Thursday, 15 April 2021

Life lessons

 Consider the domestic cat....

Wednesday, 7 April 2021


Two things broke last week; the pressure washer and the pick-axe.   

I was levering a big stone out of the ground with the pick-axe and the handle broke.   It was a modern handle, yellow, I took it to be made of fibre glass but it had a hard central core.  It was slightly flexible and, I thought, unbreakable.  Nope.   The core was fine, but the surround had split all the way around.  I bought a new one in our local garden supplies shop.

The pressure washer was was working, and then it wasn't.  It was quietly humming to itself instead of squirting water.  Most likely the capacitor had failed.   It was easy enough to get inside the case, but I couldn't get the old capacitor out because the water-filled cooling jacket for the motor was in the way.  I really didn't want to unscrew the jacket, but in the end I had to.  I don't think the manufacturer wanted me to undo it either; the screws were very tight.  But I got it out and am waiting for a new one to arrive.  Joys of internet shopping.   We'll see if removing the water jacket was a bad idea, when the time comes to restart it.

P.S.  I got the capacitor, fitted it, plugged everything in, and the Kärcher started.  We haven't yet run it for any great length of time, so we don't know if there are any internal leaks that might cause the electrics to trip out.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Short walk with Daffs

The daffodils are nearly finished, but the later varieties are still out.   We buy a few bulbs most years and plant them where we don't think there are any already.  So we have a shifting yellow carpet as the early, mid-season and late varieties come out in bloom.  At this time, the Tulips are taking over.   I don't know how the red one got there....

I have mentioned before that a new cellular network antenna is being installed just down the road.  I walked past the place and it looks like they are building a separate concrete base (for a tower?)  where it will be installed.    The information I had was that it was going to be on the North gable end of the museum so I thought it would just be attached to the existing wall.  In either case it will be about 70 yards line-of-sight of our place so I'm looking forward to good mobile reception.

You can see the concrete platform in the first picture, and in the second picture, you can see the tip of the gable to the right of centre, and our house and gîte at the top of the hill in the background.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021


The mirabelle is a type of plum, slightly larger than the tip of a thumb, and yellow in colour.  It has a superb, distinct, sweet flavour, and if you eat it straight off the tree it tastes of honey.   I'm lucky to have some trees in the garden and they are covered in white blossoms right now.   I'm hoping that this indicates a big future harvest.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Free dirt

In refinishing the grass area destroyed by the wild boar, I find myself in need of some topsoil to fill in the holes.   You can buy it commercially but it's only available when there is construction work going on that digs it up, so supply is not very reliable.   The only enterprise locally that had any was asking €50 the metre cubed, which I though was a bit much.   Anita put in a request on a facebook group to ask if anyone had any to get rid of and they suggested looking on le bon coin, a French small ad site, so I did. 

Turns out that someone has done some demolition not far from me, so I went with a trailer, wheelbarrow and shovel.  Free for the asking, requiring only a bit of sweat and energy.   Can't be bad.  Also, here's a free pic of the wild daffs I saw on a walk the other day.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Sanglier damage

When it comes to the lottery of life, it seems to me that the sanglier (french for wild boar) got a raw deal.  He is not cute, he is a pest, and he is good to eat.  Consequently, the sanglier is hunted (and consumed) with enthusiasm in this part of rural France.

My top field of grass got a visit from a group of them not so long ago, and they upended the turf over a wide area in their hunt for worms and other delicacies to eat.  The problem is that I can no longer mow the grass there since the uneven-ness of the ground now means that the mower blades hit the hummocks and the blades bend.  I have trashed two mower blades with the mowers on the highest setting, trying to cut the grass.

So I have to rotovate the ground, flatten it, add some topsoil where needed, and replant with grass seed.   It will be a long job since they covered a wide area.  I would feel better about it if I didn't know that another troupe could arrive tonight and do the same thing again.

 Perhaps I should invite some hunters....


There were two notable music shops that we found during our stay at Concarneau.  One was a wonderful second-hand record and CD shop that we stumbled upon as we strolled around Quimper on a day visit.  With records and CDs stacked in a jumble it was the sort of place you could spend days in discovering new (old) gems and listening to them.  A 40-year anniversary special edition (vinyl and CD) of Aqualung, with souvenir book?  Set you back €75 if I remember rightly.   But I'm a fan of the music rather than memorabilia so I let it pass.  I did buy some jazz and a classical CD though.

The other shop was on a roundabout on the outskirts of Concarneau and it specialised in the sale of celtic music, instruments, CDs and sheet music.  It included Scottish, Welsh and Irish traditional music as well as the usual Breton.  The instruments were the bodhran, penny whistles, and the bombarde.  The bombarde is described as a kind of oboe, which sounds quite innocent, until you hear it.  I don't know what a strangled cat sounds like, but I imagine that the bombarde comes close.

The big bass penny whistle that I fancied  was a bit more than €200 so I passed on that.   I bought some sheet music; a suite on celtic themes for flute and organ.

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