Tag Archives: radio arverne

Friday 5th October 2018 – NOW THAT’S MORE LIKE …

… it!

Although you might not think so, from the way that things carried on from yesterday.

It was something like 02:00 when I finally went to bed this morning. But I wasn’t in it for long. About an hour and a half, something like that, before I realised that it would be pretty impossible to go to sleep.

So not wishing to waste the opportunity, I got up and carried on working on my photos from my trip. The first run-through is complete, and a mere 1715 photos have survived the initial cut. Now they need to be reviewed again and re-edited.

But I’ve now found a problem that I didn’t anticipate – and that is that I seem to have run out of space on my on-line file server. I managed to upload the first 220 and then it all ground out. I’m now trying to negotiate some extra space from my web-host.

Eventually it was time for bed though. 06:20 I reckoned – something like that. And I went off to sleep almost straight away.

And on my travels too. A friend and I had a couple of girlfriends who went to a select girls school and they were having a dance there. We were keen to go and, having failed to talk our way in, and to wear down the opposition with lengthy speeches that would grind them into the floor before they ground us in, we hit on the cunning plan of dressing up in girls-school uniform and pretending to be girls, hoping to pass unnoticed in the sombre lighting. We discussed our plans with a couple of our friends (you can see that this can’t be real. Whenever did I have any friends to discuss anything with?) and we were overheard by the school doctor. After listening for a while he announced that he was homosexual and he was impressed with what we were attempting, and said that there was no real need to go too far into this because once we’d rescued our girlfriends we could all come and socialise in his rooms and he would keep everyone else out.
A little later, I was back on board ship. And we were once more saying goodbye as we parted. We were presented with a map and it showed our route – the strangest route that I had ever seen because it bore some comparison with the route that we have recently taken, and yet a mirror-image. And we reached the Panama Canal from the western side down one of the bays that we had travelled. All in all, it was a rather strange and bizarre setting.

I was awake at 11:20, but not quick enough to find out who phoned me at 11:25. And then I had internet issues as the laptop refused to connect with the modem. Twice now, two consecutive days, that it has dome that. But I eventually managed to make it work and then went off for breakfast.

Having done that, I made a start on work that I needed to do.

First problem to be resolved was to make to work the USB stick that I was given on board the Ocean Endeavour. It wasn’t easy but I eventually made the laptop read it, and then I had to look for a key to open the files because at first glance they seemed to be corrupt.

But that’s the problem with people who use Apple stuff. Quite often the files that they save onto USB don’t transfer over to any other operating system without some work, and regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we were having these kinds of problem when we used to do the radio work. In the end, I had to format a USB drive specially to do the job back then.

Believe it or not, I did some tidying up too. Unpacking my suitcase and putting some stuff away. Not much, I hasten to add. It’s going to take more energy than I have right now to deal with all of that.

I put the washing away too – I had done a machine just before I left and had all of the stuff hung out to dry. And some more of the food too, although that involved clearing some space in the freezer and that wasn’t as easy as it sounds.

Next on the agenda was to look at all of the photos to date and to make some thumbnails of them of a reasonable size. That involves the use of three separate programs in order to get them just how I like them.

Having done that, I promised various people that I would put the photos on line in an accessible way (once I can find some additional room on my server to upload them of course). So I’ve made a start on making some web pages in the standard format that I’ve used since 2007. It’ll take quite a wile to do that but if I don’t start, I won’t ever finish.

Tea was exciting too. I’d bought a huge pile of mushrooms and some peppers the other day so I made a huge wok-full of mushroom and pepper curry in soya cream. It made a beautiful tea with rice, and there’s some in the fridge right now for a cunning plan, and there’s more happily freezing away in the freezer.

There was football on the internet this evening. Caernarfon Town v Bala Town in the Welsh Premier League. There are always good crowds at The Oval and this was no exception and the atmosphere was terrific.

The football was even better. Bala had by far the more skilful players but Caernarfon’s great strength is the camaraderie amongst the players – the Cofis really do play as a unit.

The final result of this pulsating, exciting match was 2-2 and that was about right. I do have to say that football in the Welsh Premier League doesn’t get much better than this.

Later in the evening TOTGA was on line. We haven’t spoken for quite some considerable time so we had a very lengthy chat. One day we might have a telephone chat or even a face-to-face chat if I am lucky.

So now, considerably later than anticipated, I can think about going back to bed. Even though it was a reasonably late start, I’ve gone all day without crashing out and even managing to do a pile of work.

One swallow doesn’t make a summer of course, but it’s an improvement. How will I be feeling tomorrow?

And I’ve just realised – it’s now 01:45 and not only have I not set foot outside, I’m still in my dressing gown from this morning.

Monday 26th October 2015 – AND THERE I WAS …

… deep in the arms of Morpheus, when the alarm went off. And I sat bolt upright and as I did so, all memory of where I’d been and what I’d been doing was completely wiped away.

After an early breakfast I reviewed everything that I’d written, collected up some music and then shot off to Marcillat, dodging the tractors on the way.

Recording the programmes didn’t take long, but what did take a good while was to find the events for the next month. We hadn’t been sent the dates by the tourist information office and the office was closed today. But scrounging around produced enough events to make up a decent programme or two.

Back at Liz and Terry’s, we had lunch (I had what was left over from last night) and vegan ginger cake, and Terry and I made some plans for the rest of the week.

Recording the Radio Arverne sessions was straightforward too and then Liz and I went off to do some shopping. With grapes at just €2:49 a kilo I bought a supply, but it goes without saying that they didn’t make it home.

In exchange for a coffee, Liz showed me how to use my mobile phone as a modem to power my laptop and now I can use my laptop anywhere in France provided that there’s a mobile phone signal, even if there isn’t a wi-fi signal.

Back here I had some work to catch up on and I made a quick meal too. But what has caught me by surprise was that with not having used the inverter at all today, of the 200 amp-hours of solar energy that I received today, 168 amp-hours of it went into the 12-volt immersion heater and the temperature went off the scale. Consequently I went and had a really good washing-up session of plates and dishes.

Tomorrow, what I’ll be doing depends upon the weather. If it’s raining, I’m off to Terry’s. But if it’s dry, he’s coming around here.

Tuesday 11th August 2015 – WELL THAT DIDN’T GO ACCORDING TO PLAN

So in the absence of any better offer this afternoon, I set to work to move this Hyundai. First thing though – the battery in the Kubota was flat. Not much of a surprise – I haven’t used it since last October. And so I had to put it on charge for a while.

Later on, I put the battery back and made sure that the Kubota started, and then went back in ready to do the job as it went dark.

later that night, I went back out, to find that the battery was flat again. So I moved Caliburn down to jump-start the Kubota. Once the Kubota fired up, off I went to tow the Hyundai, leaving Caliburn there.

And wasn’t that a fatal mistake?

I eventually managed to put the Hyundai out of my drive (it’s not easy pushing a big heavy car like that and I’m far from in the prime of life) and then set off to tow it away.

But that didn’t work, as the Kubota didn’t have the waft to pull it away. It just dug itself into the gravel up to the axles. Giving it a final whack and the motor stalled. And, of course, the battery is now flat again.

And so, we are stuck in the lane that the farmer needs for access to his field in the following order –

  1. the Kubota, with a flat battery
  2. the scrap Hyundai that won’t run at all
  3. Caliburn, the only vehicle that is working right now

And it goes without saying that Caliburn is stuck down at the bottom end of the cul de sac and can’t move until the others are gone. If only I had moved him first.

I really and sincerely wish from the bottom of my heart that I had never set eyes on this vehicle and that I had never set eyes upon its owner. I am thoroughly and completely fed up.

All I need now is for the farmer to put in an appearance and I shall be well and truly stuck. I am beginning to hate everyone and everything.

But apart from that, the morning was comparatively successful. Liz phoned me up early (and I was awake long beforehand too) and so I took her off to Riom and the hospital, in exchange for which she did a couple of loads of washing for me to bring me up to date.

Although Liz’s news from the hospital might be perceived in some quarters as being bad, for Liz it is in fact good news because it confirms her suspicions, and with the knowledge that she gained today, things can only get better and that is what she needs to know.

We went for a coffee and then off to Gerzat for the Radio Anglais recording sessions there. They passed quite easily and incident-free, which makes a great change and makes it quite a pleasure to go there.

sculpted fountain chatel guyon puy de dome franceIt was such a nice day so we stopped for a coffee on the way back.

Chatel-Guyon is a beautiful spa-town at the foot of the Combrailles. It’s a beautiful place to visit for an afternoon’s walk but we just contented ourselves with sitting outside a cafe near a sculpted fountain
looking at the water, soaking up the sun and drinking a good strong coffee in pleasant company.

And then back home to more of this total nonsense.

How I hate this car.

Thursday 6th August 2015 – *@#&*@ç&!

Yes, tomorrow is my last day to work on this car as I’m now booked up before I go away.

And the client says that he can’t come down. Apparently he has a paying job that has come in, and my convenience is apparently so much lower than that. Well, it’s nice to know where I stand.

He says that he’ll come round on Saturday morning and finish it off, but I won’t be here. I’ll be in Montlucon. And the car had better be gone by the time that I come back as I’ll be putting Caliburn in my drive. I’m off for 9 weeks and I’m not leaving Caliburn in the lane under any circumstances. I haven’t paid all of this money for this concreting that we did last year to leave my van on the public highway.

And I also need to clean my drive, with the amount of oil that’s leaked out of this car. That has totally dismayed me.

This blasted Hyundai has totally messed up all of my plans. There’s no chance whatever now of me tiling my bathroom before I go and I wanted to have this long-done before I go.

I’ve had a major sense of humour failure over this car. And the worst of it all is that, having seen the photos that I posted on here a week or so ago, you know as well as anyone else that this vehicle won’t be going very far even if we do manage to get it going. I’ve wasted all of this time and done all of this effort for absolutely nothing and I’m sure that I won’t receive any thanks for it. I shan’t see the owner of this vehicle ever again until his next car goes wrong.

Apart from that, we were radioing today at Marcillat. Two months’ worth of programmes that we recorded for Radio Anglais
this morning and that will take us up to the end of October with the next recording sessions pencilled in for 26th October. Just one more session, at Gerzat on Tuesday, and that will be that.

Liz and I went for a long chat afterwards and then I came back here. On the way back, I noticed that the construction work on the edge of Marcillat on the bed of the old railway line has now developed into a small petrol station. It seems that we will be having some 24-hour petrol pumps there. The Auvergne is definitely dragging itself into the 21st Century.

Back here, I had a pile of stuff to do, most of which I managed to complete, and I even managed for once to make some food this evening. This is progress.

I should have been having a day out on Monday but I’ve cancelled that now. I have too much to do, and it’s a shame that the tiling isn’t going to figure in that. I’m really fed up now.

Monday 3rd August 2015 – I HATE PEOPLE …

… who post on the internet photos of what they have been eating.

vegan meal clermont ferrand puy de dome franceHowever, just very occasionally, there are rare occasions where a meal merits being photographed, and this is one of them.

Right in the centre of Clermont-Ferrand this lunchtime, not one of the restaurants had a vegan meal on offer, but there was one where the chef was busy plying his art (and art it was) in the corner of the dining area and so I went over for a chat.

And this is the result. And no complaints whatever from me. I had a struggle to finish it.

So after a telephone call at a time where quite often I hadn’t even been to bed, I was down at Sauret Besserve and picked up Liz, and off we went to Riom for Liz’s hospital appointment.

I had a wait of about 50 minutes for a groggy-looking Liz to emerge, and then we went off for a coffee so that she could recover.

Next stop was the Auchan but there weren’t any of the Nikon D7000 cameras there – it’s an end-of-range deal and the prices had been slashed so I wasn’t expecting much, but nevertheless, we were nearby so it was worth a try.

tram clermont ferrand puy de dome franceAnd then a first for Liz.

We decided to go into the centre of Clermont Ferrand and the tram lines pass at the rear of the Auchan so, leaving Caliburn on the car park, we hopped on a tram that whisked us silently and effortlessly into the city.

€1:50 a ticket and there can’t be much better value than that. Anyone who has driven into the centre of Clermont Ferrand and tried to find a parking place will tell you all about that.

We went for a walk, went to the Tourist Information office and down to the Conseil-General – and I had a brainwave. I need to insure Strider, the Ranger, in Canada and I wondered if I could obtain a printout of my licence showing my motoring history.

We queued for a good while and, at the counter, “yes, we can do that. Do you have your driving licence?”
So I duly produced it
“And do you have your identoty papers?”
“Ohh blast! I’ve left them in Caliburn, haven’t I?”
“We are really supposed to see some identity papers in order to do this over the counter, but I’ll tell you what – let’s do it anyway”

So there we were!

pope urban II crusade cathedral clermont ferrand puy de dome franceBack to the city square and in the shadow of Pope Urban II preaching the First Crusade to the pigeons fluttering around the Cathedral, we had our lunch.

Back on the tram and off to Gerzat to record the Radio Anglais programmes for the next few weeks, giving Samantha Fish her first run-out, and then back home.

All in all a quite profitable day.

And hats off to the reception staff at the hospital at Riom, hats off to the chef in Clermont Ferrand and hats off also to the lady at the driving licence desk at the Prefecture in Clermont Ferrand. Things are definitely looking up!


Today’s temperature outside reached a massive 39.4°C and that can’t be far short of a record. No wonder I had a hard time starting work today.

This morning I wasn’t as bright and breezy as yesterday, even though I had the Dawn Chorus again giving me a helping hand. After breakfast I mooched around for a little and then plucked up the courage to attack the radio programmes.The second lot for Radio Arverne are now half-completed and should be done by Sunday, and I have to check over the rock programmes for Radio Tartasse because they are being recorded on Monday.

When I finally managed to attack the bathroom, it was really slow progress. I’ve only done the first three rows of the ceiling, but then again each one had to be cut and shaped by hand so it isn’t surprising. In fact, because of the way that I’ve done everything, there’s going to be a lot of the ceiling that’s going to have to be cut and shaped by hand.

I’ve also had to fit a supporting strut in the ceiling. There’s going to be a flying shelf in the bathroom and the brackets to hang it from the ceiling have to be fitted, and that’s why I needed the supporting strut.

Apart from that, I had to unload Caliburn ready for my trip to Montlucon tomorrow and you’ve no idea how much I didn’t want to do that in the heat that we were having. But at least the water in the solar shower was 39.0°C so that I could have a really good soak.

Now here’s a thing.

Apparently in the UK, there’s been a minute’s silence in memory of those who were killed in Tunisia. Now – can you remember if we ever had a minute’s silence in memory of anyone who was killed by an IRA terrorist?

This is an old Nazi trick and the Nazis used it to perfection. Whenever an “atrocity” was committed by a hated enemy, they would have these ceremonial minutes’ silence, parade funerals, eulogies and all that kind of thing. They whip up the emotions and subsequently the hatred, and then the Government can go ahead and invade another country to “revenge these dreadful deaths” and the public will be so whipped up by hatred that they can’t see what’s going on. And when you see the outpourings of the Tory Government, that echo the comments that the Nazis made about a death in Danzig or the Sudetenland, you realise just how much the Tories have learned from the Nazis and how much of it they have put into practice.

When it came to whipping up hatred against the Irish Republic or the Vatican over the deaths and other atrocities committed by the IRA, the Government was strangely silent. But when it comes to doing it against brown-skinned people, all of the gloves are off. This tells you all that you need to know about the British Government’s racist policies.

And don’t forget that it was the West that declared war on Islam, with the bushbaby’s “crusade” speech. And just who is so naive to believe that when you declare war on someone and start to fight them, they are not going to fight back?

You couldn’t make that up could you? It just shows you the depths to which the intellectual capacity of the Western world has sunk.

Thursday 2nd July 2015 – NOW HERE’S ANOTHER THING!

Wide awake and up and about at 06:30.

Yes, I’ve often been up and about at 06:30 and I’ve often been wide awake at 06:30 too, but I don’t recall ever having done both of them at the same time.

Mind you, I blame the Dawn Chorus.

I went to bed last night and left the bedroom window open – the best way that I could think of of keeping cool. And with no curtains, I had the view of a most beautiful moon to send me to sleep. But as dawn broke, we had the cacophony that is Mother Nature, and that was that.

So after an early start and early breakfast, I attacked the radio programmes. Everything is now ready for the next recording session, which is next week in Marcillat and at the beginning of August at Gerzat. And then I need to do a series of programmes for the next session at Gerzat, four more rock shows and then that, dear reader, will be the radio all organised until the beginning of November.

And quite right too because today, I booked my flight to Canada. I’m leaving on August 14 and coming back on October 14th. Now that I have my own vehicle out there in Canada, then nothing can stop me and I intend to make the most of it.

I’m flying out from Lyon this time, as I said that I would, and not by Air Transat, the bucket shop operator either. Strangely enough, Air Transat want an astonishing $1129 – that’s about €1050 – for a direct flight from Lyon to Montreal and return. However if I go via Zurich on the outbound flight (staying overnight, which suits me fine as I haven’t yet had a good wander around the city) and come back with a changeover at Frankfurt-am-Main, it costs me all of … errr … €788 (plus the hotel in Zurich).

And that’s not with a bucket-shop operator either, that’s with … errr … Swissair, one of the world’s best airlines.

How about that?

But returning to our moutons, as the French say, I’ve also reconstituted the radio databases that were lost (and that wasn’t a five-minute job either) and I’ve also built a simple page on Facebook for Radio Anglais. It’s high time that I sorted something out for this and did a little advertising. It seems that Social Media is the way to go these days.

And did I mention Strider? He is of course a Ranger, the Ford Ranger that I own in Canada and whom I shall be making much use of. I was speaking to an insurance company in Canada today on the telephone and they have sorted out some insurance for me. That’s that bit resolved and all Strider needs now is a safety check (that’s pretty much a formality) and then I can register him in my name – especially as I now have an address in Canada thanks to Service New Brunswick.

I’ve had Rosemary on the telephone twice today. The first time for a really good chat which was very nice, and the second time it was a very delighted and enthusiastic Rosemary who called with a little good news. Ages ago I bought a cheap electric pump to pump out the water from the inspection pit and it worked in spades. Rosemary was impressed and bought one to use in her well.

Anyway, to cut a long story short … "hooray" – ed … with all of the dry weather that we have been having, her water butts are empty and so she set to pump up some water from the well with her pump. And so impressed is she with the result that she rang me up to tell me.

I’ve spent much of the afternoon searching again – for the plastic vent covers for the air holes that i’ll be cutting in the bathroom door. I know that I have them, and they were in the bedroom until I emptied it out in February.

Then, I put them somewhere safe so that they won’t be broken, and that is that. Disappeared off the face of the earth. They’ll turn up on Monday though – that I’ll promise you because on Saturday I’ll be buying some more so that I’m not held up.

door shuts cut down floorboard les guis virlet puy de dome franceIn the meantime, talking of cutting, I cut down a floorboard into 25mm strips with the table-top saw and sanded down the edges with the belt sander. With the strips, I made all of the door jambs for the shower room door and the window frame above, and nailed them into position.

I’ve also fitted some quarter-round beading in the corner between the bedroom door and the shower room door so that part is finished too.

Tomorrow, always assuming that I don’t find the missing vents, I’ll be starting on the false ceiling in the shower room. I must remember to cut the holes for the lights and also for the shelf support. And to connect up the final bit of wiring that needs to be done there.

Monday 29th June 2015 – BLIMEY!

Wasn’t it hot today! At one point when we were in Gerzat in mid-afternoon, the temperature on Caliburn’s thermometer was showing 41.3°C outside and off the scale (ie more than 50°C) inside. And it felt like it too.

Yes, we’ve been radioing today, haven’t we?

And I had a dramatic change of plan too. At 08:45 – 20 minutes before I’m due to leave here to head off to Marcillat and Radio Tartasse, I was busy scanning the news – to discover that Chris Squire, the legendary bassist with Yes, had died.

So with just 20 minutes before I had to leave here to record the rock programmes, I was sitting down and totally re-writing the show.

I recorded the rock shows and then Liz came to join me for the normal sessions. That will take us up to the end of July so we could then head back to Liz’s. After lunch (and finishing off the gorgeous dessert that we started yesterday) it was off to the furnace that was Gerzat and Radio Arverne.

We recoded another 5 programmes there, which will take us nicely up to the beginning of September, and another couple of goes should see us well on our way towards the end of the year. But we need to be well in advance with holidays coming up. Liz is off to the UK to see family and then when she comes back, I’ll be off to Canada.

On the way back, I stopped for fuel and a little shopping, and a nice cold drink in view of the heat, and I was back here for 18:20, promptly crashing out for an hour or so as it was far too hot up here to be comfortable.

And talking of being comfortable, I was on my travels again last night, in my nice clean bed. I was with Trixi and a few other people and we were doing a yoga tour of Europe, ending up in the Ukraine and Belarus, before coming back to the Netherlands via Northern Europe. But to cut a long story short … "hooray" – ed … the group of people who had come with us had become fed up and left the tour to the two of us. They went home via the south of Europe and had become snowed in in Northern Italy while the two of us carried nonchalantly on in the north.

Monday 1st JUNE 2015 – I’M RELIEVED …

… that it’s not just me who doesn’t do mornings. I had to take Caliburn to the garage to have his brakes fixed, and when I arrived (at 07:50) the garage owner was busy opening up the place. I said hello (or, rather, bonjour) and I was greeted by a series of grunts.

Yes, 07:50. I was up and wide awake by O7:00, which makes a change, and having gathered everything that I needed for today, I was on the road by 07:30 and that’s not like me at all.

garage jaillot st gervais d'auvergne puy de dome franceMind you, I couldn’t help a little smile as I left the premises. Here I was, taking Caliburn to a garage to have the rear brakes fixed, and here are the rear brakes on the garage’s van.

It’s certainly true to say that garages always have the worst cars, just as electricians have the worst electrics, and plumbers have the houses with the most leaky pipes.

abandoned railway station st gervais d'auvergne puy de dome franceSeeing as I was much too early for Terry, I walked into town. And my route took me past the abandoned railway station here at St Gervais.

The station and the railway line here were closed suddenly and dramatically when it was announced that a snap inspection of the Viaduc des Fades, the highest railway viaduct in the world when it was built, had discovered that the viaduct was totally unfit to take the weight of trains.

But anyone who came with me on out little walk across the viaduct will have noticed that there was nothing sudden about the state of the viaduct. It had been decaying for years and no-one had bothered to look at it – or, rather, they had put off the work so that it would all need doing at once and that would be a good excuse for closing down the line.

Terry and I went off to Riom and much to our surprise, at the sous-prefecture we were number 48, and they were dealing with number 33. That meant a wait of about an hour, a far cry from when I went to register Caliburn in 2009 and I was number 143 and had to wait until after midday.

It was painless at the sous-prefecture and then we went off to have the number plates made for his new van and for me to deal with a taxation issue at the Tresor Publique.

After lunch it was back to Gerzat for the Radio Arverne sessions, and I didn’t feel much like it due to my early start. Liz and I went shopping afterwards and had a coffee, and it was back to see how Caliburn was doing. They had managed to free off all of the mechanism but they needed some parts, which won’t be here until tomorrow. So Liz ran me home and I crashed out. I can’t last the pace these days.

Sunday 3rd May 2015 – TODAY WAS ANOTHER DAY …

… where I’ve hardly set foot outside the door. In fact, the only time that I went out (apart from doing the stats) was to rescue my coffee mug from Caliburn.

And as it was Sunday, I had the alarms switched off and so I slept through until 09:50 – and quite right too. It’s what Sundays are for;

I was on my travels last night and I had one of those rare (for me, at least, but not apparently so rare for other people who were on this study that we did) occasions where I wasn’t a participant but a spectator. All the events took place in the USA, in quite a wealthy area in a huge modern house inhabited by a banker. He and another banker were busy trying to undermine the bank of a rival company and I was watching them try to use all kinds of disreputable tactics, including implicating the children of this third banker, to achieve their aims.

The interesting thing about this was the viewpoint from which I was observing the events. At times, I was in the room with everyone, and ay other times I was high up in the sky with a kind of drone’s-eye view. And the view from this viewpoint included a splendid school of a circus school and in particular the school for the flying trapeze and my view from here was being continually interrupted by trapeze artists flying through my field of view.

Apart from that, I’ve been working on the radio programmes for Radio Anglais. I finished off the rock music programmes and then did the additional notes for the next five weeks of Radio Arverne radio programmes.

As well as that, I did some research into where I’ll be going in Germany next week

And that’s my lot really. And quite right too. I’m entitled to a day of rest. Tomorrow, it’s back to work.

Monday 20th April 2015 – WELL, I’M ALL SPENT UP NOW.

€790 in IKEA today, and I didn’t buy anything like what I was planning to do.

None of the kitchen worktops impressed me except for one – and that was a mere €399 per m², which is perhaps a little over the top and in any case, I don’t have the machinery to cut the marble.

I’ll have to see what’s on offer elsewhere.

But I now have my bed and a nice and expensive firm mattress, as well as a pile of new bedding, and a nice dark-brown deep-pile rug to go by the side of the bed. I’ve also bought some mirrors for the bedroom.

And that’s where all of my money has gone today. But it’s all good stuff anyway.

This morning I finally finished off everything for the rock music programmes that we’ll be recording next week, and I’m well on the way to doing the next month’s too.

Then it was off to pick up Liz and down to Gerzat to record the Radio Arverne sessions, and then we went to IKEA.

spectacular clouds st gervais d'auvergne puy de dome franceOn the way back, we had some spectacular clouds. This one over St Gervais really was impressive – much better than it looks in the photograph.

And the town over there, bathed in the sunlight, looked quite good too. All in all, it really was a beautiful evening to be out and about. We could do with a few more of these.

buds on apple trees les guis virlet puy de dome franceDown at Riom and Gerzat, the trees are already in full bloom, so I was quite impressed to see that the fruit trees that I have in buckets outside the front door are now blooming too.

It’s all of a couple of weeks late of course, as I have said already, but it’s still as beautiful as ever when it does arrive. It’s a sure sign that summer is on its way.

Sunday 19th April 2015 – I HAD A NICE LIE-IN …

… this morning – but I nearly didn’t!

When I woke up, it wasn’t even 08:00 but if anyone really thinks that I am going to heave myself out of my stinking pit at that time of a morning on a Sunday, they are mistaken. I turned over and went back to sleep – and it was a much-more-respectable 10:30 when I finally awoke from the dead.

First job, after the usual offices, was to make another load of muesli, seeing as how the muesli drum was empty. For the benefit of my readers, it’s a pile of porridge oats with cornflakes and bran sticks mixed in. And then a bag of nuts, some trail mix (you know – the dried fruit, raisins, coconut shavings and the like), some dessicated coconut and anything else around here that looks nice. Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and so on.

After breakfast, I finished off the live concert that I was engineering and I do have to say that it’s the best one yet. Tons of stuff has been hacked out, tons of stuff added in, and now that I’ve worked out how to overlap tracks and dub sound effects and so on, it comes out really well.

Working under pressure is a great way of pushing back the boundaries of knowledge with a computer program. When you know that a task is useful and that it seems logical for people to want to do it, then it’s sure to be there in a program somewhere and you need to spend the time to ferret it out.

When I first started to work with Audacity, the program that I use for sound engineering, I remember posting at length about how disappointed I was with it, and how I wished that I had the older program that we used in another lifetime – Polderbits – back again. But credit where credit is due. I’m becoming much more used to Audacity and each week I’m discovering more and more facilities and functions, and I’m now a quite happy little user of the product.

For lunch, I made some hummus again. A pile of chick peas, tahini, water, olive oil, turmeric, cumin and garlic. I remembered that I had fetched from Marianne’s an ancient electric stick-mixer and with that I made a hummus 10 times easier than I have ever made by hand.

The I sat down to watch the football. Next week is the final match of the Welsh Premier League season (already!) and Bangor are playing Rhyl. There cannot be two clubs anywhere in the footballing world that hate each other more than these two, and Rhyl will be going for the throat. They’ll do Bangor no favours whatever in their battle to avoid relegation. And Cefn Druids have an easier match against Carmarthen Town.

So today’s match against Prestatyn is vital to Bangor. Bangor are just two points ahead of the Druids and this is their match in hand, so they must get at least a point from this match to be safe. And of course, it’s being streamed live on the internet.

For once, the Bangor players remembered to turn up and while in the first half they were struggling a little (even conceding a penalty, but the Bangor keeper saved it) in the second half they came good and raced into a 3-0 lead before I’d even settled down.

Towards the end, Lee Beattie for Prestatyn scored what must be a contender for the Goal of the Decade – you won’t ever see a better goal than this one.

I was round at Liz and Terry’s later. We’re recording the Radio Arverne programmes tomorrow afternoon and so we had rehearsals to do. And Liz made a nice meal too.

Now I’m going to have an early night – I deserve it.

Monday 23rd March 2015 – THAT STRANGE ROUND GOLDEN THING …

. .. that I glimpsed in the sky yesterday was there for all of the day today. It was the nicest day of the year so far, beautiful and warm, and down by Chatelguyon all of the trees are now in blossom. Spring is definitely on its way, and a couple of warm sunny days will see it here too.

Liz and I were radioing today, starting off at Marcillat and Radio Tartasse. I was there at 09:30 to record the rock programmes and then Liz joined me for the information programmes that we do. Violette was back in charge of the studio today, and you could tell that she’s not quite with it following the passing of Henri.

I had to go to Pionsat on the way back to drop of Simon’s superb floorboard machine (and I gave him a bottle of wine for his trouble) but the boulangère who I wanted to see – she’s back from holiday now but of course Monday is her closing day, so that was a waste of time.

Liz made a salad for lunch and then we went down to Gerzat and Radio Arverne for the next round of programmes there – and it was as we dropped out of the mountains at Chatelguyon that we noticed the trees and the blossom.

We did 5 programmes for Radio Arverne – I need to start to get ahead for the summer or I’ll be catching up with muself if I’m not careful.

Back here, I crashed out for an hour or two. This is becoming something of a habit now.

Sunday 1st March 2015 – I SHOULD HAVE …

… gone to Chamalières this afternoon for the footy as FC Pionsat St Hilaire were replaying a postponed match from before the Winter Break. However, what with one thing or another, I couldn’t summon up the energy to hit the road.

I had a nice lie-in though – 11:00 it was when I left my comfortable bed. And after breakfast I finished off the rock music notes for Radio Anglais and then started on the additional notes for the Radio Arverne broadcasts. This wasn’t as easy as it might have been, because April is one of these 5-week months where I have to write something random to fill in the extra week.

I try to write something about French culture and history for those broadcasts, but my two little booklets couldn’t produce a single useful item that happened in that week in the past and I ended up having to use the internet to search out something. As it happens, that week in April is the anniversary of the date of an attempted coup d’etat against the French government in 1961, and while maybe the French don’t like to talk too much about it, it’s quite an interesting historical event for foreigners, for the coup d’etat hinged upon several other events in French history about which we foreigners know very little.

I’ve not progressed very far though because I’ve been more interested in reading rather than writing, but I’m hoping that I can find half an hour or so tomorrow morning to do some more.

I was on my travels in the night too. I’d actually bought another apartment in Brussels – one that was really nice and comfortable and with a beautiful west-facing balcony where I could sit in the sunset. One of the prime reasons for doing this was to keep in touch with the girl who was working at my solicitors as I had a little crush on her.

In fact, there was a group of us travelling somewhere and we had to meet up at a car park on the edge of town. I resolved to walk to the car park as I knew that she was taking her car and I intended to blag a ride with her. I turned down a couple of offers from other people and sure enough, she turned up but in another car driven by a friend. They agreed to give me a lift, but the girl sat in the back (which spoiled all my plans) and I sat in the front next to the driver.

On arriving at our destination, we all left the car but across the square was a Citroen Traction Avant painted bright yellow. Of course, I had to go off and photograph it (it had turned into a Solex moped by this time) and I lost touch with this girl with whom I had been hoping to spend the day.

Such is life when you travel on your nocturnal voyages.

But was really was significant about today was that this was the first morning of the year when I recall hearing the birds chattering away early in the morning. Spring must be just around the corner.

Monday 23rd February 2015 – I’M NOT SURE WHAT’S HAPPENING …

… but I’ve had a bit of a bad day today.

Despite having something of a decent night’s sleep last night, I almost crashed out recording the radio programmes this morning, and it was something of an effort to drive back from Gerzat this afternoon. Back here, I crashed out for 3 hours or so and now, at just 22:40, I’m dying to crawl into bed and forget about today completely.

Mind you, I had something of an exhausting night last night and that might explain a great deal. I was walking from Brussels back to here and in the traditions of the well-known Irish joke, I’d fund a boarding house with a typical boarding house landlady, and I was setting out there to walk the route. When I reached the end of the day and was tired out, I would walk back to the boarding house for the night, and then next morning, walk back to where i’d left off the previous evening, and start out along the route, walking back to the boarding house at the end of the day.

No wonder I was exhausted.

At Radio Tartasse, we learned the news that we had been dreading – that Henri had not recoverd from his illness. He was 90 years of age but looked probably no older than 70 and was full of vitality, but a short while before Christmas he went down as if he had been poleaxed, and aged 40 years overnight.

It’s something that catches up with all of us eventually, sooner or later, but I really enjoyed Henri’s company, his knowledge and his good humour and I shall miss him.

After lunch, during which I demolished the leftovers of Liz’s vegetable pie from yesterday, we went off to Gerzat. and although we had a half-hour wait for the studio, the recording sessions went perfectly and we’d done in an hour with no delay at all.

And then I had to come back here.

But now I’m off to bed, I’ve cancelled the alarms and I’m going to sleep for ever. I really must be sickening for something.