Monthly Archive for February, 2017


It is odd that to buy goods from the likes of eBay or Amazon, it is almost always cheaper to go to the UK sites rather the French. My neighbour has discovered this and he has also discovered that if he gets me to buy on his behalf, it saves on the conversion rate because I can buy in £s and he gives me back €s. It’s very little skin off my nose, except when he scours the UK for odd parts for his cars on my computer. But I’ve bought an iPhone for him and the vendor just shoved it in an envelope and it got lost/nicked in the post. I tap the button tomorrow to demand the money back, but it’s been hassle.
I must lose a day of my life every month wrestling with the computer. The damn thing ate a year’s worth of emails a couple of days ago, so I leapt into action, checked my back up and did all sorts of other clever things, none of which worked. And I found that my back up backs up but I appear unable to access it. I am pretty well immune to road rage, but computer rage is something else.
The kestrels are busy again. It’s the third year running in the same nest hole. And some people came to look at the chateau along with the agent. The main man was short, very stout, dark, 40, with a ponytail and clearly a lower grade Russian oligarch. They were caught in noteworthy rainsquall that I hope they took as an omen to leave well alone.


The council met yesterday and approved all the works that are due – burying cables, changing lighting, doing up the presbytery and hocking ourselves with loans for several years to come. One of our number is flamboyantly camp, another is going through a sex change and never says anything. One disapproves of something at every meeting, just to show she can. Two of the three expat members have difficulty in following most the deliberations. And two are usually at work and don’t turn up. Democracy in action. Fortunately the maire and our clerk have a grip on things. We’re entirely responsible for the upkeep of the church and, though we knew the roof of the sacristy need work done, we were depressed to hear that there are dodgy roof timbers throughout. More money needed. It was decided to suspend creating disabled access until we found out whether there would be a building to access in future.
The chasse killed nine boar in a single day. This was considered by some natives as rather gross. I believe that those who kill are the ones who conserve so I don’t get that excited about it. More interesting is how they managed it since the chasse is fuelled throughout the day by copious quantities of alcohol. It’s not much of a concern for the chasseurs since the gendarmes, the prefect and the sous prefect are all hunters. It’s only a worry for those on the roads when they weave their way home.

First link

A great wind wuthered through the region for 48 hours. It shook loose the securing rope of one of the church bells and the gale set it tolling, so it felt as if we were living through endless funerals. I was told, as usual when it blows hard, that this was the Autan wind that drives men mad, but the Autan comes from the Pyrenees south west of here and this thundered through from the east. I didn’t argue. My pronunciation was corrected. I said Autan and I should have said Autang like the natives. When I lived in Scotland I called them cows rather than coos, so I will probably stay with Autan.!AvUY23Q98gVTtgQmNuJeY5lnnGlB.
The maire has given up on the chateau. A couple of experts clambered all over the roof a year ago to check on its condition and failed to replace the tiles they moved and so water now gets in right along the roof ridge. That’s it. The asking price remains at €400k without a flicker of interest. I wouldn’t touch it for €100. Its next trick is to squash trespassers as it crumbles. I hope that will be a problem for the owner rather than the commune.


A brace of God botherers knocked on the door this afternoon – very neat, very polite and speaking to me in English. ‘Good afternoon. Here’s a pamphlet that explains that they’re teaching evolution in schools to our children.’ For a split second I felt the red mist rise before I told them I wasn’t interested and shut the door in their simpering faces. There are already enough ghastly people from Brexiteers to Trump talking noxious crap at us without them.
My American coz Ian has just turned 88. I made contact with him and he returned with a limerick he’d just penned.
The dick of our President Trump
Is a limp and miniscule stump.
When he fondles his thighs
It refuses to rise
So he ‘Tweets’ when he once used to hump.
He teaches English to immigrants, lectures on the programme before concerts in three cities, chairs his local housing association, flies round the world and makes me feel inadequate. I have suggested contacting the president and have him declared a living national treasure.


These days my email programme tells me it can’t send encrypted messages and that it lacks a security certificate. I can’t work out how to rectify the situation, so I live with it. In fact this computer is studded with minor flaws that I’ve learned to work round. However I had a professional tecchie here the other day who sorts out such problems for employees of a big company, so I decided to put him to use. I leant on his shoulder to see what he was doing and it soon dawned on me that he was no better at it than me. Granted he was a Windows man and I’ve a Mac, but he said that wouldn’t be a problem. His bedside manner was excellent, telling me that he’d damage nothing and this was the sort of thing he did all day, he’d have it all sorted in a jiffy and kept up a constant soothing patter. I told him to piss off after half an hour, but he managed to make me grateful for nothing and feel awfully good about it.
The point of a wood burner is that it shows a jolly flame. In this house, the heat it gives out could be easily replaced by the CH, but that’s not jolly. But the jolliness is dispersed when you have to clean the glass every time you use it to prevent the operation taking place behind a window of stygian blackness. I have found no easy way to do this and currently employ stove cleaner that is very messy. It may be that the thing requires a much more macho fire than I currently allow, so I’ll play the stoker over the next day or two to see if a clean window is worth the added wood consumption.


A squashed animal on the road brings a pang of regret. When it is still alive, the regret is greater. Was that a damaged kitten that I saw just now? It certainly wasn’t that but it was still skittering around, clearly hurt but with a decent chance of survival if it found a corner in which to curl up. It was a dormouse and I left it to its own devices. Sometimes I aim at such a casualty, but that doesn’t do much for one’s peace of mind. I’ve even cut the odd throat with my trusty Swiss army knife, but that doesn’t feel great either. Occasionally I pick them up, stick them in a box and hope they recover. I once kept a tawny owl for a month, feeding it with dead day-old chicks before releasing it back where I found it. It would perch on the back of a chair with a chicken leg sticking out of either side of its beak. However I normally just pass by on the other side and feel shitty for a while.
I was busily filling in an online form the other day when I realised that it was a phish and I had fallen for it – PayPal, if you’re interested. I stopped in mid keystroke but had still gone further than I should, so I proceeded to cancel my credit card and change my money passwords. I think I’ve got away with it but it was a lesson. I had always thought I was too smart to be suckered but I will be even more suspicious in future.