Tag Archives: montaigut-en-combraille

Sunday 20th June 2021 – HOW LONG IS IT …

citroen traction avant 15 boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall… since we’ve featured an old car on these pages?

So here’s one that I saw today and you don’t need any introduction to they type of vehicle that this is because you’ve been introduced to its LITTLE BROTHER on several occasions.

And when I say “little brother” I really do mean this because whilst mine that’s in the back of my garage at Montaigut-en-Combraille is one of the smaller lightweight four-cylinder 7CV models, the one that’s here on these pages is the Real McCoy, the big heavyweight 6-cylinder 15CV models, as you can tell by the badge that is proudly displayed on the right-hand mudguard.

citroen traction avant 15 boulevard vaufleury Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallIn fact we can actually put a date to this one, assuming that it’s all correct.

The boot lid features the shape of the spare wheel. That was phased out in late 1952. But it has straight bumpers instead of the curved “whiskers” type. That type was phased out in early 1952

But the real Real McCoy, the Holy Grail of all Citroen Traction Avants that I know existed at one time and which were never put into production, and I’ve no idea if there are any left, are the model 22s.

22 is of course twice 11 and so you might be expecting something special, and indeed you are right. It’s an experimental model fitted with a V8 engine made of two of the four-cylinder 11 engines. If only I could find one of those I would be in heaven, but let’s be honest – it’s not very likely.

What else that wasn’t going to be very likely is me being up anything like early. With having crashed out so definitively in the afternoon I couldn’t sleep and I was still up working at 04:00 this morning. Being awake and up and about at 11:30 on a Sunday was something of a surprise.

There had been enough time for me to go off on my travels during the night. We were looking after 2 children about 8 or 9, a boy and a girl. They were rather unruly and it was hard to keep control of them. As it was nearly bedtime I took them outside to let them play around for a while. That was the idea – I brought a ball with them. I left them out there for what was going to be 10 minutes but turned out to be longer than that. They must have gone to bed on their own so no-one said anything. The next morning I went to awaken them. They asked “what are you going to make us do today”? I asked why and they replied “if we’re going to play football we’re just going to make a noise”. I replied “in that case I’d put one of you up here and the other one somewhere else and you can make as much noise as you want”. When we went outside they had made a snowman only it was the two of them kneeling down stroking a big snow cat. I thought that it was wonderful. I asked “who made that”. They said that they did and some of the cats helped. So I made the kids kneel down by this sculpture and went to find as many cats as I could so I could give them to the kids to hold so that they would all be in the photo. But trying to round up a herd of cats at any one time is pretty impossible as anyone who has a large number of cats will tell you.

After the meds, much of the day has been spent going through the music and sorting a few things out. And in a spectacular burst of energy I paired the music for the radio programme that I’ll hopefully be doing tomorrow.

And then I went out for my afternoon walk around the headland.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallFirst thing to do while I was out was to go and stick my head over the wall at the end of the car park to see what the score is down on the beach this afternoon.

And while there wasn’t all that much beach to be on because the tide was well in, there were still hordes of people clinging on to the rocks like seabirds, or rather like King Canute trying desperately to turn back the tide. There were even some people looking as if they had been into the water too.

That must have been quite a brave thing to do this afternoon because while it’s summer tomorrow, it was rather like an April day out there right now. The heatwave that we had at the beginning of the week seems to be well and truly gone and that seems to be our lot.

people fishing from boat baie de Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallNot that that would ever seem to bother a certain part of our society. The fishermen seem to be always there either on the rocks or in their little boats just offshore. That is, if they aren’t right out at sea in a big trawler or two.

Today we have Jerome K Jerome’s “Three Men In a Boat” out there armed with fishing rods and heaven alone knows what else, but probably not a dog called Montmorency. One of the guys has his rod in the water but as the boat is moving along, it’s going to be very unlikely that he will be tempting any of the local sea bass to come in and take the bait.

Of course, fishing is actually very much like having sex. You get your rod out and you never know what you are going to catch.

I’ll get my coat.

bird of prey pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd the fishermen in the boat weren’t the only people out there hoping to catch a bite to eat this afternoon.

There are a couple of birds of prey who loiter around in the air around the edge of the cliffs here at the Pointe du Roc. As well as the lizards and mice and all of the usual kinds of wildlife that inhabit the cliffs, there’s a colony of rabbits and I would imagine that a young baby rabbit would be just the thing to feed a growing family of vultures or whatever they are.

But while he was swooping up and down a few times, I didn’t actually see him catch anything either although I reckon that he would have far more animal cunning than the fishermen.

crowds of people on footpath british flag pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd so I headed off on my walk along the path on top of the cliffs, in amongst the crowds of people who were also out there for their afternoon stroll, most of whom were not taking a blind bit of notice of the order from the Préfet that masks are compulsory here until 30th June.

But there was something interesting down by the war memorial to the Resistance that I noticed for the first time since I came back. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that they were flying the German flag down there the other day but this afternoon I noticed that it had gone and in its place is the Union Flag of the United Kingdom.

“Is there a story behind the substitution of the flags?” I asked myself when I saw it. I would have expected the British flag to have been the more likely of the two seeing as we are celebrating the Normandy landings, but the German flag was flown first. So why the change?

yacht speedboat baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallWhile I was pondering over that conundrum I noticed something moving out in the Baie de Mont St Michel and as it looked rather like something a little weird I went to investigate.

It was a yacht that was out there this afternoon and while there wasn’t really anything in the way of wind today, it was careening right over at quite an angle. There must have been quite something of a wind blowing out there to sea to have caused it to go over at that much of an angle. There isn’t the wake of another boat or anything that is causing it.

The little zodiac that looks as if it’s coming over from the Ile de Chausey looks as if it might be having a few yachtsmen dropping in for a coffee if the yacht goes over much more.

speedboat joly france baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallBut here’s some much more exciting activity going on around the headland in the Baie de Mont St Michel so I wandered off around the path to meet it.

That little speedboat or cabin cruiser with the fishermen in it that we saw earlier is heading back into port at quite a speed, and here it’s about to collide with the wake of one of the Joly France boats that has just left harbour and is heading over to the Ile de Chausey to presumably rescue some holidaymakers from there.

And that’s the older of the two Joly France boats. You can tell that by looking at the windows. They are rectangular but in “landscape” rather than “portrait” mode.

aeroplane pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallThat’s not quite all of the fun that was going on out there this afternoon.

While I was out there watching the activities of all of the boats off the end of the headland and in the Baie de Mont St Michel I was overflown by another light aeroplane. Unfortunately it was far too far out for me to be able to read its registration number.

And as you might expect, the records of the control tower at the airport here were of no use whatsoever. No planes were recorded as having landed round about this time so I couldn’t even check to see if a flight plan had been filed or if it had been picked up by radar at any point during the afternoon.

yacht rebelle fishing boat chantier navale port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric HallSo I pushed along the path on top of the headland round to the viewing point overlooking the harbour, dodging the unmasked millions as I did so.

From the viewpoint there’s a good view looking down into the chantier navale. I was expecting to see some changes down there over the period while I had been away, but apparently not so. The yacht Rebelle is still down there, up on blocks at the side of the harbour where Aztec Lady lived for so long.

The fishing boat that moved in there not long before I went away is still there too, so there have been no goings, and no comings either, unless I missed them while I wasn’t here.

And there was nothing else going on very much so I went to look at the Citroen on the car park.

One of the things that I did earlier this morning that I have yet to mention was that I made some bread dough. On my return I gave it the second kneading, shaped it and put it in the bread mould.

Then I made a pile of pastry mix, lined a pie dish with some of it, made a filling out of diced apple, raisins, desiccated coconut, cinnamon and lemon juice, and then covered the pie with the rest of the pastry. It was then sealed, brushed with milk, dusted with brown sugar and priced to let out the steam.

With the pastry that was left and the filling that was left, I made an apple turnover.

That lot went into the oven and while they were baking I attended to the pizza. I’d taken the dough out of the freezer earlier and now I kneaded it, rolled it and put it in the pizza dish to rise. After an hour or so when it had risen I assembled the pizza with that I had (which wasn’t much).

apple pie home made bread vegan pizza apple turnover place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric HallAnd here are the finished products. The pizza is delicious even if it was undercooked because I forgot to turn up the oven after the bread.

As for the rest of the food you’ll have to wait until tomorrow because I had no room for any pudding or any bread tonight after the pizza. I shall look forward to that with eager anticipation.

So now that’s all done and I can think about going to bed. Despite the late start I’m ready for an early night what with having to do my radio programme in the morning. And that reminds me – I mustn’t forget to switch the alarms back on for tomorrow morning otherwise I’ll be in a right jam.

But not a jam pie. Thats maybe for a few weeks’ time.

Thursday 14th February 2019 – TODAY’S BAD NEWS …

… is twofold.

Firstly, my TGV to Brussels on Sunday is cancelled. Due to a perturbation, or disturbance, so they say, but more likely it’s under-subscribed and there’s plenty of room on the ones before and after.

Secondly, I had a letter back about my taxe d’habitation. I asked for the years 2013 and 2015, but instead they sent me the ones for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Just as did the Tax Office in Montaigut-en-Combraille.

So I’ve no idea what’s going on there. I’ll have to ring them up to find out.

Last night wasn’t as early as I was expecting, and I left the bed … errr … somewhat later than the alarms. i’d been on a nocturnal ramble too, but all that I remember was going into someone else’s office to sharpen my pencil – the plot of something that I was watching on a DVD at teatime last night – to write it down.

We had breakfast and a shower and general clean-up, and then headed off to the shops. Just LIDL today of course. And the only thing that I bought was a new balaclava helmet to wear under my crash helmet. The old one that I have is ancient and filthy and so it’s high time that I replaced it.

marité normandy trader loading up port de granville harbour manche normandy franceBut I was waylaid on my way to the supermarket.

Normandy Trader was in port this morning, moored up at her usual mooring place next to Marité. She was unloading what looked like piles of shellfish, and the empty crates were being loaded back on board.

There were also sacks of what looked like sand or gravel just there on the quayside, presumably waiting their turn to be loaded up on board.

Back here, I made myself a coffee and attacked the remaining carrots that needed preparation and freezing. They were peeled, diced and blached with a couple of bayleaves, and then stuck in the freezer.

That was anough for the morning. I had a little relax while I reviewed what had been going on during the morning.

No excitement as yet – that is to come later.

After lunch, I carried on with my text database and all of December is now complete. I’ve done a few more blog entries and I’ve now reached back as far as 24th December 2018. The 23rd is the day that I went to Köln to see Jackie, and there are so many photos from there that I’m working even as we speak on a web page to display them all.

people on beach pointe du roc granville manche normandy francelater on this afternoon, I went out for my usual walk.

Around the walls in the glorious winter sunshine. It was such a beautiful day today.

And I wasn’t the only one out there enjoying the weather. There were crowds of people swarming around on the pathways and down on the beach making the most of the school holidays.

sea tide beach waves plat gousset granville manche normandy franceThe tides and currents were interesting too, and the crowds on the beach down there at the Plat Gousset weren’t the only ones enjoying them.

There were some beautiful swirling waves coming onto the beach with the tide, making some spectacular patterns up and down the beach.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen anything look quite so artistic as this. Nature can do some wonderful things sometimes.

street decorations rue paul poirier granville manche normandy franceCarrying on around the walls, I looked down on the rue Paul Poirier. They have strung up a pile of decorations across the street – probably today because I don’t recall seeing them yesterday.

This year, Carnaval is the weekend of 2nd/3rd March and it looks as if they are setting their stall out already.

The Carnaval here in Granville is certainly special, and attracts crowds from hundreds of miles away.

yachts baie de mont st michel st pair sur mer granville manche normandy franceDown in the harbour, Normandy Trader had cleared off – presumably fully loaded with whatever it was that was piled up on the quayside.

But it looks as if the sailing school was in operation today because there were a few yachts outside the harbour doing a little manouevring around in the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Everyone seemed to be out there enjoying the weather today and I can’t say that I blame them.

Back here, I had a coffee and carried on working, fighting off wave after wave of fatigue. In the end, I went to bed where I stayed quite comfortably for 90 minutes, most of which was spent asleep.

I’ve gone on from an occasional 10 minutes here and there to a regular flat-out 90 minutes and it’s worrying.

For tea tonight I didn’t have my potato curry. In fact, by the time I’d been through and sorted out the bit of a leek and the mushrooms that were remaining in the vegetable rack, the rest of the stuffing from yesterday made a decent-sized proportion.

And it was delicious too.

night rue du port de granville harbour manche normandy franceOutside tonight for my walk in the calm, cool evening, and almost colliding with a couple of shadows making their way around in the dark, I noticed that there wasn’t anything to see in the tidal harbour.

Probably something not unconnected with the fact that the tide was too far out.

Instead I noticed that the restaurant down on the rue du Port was open and, presumably, frying tonight. I’ve taken a few photos of the street down there but I’ve never noticed the restaurant before.

night english channel pont aven st malo granville manche normandy franceThis photo and the next one might not be of any interest to you, but they are to me.

Right out in the distance there was a bright light slowly moving across the horizon. And so I took two photographs of it, messing around with the exposure controls and the camera speed.

The first one (this one) is over-exposed, and the second one, below, is underexposed.

night english channel pont aven st malo granville manche normandy franceThey aren’t very clear at all and you can’t see what they feature, because after all, it’s only a 50mm lens, but I can have a wild guess.

It was round about 21:15 when I took the photos, and so that tells me that the lights could well be those of the Brittany Ferries ship Pont Aven setting out on its 20:35 sailing to Portsmouth.

I really need a better camera to bring out the best in this kind of shot.

So back in the apartment again, and I’m getting ready for bed. If I can go to sleep after my repose later on this afternoon.

I need to sort myself out.

And today’s excitement?

Mrs Mayhem put her proposals yet again before Parliament. And once again, she was defeated.

But is she taking this latest humiliation seriously? Not in the least. She’ll keep on going by keeping on presenting her proposals every week, wearing everyone down with the threat that if they don’t accept her plan, they’ll have to accept a no-deal pull-out.

Something that will suit her husband – and piles of currency traders and Futures dealers – down to the ground.

She will go down in History as having laid down her country for her life.

beach sea pointe du roc place d'armes granville manche normandy france
beach sea pointe du roc place d’armes granville manche normandy france

beach tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france
beach tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france

sea tide beach waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
sea tide beach waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

waves beach tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france
waves beach tidal swimming pool plat gousset granville manche normandy france

casino sea tide beach waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france
casino sea tide beach waves plat gousset granville manche normandy france

Tuesday 29th January 2019 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… day.

There was so much that needed doing and so much that I wanted to do, but I spent the afternoon flat-out on the bed under the covers.

And I’m not just talking about a little 10-minute snooze, or even a really deep one-hour sleep. I was flat-out from about 14:30 to long after 17:00. I’d awoken at 16:50 but there was absolutely no chance whatever of me getting up.

Going back a couple of years, I can remember when I could go a whole day without dropping off. And gradually we started with the little 10-minute snoozes. And then, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I started to complain about the hour-long sessions that were coming my way. And look where I have ended up now.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s the beginning of the end.

It probably has something to do with the late night that I had had. Despite pushing on for all day yesterday, I still wasn’t tired at bedtime and I couldn’t go off to sleep.

Mind you, I must have done at one point because I was off on my travels. I was doing a huge load of tidying up at my old apartment in Brussels, and much to my surprise the person who was actually helping me with tidying away the paperwork was Nerina.

The alarms went off at 06:00 as usual although it was more like 07:00 when I actually arose from the dead. After the usual morning performance I had a shower and a good clean-up too. High time – and I do mean “high” too.

This morning I attacked some more photos and then there was a slight interruption. I have to make a file up of all of my official expenses and the like over the last … gulp … 5 years, but amongst the papers that I can’t find are two of my household charges bills – for 2013 and 2015.

I’d written to the Hotel des Impôts in Montaigut for copies and so I received copies for … 2016 and 2017. Clearly no good.

And so I had to telephone them to find out what was going on.

It turns out that they no longer keep hard-copy records. Just those for the last two complete years. Any further information for other years needs to be obtained from the Tresorerie in Riom.

And so I had to write a letter.

Another project that I had in mind was to start printing off my bass guitar lines. I have the rhythm tabs saved on the laptop but I want to print them off to take with me to places now that I have a decent printer. First off was “Bobby McGee” – the old Kris Kristofferson song.

And that took me longer than it might too, because the printing wouldn’t align with the paper, or vice versa

We had lunch of course and then I came back in here to carry on. “In here” refers of course to my bedroom, because the long wall in here has been transformed into a rather comfortable office.

But, as I said earlier, I didn’t last long. And I missed my afternoon walk, my guitar session, my afternoon coffee, my slice of Christmas cake, all of that too.

Tea tonight was a delicious stuffed pepper with spicy rice. And then biting the bullet, I went for my evening walk.

When I had awoken this afternoon, there was a howling gale outside and a torrential rainstorm going on. This evening though we still had the hurricane but the rain had gone. At least, for half of my journey. For the second part of my walk I got the lot and was like a drowned rat by the time that I returned.

Another day when I haven’t spoken to anyone at all. And I’m not tired after my afternoon sleep. It’s all becoming some kind of circular performance and I can’t break out of it.

Tuesday 20th June 2017 – I’M GLAD …

… that I bought that fan blower yesterday.

It went on at about 07:30 after breakfast and it’s still going around even now as we speak. And I’m not surprised as we’re having another scorching day.

It took ages to go to sleep in the heat last night, and I was flat out until the alarm went off. But I’d been on a few travels too, including one where I was back at the farm at Les Guis (although it wasn’t that particular building) with the rain pouring in through the roof every time that it rained.. I’d had to take a party of tourists around to show them the sights, but there aren’t any sights round there so it was something of a rather pointless ramble. We ended up eventually at the cross-roads on the hill where the road from Le Quartier to Ars-les-Favets crosses the road from Virlet to Montaigut-en-Combrailles, looking down on everywhere and not knowing where to go to next.

After breakfast I had a relax, and then hit the streets for town. In the heat.

marité goelette granville manche normandy franceFirst stop was to see that big sailing ship that we noticed in the harbour on our return from Leuven. She’s called the Marité and is a three-masted goelette built in the early 1920s. She actually took part in the Grand Banks fisheries off Newfoundland until 1929 and then around the various fishing areas of the North Atlantic until the 1960s when it took to general tramping.

Having already been saved a couple of times from scrapping, she was put up for sale in 1999 when she was bought for preservation. The restoration finished in 2009 and here we are.

it’s possible to go for a sail on her, and I shall be looking out for the trips.

But as an aside, she’s a ship of just over 200 tonnes, which you light think is pretty small for braving a North Atlantic winter. But that’s four times bigger than Columbus’s Santa Maria, and hos other two ships, the Nina and the Pinta, were smaller still.

At the bank, yes, my accounts are transferred over. And they gave me the cheque book. But where are the cards? “Ohh dear” blushed my conseilleuse and dashed off to do some hasty manipulations. “They’ll be here next week” she said two minutes later.

Forgotten to request them, have we?

I picked up some spuds and a baguette, and bumped into someone with whom I’d been having a good chat at the Marité.

Back here, I had Rosemary on the ‘phone. She’s had a bit of a disaster back home in the UK and I do feel sorry for her. WHat with her health and all of that, this is the last thing that she needs.

Lunch on the wall overlooking the harbour didn’t last too long. It was far too hot to stay out there very long. I came back here and … errr … went away with the fairies for all of three hours. Astonishing! I even ended up going on a skiing trip around the promontory here in the deep snow with Hannah and her friend.

And the pie?

Delicious. That worked well. And with a dollop of mash, peas, carrots (cooked in the steam cooker which I have now resurrected from the grave) and gravy it was even better.

I shall have to do this again.

Friday 31st July 2015 – I’M LOSING MY GRIP!

I’ve done something really silly today and I’m still bewildered as to how I managed it.

I was busy doing some electrical wiring when I glanced at the clock.

18:15! Blimey! The shops will be shut in 75 minutes!

So I quickly changed my clothes, leapt into Caliburn and head for the hi … errr … St Eloy.

The road down the hill from Montaigut was packed with traffic and I did wonder what it was all doing at that time of evening. But on the other hand, LIDL and Carrefour were comparatively empty. LIDL did have some 12-volt LED bulbs (it doesn’t now, of course) and Carrefour had some soya deluxe desserts reduced on special offer.

I picked up some cash ready for my voyage in 2 weeks time, and then drove home.

While I was organising a few things the stop-work alarm went off. 19:00.


Yes, 19:00. It appears that it wasn’t 18:15 when I shot of to St Eloy but actually … errr … 17:15. D’ohhh!

I blame last night, though. I couldn’t sleep and I was still wide-awake and working on the laptop at 03:30. And with an alarm at 07:30, no wonder I’ve been feeling rather feeble today.

I had the usual sessions on the laptop and then after lunch, stripped off all of the masking from the door, fitted the air vents and wired in the socket at the head of the stairs on the landing so that I can plug the livebox in there. And that was where I was at.

But the air vents looks good in the door. The idea is that warm air heading up the stairs (once I finally have the fire going downstairs, whenever that might be) will go in through the vent at the bottom of the door, rise up through the shower room and out through the air vent that you might remember me drilling out all that time a couple of years ago. And that will stop condensation building up too.

So tomorrow, if the parts for this Hyundai haven’t come, I’m sure I’ll find some other things to do around the house. But do you realise – in 2 weeks time, I won’t be here?

But then again, I’m not all here now judging by my performance this evening, am I?

Friday 19th JUne 2015 – I’VE HAD AN INTERESTING DAY

I was actually working this morning when the alarm went off at 08:00. That’s not something that happens every day, so you need to make a note of it. I did!

I was putting the coat of varnish on the underside of the shower-room worktop. The top coat was dry from yesterday evening so I could run it over and begin. I wanted to do that as early as possible so that it would be dry by the end of the afternoon.

Back up here after breakfast, and seeing as I was on a roll, I did another live concert for Radio Anglais, editing and engineering it to make a continuous stream. Now I don’t know why it is but sometimes I’m there for days and I can’t ever set the joins correctly. At other times, it’s as if the joints go together automatically with only the most minimal effort, and today was one of those days.

The only real problem that I did have was with the original engineering and I found myself at times editing out the faults in the original mixing. One was particularly troublesome but I managed to overdub the following track and fade out the previous track where I’d overdubbed it, so that the annoying click is inaudible. Studying the waveforms of the two tracks, you can usually find a length in each tracks that is pretty much identical, and you can superimpose them at that position.

I’ve also restarted a radio project that I had begun in 2013 but with all of the issues that I was having in that year, I had set aside. I’ll tell you more about it at a later date when it’s complete (whenever that might be) but I need some info from Radio Tartasse that won’t be available until the end of the month.

After lunch, I found to my delight that the worktop was dry. So I could turn it back over and put the second coat on the top. This is bang on plan as the second coat always takes ages to dry and it can stay like that until Monday now.

I tidied up the shower room, brushed everything up and removed the debris. It’s looking quite tidy in there now, for a change. I’ve also fitted the missing mounting rail for the worktop (I should have done that yesterday but I forgot) and then I measured up the doorway so that I can make a start in making the door frame on Monday.

This evening it was shopping in St Eloy-les-Mines and if there was a big queue at the checkouts, I was in it. One of those days.

I didn’t buy anything extra, except for the strawberries. A huge punnet for €1:99 and the ones that I ate tonight (there’s enough for three or four days) were delicious. Well, i did have some soya cream that needed using up.

And seeing as how there were no yellow paper collecting bags out on the streets in Montaigut last week, I imagined that tonight would be collection night so I took all of mine down there. But there were none about so it can’t be every fortnight like it is in most places. But the two slugs and a snail enjoyed the run out anyway.

And now, just for a change, I’m going to have a very early night. My efforts this morning have caught me up.

Friday 10th April 2015 – I HAD AN UNEXPECTED …

… day off work today.

But that was partly because I had an expected visitor, in that Liz came round to inspect the premises at lunchtime. Consequently I had to spend the morning tidying up. It certainly made quite a difference, and you can actually see the top of the table now, as well as the coffee table.

A job well-done.

Liz thought so too – she was quite impressed with what I’ve done so far (and so am I of course) and then we had a coffee and a long chat.

After she had gone, I installed the new Livebox and, as I expected, it didn’t go anything like according to plan (mainly due to the fact that the screenshots in the destruction manual were nothing like what I had on my screen). This meant a phone call to Orange, and that was the end of the early afternoon.

Still, the thing is working now, and it does seem to be faster, which is good news. maybe they weren’t wrong about upgrading the phone lines.

All of this meant that I had a very late lunch – more of an early tea really – and it wasn’t worth starting work after that. I had a play on the internet instead.

At 18:00 I went into St Eloy les Mines and did the shopping, bumping into the Laotian girl whom I know (and whose name I have forgotten) and also Desirée, both of whom were doing their shopping. We had a bit of rain too, but nothing to worry about.

second hand ford ranger 4x4 for sale montaigut en combraille puy de dome franceDriving past the big car sales place in Montaigut, I noticed that they had a Ford Ranger for sale, just like the one that I own in Canada. So I went over for a wander.

And it’s astonishing. It’s 3 years older than mine, with a much lower spec, yet they want almost twice as much money for it than I paid for mine. Still, the more that I see of them, the more that I like tham and I hope that I’m not going to be disappointed with mine.

And here’s something to record. With the temperature up here in my attic yesterday reaching 23°C and looking like it might be just as hot today, I’ve opened the skylights in the roof.

First time this year, too. It’ll be nice sleeping in here with a little breeze sweeping around the room.

Monday 9th March 2015 – I’VE FINISHED …

finished wardrobe bedroom les guis virlet puy de dome france… the wardrobe.

Well, I haven’t actually. It still needs varnishing, the hardware finishing off and a couple of the doors sanding down so that they can close properly. However, all of the woodwork is finished at long last.

The upper fascia panel isn’t particularly pretty, but with all irregular heights and having to carve around the ceiling beams, I’m not sure how else I could have done it. I suppose that I could have fitted a false ceiling as I’m planning to do with the ground floor, but I hadn’t thought of that when I started on the bedroom.

This has now taken me on to cleaning up and tidying ready to start the wallpapering. And I hate tidying up as you all kno. I can’t remember which Harry Potter film it was where Dumbledore had the magic wand that cleaned up that house where the timid teacher was living, but I would give all that I own and more to to have one of those.

But as I expected anyway, there isn’t enough room on the ground floor to put everything that I’ll be taking downstairs. This is going to become quite complicated before I go much further.

I was late starting because, as you know, I had to go with Terry to the quarry to fetch some sand. It was a nice morning out anyway because the sun was shining. However it clouded over in the afternoon and I think that the summer might have gone.

And for tea? Cooking in the verandah again I made one of my huge aubergine and kidney bean whatsist – enough to keep me going for four days. The next three days, I can warm up the food in here.

And tomorrow? I’ll be finishing off the tidying up and then hopefully starting on the wallpapering.

Wednesday 21st January 2015 – I HAD A NICE …

… day out today. I needed a couple of things from Terry and he needed a couple of things from me, and so I went round there this morning.

Mind you, it didn’t mean that I did no work here. I was up bright and early for once and after breakfast I put the second coat of varnish onto the shower room floor and then off I went in the deep sub-zero temperature to Liz and Terry’s.

We spent all of the morning dealing with some things for Terry and then after lunch we had a look at a couple of things that I needed doing, which included a trip out to Montaigut.

I was back here by 17:45 and first thing that I did was to put the third and final coat of varnish on the shower room floor. That’s now all nicely sealed in and in the morning it will be lovely, and ready for me to move the beichstuhl into there.

In other news, we had near-record days of sunshine while I was out. I had 95 amps of surplus solar energy and that pushed the water in the dump load up to 46°C. It’s all looking quite impressive

And it will be even more impressive if I can have a good day here tomorrow.

Thursday 6th November 2014 – THE BIG PROBLEM …

… about portable telephones these days is that there are fewer and fewer public telephone boxes.

Consequently when Yours Truly and his sidekick Strawberry Moose are off in Caliburn on a Mission to rescue people in distress, there is nowhere for us to go to put our underpants on outside our trousers. As a result, we drove all the way to Rouen dressed quite normally.

The drive was quite uneventful and I found a place to park up in the secluded car park of a restaurant right on the edge of the city of Rouen and froze to death all night. It really was cold.

I had my phone call at 06:40 and then went to look for the hotel. And I do have to say that I have come to hate the centre of Rouen – really hate it. It’s all one-way streets and pedestrianised areas and I couldn’t reach the hotel. IN the end I had to park up and let my “client” come to me.

It was 08:00 when we finally met up, far too late, and then went off to Pissy-Poville (yes, it really does exist) for this recovery job. There was no way to remove the vehicle involved and so we had to empty it of everything – and I DO mean everything. That wasn’t as easy as it might sound either as it was so misshapen that we couldn’t open the doors. We were there for ages with a series of heavy crowbars and hacksaws, but we managed it in the end.

It then took ages to fill up Caliburn and once that was done, we had a drive back gome. And that wasn’t quite so easy either for we had a really full load up on Caliburn and he wasn’t impressed at all. Still, at 18:00, I was all unloaded and back in Pionsat.

What a day!

And it wasn’t finished either. I have some friends coming here and I’d booked them in at the Queue de Milan Hotel in Pionsat. I went round there to pay for the room now that I was free, only to find that they were there and had paid the bill. Consequently I took them to the Dauphin restaurant in Montaigut, giving them a guided tour of the town while we were at it.

I came back here and crashed out – hardly surprising given what I’d been through today. I’m far too old for this.

Thursday 19th June 2014 – I HAD A DAY OUT TODAY

I mentioned yesterday that I had to go to Montlucon today for some more grillage for the concrete that’s coming tomorrow.

As it happened, Rosemary rang up and so it came to pass that we met up this morning at the Texaco garage outside Montaigut and she came with me to Montlucon.

We didn’t spend too long in Brico Depot but I bought the grillage, some more pylons, a few other bits and pieces and so on. I now have everything that I need for tomorrow, especially as Terry has remembered to put the bolt cutters into his van.

Rosemary and I then went to the garden centre and a few more shops before lunch and then afterwards, with the weather being so nice we went for a walk around the lake at Premilhat, stopping for a cold drink half-way round.

We came back via the Gorge de la Cher and, strange as it is to say it, at the tinky village of St Therence, miles of the beaten track and far from anywhere, there was a barrage. Half a dozen gendarmes, a dog handler and a dog were stopping all of the traffic, namely about one vehicle and four cows per hour. I don’t mind these at all, especially these days as Caliburn and I are all totally legal, but it’s still totally bewildering as to why they should have a barrage in such an out-of-the-way place.

Back home, I finished off the shuttering and backfilled with soil and stones ready to lay the grillage. But what a weird place to have a barrage.

Thursday 12th June 2014 – I CAN’T SHOW YOU …

… the photo of how far we got today in the pit. Just after Terry left, we had a thunderstorm and so I covered it up quickly – I don’t want it to turn into a swimming pool quite yet.

But we didn’t get much done today. Terry had things to do this morning and so didn’t come until 11:00. In the meantime I did some tidying up and sorting out of the stuff that we will be using as the work progresses.

We had the cement mixer running for 5 hours, working of the solar panels again and that’s impressive, as I’ve said before. We infilled the first row of breeze blocks and then added another rown on top, and started a third. That was when we ran out of cement.

We then went to the quarry at Montaigut for a trailer load of sand seeing as I’m almost out of that too. Once we had unloaded that, Terry went home seeing as the weather had now turned and there wasn’t much point in carrying on.

After that, I dragged the car transporter out of the undergrowth. Terry has his van Controle Technique tomorrow and I’ve been offered a job of work going to Montlucon to recover a car. The bad weather and thunderstorms didn’t put me off having a shower afterwards.

In the night I had another bad attack of cramp, one of rhe worst that I’ve ever had. And while I was crashed out on the sofa just now, I had another one. They didn’t half hurt.

And my tea tonight was off. I had to open a tin of something instead.

Saturday 31st May 2014 – I WENT TO MONTLUCON TODAY

And I wasn’t alone either for Rosemary came with me. We met up at the Total garage at Montaigut, but first port of call was back here. Rosemary needed a new worktop for the two cupboards that she had bought and although Brico Depot no longer stocked it, it was exactly the same as what I had bought for my house and I have tons of it around here. I could certainly spare a sheet of it.

After that we blitzed the shops – I did my usual round and Rosemary did hers. As well as that, we went around a few furniture shops as Rosemary needs some things for her cottage.

I loaded up Caliburn at Brico Depot with a pile of breeze blocks and some metal pylons for next week’s work around here, and I bought a two hook from Espace Emeraude. The Kubota came with just a stalk for ring-coupling trailers whereas my trailers are ball couplings so I needed a stalk with the ball on the end.

Rosemary bought lunch and on the way home we stopped at Neris-les-Bains for a cold drink. it was the start of the theatre season there and so we were serenaded by an Opera singer, just by way of a change.

Sunday 13th April 2014 – I HAVE JUST SEEN THE BEST…

matthieu malnar best goal ever fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire football club de foot nord combraille 13 avril 2014 puy de dome ligue division 4 franceever goal that I have seen in my lifetime.

And no wonder that the Nord Combraille goalkeeper is sitting there looking disconsolate. If you think that blond Frederic’s goal against the Chimps last night was totally unexpected and out of the blue, then Matthieu Malnar’s goal against the Miners this afternoon was ten times better than that.

The Miners are in Division 4 because their second team can’t win promotion from Division 3 so they can’t be promoted, yet they are streets ahead of everyone else in that Division.

A glance at a few of their results will tell you that – 12-0, 10-0, 6-0, 5-0, 6-2, 4-1. Putting Pionsat in that pool is most unfair because their relegation due to league reorganisation was bad enough, but now they are blocked for promotion too with Nord Combraille ahead of them.

However, Pionsat lost today as expected, but just by 2-1, which is a moral victory against the Miners.

And our two goals conceded have a familiar ring about them
fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire football club de foot nord combraille score first goal 13 avril 2014 puy de dome ligue division 4 franceFirst one was from the Pionsat midfield trying to play the ball out of trouble instead of whacking the ball out of play or upfield – or anywhere, really.

Losing possession is the inevitable result against a big skilful side such as this, and the Miners didn’t need too many chances to punish this kind of Pionsat play.

If I had a quid for each time Pionsat had done this I would be in the Bahamas, not the Auvergne, and Pionsat wouldn’t be in the basement of the Puy-de-Dome league either if they cut out all of this.

fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire football club de foot nord combraille score second goal 13 avril 2014 puy de dome ligue division 4 franceThe second goal was scored with just seconds to go on the clock. Pionsat won a free kick and so everyone from Pionsat pushed up from the defence into the Miners’ half.

The free kick was cleared with a huge kick out of the Miners’ defence and with no defenders in position to intercept it, it was a race brtween a Pionsat full-back, Christophe in the Pionsat goal, and a midfielder from Nord-Combraille.

And that was how they finished, but in reverse order.

matthieu malnar shot fcpsh fc pionsat st hilaire football club de foot good save nord combraille goalkeeper 13 avril 2014 puy de dome ligue division 4 franceMatthieu had already threatened to do something earlier in this game.

Slowly easing himself back into the game after his couple of years out with injury and short of match fitness (which is no surprise – you can’t do any training with what he’s had) he found himself in a bit of space as a ball was hoisted over the Nord Combraille defence.

His snap shot found the keeper struggling and that was ohh so close to a goal there

But then we have this moment of magic.

Pionsat go to kick off after conceding the second goal, with probably not five seconds remaining on the clock. Michael takes the kick-off and lays the ball off to Matthieu.

Matthieu looks up, sees the keeper standing round about the penalty spot, and exactly from the halfway line, launches an outrageous lob on the half-volley. it sails over the keeper’s head into the net and that, my friends, was that.

He can probably try that another 100 times and I bet he won’t even get close to what he did just then.

This morning it was 07:29 when I woke up. On a Sunday too! Mind you, it was about 09:30 when I finally crawled out of bed. And I spent the morning on the website too. After all, it IS Sunday.

And after the footy, with having water at 68°C and the temperature in the verandah at 42°C I had another nice hot shower so I’m all clean again.

And that is that. What a lazy Sunday!

But I’ll be talking about Matthieu’s goal for the rest of my life I think.

Saturday 16th November 2013 – I FORGOT TO MENTION YESTERDAY …

… that I saw my first “D” registered car when I was on my way to Rosemary’s. If you don’t know, the French changed their system of registration numbering in April 2009 (and Caliburn carries one of the earliest new numbers) starting with AA and going through to AZ, before changing over to BA, and so on. Anyway, there was a “DA” registered Ford Stranger Danger parked up in Montaigut yesterday.

But it comes to something when I’m having to recap on yesterday’s blog in order to make something interesting to write about because, frankly, badger all happened today.

I was up comparatively early to the welcome sight of gorgeous bright sunlight and I reckoned that we might be in for a corker today. But round about 10:30 it clouded right over and that was that.

I started work on the radio programmes for next month and then went off to St Eloy for the shopping. They had some 12-volt LED lights on offer at LIDL, more expensive than the normal ones but they were 2.5 watt instead of the 1.2 watt lights that I use. Anyway, I bought two of them to see how they shape up.

Back here, after a little siesta I finished the radio programmes and went down for the evening’s footy but the stadium was all in darkness. And I’m not surprised because the pich was more like a swimming baths than a football pitch. The stadium at Marcillat, which I can see from one of the hills around here, was also in darkness. It looks as if they have been rained off too, and so I came home instead and lit the fire, because it’s taters in here.

I hope that here’s some footy tomorrow – I can’t do with being deprived like this.