Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I have a mobile phone which never gets used. It's a 25(?) year old Nokia about the size of a small brick that I purchased in a rash moment when people told me that not having a mobile phone was thoroughly unprofessional. I think I used the damned thing barely a dozen times before stuffing it in a drawer. I don't use it in France because it's still registered in the UK so calls cost an arm and a leg.

Anyways..., what with worrying about having a heart attack when out walking, or being marooned due to a mechanical breakdown with car or motorbike, or being separated from Georgie in a crowded supermarket, I grudgingly accepted that the time had come to take a giant step into the 21st Century by investing in one of these modern smart phone thingys. But which one?

Read a few internet reports where the Apple iPhone appeared to be item of choice by the trendies. Then read other reports that implied they weren't worth their premium prices. Cheaper phones were just as good, if not better. Then discovered that the new and very expensive Apple iPhone 6 was prone to bending. Not good. Choice was then further complicated by Georgie saying that choosing a phone was easy-peasy compared to choosing an operational contract system plan thingy.

With mind boggled and decision making process well and truly scuppered, I sought the help and advice of an enthusiastic, and English-speaking, sales assistant in the electrical goods department of the vast LeClerc supermarket complex at Gueret. After much umming, ahhing, ooing and asking loads of stupid questions, I eventually plumped for a Samsung S5 Mini with a cheap'n'cheerful pay as you go contract thingy which can be upgraded at a later date if that particular contract is found to be inappropriate. Job done.

Since that fateful day (about three weeks ago) I've been attempting to figure out how this smart example of advanced technology operates. I'm still totally baffled, but can now switch the thing on, make a call, take a photo, change the photo's size and recharge the battery. I presume this scientific masterpiece has at least 5,724 other capabilities all of which are immediately apparent to any spotty faced layabout under the age of ten. Kids' stuff. Unfortunately, being post-youth by about five decades (otherwise known as youthleth) I remain totally oblivious to what those capabilities are.

However, complex or not, it's now sort of taken over as my camera. Far easier to stuff in a trouser pocket. Took some snaps t'other day out back on an evening stroll. The trees up the back lane are now in full foliage. If I can dig out some earlier snaps it'll be interesting to compare them with how it looks now. Good views from up the back hill, especially on a sunny June soirée. I think it was a couple of days after the longest day. Took a snap of the tree shadow hitting the back of the house just before the sun went down at its most northerly point on the western horizon (I do this every year, don't know why). The selection also includes the first snap I took with the phone - the morning view out of a downstairs window. And..., a piccy of the local watering hole on market day (last Friday) where I perched myself on a barstool and ordered a grand créme and a syrop citron while Georgie was off buying flowery stuff from her fave market stall.

Right, shall now attempt to load 'em up.

Honda CBR1000f

Drove to Plauzat (just south of Clermont-Ferrand) on Sunday to look at a Honda CBR1000f for sale. Yes I know I've only recently bought a darned good Transalp, but it's a wee bit tall for an old git with short legs like moi, and it's a wee bit underpowered when two-up. So I thought I'd take a quick look at something a bit oomphier and lower just to see if it was as good as it sounded in the ad (they usually ain't, but this one was).

Anyways..., inspection over, we decided on a leisurely drive home up the cross country back roads through the glorious volcanic hills of the Auvergne. Seemed much more sensible than whizzing back the way we'd come via those boring main roads. And very glad we were too that we'd made that decision. We passed through some lovely towns such as Saint-Nectaire, Murol and Le Mont-Dore, and it's always a treat to drive through the Auvergne hills on a sunny day with wide, clear views. We stopped off for a coffee and sarnie at a hilltop caff (La Buron du Col de la Croix Morand, I found out afterwards by searching the internet). Apparently it's under ten feet of snow in winter. Hard to imagine on a gloriously sunny day like Sunday.

P.S. Returned to Plauzat the following week (7 July) by public transport (7.12am bus from Felletin to Montluçon, two hour wait, 10.36 train to Clermont-Ferrand, arrived 12.01, temperature a sweltering 39°, met by bike seller who drove us to Plauzat). Paperwork done, I hit the road (around 2ish?) and returned home via the same route as the previous week, stopping again at the hilltop caff. Arrived home 4.30ish.