Well, that's Christmas and New Year done. Drove Georgie back to Limoges airport yesterday after her week and a bit's break. As I've said many times before, amazing how quickly the time passes when she's here. Crap time of year to visit though. Rubbish weather and short days. Mind you, come to think of it, the weather wasn't that bad really. Gave Georgie the chance to get into the garden and do whatever gardeners do at this time of year. Judging by the couple of large piles of branches stacked by the bonfire area, I presume it's pruning.
Gave her a hand hacking bushes 'til I had to retire back indoors with buckets of blood dripping from a couple of bramble punctures in my paws. Being somewhat aggressive and short-tempered in my approach to gardening, I tend to lash out in a blind fury whenever a bramble has the audacity to attach itself to any of my extremities. This, of course, usually results in my becoming even more tangled up in these vile growths. Many's the time I've eventually struggled free with blood spraying from various wounds and the air ringing loudly with blue expletives. Such triffid attacks call for a quick march to the shed, the grabbing of an axe, a storm back to the scene of the heinous assault and an enthusiastic display of divine and excessive retribution. But this is nothing though compared to my old Dad's approach to gardening. Being ex-military, he used to attack weeds and brambles with a massive army flame-thrower, then go up the pub leaving the garden looking like a smouldering war zone. Reckoned it was far less damaging than using chemical weed killers. And a damned sight quicker.
Anyway, besides gardening, we looked into tellys. Our current item (a five year old Sony) has, rather annoyingly, developed a slightly darkish horizontal area across the middle of the screen. It's nothing serious, just a bit of a blemish, but maybe it's the beginning of the end. So we nipped up to the LeClerc supermarket at Ussel to see if there were any bargain tellys in their January sale. And there were. But..., it immediately became apparent that I know nothing about modern tellys. How, for example, do you choose between plasma, HD or LCD screens? And what size? Then there's the question of whether or not to plump for an integrated hi-fi and/or cinema system. Then, just to confuse matters further, there's this new-fangled 3D option. Georgie did her best to explain to me the basics of all this new technology but, as ever, I didn't understand a word she was on about. Said I could transfer all my dusty old LPs onto some digital iPod mp3 thingy and then listen to them through the television or digital car radio wotsit. At this point I felt a bit dizzy with information overload and my head fell off.
After leaving the supermarket, telly-less and feeling like an alien from a bygone age, Georgie dragged me kicking and screaming into the next door garden centre to inspect rows and rows of ghastly triffids. Stayed there for what seemed like an hour (could have been longer but was probably only about fifteen minutes) until Georgie allowed us to escape when she noticed I'd started hyperventilating and foaming at the mouth. By this time it was dark and icy outside and the car windows had frozen up. Scraped the worst of it off then nipped into the supermarket petrol station to see if they had one of those paper rolls to wipe the inside of the windows. Place was packed with queuing cars. Parked up and had a quick search for a paper roll in the pump area. No success. Then discovered the only exit was by the pay booth. Joined the queue and explained to the madame in the booth that I hadn't had any petrol but I'd just been looking for paper to clean the car windows - desole, je ne parle pas francais, half-Scottish y'know. Obviously thought I was bonkers. A normal reaction. I'm used to it.
Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, yesterday. Drove Georgie back to the airport after nearly blinding myself attempting to watch the partial eclipse of the sun. Perfect weather for sun gazing - clear, blue sky. Hit the road with a blind spot in the centre of the windscreen. Had to steer by looking sideways. Sight returned about halfway to Limoges. Stopped off at a boulangerie for a cheese and ham baguette. Georgie bought a couple of pain raisins to take back to Putney. Took a quick snap of her at the boulangerie with her head reflected in the car roof. Came out rather well. Took another snap on the return journey of the view looking towards the Massif Central mountains near Clermont Ferrand about fifty miles away. I do like a clear winter's day when you can see forever. Bit dull today though. Might nip up Ussel again and have another look at those tellys. And visit the VW garage. Better dash.
4 weeks ago