Tuesday, 7 September 2010

85. Rain - at last

5th September 2010. Another bullfight at Les Arènes this evening.. Thankfully, it was the last of the season..

Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 3 provided the signature theme to the film Shine - which, if you missed it the first time around, is well worth seeking out:
6th September 2010. When we were finally handed the keys to Piperade Towers 3 years ago, I was a bit taken aback by the size of the main front door key - a good 5" long and made of solid brass, it would not have been out of place in the Château d'If..! The front door was fitted with two ancient locks - neither of which would have deterred a professional cambrioleur* (= burglar). Also, the front door was, at best, only an approximate fit in the space provided for it.. This aspect finally sealed its fate last winter when icy draughts would come knifing in. We decided to call in Eric - aka le menuisier magique (the magic carpenter) - to fix it. He came yesterday and fitted a modern lock which did away with the need for 2 locks and he also reworked the door edging to close off the source of draughts. While he was here, he also fitted a ventilator to an external cellar door and, as an encore, went with me in his van to Castorama to select the right récupérateur d’eau de pluie (rainwater collector) which he then connected up to a drainpipe.       
* I always thought this would make a good name for a car!
7th September 2010. Overnight I am reliably informed that we had a thunderstorm (I didn't hear a thing!) and on checking the new water barrel this morning, I saw it was full to the brim - all 350 litres of it.

Just back from the doctor - I needed a medical certificate stating that I am healthy to continue rowing.. I am more than happy with the outcome of the tests - blood pressure came out at 125/75 and heart beat was 54 (a marine diesel ticks over faster than that!). Think rowing is doing me some good. I'm working on my weight to get that back to 14st 5lbs / 201lbs / 91kg - which is what I was for years. Did 16km this evening on the river.. (running total now = 153km)

Enjoy John Williams and "Asturias"..
8th September 2010. We went down to St Jean de Luz this morning to pick up a few things.. The parking spaces lining the northern end of the golden beach were 90% free this morning as the great mass of tourists have thankfully decamped back to from whence they came.
Low season (Sept-June)

High season (July-Aug)
St Jean de Luz was once again a delight - the sea air had that fresh tang, the circular bay looked beautiful against the backdrop of white houses across at Ciboure and Socoa with the Pyrenees outlined blue against the hazy horizon. The wooden frames for the beach tents were already being dismantled and soon the diving platform moored a hundred metres or so offshore and the line of buoys to keep power-boaters and swimmers apart will be a memory. We walked along the front where a few pampered clients of the Hotel Helianthal Thalassotherapy centre were walking on the beach a tad self-consciously in their white towelling bathrobes.

How can I say this without being accused of ageism but St Jean was chock-a-block with pensioners.. (yes, and I know I'm one!) We've now entered the season of the Silver Tourist.. I try hard not to shuffle about and block pavements but it is catching!

I've finally remembered to post a pic of one of our favourite places in St Jean - the La Buvette Des Halles. OK, the plastic chairs are a bit naff but apart from that small niggle, it takes some beating. Why pay more?
The menu of La Buvette Des Halles - aka the eye test!
Finally, we stopped off at Laffargue to pick up something we'd ordered for Madame's birthday.. I've got a standing instruction that if I never know what to buy her for a birthday, Christmas, whatever - I've just to go to Laffargue..!

8th September 2010. I read the other day that John Lennon would have been 70 next month.. Here's a reminder of him at his best.. (in my view!)
And now, if you'll excuse me, I must start preparing myself for my weekend away with the Resistance! Starting tomorrow.. Now where did I put my Sten gun..?

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