Tag Archives: norauto

Friday 10th December 2021 – I’M REALLY GLAD …

… that I started to write up my notes earlier this afternoon because the last thing that I was planning to do was to be thinking about eating my evening meal at 22:30 this evening. But there you are.

When the alarm went off it took me quite a while to find the energy and the enthusiasm to struggle to my feet. Things are really difficult right now and I’ve no idea why because if anything I’m actually in better shape physically than I was a couple of months ago.

After the medication and having checked my mails, I decided once I’d recovered my will to live to attack the outstanding dictaphone notes. And eventually, after many vicissitudes, they are now on line.

Having done that, I could then turn my attention to last night’s notes. Sherlock Holmes had been out on his travels last night. There had been some kind of party going on. Someone there had stolen a suitcase full of valuable clothing and Sherlock Holmes was on the trail. He tracked it down to a horse-drawn bus driver who was outside. A big, unruly bloke but Holmes managed to overpower him and hand him over to the Police. The guy was pleading to be let go. When they wanted to find out why he said that there was something urgent that he really must do before midnight. He promised everything he could if he could do it. Anyway they took him back towards the place where this party had taken place. As they got to the door people started coming out. For some reason he violently attacked two of them, a man and a woman. It turned out that they were the people in charge of the organisation for stealing things and he was just their handyman. They were prepared to let him rot in prison which he wasn’t going to allow. Of course with this party finishing at midnight he wanted to be there when they came out so that he could stop them.

Later on last night we were at school. There was something happening, some kind of problem. One of the girl pupils was interviewing a pile of other people. She had us in a room and was letting us out one by one to ask us questions. Eventually it was my turn. She asked me about how things were. I replied that I was really busy. She asked “do you think that you make all of your own problems”. I replied “yes, I do” (and I was dead right there). She asked me about the things that I did so I told her. Someone said “you need someone to help you, don’t you?” to which I turned to this person and said “oh yes but I’ve asked her but she doesn’t seem to be all that keen” – meaning the interviewer girl. She said “I don’t recall you asking me”. I replied “in that case, what are you doing on Saturday? Would you like to go to the pictures?”. She asked what was on. “What are we going to watch? What are we going to see?”. I replied “it doesn’t really matter, does it? Knowing my luck it will be ‘Little Women’, something like that”. To my surprise she answered “yes, OK”. When she had finished what she was doing I took her down to the canteen, sat her down at a table and went to fetch some coffee”. They had some vegan cake. There was some discussion about one vegan cake which I knew that she liked. In the end it turned out that it wasn’t that one at all so I had to make the assistant walk all the way back to the end of the queue to pick up a slice of the other vegan cake, the one that I had so we had two slices of vegan cake and two coffees.

But this makes a real change, doesn’t it? I finally get the girl after all these years. It reminded me of the time the English teacher set a task for his pupils to write an essay including the words “chaste” and “by helicopter”. One boy wrote“The boy chaste the girl and by helicopter” and that’s exactly how I was feeling last night.

The only disappointment is that I when I awoke I found that I didn’t know who she was.

The dictaphone took me all the way up to midday, although there were several interruptions.

Firstly there was giving the soft fruit mix several stirs about to keep the orange and vanilla essence mix percolating into the fruit. And then there was of course breakfast.

There was a phone call too. Caliburn’s winter tyres have arrived and when could I go and have them fitted? “How about 14:00 this afternoon?”

And so at midday when I finished my notes I went and had a hot shower. And the drop in weight of 1.2 kg over the weekend wasn’t a false reading because it showed the same reading today and that’s impressive.

Since I’ve been more careful about what I’ve been eating I’ve lost almost 4kg.

After lunch I went outside to Caliburn. And it was a struggle even to walk across the car park with the howling gale that was blowing up a storm outside. It was a case of “one step forward, two steps back” to reach him.

At 14:00 when the garage reopened I had been outside for almost 10 minutes waiting. And while they were changing his front tyres I had to wait again – until 15:30. I’ve no idea why it took them so long to change two tyres. usually it’s a 10-minute job. They didn’t even offer me a free coffee while I was waiting.

And I was right – they chose to fit the tyres to his front, unpainted wheels rather than the two in the van that I had painted the other day.

They’d taken so long to fit the tyres that the rest of the afternoon was wasted. I went to LeClerc for a few bits and pieces (where I finally found some glacé cherries), stopped at the parcels place to pick up the parcel of Caliburn’s bits and pieces and then came home – struggling across the car park with my shopping – the only thing that was stopping me being blown across the car park and into the Baie de Mont St Michel.

Not even time for any photos, and even if I had, it wasn’t safe to be out on the clifftop in this wind.

With my hot coffee I did something that I’ve been meaning to do for ages and had a good shuffle round of the music. It’s becoming rather stale with the same groups seemingly stuck in the same cycle so I shook it all up.

While I was doing that I also relegated a few groups out into the “miscellaneous” folder as I’ve long-since exhausted the possibilities of what they could bring.

Laurent came round for me at 19:15 and we set off for this “fish and films” festival where we met up with a few of our other radio staff members who were covering it. And I was introduced to someone who wanted to be interviewed for my radio project, so we made the necessary arrangements for later in the month.

fish and films festival yacht club Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo December 2021The festival itself consists of a series of short films that are shown in various localities all over town.

We were actually attending the opening party held at the local yacht club. There was a local jazz band (whom I have met before one afternoon on the headland at the Pointe du Roc) and they were playing a series of jazz standards that feature in several of the films.

But it was a strange festival. To celebrate the “fish and films” they had a “fish and chips” van in the car park who ran out of fish after just an hour. And in a fishing port too! You couldn’t make that up.

But one of our friends shall forever be known as “Chief Petty Officer Pertwee” for inviting us to a meal of “fish and chips” (or just chips in my case) so we waited in the queue at the van for over half an hour only to find out that he had no cash and the fryer didn’t accept cards.

It was just like a scene from “The Navy Lark” and the “Fish and Chip Ship” episode.

By the time Laurent brought me home my stomach was thinking that my throat had been cut so I made a quick dish of pasta and veg tossed in olive oil with grated vegan cheese.

So having written my notes I’m off to bed for hopefully a good night’s sleep. We’re radioing again in town tomorrow night so I want to be on top form. And I’ll miss my football again at the Stade Louis Dior, won’t I?

Friday 26th November 2021 – PHEW! THAT WAS EXPENSIVE!

And I don’t even have any photographs for my pains either today.

That is for two reasons too.

  1. there’s a howling gale blowing outside right now
  2. I have been busy all afternoon and couldn’t even find time to go for my afternoon walk

Before we start though, I’m not going to mention last night. You can read the dictaphone notes and make up your own mind.

A train had been requisitioned by the Germans last night and was heading off with all kinds of art treasures that had been looted. They had a man on the front with a machine gun to defend against saboteurs, all this kind of thing but in the corridor of the tender facing the engine driver was another German armed with a sub-machine gun. At a certain point the train ground to a halt and there was some panic going on outside. The commandant in charge said “we’ll get the guy with the machine gun on the crew to reinforce you” which of course caused panic because no-one there actually knew that they were being watched like this on the footplate. At the same time there was a strike going on with football players because of recognition with their previous clubs hadn’t been granted so they weren’t considered as being equal or equivalent footballers to the Premier League and weren’t being able to be picked for the Premier League sides but that was on the point of being resolved.

A little later I was with someone (and I wish that I knew who it was) on a bicycle ride on holiday. I had a rucksack on my back and she had one on hers. We’d had some kind of incident that meant that she’d used my jeans as a mop so she’d had to borrow some jeans from someone for me. We were cycling and came to this bridge over a motorway. There were several lanes and a main road and a side road and a footpath etc. Several lanes went on a bridge over the top of the motorway while a couple went through a tunnel underneath. We cycled on and came to the motorway interchange. This was an awful, really complicated road junction. We were on bikes and the vehicles were running really quickly and not giving us much time to get into position because we wanted the lane far over in the centre. Eventually we managed to pick our way through the traffic without any excitement. We noticed on the map that someone who used to work for the radio lived here in a little cul-de-sac so we thought that we’d go to visit him. He had a bungalow in a kind-of close. When we arrived he was on the doorstep saying that he was just going to bed. he told us about an incident he’d had which involved the police which had left him feeling very bitter about whatever it was that the radio was. He went to bed but we were inside the house and used his bathroom, organised a few things. We noticed that there was an orange plastic skull sitting on his bed. We wondered what that was doing. Then my partner started to take stuff out of my rucksack to rearrange it which was uncomfortable seeing as I was wearing it at the time

And then there was a sandpit there (wherever “there” was) and a kid who was very much like me as a small child playing in it. Someone said something about how he could foretell the future in various respects. I mentioned that I’d had mine told for me and it wasn’t very complimentary

This cable had an olive-green and white speckly very thick-outer a cable with a very solid rigid central core that we could make into all kinds of shapes, but none of them were anything to do with what we were trying to do. And whatever that bit is all about is a complete mystery to me.

Some time later we were driving down the M6, a big group of us. A girl whom I used to know in Scotland was there as well, heading down. At a certain moment I recognised somewhere and said “this is the start of the Morecambe Bay holiday area, isn’t it?”. They didn’t know but we’d gone about half a mile and saw a load of surfers in the water. I mentioned that there was a town down here a little further where I’d been a couple of years ago and there had been an enormous flood. We’d spent our time swimming in what was the town square. When we arrived, the town square was flooded again so we had to drive round and find a place to park and then needed to find the solicitor’s that we were visiting the next day. I was sure that I knew where it was because I’d been here before. So we went and sure enough, this was where it was. Then we had to work out where we were going to stay. Everyone else was broke so we were talking about hostels and everything. Eventually they found some kind of bed and breakfast place that was quite cheap and were talking about booking it there but some people didn’t have any money etc

When the alarm went off I couldn’t get out of bed for quite some time but eventually I forced myself out and went for my medication.

Having checked my mails and messages I cracked on (and I really did too) with the work that needed doing. The sound-files have been sent off with the accompanying notes, and so have my questions for these perishing elves.

One thing that I noticed was that my server wasn’t saving the copies of my mails, which was no surprise as my mailbox was at 101%. I spent a very happy rest of the morning going through and weeding a pile of stuff that had built up in there that should have been deleted a long time ago.

What’s filling the place up is all of the piles of stuff that I’ve been receiving about my family so I went and downloaded it all and deleted it from my mail server. Now my mailbox is now at a more-manageable 73%.

One day I’ll download a mail-handling client like Thunderbird and download everything from the mail server.

There were several phone calls to make too. I contacted the insurance company about Caliburn’s windscreen and then I rang around for some new winter tyres for Caliburn.

When I was in the Auvergne 18 months ago I’d brought a couple of spare wheels back from the Auvergne because winter tyres are now obligatory in many départements in the centre where my farm is and it’s high time that I had some.

Hunting around on the internet I couldn’t find any bargains of the make that I wanted but somewhat closer to home, a tyre fitter could supply exactly what I wanted and on the wheels on the van they will work out even cheaper than the tyres alone on the internet.

Some other stuff is needed too for Caliburn. There’s a cracked mirror and a cracked rear light that the controle technique examiner mentioned, and of course if he’s having a new windscreen he’s having new wipers to go with it.

Rosemary rang me too and we had another one of our mega-chats

After lunch I wandered off to LIDL where I spent a fortune and can’t really see what I bought with my money, except that it was too heavy to bring all of it upstairs.

Next stop was at the windscreen place. The Insurance Company told me that the windscreen people would contact me but as I was driving past, I popped in. And as luck would it, they had a windscreen in stock and a vacant spec in their workshop at 09:00 on Monday morning.

From there I drove to the tyre fitter. he didn’t have the tyres in stock but I paid a deposit and he’s ordered them and they’ll be here on Friday morning. While I was there I bought some rust killer and some wheel paint. I may as well make his wheels look pretty

Final stop was LeClerc where I spent a fortune and once again I couldn’t really see what I’d bought for my money – except the four bottles of ginger beer that they had on special offer and the new slippers to replace my worn-out ones.

By the time that I returned it was 18:00 (where does the time all go?) so I made a coffee and ended up chatting to Liz for an hour.

Tea was a burger on a bap (now that I have baps and the correct burgers) with a baked potato and vegetables, and it was delicious.

Now I’m off to bed. I need my sleep – if I get any with this astonishing storm raging outside – as I have my Welsh weekend class for the next couple of days.

Can you imagine it? Me, setting an alarm on a Sunday! Wonders will never cease.

Friday 31st January 2014 – I DIDN’T GET …

… what I wanted to buy today. But there was a reason for that.

We had the coldest night of the winter so far so this morning and with Caliburn under about a foot of frost, the battery finally gave out and he wouldn’t start. Regular readers of this rubbish will remember that the battery has been a little flaky for a while and I’ve been meaning to replace it but of course it’s one of those things that I’ve always been putting off and putting off.

Liz came round to rescue me but there wasn’t even enough in the battery to jump-start the van so we ended up going in Liz’s car and, of course, that’s not adapted to carry rolls of insulation and packs of tongue-and-grooving.

We had an exciting day out anyway and while Liz did not manage to resolve her problems, at least we now know why she has been having them and the people concerned have given her an undertaking that things will be put in motion to deal satisfactorily with the issues.

We shall see.

And even though Caliburn’s battery type is not listed in the catalogue of any of the chains of car accessory dealers, as I found out today, one of the employees at the Norauto near to the Auchan at Clermont Ferrand did take it upon himself to make detailed enquiries and as a result, supplied a battery that he promised would fit. I had the choice of an unnamed make, a Norauto make or a high-quality Varta battery and as you know with Caliburn he only ever receives the best, so much do I depend on him.

And so I daren’t tell you how much I paid for it because I’ve only just now recovered from the shock, but as I said, 100% reliavbility is the key to all of this, even if it does come at a hell of a price.

And much to my surprise (and probably yours too) it was actually the correct one. Fitting it was a nightmare though – trying to access the nuts to the battery retaining bar took me about half an hour, but anyway now it’s fitted and Caliburn is mobile once more.

I suppose that I’ll have to nip into Montlucon fora couple of hours tomorrow morning now. After all, I don’t want to be without anything the absence of which will hold up my work. It doen’t normally tale much to stop me.