Tag Archives: swimming baths

Saturday 7th November 2015 – IT’S ALL HAPPENING …

… at the swimming baths at Commentry.

Firstly, I forgot my cozzy and had to go back to Caliburn to find it. Secondly, the big pool was freezing. 29°, it said on the temperature, but I reckon that that must have been Fahrenheit, not Centigrade. Thirdly, there was a group of kids aged about 7-8-9 playing on a couple of foam-rubber rafts down one lane of the big pool. They were having an enormous amount of fun, trying to row, totally out of synch and quite often in opposite directions. As a result, every now and again there was a squeal and half of the kids fell off. They clambered back on again and a short while later we had another squeal followed by a splash. And so it went on. They were having a great time and it was quite amusing watching them.

But the fourth thing was the most interesting. There I was sitting on the jacuzzi steps and some young girl swimming past under water grabbed hold of my foot. I thought that my luck was in, but it turns out that she was aiming for her boyfriend sitting next to me.

Ahhh well 🙁

But you can see what the weather was like today. Totally glorious. And there I was, having disconnected the 12-volt immersion heater (I don’t want it to fire up until I’m there to see what happens). In fact, I went off to Montlucon where I spent a King’s ransom. And it wasn’t as if I had bought anything special, except for 2 inner tubes for the power barrow and a new heavy-duty wheel for the yellow wheelbarrow. It was cheaper than buying an inner tube and tyre and I must get myself organised.

But at least I’m stocked up with tins, macaroni, rice and the like ready for when the winter bites. As long as I have plenty to eat, plenty to read and a few good films to watch, I could be snowed in here for amonth and I couldn’t care less

I didn’t meet anyone whom I knew around the shops either, which makes a change. I’m not sure what happened there.

Pionsat had a really good match tonight against Mozac. They won 3-1 and we had four of the best goals that I’ve seen for ages. Peach of the night was Pionsat’s second, which started off with, would you believe, a one-on-one between a Mozac attacker and Matthieu in the Pionsat goal. The ball bounced off Matthieu’s leg and, just for once, went upfield out of danger. It was played forward to Cedric who rode a few good tackles and, surrounded by two or three Mozac defenders, laid it off to Frédéric. He sold a beautiful dummy to his marker and stepped inside, giving him half a yard of space and he coolly spicked his spot in the corner of the net.

For once, Pionsat had the rub of the green, the benefit of a few unclear decisions, and they played like they ought to have played for the last three or four years. I’ve complained about their “powder-puff” approach to the game in the past but tonight they put in quite a few crunching tackles to make their presence felt. If only they had done this in the past, their position would be totally different.

I was on my travels last night again. Once more, as just a couple of nights ago, I was trying to catch an aeroplane out of Canada but I was running really late. During my stay there, I’d used three cars but I only had one to hand back and I was desperately trying to trace the others, and time was running out. It transpired that one of the cars was “in the bodyshop” and wasn’t quite ready. And so, I thought, there goes my return flight home. I dunno why I seem to have this on my mind at the moment.

But tonight, it’s Saturday and there’s a long lie-in, I hope. I’m all clean with clean clothes and clean undies and so what I’m going to do right now is to change my bedding. A nice clean me with clean bedding and a long lie-in and I shall be in my elephant.

Saturday 4th July 2015 – NOW THAT WAS A REALLY NICE …

swimming baths piscine commentry allier france… afternoon at the swimming baths in Commentry. Glorious hot weather, I was all sweaty, what more could I say?

The sides of the pool were open and people were disporting themselves on the terrace and on the lawn (picnicking allowed) and the pool was packed out. So much so that I was going up and down the pool in one of the swimming lanes.

I was there for well over two hours too which is something of a record. But then again, there was so much to see. Ohh yes – I can still chase after the women at my age. I just wish that I could remember why.

tiles for shower room les guis virlet puy de dome franceAnd why was I all hot and sweaty? That was because I’d been mauling about half a tonne of tiles and cement about.

Caliburn is now loaded up with tiles for the shower room. You can see in the photo what I’m having. I’m not having those joining pieces though. I’ve bought some “different shades of grey” mosaic tiles, the type where you can cut the string with scissors. That way, if I start from the bottom with the darker tiles and start from the top with the lighter tiles, the gap in the middle can be filled quite easily without the aid of a tile cutter.

Quite astonishingly, I’d been around all of the usual places, done two laps around Brico Depot and loaded up Caliburn by just 11:45. Having the Dawn Chorus wake me up in the morning is an excellent idea. I even had time to go and buy the glass for the window above the shower room door before they closed for lunch.

A trip around LeClerc (where I remembered to change the empty gas cylinder for a new one) and round the Auchan, and I was away from there by 13:45 and in the pool at Commentry by 14:30.

old cars unic pick up montlucon allier franceI’d seen a few old cars on my travels too. This is a Unic pick-up that I saw at a tyre-fitting place in Montlucon on my way around.

Unic was a popular French car-maker before World War II, and many of the taxis that took the French troops to fight at the Marne were Unics. After the war, the company was taken over by Simca, for whom it was the commercial vehicle arm.

old cars unic pick up montlucon allier franceIn 1968 the marque was sold to FIAT and in 1975 was incorporated into the IVECO mark.

You can tell by the FIAT- like badge that This pick-up is from the period 1968-75 and so it’s doing really well to be still on the road and working. and I do have to say that I was impressed by the bodywork repairs on the cab corners, but you have to resort to tricks like this with such a vehicle, as I imagine that body panels are almost non-existent.

Chenard et Walcker peugeot D4 durdat larequille allier franceThe second interesting vehicle that I saw today is almost certainly older. This is one of the Chenard et Walcker vans that were sold by Peugeot as the D3 and D4 series from 1950 to 1965 when the model was replaced by the J7.

This os one of the later ones, as you can tell by the snout at the front. The very first models were powered by a 2-cylinder flat-twin two-stroke motor but that quickly gave was to the 4-cylinder four-stroke engine out of the Peugeot 203 and later the Peugeot 403. The 4-cylinder engines were too long to fit in the body, hence the snout.

It is possible to tell whether this is a D3A, a D3B, a D4A or a D4B, but not by me at this distance. Still, it’s pretty old and quite an interesting curio.

market hall commentry allier franceAll of the roads around Commentry were closed for repair and so I had to come back through the town. This took me past the Market Hall, the first time for ages.

I remember the market hall as being a dreary, dingy place when I first came past here years ago, but they seem to have done it proud with a programme of modernisation. It looks so much better now that ever it did before.

So that was my day – another expensive one, but loads of interesting vehicles and a lovely day at the baths. i’m off for an early night now to make the most of it.

Saturday 14th February 2014 – WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME …

… that I had a severe attack of cramp during the night?

It’s a good while ago, and so I was quite surprised to have one last night. Severe was not the word, and to make matters worse, there’s one position – my “recovery position” – where I can take the strain and ease the cramp a little, and I had an attack of cramp in that position too as soon as I eased myself into it.

It was absolute agony for a good 15 minutes before it eased off.

What was sad about this is that I was in the middle of a big discussion with Sir Winston Churchill and we were inspecting a couple of VW Beetles, having to be very careful about opening the bonnet of one of them in case the two kittens underneath escaped.

It was cold, wet and miserable this morning, raining in torrents. But I still set off for Montlucon and the shops. The only exciting items purchased were the 2nd and 3rd series of the Hercule Poirot TV series. Of course, they came from NOZ as you might expect. It seems that they are some kind of weekly or monthly offering in the French press and NOZ gets hold of the unsold copies.

But it’s really quite funny llstening to Poirot in French. 90 is translated into “Quatre-vingts-dix” as you might expect from a French TV station, but as everyone knows, Poirot is actually a Belgian and so he would never say “Quatre-vingts-dix” but “nonante”. In fact, all of the slang is translated into Francais de Paris rather than Francais de Bruxelles and it makes a complete nonsene of Poirot’s insistence all throughout the series that he’s Belgian, not French.

Mind you, who am I to complain? Any moral high ground that I might have had went right out of the window when Professor McGonagall said to the students of Hogwarts “I’ll be with you momentarily” in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I died of shame when I heard that, and it still makes me cringe even now.

At Brico Depot I bought a pile of floorboarding, some more beading, the missing hinge (about which much has been written) and all of the hardware for the wardrobe doors. I’m set up for next week now (I hope).

On the way back, I stopped off at Ice Station Zeb … errr … the swimming baths at Commentry. It was freezing although the water in the smaller pool where there’s the bubbling spa was warmish. I had a shower (which was the whole point of going) and tonight I’m going to treat myself to clean bedding.

Saturday 17th January 2015 – I’VE BEEN SPENDING MY MONEY …

… again today.

Last night I looked at the weather forecast for the next few days and apparently the snow is going to arrive on Tuesday night and stay with us for quite a while. Around here of course, no-one goes anywhere in the bad weather unless they really have to, and so I made a decision that I would go to Montlucon today instead.

For once, I was up and about early and in Montlucon for the opening of the shops.At Amaranthe I bought the usual vegan cheese and some vegan paté, and at Noz I merely bought the usual rubbish.

I struck the jackpot at Vima though. You may recall that I bought a soot sucker – a 500-watt vacuum cleaner thing usually used for sucking the ashes out of a woodstove – and I’ve been using it as a vacuum cleaner. It works but not as well as it should as the dust clogs up the filer and thus it needs a few moditications. However, in Vima, there was exactly the machine for the job – a proper 600-watt vacuum cleaner especially designed for dust-sucking and complete with the correct bag filter and all of the attachments. And just €14:99 as well, seeing as it was an ex-demo machine. How can you refuse at that price?

At Brico Depot I spent €170 – and that’s without the tiles. I would have had them too but the server I spoke to promised to come back to me “in a minute” – and half nn hour later, I was still waiting.

However, I now have all of the skirting board, the glue to fit it, the interior crepi for the wardrobe, some more wallpaper glue seeing as how I’ve run out, all of the beading, and tons more stuff besides.

But it was here that I really did hit the jackpot. An electric 600-watt belt sander for just €20:00 was the first thing and that will speed things along here, that’s for sure. But the highlight, at just €0:95 each, were the clip rings for holding the capped halogen (or in my case, capped LED) bulbs into the ceiling. If you remember from reading this rubbish from ages ago, I’m having issues about the weight of the bulbs pulling themselves out of the sockets. Now I can set the bulbs in the false ceilings and clip them in. And where there’s no false ceiling, I can use these plastic junction boxes.

On the way back I stopped at the swimming baths at Commentry and went for a swim and a really good shower. Now I’m set up for the next couple of days.

Back here, I had a little snooze and then did the script for the rock radio programmes that we do for Radio Anglais. Tomorrow, I’m going to be doing some more radio stuff. I’ve been letting it drag for a while.

Saturday 10th January 2015 – I’M A FIRM BELIEVER …

… that if a thing is destined to happen, it will happen. Regardless of however much input one puts (or doesn’t put) into the whole procedure. It seems to happen time and time again and the only secret of this is, as Jacqueline De Bellefort said in Death on The Nile – “You have to follow your star wherever it leads, even to death itself”.
And with this in mind, I went off to Commentry this afternoon.

Mind you, I nearly didn’t.

I had made a stunning breakthrough with this 3D program that I’ve been playing with. I had totally given up on the modern version of it ages ago and had gone back to an ancient version, and there I was last night trying to make a 4th Generation character work properly when, all of a sudden, it all clicked into place and I was so engrossed in what I was doing that it was 06:00 this morning before I realised it, and I hadn’t had any tea either.

Consequently, it was 11:20 when I crawled out of my stinking pit and seeing the bright sunlight and clear sky I resolved to go to Commentry and the swimming baths. Pausing only to add a little more filler to the wall where there was a hole or two, at 13:30 I was off on the road.

The pool was a little (just a little) warmer than last time, practically empty and the shower was just as delicious, even though the private showers were closed for maintenance. And seeing that I was only half a mile from Bricomarché, I went off in search of some sunken hinges – I’ll need these for the trapdoor that I’ll be making in a week or so.

While I was there, not only did I find siome hinges that will do the job, I solved the problem of the handrail for the stairs. Some huge screwed eyes, with 16mm holes, and a 2-metre length of some very nice 14mm hemp rope – that will make a lovely handrail.

But here’s the exciting bit, that relates to what I was talking about earlier. I was thinking again about these wooden ends for the plasterboarding. Cutting up pine boards was my original idea but at Montlucon the other week the stuff on offer was rubbish. At Bricomarché the stuff is so much better, the staff is so much more friendly and they have cutting facilities too.

So while I was wandering around turning things over in my mind, I came across the tool sale, and there on offer at just €44:00, was a cheap 600-watt table saw. It was the last one in stock too.

It’s not the ideal thing, but it’s the nearest that I can find and i’ll need to build a table for it if I’m going to cut doors down doors and things like this, but for what I want to do at the moment it’s ideal. I can soon trim down half a dozen floorboards with this.

I went to the new NOZ at Commentry too. I didn’t buy anything exciting but nevertheless it was a good opportunity to have a look round.

Back here, nice and clean for once, I crashed out for an hour or two. And I’m not surprised either. And I’m off to bed in a minute with nice, clean bedding too. And as it’s Sunday tomorrow, I ccan have a nice lie-in.

But I’m glad I followed my star all the way to Bricomarché at Commentry today.

Saturday 13th December 2014 – WOOO HOOO HOOO!

Yes indeed. after many many years of Yours Truly’s canvassing and campaigning, the “Amaranthe”, the local health food co-operative in Montlucon has now started to sell vegan cheese.

And it’s “Cheezly” too, which is even better news.

It is at “a price” however, but that’s only to be expected. It’s a big deal that it’s now available in the vicinity and that should ease the minds of my friends, who each time that they travel to the UK they are buried underneath a pile of mails from Yours Truly soliciting orders for vegan cheese.

As you might have guessed from all of this, I’ve been to Montlucon shopping today, buying all of the special items that I need for Christmas as well as doing some normal shopping.

I spent a fortune there, and I should have spent even more but I forgot half of the stuff that I meant to buy. I did fuel up Caliburn though – at €1:12 per litre which is astonishing. I also took the oportunity to give Caliburn another good wash. You’ll remember that I washed him a couple of weeks ago, but then almost immediately I ended up right up that field in the deep mud towing that old abandoned Transit out of that shed.

I’ve bought myself a couple of presents too, but I’ll have to wait until Christmas until I can see what they are. And at Brico depot, I bought, inter alia, the catches that I need to complete the power board in the barn.

Finally, I went to the swimming baths just down the road from Brico Depot and had a good swim around in the water for an hour, followed by a warm shower – nothing like as good as the shower at the swimming baths at Commentry but a shower nevertheless.

Tonight, I’m going to change the bedding and put my nice and clean body into some nice clean sheets. it’s Sunday so if I’m lucky I might have a really good lie in. I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to it.

Saturday 8th November 2014 – I HAVE HAD …

… the best shower that I have ever had today. And I really mean it too.

Feeling rather filthy after all of my exertions, I resolved to go to the swiming baths today, especially as it was a nice warm day for the time of year. So after spending the morning writing more stuff for Radio Anglais, I headed off to Commentry for the shopping.

Having done that, I set off towards Neris-les-Bains for the swimming but, being rather early, I went for a detour to see if I could find the swimming baths that have recently opened in Commentry. Sure enough, there they were, all nice and modern. And not only that, they were open.

It was more expensive than the swimming at Neris but the saving in fuel was more than enough to cover the distance. The pool is small and the water is freezing, but I had a good work-out in there. There’s also a small pool where the water is quite warm and there are pressure jets that are as good as any of the hydro-massages that I had at that health spa in March.

And then we had the shower.

There are two enclosed showers and so I used one of them, so that I could have a really good soak. The water temperature is able to be changed and so I had it on full, and almost scalded myself. Once I’d found the best setting I had a good 15 minutes in there and it was wonderful.

To cap it all off, there’s even a coffee machine there, something that they don’t have in Neris.

Yes, I can see myself going back to the baths at Commentry.

This evening FC Pionsat St Hilaire beat St Angel 6-2 in something of a canter. And as there were no officials present from the home side, I ended up having to walk the line.

Notice the phrase – walking the line. Not running it as I’m rather past that, but I did my best and didn’t cause any controversy.

Tonight, seeing that I’m nice and clean, I’m going to change the bedding and have really clean sheets and quilt covers for tonight. I’m looking forward to this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So then off to Commentry for the shops.

And the parking.

Saturday 9th August 2014 – SOMETIMES …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But today was not the day to do that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 19th July 2014 – WHAT A NICE AFTERNOON.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 18th January 2014 – BARKING!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 7th December 2013 – I FINALLY MADE IT …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you reading this, Varennes n°3?

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