Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Just discovered some snaps in my camera that I'd forgotten about. They start with the full moon of about ten days ago (I think it was the night of the Tour de France finish in Paris), followed by a few shots a couple of days later when there was a very strange evening light plus rainbow, and finally there's a few shots when Jock woke me up at around 6am and demanded to be let out for his morning wee. Normally it's very dark at that time but the moon brightened things up. Must have been close to sunrise because the moon was low and way out west. Interesting shot of Jock lit by the light of the kitchen window. Made a cuppa then went back to bed.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Creuse 4 Day Trial

Boogied over to nearby Sardent last Saturday on the Transalp with Georgie to watch the '4 Days of the Creuse Trial'. Held in beautiful countryside with boulder-strewn sections and enjoyable routes along forest and riverside pathways (a different course on each of the four days - must take a hell of a lot of organising), this impressive trial featured around 300 riders of which about 60 or more had travelled over from Britain to compete. Apparently many of these Brits make it an annual pilgrimage to ride in this trial, as do various other Europeans including Spaniards, Italians, Germans and, of course, Frenchies.

As it's not a world or national championship trial the sections don't have to be ridiculously difficult in order to cater for the top 'works' riders. Consequently, each section is laid out with three routes to cater for riders of differing abilities: easy, medium and hard. Mind you, on our section (section 9, just outside Sardent village) the easy route didn't look that easy to me! And, as for the hard route that featured a near vertical climb up a 10 feet high granite rock face, well, it looked impossible. However, the local champion flew up for a 'clean', as did Andy Cripps from Rochdale (a dead-ringer for Keith Lemon) on his 250 Sherco after bellowing a wonderfully apt expletive in his broad Mancunian accent on confronting the rock for the first time.

 Fortunately the locals probably weren't familiar with all the effin' and blindin' that pierced the quiet of the woods with alarming frequency in thick Lancastrian, Yorkshire and cockney accents as riders battled their way to the 'ends' cards. Other European riders probably expressed themselves in a similar manner but, not being fluent in foreign lingos, I couldn't say for sure.

As this was the first trial I'd been to for ages, years actually, I was particularly interested in the bikes, most of which were recent offerings from manufacturers such as Montesa, GasGas and Sherco. As I'm an old fogey whose primary interest is in pre-'65 old bangers and twinshocks, I have to admit to not paying much attention to how far modern trials machinery has advanced in recent years. As a result, I was really impressed by their lightness, monoeuverability and quicknes of response to braking and accelleration. They seemed a whole lot easier to ride than the trials bikes of old. Good fun too.

This got me thinking...

Having recently sold my Greeves, I'm now left with just one trials bike: a 350 Ariel. It's a magnificent steed and ideally suited to pre-'65 trials, both in France and the UK. Trouble is, most of the French events are miles away in the Alps and Pyrenees, and the UK events are even further away, so I'm unlikely to ever ride again if I keep this bike. Realistically, the bike's just an ornamental investment which, let's face it, is never again going to be used for purpose while it remains in my ownership. Thinks... time for change?

350 Ariel

There and then, while being surrounded by modern engineering masterpieces that danced over rocks in a manner that left me gobsmacked, I decided to sell my beloved Ariel, buy a 300 Sherco (or maybe a 250 Repsol Montesa), join the organising trials club (St. Christophe) and enter next year's event doing the gentlemen's route (easier sections). So that's my plan. Ariel currently on eBay and Sherco search on-going on the leboncoin site. Might have to practice bellowing a few Scottish expletives. Should be fun. P.S. - Am now being tempted by the GasGas Raga Replica so I've added a couple of pics.

300 Sherco                            250 Repsol Montesa
2013 GasGas Raga Replica

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hot dog

We've been lucky with the weather recently. Hot and sunny for well over a fortnight. As mentioned in a previous posting, the farmers have been out cutting their fields and storing the haybales as cattle feed for next winter. With the grass cut we're once again able to walk in fields that we haven't walked in for ages. Went up Christian's field which was dotted with haybales a few days back and, once again, enjoyed the impressive evening view across the valley. And the last couple of evenings we've walked in the newly-mown field by the side of the back track that leads to the old granite cross. On the first evening the field was full of bales but forgot to take the camera. Took it yesterday but the bales had gone. Had a pleasant stroll in the evening sun. Wee Jocky got a bit hot though. Must remember to book him in for a haircut. Blog chumette Vera mentioned recently that she'd just discovered the movie button on her camera. This reminded me that my camera also has a movie button but I've never really used it. So I decided to give it a try. Not really successful so further practice necessary.



Friday, July 12, 2013

Market day in Felletin

Friday. Market day in Felletin. So Georgie and I nipped down there this morning to get some bread and fruit'n'veg and stuff. Nice and sunny so the place was packed. Very colourful with lots of different stalls. Remembered to take my camera so rattled off a few snaps. Finished off with a coffee and a cool beer at my fave caff and watched the world stroll by. Then drove back home and had fresh bread and cheese. Marvellous. On days like this I'm really glad we moved in France.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Did yesterday evening's dogwalk up the Sprocket Hill area. Weather was a bit thundery but the main cloud mass seemed to be moving away. Still got a bit wet though. Georgie, being a gardening nut who's recently escaped London, was really excited about the abundance of wild flowers that littered the track sides. At this time of year there's one flower in particular that seems to thrive up there. I call it a bluey pinky purpley thing, but Georgie calls it scabious. Reckons it might be used to treat certain skin conditions, but isn't entirely sure. Further research necessary.

And a few pics from this evening's dogwalk. Weather still muggy with distant thunder...