mardi 19 septembre 2017

A very long day for the Ark.

   Yesterday was the day we were due to pick up Kerry, our daughter, from the Bordeaux airport. She was due to arrive at 11am so we set out in good time at 830. Despite a few mist patches, we were making good progress and had covered more than half the journey, when we received an alarming phone call from Kerry. Her flight had been cancelled, would we stop and await news. We accordingly pulled off the road and found a very pleasant aire to drink coffee and run the dogs, one of the few good memories of this stressful day. Kerry eventually called back she was diverted via Paris, and wouldn't be arriving at Bordeaux until 1730! Poor girl, she had got up at some unearthly hour to catch her direct flight and now this...
  We continued our route but decided to stop for lunch and after trying to find a resto for some time off the Bordeaux periferique , we stopped at a Brit Hotel . They served us an excellent lunch, the second compensation of the day. The dogs, we had fortunately thought to bring with us, could be left in the shade, round the back.
   We went on to the airport , parking in their expensive car park, and had to while away the afternoon until 1730. We found the flight from Charles de Gaule arrived in the main terminal , rather than the Billi, as the budget airlines do but luckily, the flight was on time, even five minutes early. We had a touching reunion with Kerry, whom we hadn't seen for some time, as this is her first visit to Mort Limouzin.
  We set out for home, a journey which should take some three hours or les but now came the final straw--the N10 was blocked by an accident and we were stationary for what seemed like hours creeping slowly forward a few yards at a time. By the time we arrived at the scene, and could proceed following the directions of a helpful Gendarme, some hours had passed and we arrived home exhausted at 1130! What a day....

   Bye for now, even thinking of this is wearing me out and Mrs Noah and daughter are having a sieste.

mercredi 6 septembre 2017

The Ark's tender is up for Controle Technique

   The dreaded test has come round again, the French equivalent of M O T. However, it only comes round every TWO years and the test is done at a special test centre, not in a garage as in England. I have always felt uneasy as to the honesty of the testing garage, anxious to provide some work for the repair side of the business . One hears unpleasant rumours of sharp practice.... These pressures are not present in the French test centres, so we can be sure all the problems are real. Luckily, the problems were not very serious, and only one needed a re-test.
  The van went for its test on Ninth of Aug, but Our garage couldn't do the necessary until yesterday, never mind, there is a delay in booking the re-test. Laurent at Couture arranged to have the van for repair yesterday  but lent us the garage 206 to use while the repairs were carried out. It's a shock, driving a car with no power steering or brakes, isn't it? We were told the van might not be ready before tonight, but in the event, Nadia rang late yesterday afternoon to say it was ready, a happy surprise ! Booked in for free re-test tonight at 6 10. I don't anticipate any problems, Garage Bayou is most reliable . Nadia said to call in next week for the bill, not ready yet! An English garage wouldn't have released the car without a payment , preferably in cash, ,even for regular customer, the attitude of the French garages is most refreshing ...
  Bye for now, going to have a little doze....

Alyson's visit

Our daughter Alyson has just returned to the UK after spending two weeks on thE Ark. The weather was kind to her, Al likes nothing better than to bask in the sun, improving her sun-tan. We put out a sun bed in the cour, and she lay there, roasting like a chicken. I don't know how she does it, Kim and I stay in the shade during the heat of the day.
  On Friday, we took her to see the Ile d'Olreron, which she had never seen. It rained all morning as we drove to the Ile, but after we arrived, the sun came out and we were able to sight see on the island.  Al wanted to see Fort Boyard and we found a spot where we could see the Fort in the distance. Afterwards, we drove to the Chassiron lighthouse at the tip of the island, and had a coffee at a near-by restaurant . Then we went to see the sea where the currents meet as they sweep around the point, it's obvious what the lighthouse is for!
  Then, the long drive home, where the dogs were anxiously awaiting us for their tea... A very pleasant excursion in spite of the morning's rain.
   The next day, we had to reluctantly take her to La Rochelle airport to catch her plane home. The nightmare delay on our previous trip, when traffic queuing for the Ile de Re bridge nearly made her miss her flight made us anxious but in the event there was no problem and we arrived early . We said our goodbyes at the barrier, and set off for the drive home with heavy hearts. Als flight was forty minutes late, although check-in was at the normal time.. She didn't get home until after one am! Almost quicker to walk to Plymouth than to take a plane.
   Bye for now, Kim gone up for an afternoon nap, might doze myself....

samedi 5 août 2017

End of an era, the Ark retires old Leopard computer.

  The old Apple desktop computer has become somewhat erratic so I reluctantly decided to replace it. Failing to find an Apple model I decided to use a Toshiba laptop, provided by our computer expert, Nick Westrell. The old Leopard was supplied by Adrian Brown, who rehomed unloved Apples. It has given sterling service for many years but is now obsolete and erratic. I am a little reluctant to use a Windows machine but no doubt will learn to love it in the end....and I still have my i-Pad of course, which operates on Apple, best of both worlds really!
  Bye for now, coffee calls, after feeding all the animals.

The Ark visits the town of the mermaid Melusine

   Last Saturday, we decided to go out in the afternoon. We had felt a bit stale and Kim was complaining that we didn't go out exploring as before. I suggested we went to revisit the town of Lusignan, the town of the mermaid. We had previously been there years ago, and explored the picturesque old town centre prior to climbing down to the banks of the river, below the castle ruins, where I entered a gloomy passage leading  to a ruined spiral staircase ascending to the castle above. I wrote a blog about it at the time.
  This time, my state of health limited our walk and I certainly couldn't climb down to the river valley.  However, we were able to see the old town and the gardens which have taken the place of the castle bailey. We really enjoyed our visit and may well go again when my walking distance has extended.
  Bye for now, we're awaiting the arrival of Patrick and Cecile, our friends from Lille.

samedi 22 juillet 2017

The Ark goes to a concert

Last night we were in the Salle de Fetes at Matha to listen to the All Souls Orchestra perform. It must be the third time we have heard this excellent orchestra and we try to attend their performances every to years, when they have a French tour
  The orchestra was created in 1972 in London, at All Souls Church by Noel Treddinnick, who remains their conductor.  He overflows with energy, bounding and gesticulating in front of his musicians, seeming to drag them along with him, I can't imagine how they could fail to perform to their utmost with such a leader! They are internationally famous, so we are lucky that Noel arranges a tour of several local towns, he has a second home in Deux Sevres.
   We found the orchestra most impressive as always, the two vocal soloists being particularly excellent. Several well known pieces were performed, both secular and religious. Strangely, Noel doesn't seem to speak any French and an interpreter was used to translate his words to the English followers. The audience was a mixture of both nationalities, so this was much appreciated. Later in the evening, we were asked to stand and sing a hymn in French, which gave us the opportunity to see what being conducted by NoelTreddinick was like! Altogether an enjoyable evening, well worth the drive to Matha and the rather late return.

Bye for now, going to make a cuppa..

vendredi 14 juillet 2017

His Master'sVoice.

   A few days ago, Laika cut her foot, looking for rats in one of our outbuildings which used to be a bottle store. Unfortunately, there was broken glass in it, I have since locked the door shut. I noticed she was limping on her left hind foot, but she dislikes us putting Betadine on it, and threatens to bite. It got worse and the poor dog went onto three legs so we booked an appointment with the vet. He examined it, which we had never succeeded in doing, he did take the precaution of  putting a muzzle on the dog! He prescribed painkillers and a product to keep it clean but also a funnel-shaped object to stop her constant licking of the foot. She now looks like the old HMV advert and bangs into everything including our legs...
  Bye for now. Going to Kine at Melle.