a phone call from Marianne too.

That did however give me some time to start emptying the verandah a little and move the stuff onto the shelves. There’s a long way to go, but at least I’ve made a decent start and it won’t be long before I can organise myself so much better

Tonight I cooked a mega-aubergine and kidney bean whatsit – and on the woodstove too. I’m definitely improving there.

Tuesday 21st January 2014 – IF I’M NOT INTERRUPTED …

… tomorrow, I might actually finish these shelves.

I didn’t do anything this morning though because I wasn’t here. I had to go to St Eloy to see Marianne’s son Pascal. He’s giving up his little apartment there soon and moving to Montlucon to be nearer work. He’s not much good with a screwdriver and there are a few tasks that need to be done to put the apartment back how it should be. I said that I’d go for a look around and see what needs doing.

I took advantage of my visit to go to LIDL. Their special offer this week is D-i-Y stuff and I needed some screws so I stocked up with them.

After that I went to Cécile’s and the Post Office at Gouttières to negotiate a little about collecting this letter. After a lengthy period there with the guy who runs it, we agreed that Cécile needs to telephone him, and so I duly passed on the message.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, all of the washing (or, at least, all that I remembered to bring back from Cécile’s) is now hung up outside, so nice was the day, and then I attacked the shelving.

All 6 uproghts are now cut and shaped and because the floor is uneven and so they are all different lebgth, I’ve but a bracing bar across the three at the back to hold it all in position.

5 of the uprights are now screwed into position and the horizontal fitted to two pairs. I was trying to work out how to fit the 6th – it’s a little cramped in there and I need the room to pass the shelves through into position.

But having a stop and a think has made me think of a way to do it and so tomorrow I can press on.

Tonight I just lit a small fire and had a tea of pasta, veg, tomato sauce and veggie-burger. And it was the nicest meal that i’ve ever cooked on my little stove. I must be improving.

Friday 17th January 2014 – DURING THE NIGHT …

… I was in Berlin, on the Underground with the much-maligned Percy Penguin (who doesn’t feature in these pages half as often as she deserves) and we became separated as a train that she stepped onto pulled away before I could stepon it (Strangely enough, such a situation did actually occur when I was in London once with Liz Ayers).

I made a gesture to PP to get off at the next station and wait for me, and I would follow on the next train.

However we were waiting for hours and hours. It turned out that there had been an accident and the line was blocked, and then they hauled into our station a smashed and damaged Underground train)

We couldn’t continue on the Underground and so we had to take an overground train and then a bus, which dropped us a few hundred yards short of our destination. And the station was so big and confusing from above ground, and there were so many people milling around, and we had taken so long to get there that I was certain that I would never ever find PP again.

As I’ve said before … "and you’ll say again" – ed … if only my real life waseven half as exciting as my dreams.

Today, in the glorious sunshine that gave me a world-record January total of 107 excess amps of solar charge, I remeasured all of the uprights (and how I wish that I had noticed that I had my measuring stick on a piece of wood when I measured Upright 3 – GRRRR!) and all 6 are cut, as are the lets into the floor beams above.

This afternoon I cut the joints in the first two and also cut all of the horizontals.

I’ve also fitted a batten across the uprights that support the stairs, screwed about 20 screws into it and I’ve started to hang up the tools there. I’m really in danger of being organised before I’m much older.

I had an interesting ‘phone call too.
Caller – “This is France Telecom Orange, your service provider. We would like to tell you about the massive reductions in telephone charges that occur as of today”
… (lengthy discussions on phone charges) …
Caller – “Now we just need to take your address details to check them with our records”
… (no problem with that – it’s in the telephone directory anyway) …
Caller – “Now if we can check your bank account details”
Our Hero – “Madame – what tree do you think that I fell out of?”
Caller – *click*
I suppose that there are some people who fall for calls like this.