Sunday 25 August 2019

Roller skates

Sunday is car boot sale day, and if the weather's good we go out to have a look-see.  There were two in our area today; we had only intended to go to one (at Montsurs) but it was small, so we drove on to the pretty little village of Asnières-sur-Vègre where the event was much bigger.

I always browse the CDs, even though I have a Spotify sub.  I occasionally buy one or two, sometimes more.  I came away with three this time.  These roller skates caught my eye, though I had no interest in buying them.  When I were a lad I had a pair very like these, and used them from time to time for fun.  When I got bored with that, I nailed one to a plank and used it as a skateboard.  Happy days.

The village is pretty, with a river running through, so it makes for a pleasant Sunday morning stroll.  We finished up with a sausage inna bun at the CMOT buvette, then trundled home.

Saturday 24 August 2019

The woodpile

We live out in the sticks, where wood is a popular winter fuel.  It grows on trees, after all, and there are plenty of those around.  However, it needs to spend some time under the sun in order to dry out, so we maintain a wood pile to store and dry the wood.

Woodpiles are strange things; their entropy level is similar to that of a swiss watch.  You start out with a nice tidy pile, but once you start perturbing it by taking logs off it, it quickly collapses into a disorganised heap.  So we are spending some time re-arranging our heap, to prepare for the coming Winter.

The first step is to consolidate the old heap into a smart new woodstack.  Give that the ground tends to be damp, it's a good idea to make sure the wood is insulated from it.   I had some tin roofing sheet from the roof of the old shed, and I laid it out to form the base of the new stack.  (The old stack was built on wooden pallets that have all but rotted away.)   It will stop moisture rising from the soil, and water will run off it.  Then it was just a case of moving wood from the old stacks to the new one.

We ordered a new tarpaulin to go over the top, from Amazon.  It should be here before we get any rain. 

Meanwhile, there is another heap of oak that I collected with Leo a couple of years ago.  This has been resting on the ground, so the wood at the bottom will be damp, although the wood that is off the ground will be dry.   We took the dry wood and made a small supplimentary stack to burn this Winter, and the damp stuff we added to the new woodstack so it can dry.

Tip:  When making any kind of feature in your garden that is surrounded by grass, make sure that your mower can get to all the grass.  The old stack was too near the stone wall, so the grass was impossible to manage.

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Simple watering

We have had some hot, dry weather recently, so the garden needed some watering.  I do this in the evening, when the water evaporates less quickly, and has a better chance of soaking into the soil.   I like to use a timer, because it saves me going out again at the end of the day to turn everything off.

I have an electronic timer, it does everything.  You can program watering periods for every day of the week, once or twice per day, or every other day, or just weekends.  I went out to do the watering and looked at this thing.  I put the batteries in, saw all the little pictograms on the screen, and decided that it wasn't worth the effort to work out again (I had forgotten since last year) how to programme the thing.   I just wanted to water the garden, so I just connected up the hose to the tap and turned it on.  I went out again later to turn it off.

Which is why this device caught my eye in our local garden centre.  It's a clockwork watering timer.  You connect it onto the tap, plug the hose in, turn the knob to indicate the desired duration for watering, and off it goes.  At the end of the programmed time, it turns off the hose.  Perfect.  I hope it's reliable.

Sunday 18 August 2019


Our first and only camping holiday as a couple was a bit of a disaster, since when Anita has refused to camp.  I am just back from a week's flute course in the Lot, on a little ex-farm called Cubertou.  I camped.   I worked out that if I didn't stay in the farm accommodation, I could use the money I'd save to buy all the camping gear I would need, and have a fair amount left over.  So I did.

The tent is described as being "two seconds".  It took me longer than that.  It is pretty nifty though, and packs down (it takes a couple of minutes, after a bit of practice) into a thick disc.  I should have bought a warmer sleeping bag, though.  Expecting hot days and warm nights, I bought a bag designed for 20°C nights.  They were 10°C.  Extra clothing was needed.

The inflatable mattress came with an integral foot pump, and worked a treat.

The flute course was great, it's always a pleasure to spend time with fellow enthusiasts.   It's difficult to share the experience via a blog since it's all about the people involved; it's a personal thing.  The course tutor, Philippa Davies is a world-class flutist, an excellent and inspiring teacher.  The highlight of the course for me, was the concert she gave, with her husband at the piano, in the little church at Thézac, a short drive from Cubertou.

Monday 5 August 2019

Stroll around the village

As part of the Summer tourist attractions, our petite cité de caractère has an exhibition of artworks dotted around the village, in the centre and surroundings.   They don't announce themselves with great fanfare, you have to just spot them.  I took a stroll around the village the other day, just to have a look.

The man reading a book is one of a series of the same guy in different poses reading different books.  The kids likewise, off for their swim have adults in similar style relaxing in the village.

The tower is one of a faintly disturbing set displayed on various buildings that shows tiny human figures parading towards the top, sometimes falling, or abseiling down or being helped up.  The rather malevolent-looking cow is grazing on a hillside just outside of the main village.

There are other styles of artwork placed strategically around, and it takes a keen eye so spot them all.  Here's a couple of extra photos of the environment that caught my eye as I walked around.

Saturday 3 August 2019

Hay there!

The field down the road was recently cropped into lots of little cylindrical bales of hay.   They had to be moved to a different field, and a guy came around with a tractor and flat loader to move them.  The standard way is steep, too steep for his machines, so he asked if he could transport them via my garden.  No problem.   He gave me four bales at the end.  I gave one to Leo, the others are for the Dahlias at the end of the year, and for the strawberries.

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