Tag Archives: nuit blanche

Monday 15th November 2021 – NOW THAT REALLY WAS …

… a bad night. Had it not been for the fact that there was something on the dictaphone I would have said that I didn’t go to sleep at all. It certainly didn’t seem like it at all.

But during the night I was wandering around Crewe at the back of Delamere Street and Market Street. There was an area of houses that had been condemned and the roofs were off and everything like that. One had been a bar and one a café. I’d gone there with my desktop computer and I’d set myself up in there, doing some work as well as having a little sleep on the bench that was there. After a while I went off to do something quick but when I returned this place was pretty busy. It was advertised as a bar but it was still open. There were some people sitting on the bench where I’d been sitting and working so I had to have them unplug my computer and pass it over to me. They weren’t very happy and neither was I. It was a right grumpy situation there at that bench where I was.

The alarm didn’t go off with its usual serenade this morning at 06:00 and I don’t know why, but as I was awake anyway it didn’t make much difference.

After the medication I checked my mails and messages and then set about dealing with the radio programme that I needed to prepare.

There weren’t any records set today though because there was a continual series of interruptions, mostly to do with the radio interview that I did on Friday night. And I do have to say that in the time it took me to sort out everything, including yesterday’s work, I could have made the programme myself and had it up and running ready to go.

While I was listening to the finished product and the programme that will be broadcast this weekend I was having a play around with the new ZOOM H8.

And now I seem to have somehow enabled it to record in stereo with one microphone, and now I can’t remember how I did it and can’t return it to mono. I’m going to have to learn so much more about this machine, I reckon.

After lunch I went and had a shower and then prepared myself to go to the physiotherapist.

fishing boats waiting to go into port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down to the corner of the city walls I went where I could see what was going on down in the Harbour.

And by the looks of things, it seems to me that the gates of the inner harbour are about to open. That’s judging by all of the fishing boats coming into the outer harbour right now.

There will be plenty more of them coming in within the next few minutes but I’m not going to be here to watch them because I’m running rather late as it is. I’ll probably catch them on the way back.

boats freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Further on down the hill I paused at the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that yesterday we saw a lorry loaded with a couple of shrink-wrapped boats pull up on the quayside. When I looked this afternoon I could see that the boats are now down there waiting to be picked up.

Neither of the two Jersey freighters has been in today, and they’ll need to come in soon because there’s quite a pile of builders’ material building up down there too and they’ll be struggling to get everything on board if it builds up like this.

The walk through town and up the hill was one of the easiest that I’ve had for a while. I didn’t stop at all and I wasn’t in as much distress as I have been just recently by the time that I reached the physiotherapist’s.

Today she had me doing a few more kinetic exercises and then a good 15 minutes on this tilting platform thing.

drains fitted abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021On the way home I came back by the Parc du Val es Fleurs to see how they were doing with the engineering work.

Last time we came this way we’d seen them doing something with a load of drainage pipes. They now seem to have laid them and buried them in because there are now some drainage access points that have been installed.

This gives you some idea of how high they are going to be building up the road surface. And you can also see the electric conduit that they have fitted. It looks as if we are going to be having some street lights down here too.

workmen working on abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021A little bit further on I could hear the sound of a cement mixer.

From where I was standing I couldn’t actually see what was happening but there definitely was a cement mixer working away by where they were standing.

Now that winter is arriving, it won’t be possible for me to sneak down there in the evening and spy out the land because by the time that they will have knocked off it will be far too dark to see anything.

When I come back on Saturday, I’ll have too much stuff with me to come back this way.

sports equipment parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Another thing that regular readers of this rubbish will recall seeing last time that we were down here was the workmen installing some sports equipment.

By the looks of things it’s all here now, installed and ready to use. And according to a notice at the side, there’s even an application that one can download to work out some kind of exercise routine.

Had I not just come from having a go on the cross trainer in the physiotherapist’s, I might have bbeen tempted to have had a little play on the one here myself.

concrete shuttering abandoned railway parc du val ès fleurs Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Whatever those guys were doing with e cement mixer the higher up the track, it must have been something to do with this.

This looks like another load of concrete shuttering that they are installing on the edge of the track. There was someone there working on it so I had to wait until he turned his back before I could take a photograph.

And how I wish that they would show some initiative and imagination and use something else. But on that depressing note, I headed off down the street towards the town

workmen parc des docteurs lanos abandoned railway Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at what used to be the Parc des Docteurs Lanos or whatever it is called, the work is still continuing.

And they are really churning it up into a right quagmire. It seems to be the material store and as I watched, an engine with some kind of fork lift attachment came by and picked up a pallet of kerbstones.

He made quite a difficult task of it too, with two wheels off the ground at one time.

With all of this going on here, I imagine that this will be the very last area to be completed, whenever that might be.

concrete reinforcement matting rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021But this across the road is absolutely awful, isn’t it?

You can see that all of the area over there, except for some very small parts of the surface, are covered in concrete reinforcement matting. This probably means that they will be pouring concrete all over all of it.

If we are lucky, the small areas that are not going to be concreted might well be reserved for planting trees. That will at least be something, I suppose, but it’s nowhere near enough greenery for my liking.

workmen working on roof rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Now that the border of the road on the left-hand side is fully concreted, I walked along there on my way down the Rue du Boscq.

Half-way down I came across some more workmen. With a rather large cherry-picker or skyjack or whatever it is, they are carrying out some work on the roof of this building down here.

But the machine that they have is a useful piece of equipment and I would have loved to have had something like this when I was down on my farm. I could have had hours of endless fun with this.

concrete reinforcement matting tactile pavement rue du boscq Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021Down at the far end there is yet more concrete planned.

They’ve filled all of this in with concrete reinforcement matting so they will be pouring concrete down there any day now.

But you can also see the slab of tactile pavement that has already been installed. Regular readers of this rubbish in one of its previous guises will recall that I once met the girl who worked for the RNIB whose claim to fame is that she was the person who invented tactile pavement.

At one time I could tell you exactly how many times of tactile pavement there were and what the different shapes indicated, but that’s something that has long gone out of my head.

boats freight on quayside port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo November 2021The way back up the hill towards home was much better than it was a few weeks ago.

Although I did stop halfway up, it wasn’t to catch my breath but to take a photo of the freight on the quayside, totally forgetting that I’d taken the same photo earlier.

Something else that I forgot when I arrived back home was to go and take a photo of the beach at the Rue du Nord. I went straight back home instead. And I suppose that you are grateful for that.

Back here I had a coffee and there were a few things to do but after the events of last night, I ended up drifting off into the Land of Nod for about 10 minutes. And that makes a change from a few months ago when it was well over an hour, and sometimes even two hours.

Tea tonight was a curry made up of everything lying around in the fridge. And there was enough for two nights too, which is good news because it means that I don’t have to cook very much tomorrow.

And now I’m off to bed. I have my Welsh class tomorrow so I need to be at my best. I’m hoping that tonight I might actually go to sleep.

Tuesday 22nd October 2019 – HATS OFF …

… to Caliburn. Stood outside on the car park for four months without turning a wheel while I was on my travels. So I gave his ignition key a turn this morning and admittedly after something of a struggle, his engine did fire up.

So I left him ticking over for 10 minutes to warm his engine up. I’m impressed.

The bad news though is that the garage can’t fit him in until the 5th of November and that’s filled me with dismay.

But hats off too to Grahame, one of the regular readers of this rubbish, who has just passed his citizenship test for Austria and is well on the way to having an Austrian passport.

So that’s Alison in Belgium, Jackie and Hanzi in Germany, Rhys in the USA, Rachel in Canada, and I of course have my permanent residency status for France and will be organising my French nationality once I get myself straight. Now we have Grahame in Austria.

What we are actually witnessing is a new 21st Century diaspora, an “involuntary mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories” as those of us from the UK who are capable of doing so are renouncing our heritage and moving forward to the Brave New World.

Usually, diasporas are associated with an unwanted element of the population, such as Scottish Highlanders, Acadians, Jews and the like being expelled from their home. But this new phenomenon consists of a different kind of person, something like the inverse where it’s the more mobile, more resourceful, more energetic person who is taking the initiative.

And these people are spreading out all over the world, as you can see from just my very small circle of friends. They are taking their considerable skills away from the UK, to the detriment of that country, and into their adopted country. The UK’s loss, the rest of the world’s gain.

And I couldn’t care less for the UK.

Yesterday I was going on … “and on and on” – ed … about my fourteen hours asleep yesterday. And so it goes without saying that I would be paying for it in early course.

Like last night.

I was in bed “something like” and dozed off for a short while but awoke pretty quickly. Lying in bed tossing and turning, this wasn’t doing me any good at all so round by 01:30 I gave it up as a bad job and hauled myself out of bed to carry on working.

It was a good idea too, because I was able to push on quite rapidly with the updating of the one of the websites that I had mentioned yesterday.

As well as that, I uploaded all of the photos – all 4,000 or so of them, up to the computer where I’ll begin to edit them in early course.

One of my friends was on line too, unable to sleep, so we had something of a chat.

Round about 06:30 I was overcome by fatigue so I took to my bed. I was out like a light and remained so until about 09:30.

Feeling like the Wreck of the Hesperus (although I have no idea where I might find it, except at Norman’s Woe of course) I staggered out of bed and it took me a while to organise myself.

Medication and then breakfast of course, followed by (at long last) a shower and a good tidy up of myself, for which I was extremely grateful because I needed it, and then I set the washing machine on the go with a load of clothes.

And I worked out that I spent FOUR MONTHS away from home with just

  • three tee-shirts
  • three sets of underwear
  • two pairs of trousers
  • two fleeces
  • one set of Arctic underlayers

Travellig light, you might say, except for Strawberry Moose, who took up far more space for himself and his affairs than I ever took for me.

As promised, I took my morning walk. Just down to the Super-U supermarket for some tomatoes, lettuce, fruit, onions and garlic. It was necessary because I didn’t have anything in the apartment, and it gave my morning walk some point.

It was a beautiful day today so I went and had lunch sitting on my wall overlooking the cliffs. The sunshine was delicious and there was a lizard out there enjoying itself.

This afternoon, I paid for my next year’s web hosting
which reminds me – if you enjoy what I write, please make your next Amazon purchase by using the links aside. It costs you no extra but earns me a small commission that helps defray my webhosting expenses
and then ordered a new bracelet for my fitbit. And that wasn’t as easy as it might have been either.

Another thing that I did was to contact three music shops about something that I need. And, once again, as yet there is no response from any of them. As I have said before, people complain about there being a recession and yet they don’t have too much interest in replying to genuine business enquiries.

All this money that I want to spend and no-one seems to want me to spend it with them.

The afternoon walk was beautiful. The weather was gorgeous and there were crowds of people milling around outside in the sun. Even a few kids running in and out of the sea, clearly having loads of fun. After all, we are in the school holidays.

Back here, I carried on upgrading the site that I’m working on, as well as negotiating with my web host about an upgrade to the server that he uses. It looks as if we might be moving into the 21st Century, something that will please me greatly too.

And in between all of that I’ve also spent an hour or so playing on the guitar – the bass of course but mainly the acoustic six-string. And I’m working on three numbers that I want to play competently on a six-string within a week or so.

But these are beautiful lyrics.
She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky

Now and then when I see her face
It takes me away to that special place
And if I stared too long
I’d probably break down and cry

Sweet child o’ mine

She’s got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I’d hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain

Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
Where as a child I’d hide
And pray for the thunder and the rain
To quietly pass me by

Sweet child o’ mine
I wonder if they remind anyone of anything in particular?

Tea was pasta and vegetables tossed in olive oil, garlic and black pepper (and I forgot the sea salt) and delicious it was indeed. Followed by a very lonely walk around the headland in the calm bright night.

Bedtime now, and I hope that I might be able to sleep for a while tonight. There is so much to do and there I was looking for a break after my exertions.

Sunday 2nd June 2019 – WITH IT BEING …

… Sunday today, the plan was to have a nice long lie-in.

But what happened instead was that I had another nuit blanche and didn’t recall going to sleep at all.

By about 04:30 I’d given up all idea of sleeping so I got up and had my medication followed by an early breakfast.

By about 08:30 I was back in bed and that was where I spent most of the day – making the most of the Sunday. And by the end of the day I had noticed a very slight improvement. But only very slight.

During my more lucid moments I’ve done some tidying and packing, transferred another pile of dictaphone notes over to the web page that I’m preparing, and had good chats with Rosemary and Liz.

Tea was a vegan pizza, rather over-peppered.

For some reason or other I’m absolutely overtired right now. it’s almost as if I’ve been working hard. But I’ll crash out in a minute and have a really long recuperative sleep.

Of course.

Saturday 1st June 2019 – WHAT A HORRIBLE …

… night that was last night.

There have certainly been nights when I’ve felt as though I’ve lain awake all night, but last night with the bedroom door open I could see the clock all the way through the night.

In fact I’d been to bed very early and dropped off for an hour or so, but that was that. I spent the rest of the evening lying there watching the clock.

By 04:45 I was up and about having my medication and by the time the alarm went off I was already eating my breakfast.

However there was no chance of my keeping going. By about 08:15 I was back in bed asleep for an hour or so.

And that’s how my day has been – up and about for a couple of hours and then crashing out in bed for an hour or so.

The leg is still giving me sheer agony, but it’s quite comfortable when I’m lying in bed – so it’s not too much of a disappointment. I need to take it easy and to rest the leg.

During my more lucid moments I’ve been reading the manual for the new camera, ordered 500 business cards and done some packing. And that vacuum bag that I bought a few weeks ago, as regular readers will recall, works in spades because I have enough clothes for several weeks now packed into a tiny space. I just hope that I can find a vacuum cleaner at the other end of my trip when I need to repack it.

There was also some time to add another day or two’s blog entry texts to the Canada 2017 page.

Lunch was rather late – about 16:00 in fact – due to various reasons, and so I’ve not had tea tonight. It’s been a few nights this week that I’ve not had tea and I’ve lost 3kgs. That’s always good news.

But now I’m off to bed. I’m not all that tired but I can listen to the radio for a while.

Sunday tomorrow so there might be a lie-in. And I’ll try for a pizza for tea again.

Tuesday 2nd January 2018 – I FELL ASLEEP …

… on the sofa last night at about 22:30.

And so when I awoke at about 23:00 or something, I dragged myself off to bed.

And there, I had a bad attack of cramp getting into bed and that, dear reader, was that. I didn’t have a wink of sleep at all.

I’d set the alarm for 07:30 but by the time that it went of, I was up and about and doing things. I was expecting visitors.

Working for 10 minutes on and half an hour sitting down I whizzed through the apartment and while it would be wrong to pretend that it was neat and tidy, all of the rubbish had been taken out and the important bits were all properly presentable. And I was able to have a shower too.

At about 11:15 Liz and Terry turned up. back from the UK, they popped by to see how I was getting on and I was able to reassure them. As you know, for a while I was at death’s door but this doctor pulled me through.

We had a really good chat, caught up with all of out news and made a couple of plans for the Spring. A trip to IKEA might be on the cards in the near future.

This afternoon I recovered from my exertions and, much to my surprise, even though it’s now almost 23:00 I’m not in the least bit tired. And that’s a surprise after my nuit nlanche. I wonder if I’ll get to bed tonight as well.

As for food, I had my usual bowl of porridge at breakfast, but I didn’t feel like anything for lunch. Later in the evening I made another pot of soup, tomato this time, and heaved in a couple of handfuls of macaroni in it, as well as a tablespoon or two of olive oil. I need the fats and proteins right now.

Tow mugs of that went down nicely and I could even manage the sp.

One idea for the next time that I’m out is to buy some of this very fine, small pasta and I can keep on adding that into soups as I make them. That will be easy to eat and it will give the soups some body.

But here’s a surprise. Several weeks ago I bought from NOZ a couple of tins of cinnamon biscuits. It was the tins that caught my eye, never mind the content. Not large enough for my cake unfortunately but big enough for all kinds of things, and just €1:99 each. And when I saw that the biscuits therein were vegan, I snapped up the last two.

With Liz and Terry being here, I cracked open a tin. And I was totally surprised as to how nice they were. THis will have to go down as one of the deals of the year.

Saturday 3rd December 2016 – AND IF YOU THINK …

… that the last couple of nights were bad, you ain’t seen nuffink yet. Because there I was, it was 06:30, and I was still wide-awake. I just couldn’t drop off at all, and I’ve no idea why.

But I must have done shortly after that. And I heard the alarm go off at 07:00, and the next one at 07:15, but that was nothing like enough to make me leave my bed. Instead, I breakfasted at something like … errr … 10:30.

vegan cooking van leuven market belgium october octobre 2016I was up in town a little later to buy some stuff for my butties. And here I had a big surprise.

There was a new van on there and it seemed to be advertising home bakery products, including bio, lactose-free, gluten-free and vegan products.

I had quite a chat with the owner and he pointed out to me the products that he had which were vegan. There were two varieties of cake that you buy by the slice and some biscuits too. That was so exciting.

He’s here every Saturday so I shall be frequenting him when I come back.

After lunch, I had a shower and a clean up ready for Alison coming round. We went down the road to the café for a coffee and a good chat about this and that, all that’s happened to us for the last couple of weeks.

train railway station leuven belgium october octobre 2016Alison ran me down to the railway station afterwards where I bought my ticket.

OH Leuven are playing away tonight against AFC Tubize. Tubize is a town that I have never visted and of course I’ve certainly never seen the football club play. Apart from that, as I said to Alison, I ought to get out more often and connect with the real word every now and again, and going to the football is one way of doing it.

The ground is a good 20 minute stroll south of the railway station and, would you believe it, there’s no fritkot between the town centre and the ground that I could see. That meant that I had to do without my tea. But isn’t that astonishing?

stade leburton afc tubize belgium october octobre 2016The ground is a modern two-sided wonder with a couple of concrete stands with basic seat forms put on there. Underneath the stand where I’m sitting is a long hall with a pie hut inside and the players’ changing rooms and the like. It’s all very basic.

It cst me €15 for a seat which wasn’t so bad, but actually finding my place was something else. The security guards clearly didn’t know the stadium all that well and I was sent from pillar to post before I found the correct entrance.

stade leburton afc tubize belgium october octobre 2016I suppose that a good number of other people had difficulty finding the ground too, because I don’t think that I’ve ever seen such an empty stadium at this level of football. At a rough estimate of what I could see, there can’t have been 1500 people in the ground for this match. 100 away supporters if they were lucky.

The Kop for the home fans is a little standing area on the far side -capacity about 500 I suppose and maybe 120 people in it. They made a bit of noise I suppose, but it wasn’t anything to be worked up about.

stade leburton afc tubize belgium october octobre 2016There’s another small stand behind the goal, out of shot to the left. That maybe has room for 700 people I suppose but it was empty and closed off.

It’s not quite a one-sided wonder that you might find in Scottish lower-league football but it’s not far off. One of those places where they set out with the best intentions and then ran out of money.

As for the match itself, the first half was pretty uneventful. Both sides had their chances, including a shot from an AFC Tubize player that hit the post, rolled along the goal-line and back into play, with Gillekens in the Leuven goal totally flat-footed.

But there were a few strange decisions out there. The OH Leuven n°10 was being kicked, pushed, dragged and swatted off the ball by the defenders and never a foul was awarded despite how much protesting he did; It totally astonished me.

And when he was booked for complaining too much, I really did feel for him.

At half-time, I went down for a hot drink. I dunno what they flavoured my hot water with, but at €2:00 it was flaming expensive

The second half was a little more lively at first, and OH Leuven took the lead. They have a centre-forward called Casagolda who somehow has always flattered to deceive. But today, he had a really good game, living up to his promise. as a Tubize player dallied on the ball à la Pionsat defence, ha was harried out of it and Casagolda whacked it into the net.

The game them came alive and we had about 25 minutes of exciting football and it was a shame that the match couldn’t have been played like this all the time.

OH Leuven scored a second with about 15 minutes to go, and they hit the bar and had another cleared off the line too. As it finished, they thoroughly deserved the victory.

I walked back into town looking for a fritkot. I photo-bombed a group photo and so was invited to be formally included in it, which was good fun, and then carried on my search.

eglise st gertrude church tubize belgium october octobre 2016I walked past the really beautiful Church of St Gertrude and eventually came across a fritkot on the way out of town. a big bag of chips and garlic sauce was beautiful and as I sauntered back to the railway station I noticed that if I had come out of the station building via the second door, I would have been right by a fritkot.

GRRRRR!

The train brought me to Brussels-Midi and then we had more excitement as our train to Leuven via the Airport arrived at the wrong platform and we all had to run for it.

By 0045, freezing cold, I was back in my little room in my hostel. I’d had a lovely day out with good company, and now I’ll have a good night’s sleep ready for my trip tomorrow.

Monday 8th August 2016 – THIS HAS GONE BEYOND A JOKE

So there I was, in bed at a reasonably early time and settled down for the night.

And I lay there mulling things over in my mind and not doing too much – then gradually the dawn chorus began, and it began to become light outside. When the 07:00 cacophony cracked off, I went upstairs and demolished about a pint of orange juice. I would have had breakfast too, but I wasn’t particularly hungry.

After that, I came back down here and went back to bed. I reckon that it was somewhere round about 09:00 when I finally went off to sleep – but it wasn’t for very long because I didn’t realise that there’s quite something of an impressive cacophony from the church bells at midday too – I hadn’t noticed that before.

It took me until about 15:30 before I felt up to very much, and then I went to the supermarket on the corner for a bit of bread and a tomato. That, together with some of my vegan cheese, gave me something to eat.

Liz was on line later and we had a bit of a chat – then I crashed out for an hour or so. I cant’t say that I’m surprised.

Tonight, I made a chick pea curry, with mixed veg and boulghour. I had half of that for tea with rice, and the other half will do for tea tomorrow.

But I’m thoroughly fed up with these sleeping issues. I wish that I could drop off at 23:00 and wake up at 07:30. I just don’t know what is the matter with me these days that I can’t seem to sleep.

But I have to have a good sleep tonight, because I have an appointment at 10:00 tomorrow. It’s not with a medical institution either but it’s quite important, so I can’t pass it up.

More about this tomorrow.

Tuesday 7th August 2012 – WELL, I’VE FINISHED …

collapsed lean to repairing stone wall les guis virlet puy de dome france… the rebuilding of the wall.

Well, to be honest, of course I haven’t. What I do mean to say is that all of the stonework and all of the infill has been done. There’s still the pointing to do of course and that’s not going to be the work of 5 minutes, I can tell you.

And then I’ll need to do the woodwork for the window frames, paint it all and then fit the glass

collapsed lean to repairing stone wall les guis virlet puy de dome franceAnd there’s also the inside of the stonework to attend to, but that’s nothing like as important as the pointing.

But there’s a reason for it all being done today. That is that I didn’t have any sleep at all last night – clearly my guilty conscience or something like that.

Anyway at about 07:45 I was fed up of just lying there and so I got up and about breakfasting. And then, seeing as how I couldn’t concentrate on the web site, I went out and resumed work on the wall

I had a lovely interruption for a couple of hours though, because Liz came round. She was after my blackberries, which I gladly let her take. And we also had a good old chinwag too.

And after lunch, it was back up the wall.

I said that once the wall was finished I would knock off, no matter what the time. And that was what I did – although 18:54 represents only a 6-minute bonus.

And now I’m far too shattered to do anything else and so I’m off to bed

Friday 30th September 2011 – YOU ARE PROBABLY WONDERING …

… why I didn’t blog last night before I went to bed. The truth is that in fact I didn’t go to bed.

Dunno if it was with crashing out the day before, or all the coffee that I drank, but I was still up at 08:00 and wide awake. So much so that I made myself an early breakfast.

I did crash out on the sofa at about 10:00 but not for long as the phone rang just before midday and it’s been ringing for most of the day on and off ever since.

This afternoon after I was roused by the telephone I did some more transcribing of my holiday notes and then I went outside and dug up my onions.

Well, such as they are because the crop is something of a disappointment. In fact I have more rogue potatoes than I do onions, and that’s sad.

And so I’m off to bed now to catch up on my beauty sleep. It’s shopping tomorrow and I’ve let the stocks run down a little just recently.

Monday 26th September 2011 – I REMEMBER YESTERDAY …

… saying that I didn’t want to come home.

And had I known what the flight was going to be like, I wouldn’t have done.

I’m not the best air traveller in the world, but I’m much better than some of the people on board who spent almost the entire flight screaming as we were tossed from one patch of turbulence to another all the way across the Atlantic.

The worst part about the flight though was that I didn’t receive my vegan breakfast – and how upset was I about that? That was a huge disappointment, although no complaints about the chick pea curry the night before.

Passing through the Immigration was fairly painless for a change. But the armed soldiers patrolling the airport wasn’t very pleasant to see. We all know about soldiers and their accurate rate of fire. A suicide-bomber pops up his head and 50 civilians are killed in a spray of inaccurate machine-gunning.

And it seems that they can’t spell “AREA” either. We all have to go to the “Baggage AERA” for our luggage.

The airport might have been fairly painless but the journey through Paris to the Gare de Lyon wasn’t. I’m really going to have to find an alternative to this route. Dragging my huge suitcase through the crowds and through the metro and the RER is no pleasure, believe me.

Nothing exciting happened on the train back – which makes quite a change after last year’s adventures and Terry met me at the railway station at Riom.

I fuelled up Terry’s car and then he took me back to his place, where Liz very kindly offered me a bed for the night, for which I was extremely grateful.

Friday 13th May 2011 – It’s been a long time …

breaking dawn sunrise les guis virlet puy de dome france.. since I’ve had one of these. It was one of those rare nights that they call a nuit blanche around here where I didn’t go to sleep at all. And I’m not quite sure why either, because I had a busy day yesterday too.

And so I sat in the window, reading a book to pass the time and at approximately 04:45 the sun started to come up, so I took a photo of the breaking dawn. I then went back to reading until breakfast time.

It’s been absolutely years since I’ve had one of those.

Today I’ve spent most of the afternoon on the phone. Katherine has sent a parcel back from Canada and it’s gone missing. The Canadian Postal Service’s website is useless and the telephone system is one of those digitalised ones where it is not possible to speak to a human, and it tells you nothing that the website doesn’t tell you.

Of course, I’m not one to take that kind of thing lying down and after many struggles I ended up speaking to the Personal Assistant of Rob Merrifield, who is the Canadian Government Minister for Posts and Telecommunications. We had a lengthy chat and this evening I’ve received a mail from her to say that someone from the Canadian Postal Service will be in touch with me.

We shall see, of course, because I have heard all of this before, but the only way to deal with incompetence and obfuscation is to go to the top. Once a few Government ministers have had their ears bent by a few dissatisfied customers, things might change.

Mind you, I’m not holding my breath. It’s not like the time that the lavatory attendants closed the public conveniences on Crewe Bus Station, to the inconvenience of everyone. But I didn’t take it lying down – I stood up and went over their heads.

home made balloon frame greenhouse les guis virlet puy de dome franceNow that I’ve been to the sawmill at St Gervais d’Auvergne I can crack on with the balloon frame greenhouse and I spent the rest of the day cutting the wood ready for assembling the framework.

It’s coming on quite nicely now, and the net job will be to give it a couple of coats of the LIDL wood treatment, but that’s not for today.

So after finishing off the framework for the greenhouse I came in and started tidying up. I have a caller tomorrow – someone who wants to sell me some solar panels so that I can sell electricity to the EDF. I hate these canvassers.

Saturday 13th November 2010 – IT’S A GOOD JOB …

… that it’s Saturday 13th rather than Friday 13th, because Heaven alone knows what might have gone wrong then.

The flight was reasonable – nothing remarkable at all – but I’m a very bad traveller and find it very difficult to sleep on board an aeroplane. This journey was no exception at all.

I was wasted by the time that I arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport and I wasn’t very comfortable making my way from the airport across Paris for the train to Riom.

And we waited. And waited. And waited.

First of all there had been the engineering works that were slowing everything down.

Secondly, there had been a locomotive failure down the line. It was all happening today.

All in all, by the time that I reached Riom it was not too far short of midnight. Only three and a half hours late.

Instead of going straight home (which was a silly idea anyway at this time of night) Terry ran me back to their house and Liz put me up in the spare bedroom and that was that.