Tuesday, 16 February 2010

44. Over the hump

16th February 2010. I've never enjoyed the first three months of the year. Dark, cold, wet and with the prospect of Spring seeming like a distant mirage. And, to crown it all, the bank balance is normally in recovery mode after the excesses of Christmas as well. So here we are - half way through it - and with just another six weeks to go.

Still no rowing for me.. hopefully it won't be too long before I can get in a boat again. After last Saturday's outing, one of the guys at the club sent me a slideshow of pictures taken on the river. They all looked c o l d..

Seeing F in one of the pictures reminded me of an incident a year or two ago out on the river in a 'yolette' (a 'four'). On this particular day I'd started off in the cox’s seat (the one who does the steering and shouting the orders..) which was a bit tricky because I don’t know all the orders in French yet.. There were 2 nanas (ie, female ladies of the opposite persuasion) occupying seats 2 & 3, and one was early getting her oar in all the time and the other one was late all the time.. (Not like a woman to be late getting her oar in I thought!).. Anyway, F, who was rowing up at 'bow', suddenly decided he had to have a P for relief - right now! This is completely in line with the inalienable right of all Frenchmen to pee al fresco whenever, wherever and in front of whoever they want - this sub-clause must be enshrined in the Constitution somewhere (and, believe me, it's exercised prolifically during the Fete de Bayonne!).

Now given that a nana was immediately in front of F, do you think this would have put him off for one moment..? Er, beh non.. The nanas in the boat kept their eyes discreetly towards the stern of the boat (so they said!) while F got to his feet. From my position in the stern - but facing forward - I watched the whole thing unfolding (no pun intended!). 'Yolettes' are pretty stable as long as everyone is sat down but for some unaccountable reason, as soon as F got to his feet and started rummaging around in the trouser area, a vicious wobble started up which he tried to counteract by shifting his weight. Alas, it was all to no avail because he suddenly found himself leaning past the vertical in one direction while the boat had a wobble on in the other direction..! From that point on, there was no way back and into the Adour he toppled - in a tangle of arms & legs - with all the grace of a horse pushed into a swimming pool. Needless to say, sympathy was in short supply.. as we were all too busy crying with laughter. Luckily, a coach was nearby in a motorboat and she picked him up to return him to the clubhouse.

I had Eric around yesterday to fix the halogen spots in the kitchen. Since he installed them 2 years ago, they've been nothing but trouble so yesterday he came around and replaced all the units free of charge. I think he'd originally been given a duff set to fit. He's also going to give us an estimate for replacing the garden door to the garage and the main garage doors. The garden door looks a touch moth eaten and I suspect it's only the paint and the 2 long hinges that are holding it together.

Now that all the double glazing in the house has been fitted, we've been thinking about a new front door as I can see daylight around the locks and the cold comes whistling in through there. We asked the company who provided the new windows for an off-the-cuff estimate and we were told somewhere in the region of 2,500 - 3,500€! Shorely shome mishtake..

The temperatures have finally risen from around freezing point and the ground is no longer iron hard. Looking outside, the palm tree looks bedraggled and the fronds are dripping in the light rain. (where's that number for the Samaritans..?)

(Edited in Oct 2017 to add) Sad to think that out of the five founding members of the 80s supergroup 'The Traveling Wilburys', that only two remain with us today.. (if the video gets taken down, click on this)

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