22nd April 2011

08h00 – Olivier arrived at just after 08h30 to assist me to put in new double glazed doors and windows at the front of the house.P had ordered and bought thensome time ago and we had been to Lapeyre in Nevers to get them home.  Olivier is a builder (mason) who lives locally and I can pay him by the hour.   I hvae explained that my work is not urgent in the sense that he came and go and use me as fill in jobs arorund other bigger jobs he may have, heseems to like this.
I intend to use his French building knowledge, expertise and skill to help on a number of jobs that are too big for me on my own.  If fitting the doors and windows goes well then it’s the sun-room to the front of the house, footing and concrete slab and the balcony to the east gable, knock down existing lean-to sheds and build anew with better footings.

12h00 – It’s taking longer than we both expected, getting the heavy, oak, double glazed door square in the old opening.  It is troublesome.

16h00 – Door at last fitted after lifting it up by 1cm to allow a doormat in the main hall.  Over to Olivier to do his bit with ciment and fill in arround the frame and the stone door-step.

17h00 – All done, time for a beer.  One of Kate’s blackcurrant infusions.



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15th April 2011

10h00 – Well off we go to Antwerp – Antwerpen – Anvers for a long weekend.  A city I have wanted to visit for a long time.  The city of beer, chips (frites) and diamonds.
Have booked the Thalys train tickets on line as well as an Ibis hotel in the city centre?  It’s 90 mins from our local station Briare to Paris Lyon then across Paris by Metro / RER then Thalys from Paris Nord to Antwerp Central with one stop at Brussels Midi on the way.  Just over 2 hours from Paris.

Left home at 07h30 drove to Briare, got 08h20 from Briare arrived Paris Lyon at 10h00.  Got the 12h25 from Paris Nord, or would have done if it was not delayed, arrived Antwerp Central at 16h00.

17h00 – Went straight to the hotel not far from the station, freshened up and went straight out on a reconnaisance tour.

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4th April 2011

10h45 – After raining all day yesterday, today  is dry but a misty start.  The rain has knocked all the flower off the blackthorn but the cherry flower has survived.

This morning I weighed myself – 86.7kg (13st 9lbs or 191 lbs) exactly to the decimal point as I was one year ago.  The doc says I need to loose a little bit of weight.  Getting to 80kg or 12st 7lbs would be good.

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3rd April 2011

15h30 – It’s been raining all day and I have just come in from resolving the leaky gutter on the new garage.   I cleaned all the gutters about 3 weeks ago and installed some dirt-catchers where the gutter and downpipe meet.   They did their job very well and got so clogged that the gutters now overflow.  So the dirt-catchers have been removed and disposed of.

Quick check of pond pumps, filters and skimmers showed all was OK, the big skimmer was working very well and had been cleaned out twice.  Water levels all good but the small pond, as usual, showed signs of slight loss.  I cannot work out what’s happening here, the pond itself is sound, the water level all winter was fine.  I tried last year various by-passes but still cannot see where the water is going. Still raining steadily.

16h00 – Retuned all the FreeSat boxes to see if Channel 4 HD was there yet and if BBC Radio 7 had got its new name, Radio 4 Extra.   No Channel 4 HD.   Settled down to listen to Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel on Radio 4 Extra.


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2nd April 2011

21h00 – 9 o’clock in the evening and 18°C. I am standing in the front drive with a glass of Chablis in my hand admiring the last of the evening light in a superb setting and temperature. Wonderful !

13h00 – P has come back from the pharmacy with my blood test results, all within current limits, great stuff.  so clear chest X-ray and blood tests all fine.

16h00 – Lovely day, sun shining – so worked on the fish pond filters and skimmers and got them all working.   Unusally for me I did a proper tidy and clean job at the end of last season before the winter so everything just needed reassembling and switching on and it looks like there are no leaks or spillages.  Added some treatment to the 7500 litre pond, some TetraPond AquaProtect (AquaSafe) and some TetraPond MediFin to both the 7500l and 1200l ponds.  Gave the fish a liitle wheatgerm food, water temperature 12°C so they ought to be feeding.  They are already busy pairing up and looking for egg laying sites, both ponds are well established now and we do get quite a few off-spring every year.

Forced rhubarb in back garden.

Forced rhubarb in back garden.

Picked some rhubarb for lunch and dinner and the strawberries in the greenhouse (poly-tunnel) are flowering.

Greenhouse strawberries.

Greenhouse strawberries.

So now its time to do some grass cutting, the sun and last weeks rain are doing their worst.  We really did need the rain though.


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