Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Just had email from sister. Apparently yesterday was hot and sunny in Lincolnshire. Looked out the window first thing this morning to see if the sun had arrived here too. Er, unfortunately not. Still grey and damp. On the bright side, the rain appears to have stopped, the trees are looking leafier and everything's looking greener. Sun forecast for Friday. Certainly hope so 'cos that's the day I'll be biking up through France to Angleterre. Shall be stashing waterproofs in the panniers. Hope I won't need them.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You okay?

The trouble with doing a blog is that if you don't blog for a bit, people think something's happened, like you've fallen off your perch, when, in actual fact, nothing's happened. Well, nothing worthy of mention. So, when my bro-in-law rang up a couple of minutes ago, he did so in order to check that I was okay. Told him I was fine thanks. Then said I'd do a blog (again) about the nothing much that has happened.

Weather's been rubbish which always leads to nothing much happening. Had we had a bit of sunshine lately I'd be straight out there with the strimmer and lawn mower because all this rain has caused the weeds and grasses to erupt in spectacular fashion. Hardly worthy of mention though. Er..., so what else?

Well, it's coming up to MoT time for my UK registered motorbike. Normally this simple operation requires just a phone call to book the test, followed by a quick trip up the road to the test station. Easy peasy. However, with the bike being in France and the test stations being across the channel in Blighty, it all becomes a little more complicated.

Firstly, a couple of weeks ago, I booked a service at BMW Limoges to change the oil and anything else that needed changing or adjusting in order to make sure it was in tip-top shape for the journey to Blighty and the subsequent MoT test (Limoges service booked for 9am this morning). Then, last Saturday, I rang my fave bike shop in Guildford to see if they could book me in for a test this coming Saturday (MoT runs out on the Sunday). Luckily, they said "no problem, see you Saturday 9am". Then I booked a Friday night channel crossing, Caen to Portsmouth, returning Tuesday night. Then I booked the mutts into the kennels for Thursday to Thursday - luckily they weren't fully booked. Then, yesterday, I set about digging out my riding gear, most of which has been festering in a dusty box over winter in readiness for today's service at Limoges. Then I set about making sure the bike was okay for the trip to Limoges. Battery's been on a charger over winter so, fortunately, the bike started. Chucked in some fresh petrol and checked the oil and tyre pressures. All seemed well apart from the tyres being a bit low. Decided to pump 'em up a bit. Spent the next hour searching for the footpump. Eventually found it hiding under a car cover in the boot of the Mercedes. Then discovered that the pump valve wouldn't fit on the tyre valves due to the spokes hindering access. In trying to get the pump valve to fit, I inadvertently released more pressure from the rear tyre. Now it was definitely too soft to ride. The only solution was to find the small tyre valve adaptor (basically, a two inch long 'L' shaped metal pipe) which wasn't where it should have been - i.e. in the bike's toolkit. Two hours later, having turned the house, shed, toolboxes and pockets of motorcycle jackets upside down (the phrase 'needle in a haystack' comes to mind), I eventually found the damned thing under a greasy trials bike chain that I'd rolled up and shoved on a metal tray, ready to be cleaned and oiled. Duly pumped up tyres and was ready to roll. Went to bed early and set the alarm for 6am, ready for a 7am getaway. Woke up thinking I've beaten the alarm again, saw that it was only 4am so dozed off again. Woke up at 7.30. Damn! Realised that even if I got my skates on I'd probably be an hour late at Limoges. Looked out the window to check the weather. Grey, damp, cold and dismal. Like November. Misty too. Could hardly see the bottom of the garden. Awful weather for biking. Dangerous. Decided to ring BMW Limoges at 9am to say I couldn't start the bike due to a flat battery, and re-arrange the service for after the Blighty trip (only done about 600 miles since the last oil change so should be okay). Rang 'em at 9 and they were fine about the unfortunate cancellation (probably didn't believe my story about the flat battery, but no matter) and booked me in for 8th June (hopefully it'll be sunnier then and I won't sleep through the alarm). Spent most of today on the internet, searching for advice about registering a UK bike in France. Still yucky outside. Checked the weather for Friday's gallop across France. Seems to be a sunny forecast. Also checked for the Wednesday gallop back. Rain again. Yuck!

So, what else hasn't happened? Well, lots. I haven't done this and I haven't done that. The list is endless. However, one thing I did do (with Georgie's help when she was over about a week ago) was to knock up a fence in order to stop Jock attacking passing tractors, vehicles and pedestrians. Hasn't fallen down yet which is a bit of a surprise, but it needs re-doing - posts need to be set in cement so they're sturdier. Talking of Jock, it's dogwalk time. Better dash. Once more into the grey mists of November. May? Are you sure?


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nothing much

Nothing much to report 'cos nothing much has happened. Been rubbishy weather for ages, but I gather it's the same back in the UK. Or maybe worse. Torrential rain, floods and hosepipe bans. Interesting combination. Out here we've certainly had a few downpours, but, being a hilly region, we don't get floods. The valley streams and rivers whoosh it all away.

Had a welcome bit of sunshine couple of days ago. Immediately stuffed the washing machine full of smelly gear, swung it into action and then hung the rags out to dry. Great stuff. Then dug the mower out of the garage, coaxed it into life (bit tricky after its winter slumber) and set about demolishing the lawn. At this time of year, especially after all the recent rain, the grass and weeds just shoot up. Devil of a job keeping it under control. Still, it's gotta be done.

Quite sunny yesterday too. Well, in-between the showers. But that's what I quite like about this time of year - one minute it's sunny and, the next, it's rainy. Then it clears up again. Trouble is, like yesterday, the mutts and I nipped off for a late afternoon dogwalk up the cemetery run in blazing sunshine, only to be caught in a shower at half distance. Didn't have a mac so got a bit wet. Then it turned sunny again. Eventually arrived back home just as the heavens opened. Torrential downpour with a bit of thunder. Then, a few minutes later, sunny again.

Today's a bit grey. Could be more thunder this evening. Not chilly though, which makes a change. Have had a couple of days without the kitchen stove on. First time for about five months. Light it in the evenings though. I guess it's the start of the stormy season. Thunder and lightning. Dogs hate it. Scares 'em stiff.

Anyways, took a few snaps of the garden and various sights on the last couple of evening dogwalks. Might be a bit boring for anyone reading this blog (which seems to full of such stuff) but I rather like 'em. They constantly remind me of how fortunate I am to be living in such a lovely part of the world. Oops, just started raining again.