Tag Archives: neris-les-bains

Wednesday 9th December 2015 – I’VE BEEN OUT …

… on my travels today – the first time since I came back from hospital last Friday.

In fact, I was out on my travels during the night too. I was working in an aeroplane hangar and one of the jobs that I had to do was to fit a new wheel and tyre on the undercarriage of ar aeroplane. In fact, the wheel bore a very great resemblance to the wheel and tyre that I fitted the other week on my wheelbarrow. And each time I fitted it, the air pressure went down and the tyre went flat. Eventually I had a good listen and I could hear the air escaping from a puncture in the inner tube. But like a good Civil Servant that I was, I’d been told to put this particular wheel and tyre on the aeroplane, and so I did. Fixing the puncture was obviously too much like hard work.
But from there we moved on a little and I was part of an undercover police force that was investigating the theft of a very dangerous chemical from this hangar. It was one that dissolved almost everything with which it came in contact (so how did they find a container in which to keep it?) and was on the Top Secret list. And as we were searching this hangar for clues, there was a man, badly eaten away by the acid and with bits of his body like his left thigh missing and with yellow skin, trying desperately to hide from our view underneath a 50-gallon oil drum that was lying on its side. But having failed in our search, we did however know that something had been posted to someone, put in a letter box somewhere. We were all crushed inside an old Ford Y van, a red Post Office van, and we were looking at all of the letters that had been collected from various letter boxes. All of a sudden, one particular letter caught my eye so I opened it. It was addressed to a cycle maker, and seemed to be some kind of coding in a five-letter group on an old blue order form. We sent a woman with the order form to give to the cycle maker to see what happened, which she did. And a couple of days later, she was called back and gived a brand new specially-made kids’ cycle painted green and white and she looked totally ridiculous on itn being a rather large woman. But we were no further forward and so we retired to plot our next move.

And this is when the alarm went off and I had to struggle to find the phone which, in the meantime, was waking everyone in the house. And I was thinking what another good sleep I’d just had.

After breakfast and the visit of the nurse to give me my injection, I had a shower and packed my bag and then Terry and I set off for Montlucon, stopping on the way at Pionsat for fuel and my order from the pharmacy.

At Montlucon we went to the hospital for my 11:00 appointment, which turned out to be about midday before I was seen.

The good news is that I don’t have leukaemia. The bad news is that I have a form of lymphoma. There are several types of this illness, some of which are quite aggressive and others not so. It seems that I have one of the lesser kinds. There is a whole range of reasons why this might have occurred, and one of these reasons is due to something to do with an aggressive protein, and my blood count shows that there is a protein that has gone off the scale in the blood count. It’s not the “usual suspect” in this respect, but nevertheless it merits further enquiries and so I’m due for further tests.

But as an aside, two points raise their ugly head. If it is a protein issue, there are not the facilities to treat it at Montlucon and so I will have to go elsewhere. It looks as if I’ll be on my travels again in the New Year. And in the second case, I seem to be full of ganglions. Not that they are dangerous apparently, but their presence has certainly been noted and in all kinds of places too.

On the way back we stopped for a late lunch and then went to Neris-les-Bains in search of chocolates for Liz because it’s her birthday today. After that, I went back home, for the first time for almost three weeks.

We’ve had plenty of sun, plenty of wind and plenty of excess solar energy, 694 amp-hours in just 19 days and that’s impressive for a period approaching the winter solstice. I also had a good rummage around and found a spare door lock, and I fitted that onto the front door so that it can be opened from the outside. This might come in handy if people other than me need access to the house.

I hung around here for a while too because, although it was cold, it was nice to be on my own for a while and relax in the relative comfort and security of my own surroundings. As Barry Hay once famously said on the beach at Scheveningen about 25 years ago “I tell you what man, it’s good to be back home”.

I started up Caliburn, threw some spare clothes, soya milk and vitamin B12 drink into the back and set off for Liz and Terry’s. First time Caliburn has had a run out for a while of course. And I mustn’t forget Strawberry Moose who has been invited to spend Christmas away from home.

As I drove back here, I remembered thinking “wouldn’t it be nice if the next round of tests were to reveal that I don’t need these twice-daily injections and the district nurse didn’t have to come round so often” and then I thought “blimmin’ ‘eck – it’s 19:00 and if I don’t put my foot down I’ll miss the nurse!” I had completely forgotten.

But I was back first and here I am at Liz and Terry’s. All ready for Round 2, and trying to work out a cunning plan about going home. I managed to take a huge load of wood upstairs to my attic without stopping, and that was certainly better than before I went to hospital, so things are looking up. I’ll see what my next couple of blood tests tell me and then I’ll make a decision.

Saturday 16th August 2014 – I’M ON ABOUT …

bad parking intermarche commentry allier france… this parking again, aren’t I? It must be that time of the year again.

I just can’t believe just how selfish some people are. The Intermarché at Commentry is a busy place and there’s always pressure on the parking here – and even more when someone such as this takes up two places in an old nail like that. It’s bad enough when someone in a brand new car does it – it’s even more sad when it’s something like this.

So yes, I was in Commentry doing the shopping this late afternoon. And it was a quiet time there, apart from the stuff that I bought in Bricomarché, such as more trunking and also the cement rendering for the outside of the house.

Prior to that, I spent the morning finishing off the backups that I had been doing and sorting out the stuff for taking with me in 10 days time. I need to sort all of this out as quickly as possible.

After lunch I went over to St Maurice to pay the deposit for the stuff that I had bought the other day, and as usual I forgot to take any photos, so you’ll have to wait for a good while to see what it is.

And then, to the baths at Neris for my weekly swim. There were about half a dozen of us in there and that’s hardly surprising seeing as it was not that warm and the sides of the pool were open. But it did fill up a little later, and there were quite a few kids having a whale (well, we are talking about water) of a time. One girl was just 5 years old but was really at home in the water, leaping into the 2-metre depths and then doggy-paddling to the side to start all over again. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a kid having so much fun, and I had a good chat with the girl’s grandma.

So then off to Commentry for the shops.

And the parking.

Saturday 9th August 2014 – SOMETIMES …

… I have a bit of verbal constipation and I can’t find the inspiration to write very much (usually when it’s most important) when I’m trying to do something. On other days, quite the reverse happens and I can’t somehow manage to stop writing.

This morning was one of the latter days and between 09:15 and 12:30 I churned out a grand total of 4679 words on neighbouhood issues – and there’s still plenty to go at. This is is going to be another one of these mega-opuses I think, and it will put me well in front of where I need to be for when I return from Canada, which is just as well.

Once I’d done that, and had lunch, I braved the rain showers to go a-swimming at Neris-les-Bains. Once again, there weren’t too many people in the pool. And once again, they had opened up the sides of the pool. I’ve no idea why they do that. It’s not as if it’s summer.

It was raining as I left the swimming baths, and the rain increased in volume as I drove to the shops at Commentry. LIDL was having a sale of these elasticated ankle and elbow protectors and so I bought two of the former to deal with the issues of my cement burns, which still aren’t healing.

hanging cloud les guis virlet puy de dome franceOn the way back home, I was astonished to see this. My house is on top of that mountain and there’s a huge hanging cloud right over the top of it.

This is early evening in early August, remember, and a phenomenon like this is astonishing at this time of year in the evening. And back home, I found the place devastated. Bent branches and fallen leaves, and my verandah has flooded – only the second time ever that that has happened since I’ve been here.

But, as I said, this summer is rapidly turning into a disaster. I’ve never ever known a year like it.

Saturday 2nd August 2014 – WHOSE SILLY IDEA WAS IT …

… to open the sides of the swimming baths at Neris-les-Bains today? It wasn’t actually all that warm today. The water temperature was 29.5°C in the pool but the air temperature inside was just 21°C. That’s a long way short of the usual summer temperature of 28°C.

I should explain that when the pool was built, it was a nice open-air Art-Deco swimming pool but these days there’s a marquee over the top of it, with sides that can be rolled up in the summer.

But today was not the day to do that.

There weren’t all that many people in there today either which was a disappointment. No attractive women of the opposite sex to ogle. Yes, I still eye up all the ladies, but I can’t remember why.

After the swimming baths (which unfortunately did little to relieve my cement burns) I went off to Commentry to do my shopping, and I was back home by 19:00

Before going swimming though, I’d been working on the programmes for Radio Anglais. I’ve prepared another live concert – something that takes me ages to prepare but having heard one that was edited and spliced by the people at the radio station a few months ago, I’m going to be doing them myself. I’ve also written almost all of the notes for it too.

That just leaves the tourist information for out travel guide, and with a bit of luck I can finish that off tomorrow.

Saturday 26th July 2014 – WELL, THERE I WAS …

… lying in bed this morning waiting for the alarm to ring, and after a while I thought that this can’t be right. Yes, it was 08:30 and bith the battery in the phone and in the alarm had gone flat through the night. What are the odds on that happening?

So after a rather late breakfast I sat down and dealt with this outstanding programme that I have to write for Radio Anglais. I did five and a half weeks, and there’s just the bit about tourism to finish off. Then there are two rock programmes and some information notes to do.

I tried a different tactic about shopping today. I worked on the radio programmes until about 14:45 and then ent straight to Neris and the swimming baths. It wasn’t as nice as last week – just a mere 9.5 out of 10 – -and there were a couple of bizarre goings-on in there too today.

I then went to Commentry to do the shopping and ran straight into a motor-cycling weekend and the town was packed with people and motor bikes.

I didn’t buy anything extra either today, and I was back home at 19:00, nice and clean (for a change) and shopped. And then I crashed out yet again for half an hour.

And that was today finished. Tomorrow is a day off and a lie-in.

Saturday 19th July 2014 – WHAT A NICE AFTERNOON.

Not particularly sunny, but lovely and hot, so just for a change I went swimming at Neris-les-Bains. Not too crowded but the water was lovely and warm even with the sides of the pool open and I spent a very pleasant hour or so in there. And that gave me an opportunity to give the cement burns on my legs (which are still troubling me) a really good soaking.

Last night it was still too hot to sleep and it was 04:00 again when I went to bed. But about 01:00 we had a sudden hurricane that sprang up out of nowhere and a huge stream of wind blew right through the house.

I was up and about again at 08:00 all the same and after breakfast had a few hours on the laptop as well as a little session with that computer program. I’m determined to crack it, even though I’ve been tempted to delete the newer version that I’ve uploaded and go back to the previous one.

I did my shopping at Commentry – first time for ages, and while neither LIDL nor Intermarche came up with anything special, I bought all that I needed from Bricomarche to complete the guttering on Monday.

Back home from the swimmng baths I crashed out for an hour or so.

Tonight now that I’m nice and clean, I’m going to change the bedding and have a really good sleep in a nice clean bed for just a change. Tomorrow is Sunday and it’s a day off.

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.

Tuesday 1st April 2014 – IT WAS A LITTLE BETTER …

… getting up this morning, which was just as well as I had a lot to do today. So I was sitting eating breakfast before the 08:00 alarm reminder went off. I can’t remember when (or if) that has ever happened before.

And at 08:55 I was at the bank at Pionsat ready to withdraw some cash, only to find that the Credit Agricole plays right along with this Poisson d’Avril lark by having expired my bank card yesterday. And, according to the guy behind the counter who has tken over since Madame de St Rémy retired, “we posted your enw one to you three weeks ago”. So now I’ll have to sift through this enormous mountain of post that accumulated while I was in the Pyrenees.

Off to do this furniture removal and either I’m becoming much less tolerant as I grow older or else people are just losing all sense of proportion and priorities, in that the place wasn’t even packed up – even down to last night’s leftover food still in the saucepan on the cooker.

Everything should have been packed up and the furniture dismantled … "disPERSONtled" – ed … a long while ago and we could then have slung it into the van and cleared off. As it was, we didn’t even have the first load (because we ended up having to do two trips) into Caliburn until long after 11:00.

On the way into Montlucon we had to make a diversion as the mother of the guy who was helping us had had a power failure and Yours Truly was asked to take a look. But I tell you what – I am never going to complain about the standard of my wiring ever again. The fuse box of this house had been assembled on a wooden frame and whoever assembled it had trapped a wire in the framework and then driven a screw right into it, missing the wooden support completely.

So we just dumped the stuff into the garage and went back for the second load, by which time we were having the hottest day of the year so far. There was tons of stuff left over, but none of it packed and so they can pack it themselves and move it in a car.

Then of course we had to take it all upstairs. And by that, I mean three and a half storeys without a lift. And no hot water here – I spent about an hour trying to make the gas water heater work, but with no luck.

We’d done about three quarters of the work but they decided to knock off for lunch (it was about 15:30 by this time) so I left them to it and went to Neris-les-Bains. Yes, an absolutely gorgeous day and so I sat in the park and read a book until 17:00 when the swimming baths opened. First time for ages, and I was feeling all hot and sticky and sweaty.

Feeling much better, I came back here and had a coffee and then crashed out. Finally I managed to make one of my legendary aubergine and kidney bean casseroles, and that will keep mein business for three or four days.

And now that I’m clean, I’m going to have clean bedding tonight. Definitely pushing the boat out here.

Saturday 8th March 2014 – I HAVE DECIDED …

rennes les bains aude france… thatI’ll be staying on in Rennes-les-Bains for a few days. And for several reasons too.
Firstly – There’s so much going on here and in the area
Secondly – I’ve found a cosy little B&B where I’m having good value for money
Thirdly – I don’t have to be home until Tuesday night (and not necessarily then either)

So all in all, it seems like a good plan, even though the town has seen much better days than these days, as you can probably imagine.

This morning, first stop was to see what remained of the Chateau de Blanchefort. These (such as they are) are perched on a mountain top right opposite the legendary Cardou, the mountain that has figured in so much of the conversation around here.

chateau de blanchefort rennes les bains aude franceBut getting there is by no means easy. Not as exhausting as the climb up to Montségur the other day, but there is just so much of it and the path is in a terrible condition.

Immersed in mud, and the bridges, such as they are, are like this. It’s another one of these walks that is not for the faint-hearted.

ruins chateau de blanchefort rennes les bains aude franceThe castle was the former home of Bertrand de Blanchefort. He was 4th Grand Master of the Knights Templar, whose period of office was from 1153 to 1170, and this is just about all that I could find of the remains of his castle.

I’ve found nothing that gives me much help about the history of the place, but I imagine that with it being a Templar stronghold, the suppression of that order in the early 14th Century led to its downfall.

dressed stones chateau de blanchefort rennes les bains aude franceIt’s not quite all that remains of the castle. I had a good rummage around and found quite a few stones, such as these examples, that have clearly been “dressed”.

I can’t think what else stones such as these might have been used for, if not for part of the interior of the castle. You won’t find stones like these in a goatherd’s hut, unless he’s pinched them from a ruined castle of course.

river salz valley chateau de blanchefort rennes les bains aude franceRight down there at the bottom of the valley, out of the shot unfortunately, is the River Salz and it’s from there (or thereabouts) that I’ve walked.

You can see now why it was that it took me so long to reach here, regardless of the state of the path and the bridhes (such as they are).

Across the river valley on the far bank is a loggers’ road, and that particular road has featured in some of the stories too.

pech de cardou chateau de blanchefort rennes les bains aude franceThis is a close-up of the famous “Cardou” mountain.

Apparently Jesus is buried in the side of the mountain somewhere. Or was it the Holy Grail? Or perhaps the Ark of the Covenant? I forget now, or maybe I’m becoming confused. But a good number of these tens of thousands of books consider Cardou as playing an important role in whatever mystery there might be in this area.

rennes le chateau de blanchefort rennes les bains aude franceBut leaving all of the conjecture aside, let’s sit for a while right at the top and admire the view.

In case you are wondering about the town over there on that crest, that is of course the famous Rennes-le-Chateau where we were yesterday morning – the place where Bérenger Sauniere made his discoveries that transformed this area from an isolated, abandoned rural backwater into a trendy esoteric tourist venue.

coustaussa chateau de blanchefort rennes les bains aude franceThat down there is Coustaussa where we went yesterday afternoon to see the ruins of the castle and also the grave of the Abbé Antoine Gélis who was murdered at the vicarage and whose murder was never solved (no Miss Marple in France of course – she would never have missed out on a Murder at the Vicarage in the UK)

I showed you yesterday a photo of how the Chateau of Coustaussa dominated the valley of the Salz River – so just look at how the Chateau de Blanchefort dominates the Chateau of Coustaussa

This afternoon, it was Open Day at the Spa. Three “goes” for just €18:00 – makes a mockery of the €50-odd for a shower at Neris-les Bains.

I wasn’t going to miss out on that, and so here’s my report of the afternoon’s visit –
The therapeutic shower – like being stuck up against a wall by someone armed with a Kärcher
The aerobath – last time I had an experience like this was when mum put all five of us kids in the bath together after we had had baked beans on toast for tea.
The mudbath – nice, hot and gooey. Has done wonders for my skin and according to my landlady here at my little B&B makes me look 10 years younger – as long as I don’t have a shower and wash it off!

I followed that with an hour in the sauna and jacuzzi for just €3:00 and after all of today’s activities I feel like a new man. Yes, I’m fed up of the old one.

Tea was interesting. No restaurant here in the town and so, remembering that I had the camping gear (not that I intend to do any camping) in the back of Caliburn, I went and cooked some pasta and tinned ratatouille.

I’m totally whacked too and so I’m going to have what remains of an early night.

Saturday 18th January 2014 – BARKING!

Yes, indeed I am. I went for a swim today at Neris.

And about time too. Last time I went for a swim was in Montlucon just before Christmas and I reckon I must have been picked upon radar a dozen times since. And while the water was tepid, the swimming baths itself was cold, cold, cold and if I wasn’t in the water I was freezing.

Mind you, the shower in the disabled toilets was piping hot and so I had a really good scrub for a change and now with new undies and new bedding tonight, I’ll be in my elephant. I feel really clean just for a change.

This was all in consequence of going to Commentry for shopping. It’s ages since I’ve been there and there were one or two things that I needed and of course, I’m only 10 minutes away from the baths at Neris.

This morning though, when I finally managed to struggle out of my stinking pit, I wrote some notes for the radio programme. Some on Value-Added Tax and I started on Speed Cameras.

I’ll have to finish that tomorrow morning though – we are rehearsing tomorrow evening. It’s that time again.

Saturday 7th December 2013 – I FINALLY MADE IT …

… to the shops in Montlucon today – first time in ages. And I spent a pile of money too, which is not at all like me, of course.

Mind you, it was an effort to get out of bed which was hardly surprising seeing as it was absolutely taters outside. And scraping the ice off Caliburn’s windscreen didn’t improve things either. But in Montlucon I did the usual round of the usual shops.

Just for a change, LIDL turned up nothing exciting apart from a big box of clementines (yes, it’s nearly Christmas) but everywhere else did me proud. At Noz, the cheapo shop, I bought a full set of the Piorot Series I DVDs and also some of the home-made fizzy lemonade that they have. Three bottles of that, for me over the Christmas / New Year festivity period, and not only that, the bottles with the drink inside are those with the wired stoppers and cost less than just the bottle alone at IKEA.

In Brico Depot, I bought 24 planks of shuttering board – €3:95 a plank and three joined together widthways makes a decent 50cm shelf 3 metres long. I can crack on and build my shelving now, once the rain restarts. But it didn’t restart today – we had another one of these glorious Alpine winter days.

Before leaving Montlucon I went to the Centre Aqualudique, which is the posh way of saying “swimming baths”. It was cold in there, but not as cold as it would have been at Neris les Bains, and I made history by not only forgetting to take my clean undies with me but also my soap and shampoo. Something of a wash-out, if you pardon the expression.

This evening I froze to death on the terraces (well, terrace) at Marcillat as the home side’s 1st XI took on Varennes in a squalid bottom-of-the-table match.

Two worse attacks I have never ever seen in my life. Varennes never even tested the Marcillat keeper once during the entire match and while Marcillat had plenty of opportunities, they couldn’t hit the nether regions of a bovine animal with a stringed musical instrument. They could still be playing when the winter break is over in February and the score would still be 0-0.

That is – except for a very dubious penalty and a woeful calamity of a mix-up between the Varennes n°3 and his goalkeeper. And tule n°1 of any defence is and always has been “when making a backpass to the keeper, always send it wide of the posts”.

Are you reading this, Varennes n°3?

But it was a niggly, argumentative match – a typical foot-of-the-table affair, and when the referee finally did have enough and brandished the first yellow cards, I would have had half the teams in the dressing room a long while previous to that.

Saturday 9th November 2013 – DUNNO IF YOU REMEMBER …

… a couple of years ago and I posted a photo of the local village shop in Ronnet which had caught fire and burnt out.

burnt out shop restaurant fire ronnet allier franceThe owners moved to other premises in the village with their shop and opened a little café-restaurant there too. But that’s not lasted too long, because this was what I discovered when I went through Ronnet at midday today.

We’ve had another fire and all of this seems to have gone for a Burton too. Even more importantly, when the first place caught fire they had a tarpaulin up and over it almost as soon as the flames were extinguished. Here though after the fire at their second premises, they seem to have abandoned everything to its fate and that seems to be that.

Yes, I was in Ronnet today, on my way to Commentry for shopping, and rather later than intended too. I’d heard the alarm go off but I decided that, seeing as how I’m still recovering from my exertions, I was going to have another morning of rest.

But what a beautiful morning it was though, not a cloud in the sky and the batteries were fully-charged by 10:45. I emptied some more stuff out of Caliburn and tidied up some more in here, slinging some filled rubbish bags into the van and then went off to Commentry, via Ronnet.

Christmas isn’t too far off and so I’ve started buying Christmas nibbles today. And nothing else of note or excitement, except that at Centrakor I picked up a couple of small pepper mills on special offer, to use for grinding my cardamon seeds and so on, and also some waxed table cloth. That was what I wanted, because I don’t want to ruin this new table when I use it as my kitchen worktop up here.

As the weather deteriorated, clouded over and started to rain, Neris was next, and the swimming baths. Ages since I’ve been there and it was freezing in the building. About 25 of us poor souls braving the extremes, but at least I’m clean for once.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceSo now that I’m back home I can return to my usual haunts and habits, FC Pionsat St Hilaire being one of them, and tonight the Ist XI were taking on Chatelguyon.

I had to get dressed for it too as it was freezing outside, although the rain had stopped. And it’s as well that I did for nothing that happened on the pitch served to warm me up at all.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one francePIonsat started the stronger and were peppering the Chatelguyon goalmouth and it was no surprise that they took the lead. A beautiful cross across the goalmouth from Nico and Pavel, this new Polish striker, volleying in a superb shot at the far post.

In that opening spell wre had shots kicked off the line, shots pounded into the woodwork and shots put wide when it would have been easier to score and I can’t think how it was that they missed. Pionsat were threatening to run riot.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceThey were however living dangerously at the back and it was no surprise to anyone that Chatelguyon equalised – with just a few minutes to go before half-time.

A break down the left wing saw a Chatelguyon forward clean on with the ball and although Michael managed to get down and stop the shot he couldn’t hold on and as the ball ran free from his grasp, another Chatelguyon forward following up had a pretty simple tap-in and that, dear readers, was that.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceThe second half started just like the first half. Pionsat came out of the trap like a rocket and for the first five minutes had Chatelguyon pegged right back in their own half and under something of the cosh.

We had the Pionsat missed chances, the woodwork peppered with shots, the Chatelguyon keeper making some excellent saves, and then the unbelievable happened.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceWell, it isn’t unbelievable if you have been following what I was writing about the matches three and four years ago. Back in those days Pionsat were struggling because they had a defence that had a tendency to switch off and gp to sleep at important moments, and this was exactly what we had here.

And it didn’t happen just once or even twice, but FOUR TIMES, would you believe, and what looked like a comfortable Pionsat victory turned into something of an absolute rout as they went on to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceI felt sorry for Michael in the Pionsat goal. He’s not a goalkeeper but with injuries to everyone else he’s in there keeping goal and doing his best.

No one could fault him for any of the five goals that he conceded, but with two Pionsat centre-backs standing too far apart so that an attacker can go straight down though the middle for a one-on-one with him, what is he expected to do?

fcpsh football club de foot pionsat st hilaire chatelguyon puy de dome division one franceWe had two of those, one after the other, and that was followed up by two balls over the top of the defence when the Pionsat defence was pushing too far forward and not quick enough to get back. For the fifth goal we had Michael on his own against three Chatelguyon attackers and no-one can do much about that.

Back home, I was skyped by an old friend of mine, telling me that he’s moved house. He has, but his wife hasn’t, meaning of course that their marriage of some considerable number of years has come to an end. That’s really sad news as between them they made quite an impressive couple with many qualities. But I suppose that it’s none of my business except to dole out the sympathy.

Saturday 6th July 2013 – DAMN AND BLAST!

I went to Commentry today to do my shopping – the first time for I don’t know how many months. And we had two of what can best be described as disasters.

Firstly, there’s a shop there called “Les Bonnes Affaires” – one of these surplus shops that sells overstocks, bankrupt stock and so on. I’ve bought  … ohhh … tons of stuff from there and it’s all been useful too – something of a paradise for me.

But I won’t be buying anything from there ever again because there’s a notice on the door – “Fermeture Definitive 23 mars 2013” – yes, closed down for good over three months ago. That is definitely a disaster;

The second thing is not really a disaster – it’s more of a calamity.

Bricomarché has been selling a range of wood stoves and I’ve had my eye on one of them – it’s a wood-burner with oven and back boiler, exactly what I want for downstairs to heat, cook, and to boil the water for washing and heating.

Every time I’ve gone into the shop I’ve been eyeing this oven and thinking to myself “one day you will be mine”

But damn and blast!

Bricomarché has changed supplier and that type of model isn’t in the new range. Of course, Brain of Britain hasn’t made a note of the manufacturer and of course he asked the staff of the shop but none of them could (or would) remember who it was.

Now I’m well and truly snookered.

So after another exciting dream I was up and about in what was the most glorious morning of the year so far (and it held throughout the day too which was a complete surprise).

I didn’t do much in Commentry (there wasn’t much to do in all honesty) but I did go to Neris-les-Bains, the swimming pool was indeed open, and I had the best swim for absolutely ages.

I really felt the benefits of that too.

This evening I went round to Marianne’s. It’s been 6 months since Bill’s death and so a group of us had a little party and get-together in his memory.

She had found a bag with all of Bill’s drawings and paintings, and we were allowed to choose one each as a memory.

I have many paintings here, all painted by people who have flashed in and out of my life at one time or another, and I was pleased to add a small watercolour of a beach scene to my collection.

Now I’m nice and clean (for once) and so I’m going to treat myself to clean bedding tonight. That’s pushing the boat out rather far, isn’t it?

But I’ll be on my own tonight because Strawberry Moose has gone on a sleepover.

And the dream? Ohh yes, I forgot. I was working in a big office and I had a pile of folders on my desk with post in that needed to be dealt with. The post was put inside the files ready to be worked, but some of the cases were quite complicated and I had had a few sitting there for months and I hadn’t told anyone about them. I’d just learnt that I had been transferred to another office immediately, which meant that these cases had to be abandoned and would be inherited by another who would immediately identify my misdeeds and wouldn’t my name be mud? I was in something of an awful panic about this.

Friday 5th July 2013 – IT’S POETS DAY TODAY

Yes – p … errr … ush off early, tomorrow’s Saturday and so I did knock off early too. Upstairs sitting in my room with a good book by … errr … 19:35.

This morning I had another couple of hours on the internet with the next instalments of web pages, with just a minor interruption from Rosemary. Her car’s gone wrong and she didn’t understand the garagiste.

Anyway, I gave him a quick ring and found out that a wheel bearing  – roulement – has packed up. I duly relayed the message to Rosemary and after a little chat, I carried on with my work.

This afternoon I took off the sheet of plasterboard that I’d fitted incorrectly and dismantled the wiring that I’d assembled last week.

plasterboard stud wall shower room les guis virlet puy de dome franceI then threaded all of the wiring down the channels that I had drilled, reassembled it and then fitted two (or rather one and a half) sheets of plasterboard, as you can see.

But there are two issues with all of this.

Firstly, you’ll notice a horizontal line right across the nearer sheet of plasterboard. Trying to put a sheet of plasterboard into the cutting position, I dropped it (these 13mm waterprrof sheets are flaming heavy) and it snapped.

And so I fetched another one – and did exactly the same.

I’m working in a confined space with no room to move around and I’m on my own with these heavy objects so I’m bound to have accidents.

But at least the split in this one will be below the level of the tiling and so seeing as how it will be bunged up with tile cement it doesn’t really make much odds.

The second thing though is more important. I’ve cut some of the wires too short and I’ve not much idea exactly what I can do about that. I shall have to think of something.

Last night though, I was in Nantwich. Of course I know Nantwich very well – it’s where I went to school and I like to go there for a wander around the shops and to sit by the river on a summer evening. In my dream Nantwich was very much like it is today except that although just recently that have built a new road around the back of the town, in my dream there was an old road system around the back there) that went to Winsford and Middlewich (and is much more logical that the road system of the late Victorian age). . A friend and I went for a walk through the crowds sunning themselves by the river at the back of the swimming baths and we carried on along this old abandoned road. After about half a mile, after passing some mile posts of the 1920s we came to a roundabout where the roads for Middlewich and Winsford diverged. This roundabout had all of the signs and street furniture of the 1920s and was probably one of the earliest roundabouts ever to be built, On the fourth exit off the roundabout, there were a couple of big cars of the late 1920s parked up. They were in fact die-cast models but life-size and I remember trying to lift up the bonnet of one of them.

Anyway, now I’m filthy dirty, unshaven, unwashed and in the same clothes for a week and feel totally uncomfortable.

Tomorrow, come what may, I’ll be going for a swim at Neris-les-Bains. You just watch the baths be closed for maintenance.

Saturday 29th December 2012 – I went swimming today.

And how!

And the reason for that is that on the informal weather scale that I keep, this morning was classed as “scattered clouds” but this afternoon was classed as “glorious”. Nothing in the heavens to stop the sun streaming down, and I had the amount of solar energy that would have been expected in the summer.

So after a lie-in I finally finished off the Quebec pages after all this time and these are now on line. After that, it was a quick thrash around the shops in Commentry and then off to the swimming baths at Neris-les-Bains. And for a change it was reasonably warm in there and I’m nice and clean, and I’m looking forward to a good sleep tonight.

All in all, a very quiet day. I’ve been having a few of those just recently. I’m saving my strength for the new year.