Tag Archives: st eloy les mines

Friday 24th July 2020 – I’M WHACKED PART II

It’s been another really difficult day today right enough.

Just for a change … “quite” – ed … I missed the three alarms. I couldn’t summon up the energy to leave the bed. 06:30 was when I finally saw the light.

Rosemary brought me a cup of tea again at 07:00 which was nice, and I listened to the dictaphone in luxury.

We were moving about exploring last night and some of our party – we were in the snows – decided that we would go for a look round. he said “I’d be away for a few months” so off he went and we stayed there in our tents during the winter amusing ourselves and keeping ourselves busy. This guy never ever came back. After a month or so we were thinking of having a search party for him.

There was something else to do with – I don’t know what it was about really. The only thing that i can remember from this dream was that there were some people discussing some kind of – I didn’t know what it was. They were discussing this object and I was talking about something that needed examining and checking over. The guy said “that’s all right. I’ve replaced them anyway with normal stuff”. When I had a look, what I was looking at was a dark blue Ford Escort and what he had been referring to was some optional extra wheels that he had now taken off and put on some standard ones.

when I finished the paperwork we had breakfast.

Having rung Ingrid we set off for St Eloy les Mines and the dechetterie and tipped the rubbish into the container. And that wasn’t easy, being surrounded by people who didn’t know how to drive.

Having finally been able to empty the rubbish out of the trailer, we pushed off to chez moi again.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallOne of the things that I wanted to do that I hadn’t done the other day was to fight my way into the barn. So donning the gloves and wielding the brushcutter off I went and fought my way through the brambles.

As usual, Rosemary and Ingrid (when she arrived) followed on behind with the clippers and trimmers to make the passage easier.

It took a while to accomplish it too. Ingrid and I aren’t well and the heat was oppressive as well so we worked to a rhythm of maybe 20 minutes working and then a 10-minute pause for water and a breather. And all of this seemed to work because we made it across to the barn in the end without any undue difficulty.

From somewhere, and I’m not sure where, I even found the strength to fight my way to the downhill lean-to and I can get in there now, although I’m not too sure that I actually want to. The state of the place filled me with dismay.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallanother task that needed doing, for which Rosemary volunteered, was to sweep the concrete hardstanding.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, it was overwhelmed with debris but we took most of that down to the dechetterie the other day. But there was still a lot of dust and dirt, old leaves, weeds and the like that were all over the place looking untidy so Rosemary went berserk with the yard brush.

Ingrid and I joined in later when we had finished what we were doing and by the time that we were ready to go, the place was looking all quite nice and tidy. And if that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

By the time that we were finished we were totally exhausted. It was something like a stagger back home. Nothing important for the dechetterie so in the end we just bagged the rubbish and dropped it in the waste bin.

When we plucked up the courage (round about 16:00) we had lunch and then I crashed out for an hour or so. Well away with the fairies.

Later I fixed a dismantled settee and then it was my turn to make tea. We had a stuffed pepper which Rosemary enjoyed very much.

A shower and a clothes wash finished my day – and finished me too. I’m now off to bed to catch up with my beauty sleep.

Thursday 23rd July 2020 – I’M WHACKED!

Yes, it’s been a very hard day today.

Having crashed out so definitively yesterday evening, I slept right through and even missed the third alarm. Only by a few minutes but nevertheless …

First task was to write up my journal from last night, in the middle of which Rosemary brought me a cup of tea. Even so, I managed somehow to crash out again.

Afrer breakfast we organised a few things and then set off.

First port of call was near St Priest les Champs to drop off the door. And as it happens, Rosemary knows the lady of the house so we had a chat for a while.

Second was Ingrid’s at Biollet where she made us a drink. We had a really good chat and then went round to pick up her trailer – a big single-beast trailer much bigger than I was expecting. But the bigger the better. I can fit more stuff in it.

caliburn trailer pouzol puy de dome france eric hallRosemary and I said goodbye to Ingrid and set off to my place.

Tons of stuff lying around there that was of no use to man nor beast and that was something that I was always going to do “tomorrow”. But it was depressing me seeing it all lying there like that so we heaved it all into the trailer regardless.

But as an aside, I need to work on my reversing. I’m somewhat out of practice and I made something of a dog’s breakfast getting the trailer down the track to my house.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallOne thing that I wanted to do while I was there was to check on the pointing of the wall that I had built in 2012.

No cows in the field and no farmer about so we went in to check.

It’s all holding up remarkably well, all things considered, and I’m proud of the job that I did on that considering that it was my first proper effort at building a stone wall. But the joint between the lean-to and the main house wall is separating and if I do ever make it back I’ll need to refill that.

The dechetterie at St Eloy les Mines would be closed for lunch by now so we made our way back home for something to eat. Rosemary indicated some more rubbish that needed heaving into the trailer while she made the food.

This afternoon Rosemary had a bank appointment so I went off to the dechetterie where the old woman in charge directed me to the correct bay to unload it.

Back now to my house where I loaded up the trailer yet again. The concrete parking space is now clear of nonsense, some of the rubbish hanging around outside has gone too, and I’ve even thrown away some stuff in the verandah too. Plenty more to go at too, stuff that’s been hanging around for centuries and which probably will never be used..

bedroom les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallWhile I was there, I went to check on the bedroom.

It seems to be unaffected by the rodent infestation so I spent some time in there sorting out some stuff in the wardrobes. There were a few bits and pieces that I wanted to collect that I’d stored in there for safe-keeping and so I rescued them.

The rest of the stuff that’s in there can remain for another day or until I move back down whenever

bedroom les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallBut I do have to say that it was totally depressing to see the bedroom looking like this.

It took me four long years (not continuously, of course) to convert it from A RUBBLE-STREWN WRECK into wnat you see today, complete with fitted wardrobes and everything, and I was so proud of what i’d managed to build with my own fair hands.

And all in all, I reckon that I had no more than about three months’ use out of it before I was taken ill and rushed to hospital. That was the saddest part of all about this.

As for the attic, that’s had it, I reckon. And so has everything in there, I reckon. There’s little hope of salvaging anything from there although I did bring out a set of plastic drawers.

On the ground floor I did some tidying up – just a little. And there’s plenty more to go at in there too.

All in all, I could spend the rest of my life tidying up in there and still not see the end of it all. No matter what I did, I could never make that place look tidy

The dechetterie would be closed by now so I came on back to Rosemary’s, totally exhausted, with a full trailer behind Caliburn.

We had tea and a good chat, following which I had a shower and washed my clothes. And all of that was just as well too.

Plenty more work to do tomorrow- this little visit is far from over – not by any means. A good night’s sleep is called for so that I can be fighting fit. But there’s little hope of that.

Wednesday 22nd July 2020 – BACK HOME

Yes, I’ve been back home today.

And before anyone suggests that it’s rather a long way for me to drive in my current circumstances, that isn’t actually what I mean.

For a change I was awake quite early, and so there was time to listen to the dictaphone

It was a confusing voyage last night. There were quite a few of us and I’m not quite sure of what we were doing and where we were going but we were all young teenagers, that kind of thing or a few maybe even younger and that’s basically all that I can remember.

While I was typing out all of that I even had a cup of coffee brought to me in bed. And how any years is it since that ever happened?

Having dealt with all of the paperwork I went down to breakfast and then decided (just for a change) to organise myself.

I emptied everything out of the back of Caliburn, tidied him a little, found a pile of rubbish that needed throwing away, and then threw a few gardening tools in the back.

Having made two phone calls, we set off.

First port of call was in St Eloy where I bought some petrol in a container. Second, also in St Eloy, was for some rubber gloves and a pile of rat and mouse poison.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallWe then disappeared off into the countryside and ended up back at home – my old place in Les Guis.

Time hasn’t been kind to it at all. In the couple of years since I’ve been there nature has totally overwhelmed it and it was something like an Amazon rainforest.

But by now Ingrid had arrived and the three of us set to with a will. I went ahead with Terry’s brush-cutter and cut a swathe through the vegetation, with Rosemary and Ingrid following on behind with the clippers.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallAnd it was really hard work too there. The heat didn’t help very much.

What also didn’t help much was all of the objects hidden in the undergrowth. The brushcutter and its blade looked as if it had fought a war (which it probably had) as I hacked my way through the undergrowth.

All of this in just a couple of years since Terry and I were here last picking up the mini-tractor. It’s hardly a surprise that lost cities are still being discovered in the Amazon rainforest with vegetation growing like this.

les guis virlet puy de dome france eric hallBy the time that 14:00 arrived, we had reached the house and could go in all of the doors there.

And how sad everything was, with reams and reams of cobwebs, dust and everything all over the place. And we were exhausted too by this point and so called it a day.

As we weresitting around chatting, a neighbour came round to see us and to see how things were and we had a little discussion. But Ingrid went off for her appointment and Rosemary and I came home for a rather late lunch.

Later on, I went back to my house. Those two phone calls that I’d made earlier – one had been to Ingrid and the other had been to someone else.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’ve been slowly replacing the windows in the house and that I bought a matching front door. That needs a new doorframe building but because it has to be in hardwood and not softwood, it’s beyond the capacity of the tools that I have here.

Previously, I’d made “local enquiries” and someone had come up the name of a reliable joiner. It had always been my intention to have a joiner make a doorframe, so I had phoned him up.

Much to my surprise (and yours too) I asked him when he would be free. He replied “I can come at 18:00”.

You can’t put obstacles in the path of willing workmen so I arranged to meet him at the Intermarché in Pionsat. We drove up to the house and he did all the measurements. While I was at it, I mentioned the third window that is yet to be installed. “I’ll do that as well if you like”.

And why not?

So the arrangement is that I’ll drop off the door on him tomorrow and leave him to it. There’s no time schedule – he can do it whenever he’s free. Which won’t be before September because all of the sawmills will be closed for summer holiday.

Having bid my farewell, I drove back to Rosemary’s where she had made tea.

A shower to clean myself up and to wash my clothes was next and then, shame as it is to say it, I crashed right out.

The exercise had clearly affected me and I felt that I had done quite enough for today. I’ll write up my notes in the morning.

Saturday 9th January 2016 – WE HAD SOMETHING …

… of a minor crisis here today – like waking up and finding a puddle on the floor of the kitchen. First job therefore was to dismantle … "disPERSONtle" – ed … the kitchen unit where the sink was. Sure enough, one of the water pipes was soaking wet.

This meant turning off the water and checking all of the joints. One or two rubber washers inside were rather perished so Terry replaced them all, and then switched the water back on. And sure enough, five minutes later, more water!

After lunch, further inspection revealed that one of the braided tap-hoses seemed to be distorted. It’s not that it ever is so cold in the kitchen that the water would freeze and burst the hose but it didn’t look right at all, and after an exhaustive search, Terry couldn’t find a spare one. So off to Montlucon and Brico Depot (a round trip of 110 kms).

He was back after 40 minutes. Passing by St Eloy, he noticed that the plumber’s was open. It costs twice as much in there as it would in Brico Depot, but it saves on time and on fuel. So crawling back underneath the cupboard, he wielded his spanner and … CRACKKKKK … the bottom of the tap broke off. There was a hairline fracture in it and it was this that was causing all of the problems right from the beginning.

So it was off to Brico Depot anyway, and all that I can say was that it was a good job that Terry didn’t go there before to fetch the hose. That would have been the end.

So now we have a nice new tap which works perfectly.It’s the same design as the ones that I bought for my shower and my sink in the shower room back home, and probably the one that I will buy for my kitchen, whenever that might be ready to need one.

But we needed one to do all of the washing-up after Liz’s glorious meal last night. A basil-flavoured tofu stir-fry with noodles and it was gorgeous too. And I had ice-cream for pudding – after all, I can’t have any more until that is finished.

Talking of finished, I certainly was! When the alarm went off, I switched it off and went back to sleep. It was only a car pulling up outside that woke me bolt-upright. The neighbour’s car, not the nurse’s as it happened, but I didn’t know that at the time and shot down the stairs, missing my footing and falling most of the way to the bottom. And after the nurse went, I crashed out again on the sofa until Liz and Terry came down.

There is a reason for this however, and that is that once again, I’d been off on a couple of mega-rambles. And these were so enthralling that I woke up twice during the night and dictated them immediately into my little machine. And it was only on typing them out that I noticed the first couple of them – I had no recollection of it at all and it does make me wonder what else that I’ve missed.

The first part of all of this concerned a young boy – aged about 11 but looking about 7 or 8. We were back in mid-Victorian times and in a court room. He was charged with stealing a barrel of beer that he and a friend had sat down and drank. While the hearing was taking place, he was in the dock being violently ill everywhere, crawling on his hands and knees on the floor. In the end, the bailiff of the court, someone like John Wayne, sitting on a chair, took this boy onto his lap but the boy carried on being violently ill. In the end, the judge said something like “this is totally insupportable. We can’t possibly continue with the case like this!” This was quite true as it was clear that the boy wasn’t capable of understanding anything whatever of the procedure in his current state.

I then had something going on, involving me and someone else being chased by a dragon. This was something to do with where I was working and although I recall nothing of this and it was a surprise when it appeared on the dictaphone, I did hear myself say, when it had us trapped in a corner, that I wish that this dragon would clear off and let us get on with some real work.

From there, I went on to dealing with some issues of Marianne, who had miraculously come back to life. Nerina and I were looking after her (in the same way that Cecile and I did) and she was living in a duplex apartment, part of which were premises where I was working, on the floor below. I was down there trying to work and trying to do loads of other things too. but to cut a long story short … "hooray" – ed … Marianne passed on once more, and her body was still in the apartment – it not being possible to find someone who could come and take her away. It was Monday and no-one could come before Thursday. Nerina came back from where she had been and we had a chat, and I wasn’t sure whether I should allow her to share my bed or even stay the night, with all of this confusion going on right now. It was quite late by now and I was ready for bed at this moment, in my jammies and dressing gown. We were having a little cosy chat around the table in my room and suddenly, the door burst open and my boss from a job years ago, an absolute swine, stuck his head around the door, and cleared off again. And Nerina had to clear off as well. I escorted her to her car. Now earlier on in the day, I’d been having trouble with a TV camera – it would show TV programmes if you pressed the correct sequence of buttons but this was such a complicated sequence that I had managed to do it once but never again. ever since, every time that I pressed a button it made the boom arm collapse onto my head or something like that; So after Nerina left, I was out on this car park having yet another play with this camera. And then HE appeared again, brandishing a pink brochure of some kind. “Mr Hall, how DARE you tell the tea-lady that I was going to be here for the St Something-or-other (which implied that he was going to be at a dance that was taking place on that day)?” but my response was that I had said nothing of the kind. “I said that you were going to be here ON that day – a completely different thing altogether!”. He burst out laughing (for a reason only known to him) and said that he would see me about it in the morning. “Be afraid – be very afraid!”. Naturally, I thought that this was totally ridiculous.
We’re a long way from finishing yet. After a trip down the corridor at about 03:40 (having a timer on my dictaphone comes in quite useful) I was back in the arms of Morpheus and this was yet another really bizarre voyage. I could only recall some of it and I wish that I could remember all of the rest. For a start, I wish that I could remember who I was with. It was another young girl, bearing more than a passing resemblance to the much-maligned Percy Penguin (who doesn’t appear in these pages anything like as often as she deserves) but it wasn’t her, however it’s someone else that I’m sure that I know too. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we were in New York and after a major ramble (I couldn’t remember a thing about this ramble when I awoke) but we found ourselves at the tip of Manhattan, in Battery Park (although it’s nothing at all like the real Battery Park) and the park was quite high up, but surrounded by tall buildings, which meant that there was no view of East River, except in one particular place where the building was quite low. We were waiting for a certain ship that was going to dock at a certain quay – Quay 34 if my memory serves me well (as Julie Driscoll once said). This ship displaced 26,000 and a few tonnes which was quite small (such is the logic of these night-time rambles). We had no idea where Quay 34 was but in another astounding fit of nocturnal logic, a small ship would go into a small quay and that would be where this small building would be. Seeing it is one thing – being able to arrive at it was quite another, so we set off in the direction that we thought would bring us there. The idea was to walk all around the edge of Manhattan and hopefully we should arrive at it. A short while into our walk we came to the Deutschlander Tör – the gate that leads into a small Park in Manhattan that had been given in perpetuity to Germany by the USA Government for some act or other – it was not part of the USA but part of Germany. The gates were wrought iron, black and gold, about 4 metres tall and with impressive emblems. Crowds of people were milling around, photographing them, and just as I went to take a photo, a woman directly opposite me went to photograph them from the opposite direction. We would each have included the other in our photos. So we had a smile and a laugh, and I called out “one, two, three” and we took our photos simultaneously. Once we had sorted ourselves out, the girl and I continued our walk into the park. Here, we met up with a coach party, ours of which we were part, in fact, that we had somehow managed to miss during our ramble around the city. They were preparing to leave, but we weren’t. And in any case we weren’t going back with them an the day that they were flying back but staying on and going to Canada. I was looking for the toilet because both of us needed to go. A park guard pointed us in the right direction, indicating a girl in the distance with an orange “Home Depot” plastic bag. The entrance was right by there and he would walk up with us. One of the women from the party offered to come with us as well, and while we were chatting to the guard, this woman was talking over the top of our conversation, saying how inconsiderate some people were, talking loudly while others were trying to have a conversation, the irony of what she was doing having gone completely over her head. And everyone on this coach was urging us to come back as the coach was leaving at 19:30 as they were flying out at 21:00, despite my explanation that we weren’t coming back with them anyway but going on to Montreal (although our proposed route would take us nowhere near Montreal, not that this has ever bothered me in a nocturnal ramble). We eventually arrived where the guard had indicated, and what there was was merely a window sill that everyone was using. I let the girl go first and I went second. But – once again – who on earth was this girl who was so familiar?
Strangely enough, some of the scenery and background, particularly of the bit about the route to Canada, has appeared in a nocturnal voyage a while ago when I had flown to New York and hired a car to take me out into the rural area to the south-west across the Hudson River where I could see the surreal urban landscape of the city and the enormously high elevated highway that would bring me back to the city.
And this isn’t all, either. In the 15 minutes that I dozed back off to sleep after the alarm, I was gone yet again. I was in France, back at my house (although it’s nothing like my house at all) and I decided to go for a bicycle ride along the trails in the woods. I went on the blue and silver racing bike (I really have this, rescued from a house clearance a couple of years ago) which had no brakes and no gears. On a particularly steep bit across the ravine I could see the neighbour’s children having a great deal of fun amusing themselves and looking over at them, I stalled and I just couldn’t get the bike going again no matter how I tried. I pushed the bicycle up the steep hill towards the houses and the shops and there at the top of the steep bit, coming down the hill on a bicycle was a girl aged about 11 or 12 in a tube top kind of outfit, cycling past the houses and the shops. It was at this point that the car pulled up and slammed its door – the real car outside – and I was off downstairs.

And that’s your lot for today – all 2237 words, another new record, and most of which is total rubbish. No wonder it took me so long to type it. I really ought to be charging you to read this rubbish. Don’t forget about the Amazon links aside.

Friday 13th November 2015 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER DAY …

… where I’ve not done anything much at all. I really need to snap out of this.

However, the day wasn’t suitable for doing much outside – grey and overcast – although that hasn’t stopped me very often before. And furthermore, the weather has gone colder and I can smell winter in the air.

I spent today revising what I’ve learnt over the last two weeks on my course about Hadrian’s Wall, and it seems to have worked because I took my test this afternoon and ended up with 93%, with which I’m quite satisfied, although I fell down on transcribing the inscription on a Roman monumental stone which is a disappointment because the only Latin that I can remember from my schooldays is due to my keeping it up by reading monumental stones. So Puer amat mensam, say I.

This evening I went off to St Eloy and shopping and due to my bulk purchases last weekend I spent a mere €14:00, mainly on fruit and veg, and also on the rice that I forgot to buy. And the grapes were beautiful, so much so that I bought two bags, one of which I ate on the way home and the second I’ll eat on Sunday. Not tomorrow though because I’m off to Enval tomorrow night for the football and do you know what? I’m going to buy myself a cooked pizza for tea and eat it in Caliburn on the way home.

You might be wondering how it is that I manage to eat pizza when I’m out, being a vegan. That’s because whenever I go to Brussels I buy a load of the vegan cheese slices that are on sale at the health food shop opposite where Marianne used to live. There’s always a pack or two in the coolbox wired into Caliburn’s ignition circuit and so when I order my pizza, I order it without cheese and ask the pizza place if they will stick three slices of my cheese onto the the pizza.

Of course, it’s a waste of time doing that at one of these big pizza chains, but most smaller pizza places and pizza vans do it quite happily, and I know for a fact that the one at Mozac (on the way home) will do it with no problems as I’ve had it done there before.

But depressing news at St Eloy. There was a “dispute” at LIDL between two shoppers that ended up with a punch-up outside the shop. I left the UK to get away from aggressive confrontations like this and it dismayed me to see this kind of thing over here. Mind you, St Eloy is a little … well … down-at-heel and depressed and I suppose that some of the locals relieve their tensions and stresses with alcohol and the like.

But it’s still a sad thing to witness. I’m dismayed.

Saturday 31st October 2015 – ALL THAT I REMEMBER …

… of my voyage last night was being in another grim little bed-sitter (rather like the one in Hong Kong the other night) but this time with a view over a large green open space that was being used as a public park. The boundaries of the park were a ridge with a stone wall at the top and then a road at one end, the road on which was my room on one of the sides, at the bottom was a kind of wood or copse, and I couldn’t see the other side of the park very clearly.

But I wish that I could remember what was going on.

I was up nice and early in the sunlight and after breakfast carried on with some work that I had been doing.

That took me up until lunchtime when I headed off to St Eloy and the shops. A kilo of grapes at €2:29 went down well – they really were gorgeous – but I didn’t buy anything else apart from the usual.

That was, until I went into Cheze. I bought most of what I needed (eventually after a good search) but no water tank. So I’ll have to make one out of a plastic box and hope that that can keep going. And I met a guy from the football club in there too.

On the way back I met Rob and Nicolette out walking the dog, and then I came back here and had a nice quiet evening – there’s no football this weekend.

So tomorrow will be a lie-in, and then I’ll see what tomorrow might bring me. Cold fruit juice, I hope, because I’ve left the fridge running all night again.

Saturday 24th October 2015 – GRRRR! THEY’VE DONE IT AGAIN!!!

And you’ve no idea how much this is annoying me.

Tonight Pionsat’s 2nd XI were playing Teilhet so I duly took myself down to the ground. It was about 19:50 when I arrived, 10 minutes before kick-off, but they were already spotting the ball. So I dashed into the ground and watched the 1st 45 minutes. A strong Pionsat side, with one or two out of the 1st XI and 2 players on the bench, played quite impressively and scored a peach of a goal without the Goatslayers offering very very much during the match.

And then the ref blew for half time and the players whipped up the corner flags. What the heck is going on here? “Ohh, we had an early kick-off tonight” was the explanation. And once more, no-one could be bothered to let me know. And they had scored 3 goals in the half that I had missed too.

But I did well to be here too because I was in a submarine during the night, and you know how unlikely that is likely to be. But it wasn’t a cramped-up U-Boat that we were in, but one of these super subs with a huge glass window like the one that went to the bottom of the sea in that television programme – Seaview, wasn’t it? Actually I’m not quite sure what is worse? Being enclosed in so that I can’t see anything, or having a window to look out of so that I could see the oppressive, overpowering and menacing sea that has overwhelmed me.

But despite a late night last night, I was up early and at 08:20 I was breakfasting. And by 11:30 I’d done the two rock programmes for Monday. And then tonight I had to do the miscellaneous programme all over again when I returned home after the football as I’d forgotten about the standards to which I work and I’d rather messed it up a little.

The live concert though, that I’ve edited, engineered and mixed, has gone together really well and you can only hear the join in one place.

I went shopping today as usual, and bought myself a pair of cheap boots for working through the winter. I met Karl and Lou too, and they told me about another Anglo-Francais group that has sprung up. They are going to try to wangle an invitation for me so that I can see what happens.

And so the football …

Saturday 17th October 2015 – SO FAR TODAY …

…I’ve changed gear three times with Caliburn’s indicator stalk and put him into first gear twice when I’ve been trying to back him into a parking space. And I can’t get the hang of this tiny button in the place where the steering wheel ought to be.

Yes, I’ve been to the shops today – first time since I’ve been back here of course. And I did a full shop that came to just €27:00 even with a few extra bits and pieces. It’s good to be back in Europe where you can buy the food for a week for the same price that you would have to pay for a few bits and pieces in a North American supermarket. All those people who complain about the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy ought to go for a month and do their food shopping in North America. Even with the benefits of mass-production and cut-throat competition, they can’t match the prices that we Europeans pay for our basic foods.

To give you an example – a baguette in a real boulangerie costs about €0:70 – that’s about 90 cents. In a North American supermarket, you’d pay $2:59 for it. These are the prices that people will be paying in Europe if the CAP is dissolved.

And so the first night back in my nice comfy bed.

And so comfortable was I that it was also first night back at my old school for I’ve no idea how many years. I’d been to the school gymnasium for the rehearsals of the school presentation of a Harry Potter play, and there I’d met the girl who was playing Luna Lovegood – who, as regular readers of this rubbish will know, is my favourite character in the series and the girl who should have been paired with Harry Potter – and we’d started dating. I’d agreed to take her home afterwards but when the bell rang, she was pushing her green and yellow bicycle towards the exit. “I’ll just take my bike home” she said, “and then I’ll come back afterwards and you can take me home” (such is the logic of these night-time voyages that I undertake). Anyway, I’d been waiting half an hour and she hadn’t come back so I wondered if I was waiting in the right place. She’d written down her name (it was Lalana or something) and phone number on a piece of paper, but somehow another piece of paper had become stuck over the top and when I peeled that back, it took off half of the girl’s writing. I then went to look for her classroom to see if she was waiting there, but there had been so many changes at the school since I was there that her class year was scattered throughout the building, not like it used to be with three or four classes adjacent when I was there. Eventually some boy gave me a school directory and so I started to thumb through that to see if I could see her in there. But by now it was 20:30 and I’d almost given up hope of finding her again, and I was distraught.

Considering how late I’d gone to bed, waking up at 09:30 (fully-clothed in bed) was something of an achievement. And even though the temperature hadn’t risen from last night, it felt rather warmer. But what I’m going to do is take the gas heater up to the bedroom. I’ve one of these portable calor-gas heaters and it’s not doing anything, so I reckon that half an hour before I go to bed and half an hour before I wake up with one bar of the fire will work wonders in there, even in the middle of winter.

While I was sorting out my breakfast, it suddenly occurred to me that last night I’d gone to bed without taking the stats, and that might well be the first time that I’ve ever done that. Ahh well – no matter.

I spent some time on the internet and then went off to do the shopping. And I’m convinced, as I’ve said before, that Rosemary has a secret camera focused on my house because I hadn’t been back 5 minutes (and the water for the coffee hadn’t even boiled) before she called me up.

Apparently her mobility is worsening and she needs a hand to move some stuff around, so in exchange for some home-made vegetable soup and bread, I’ll go round and help out – and we can catch up with the latest news.

And so FC Pionsat St Hilaire’s 1st XI was relegated to Division II at the end of last season. It’s hard to believe that just three or four seasons ago they were challenging for promotion but I’ve mentioned so oftenall of the problems that have been happening off the pitch that you are probably sick to death of them right now.

Tonight they were playing the team from the Portuguese Social Club in Clermont and so I went down to see how they were doing. They’ve managed to retain most of the 1st XI from last year and made one or two additions who looked quite useful. And they looked a lot meaner and more aggressive too.

The Portuguese defence was dreadful – even worse than Pionsat’s legendary Easter island statue defence and how Pionsat only managed to score three (from three dreadful defensive errors and mix-ups) is totally beyond me. Pionsat just failed to put the defence under enough pressure despite all of the ball that they had.

And conceding two as well against this attack. The first one was from a direct free kick that curled nicely around the blind side of the wall, and the second was from the usual Pionsat tactic of failing to clear the ball out of a tight spot in the defence and playing it right into danger instead. If I had an Euro for each time that I’ve said that the ball ought to be kicked into the cemetery, the school playground, the abandoned railway line or the garden of the Queue de Milan, I’d be dictating this rubbish to a bunch of floozies sitting on my knee somewhere on a beach in the Bahamas. And still they don’t listen.

They threw away dozens of points like this over the last couple of seasons – this is what cost them promotion all those years ago, and this has what has caused them to be relegated last season. They ought to bounce straight back, but they have already been on the end of a heavy defeat and they are going to have to work much harder than this to fulfil their potential. There are some good players there at this level. The Portuguese are bottom of the league, and quite rightly so, but Pionsat made such heavy weather of this victory.

Saturday 8th August 2015 – MISERABLE DAY

Too hot in the bedroom last night so I had the window open. But it wasn’t the dawn chorus that awoke me, it was a torrential rainstorm. In fact 31.5mm of rain fell today.

It goes without saying that the guy whose Hyundai is on my drive never turned up to move it, and I wasn’t working in these conditions.

I was doing a few bits and pieces here and then went off to St Eloy to meet Rosemary. She’s off to the UK next week for a medical appointment and needs plenty of moral support before she goes – although since when has any support that I have been able to give anyone been moral?

On the way back, I went via Pionsat to do some shopping at the Intermarché, and it did spring to my mind that the next time that I’ll be doing any food shopping will be in the Metro supermarket in the Cote des Neiges in Montreal. I’m not sure if breakfast is included in my hotel room, so I’ll be needing my bagels and strawberry jam.

Back here I caught up with another few things that I needed to do and then I was engulfed in controversy. The football club that I follow, Bangor City, is in financial difficulty which is astonishing seeing as they are the best-supported club in the WPL and have the second-best exposure. Clearly things aren’t right in the club and, due to British law about slander and libel I shan’t go into them on here. But despite releasing three or four of their best players last season (remember that the club finished just third from bottom, even with these players in it) and having kicked out half of the development squad, today they have just sold their best player to a league rival.

These directors just don’t “get it”. Struggling near the foot of the table will cause attendances to fall, so they will lose just as much, if not more, than they have gained. And then with the inevitable relegation, they will lose the Welsh Premier League prize money, league sponsorship, all kinds of financial support and the club will go on a great big downward spiral.

It’s a classic case of “short-termism”. Press the panic button and the Directors all run around like headless chickens. There’s no long-term plan, no vision, no nothing. People like these aren’t fit to be in charge of a whelk stall, never mind a half-million-pound business.

Just one close-season signing – and he’s from a club two leagues down.

At least Afan Lido two years ago waited until mid-season to throw in the towel. Throwing in the towel before a ball has even been kicked is totally shameful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 24th July 2015 – WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME …

… that you heard of me working at 21:10 in the evening? I might have done at one time, I think, but I didn’t make a note of it, so this time might well be the first official occasion.

And not only that, I’d been to do my shopping at St Eloy in between too, so that’s something of a rarity too.

This morning I managed to tie with the alarm going off and then after breakfast I had a nice uninterrupted morning on the laptop sorting out another pile of previous blog entries. If I crack on doing four or five each day, I can finish the Canada 2010 and do Canada 2011 before I go away – at least, that’s my aim.

After lunch, I finished off all of the masking, dismantled everything that needed dismantling and then put on the first coat of varnish. It was then 18:00 and the drying time for a second coat is 2 hours. Thus I leapt into Caliburn and headed off to St Eloy in order to do my shopping.

Back here by 19:30 and I had to wait for another 45 minutes or so, and then I put the second coat of clear varnish on the wood. And when I’d finally finished that, I could knock off and have tea.

Tomorrow after breakfast, I’ll do the third and final coat and while that’s drying I can carry on with the blog. And when the varnish is finally dry, I can fit the recessed lights and reassemble the ironmongery.

That will mean that, in between dealing with this car that’s coming here on Monday, I can make a start on the tiling.

Wednesday 1st July 2015 – NOW, HERE’S A THING

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have a solar shower. It’s an old enamel shower base with a wooden frame built around it and infilled with corrugated plastic roofing sheets. On top of it is a black plastic box filled with water and connected to a shower standpipe and covered with an old caravan window.

It all sits outside absorbing the heat from the sun and a couple of times a week I can have a shower. Some times though, I have to put a few litres of hot water into it to bring up the water to a comfortable temperature.

Today, though, this was the first time, so my records tell me, that I have EVER had to put cold water into it in order to cool it down to a comfortable temperature. It’s thoroughly crazy, this temperature. And even with the cold water in there, it was still flamin’ ‘ot.

Mind you, it wasn’t like that this morning. It was all overcast and cloudy. Not good weather at all, even though it was hot. And I’d left the electricity on all night and had the fan going in the bedroom to cool me down while I slept.

I was on my travels too. back at school, school uniform and all. Properly back at school although, strangely enough, I didn’t recognise any of my fellow pupils. One person who was there though was Zero whom I mentioned the other day. What’s she doing at my school?

This morning after breakfast I cracked on with the radio programmes – doing the additional notes for the Radio Arverne sessions. The first lot is half-done and I’ll finish off the rest tomorrow. Then I can start on the second show.

And ironically, by pure and utter coincidence, a major topic has appeared right out of nowhere and landed on my laptop as it were. Something very important and very topical. “A sign from the Gods” I said, and stashed it away ready for use in a week or so.

I was interrupted by the postie who brought me my circular saw. “What happened yesterday?” I asked her, and she gave me a blank look. It seems that although La Poste promises to deliver on a certain date, it receives the parcels at the central tri, in my case at St Eloy, but they don’t come out to the Post Office at Pionsat until the following day. Meantime, to cover their tracks with Amazon, they pretend to have delivered the products the previous day.

Thoroughly dishonest.

After lunch, I attacked the bathroom door. It’s now sanded down so that it fits, a washer stuck in between the top and bottom halves of the hinges so that it doesn’t scrape the floor, and the mortise latch for the door is now fitted and the handles are attached.

Even more so, the closer in the door frame has been chiseled out and the closer frame fitted, so we now have a door that opens and closes properly. This really is progress.

Tomorrow I have to drill out the bottom of the door for the air vent and cut down a floorboard or two to make all of the door jambs. When that’s all done, I can mask everywhere off and varnish all of the wood.

But it is so impressive, this door. I’m well-pleased with that.

Then I had my shower, and went off to Marcillat. It seems that I’ve been co-opted onto the management committee of Radio Tartasse and I’m not sure why. Clearly something’s afoot, and I’m not talking about that thing on the end of my leg either.

Friday 26th June 2015 – DUNNO …

rotten sills nissan 4x4 st eloy les mines puy de dome france… who does the controle techniques around here but I hope it’s not the guy who does the controle techniques on Caliburn.

I’m the first to admit that I used to have cars with sills like this, but that was 25 years ago in another life and things were so much different in those days. I didn’t think that you would go very far with a car like this these days.

I’ve been out and about doing my shopping this evening. I know that I said that I would go to Montlucon tomorrow but I’ve ordered my circular saw by post and I don’t really need the tiles next week as I still haven’t finished the door, and then I have the ceiling to do, and I had forgotten about that.

What with having Monday off to go a-radioing, which means that I’ll have to do about 150 miles with a quarter of a tonnes of tiles in the back of Caliburn and before I go to Montlucon to buy the tiles, to empty Caliburn of all of the stuff that’s still in there.

For all of those reasons, I’ve postponed my trip to Montlucon until next weekend.

This morning, I was up early yet again and after breakfast, carried on with my website for a couple of hours. And it made me realise that I seem to have slipped rather unconsciously back into how I used to be when I lived in Belgium – doing the writing stuff in the morning before getting on with the heavy work in the afternoon. Especially as, these last few days, I’ve had the coffee machine bubbling away through the morning, such has been the amount of solar energy that I’ve received.

I’ve fitted all of the hinges to the door now and had a go at hanging it. It’s certainly the most difficult door that I have ever hung, even though I’ve taken more time over this than I have over any other door that I’ve hung.

The door wasn’t quite right – or to be more accurate, the floor isn’t quite right and the door is fouling.

using aluminium guide to cut bottom off shower room door les guis virlet puy de dome franceI’ve had to cut off 4mm from the foot of the door and that’s not easy without a circular saw. I’ve done it by hand with the rough-cut saw and you can see how I’ve done it.

I use a length of aluminium in “L” section as a guide, clamped to the surface and then I saw along the guide. It’s not too bad actually although it takes quite a while to do it.

I’ve not re-tried the door yet. I’ve drilled and chiselled it out for the mortice closer. I had to hunt around for one of those because there were none in the house. In the end I found three in the barn, one of which didn’t have a lock so I’m using that. Instead, I’ll fit a little bolt on the inside of the door. I mean, there’s only me who lives here so it doesn’t really make much difference.

I could have finished the door if I had had another hour or so to work, but I was distracted.

I ended up on the phone to Canada for ages. I need to register Strider (my Ford Ranger) in Canada and for that I need an insurance policy and an address. This meant hassling Service New Brunswick – it’s been four years since I first applied for a street address for my parcel of land at Mars Hill Road. Anyway, after much binding in the marsh, I now have an address and I can progress.

At the insurance company, they were rather bewildered. They haven’t had a request like mine before – a person with a foreign driving licence wishing to insure a Canadian vehicle in Canada. They eventually decided to go away and discuss things with their Head Office and see what happens. I have to phone them back on Tuesday.

And then, with going shopping, I checked the temperature in the solar shower. 37.5°C with no added hot water and that was perfect. At 17:45 then I had a glorious hot shower and it was lovely. And then I could wander off into St Eloy and the shops.

So you see what I mean about being distracted, as well as needing an extra hour to finish off.

I might even have a go at it tomorrow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 12th June 2015 – I DUNNO WHAT HAPPENED …

… to my motivation today. After crowing about it for so long yesterday, that was really tempting fate because all of my get-up-and-go had got up and gone.

I struggled to find the motivation to continue with this radio programme that I’ve been writing. I only managed about 500 words today and that took me right up until lunchtime.

And I had an early start this morning too. Up and about for the usual reasons, as anyone of my age will tell you, I reckoned that if it was after 07:00 I wouldn’t go back to bed. So there I was, eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee at all of 07:13.

I’d been on my travels too during the night. I was still at school but somehow had managed to find a pass to allow me to enter into the local University. The date was valid but the bar-code didn’t work so whenever I went there I had to rely on someone else around to open the door for me. However, it did occur to me that with the date being valid I could get the Secretariat to re-validate the bar-code. However that was running a risk that they might ask for identification and then I would lose the card and the “power” of admission. There was such a lot going on there that it was well-worth keeping the card going. Meals in the refectory were good value too and last night I was there at a table with a group of students. I said that I was going up there to fetch some food, and everyone else asked me to bring stuff back with me. By the time that I returned to my table I was loaded up like a Pioneer’s donkey and performing all kinds of balancing acts.

So after lunch and another crash out, I cut another piece of plasterboard. This needed to be shaped because it is the piece that fits around the air vent pipe, so it took quite a while. But once that was in place, I refitted the rails for the false ceiling. With different plasterboard, a different stud wall by the beichsthul and so on, two of the rails needed re-cutting and shaping and that took a while too.

Consequently it doesn’t look as if I’ve done very much today.

I had a good wash and went to St Eloy for the shopping. But there was nothing special to buy and I wasn’t there long.

I’m going for an early night now and tomorrow I might cut the second shelf for above the beichstuhl. Then I can finish the remaining walls around there and then remove the rubbish.

And I’m glad that I sleep in the bedroom now. There’s a terrific rainstorm crashing down on the roof of the house right now.