PHOTOS MARCH 2010
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One of the local residents has just recently been poking his nose into one or two of my vehicles that have been parked at the other side of the barn. Not that I'm all that bothered but I do reckon that it's about time I made some kind of permanent plans for my parking.
Over there is where a house once stood, many years ago. It's long since fallen down although part of the walls are still standing. That looks like a suitable place to make a beginning.
Terry and Liz came along to help too, and this led to one of the biggest fires that I've ever sees down here and in fact it burned for a couple of days.
I was more than just a little disappointed in Liz who refused to play the starring role in my latest production of "Joan of Arc" but there you are. It can't be helped.
So having cleared out all of that space the Passat now has a new home.
Well done to the Passat though as it came down to here under its own steam, the first time it's seriously moved since 2003. It was when I was down here from Brussels with the Passat in 2003 that I was taken seriously ill, and Lieneke drove me back which meant that the Passat had to stay here.
I have a cunning plan about my potager and with this in view I uncovered half of a Ford Transit van, the scrap Cortina and the W123 Merc from within a huge pile of brambles. The Cortina is to provide spare parts for XCL - the Cortina Mark V estate that was my pride and joy for many years and which is languishing in a lockup garage in Montaigut-en-Combrailles.
I'm not quite sure what I'll be doing with the Merc, but it's not eating anything parked just there right now.
The fire, that which burnt all of the brambles referred to above and that you can see in the photo, has been burning through the night, despite the torrential rain that we had all of the previous afternoon and evening. That's a first for me.
You can also see the other half of the Ford Transit - the one that featured in The Auvergne Stihlsaw Massacre and astute followers of these pages will probably note that I've made a start on cutting back the weeds and brambles along the hedge line, as well as several of the overhanging branches.
This is a good photograph to note. I mentioned earlier that I've been planning on moving my vegetable garden or potager from in front of the house to elsewhere. It won't move itself simply by my looking at it and so at last I've chosen where I will move it to.
If you see where the two halves of the Ford Transit van are situated, then I've decided that that's where my vegetables are going to be. And that means a shed-load of work and there's only a few weeks to do it before the planting season starts. Here, Alfred, take this spade.
I spend a lot of time following following the local football club around and it takes me to some exciting venues. Not so much because of the football but because some of the views are quite spectacular.
Today I was watching the 3rd XI play Thuret and while the match was nothing to write home about the view over the edge of the plateau across to Clermont Ferrand, Riom and the Combrailles was certainly spectacular enough.
And on the way back I came across this Studebaker Champion from about 1950.
This (or rather the first model for this particular one here is a type two) was the car that saved Studebaker from bankruptcy. A big straight-six sidevalve engine that was phenomenally economical for its day and during the petrol rationing in the USA during World War II this car - the type one, that is - sold like hot cakes.
So what is it doing here in St Pardoux? Especially as it is sporting California licence plates.
And even more on the way back I was held up in Montaigut-en-Combraille by a procession, or défilé.
Apparently they haven't had a défilé here for years and as so many villages and other places are starting to reanimate themselves due to the influx of nouveaux arrivants from other parts of France and from foreign parts, all of whom are keen to immerse themseoves in the local culture, then Montaigut has decided to join in.
And good luck to them.
Every now and again a few aeroplanes creep onto these pages. As you probably know by now I live right underneath the main north-to-south flight path for aircraft leaving Paris and heading to Africa and South America. Every now and then something interesting happens and it's not every day that I have a camera handy.
Here we have one aeroplane slowly being overhauled by another one that has been following along the same track.
On my way to Clermont Ferrand this evening I passed under the autoroute, went round the bend above Beauregard Vendon and noticed this magnificent rainbow dangling underneath the clouds in the distance way over the Bourbonnais.
You need to enlarge the photograph to see it better and it's not really all that clear even then, but it wasn't half impressive. I wish I had taken the Pentax with me.
And a couple of miles further on at St Bonnet there was a Citroen U23 lorry from 1951 parked at a garage at the side of the road. Someone has restored it and done quite a nice job too so I took some pics of it.
All of this is starting to make me feel all nostalgic about things like that. I really ought to go along and rescue the Minerva from its home in Flanders.
This afternoon we were in the recording studio at Gerzat recording our radio programmes. The place is not really all that impressive as far as recording studios go and there's a lot of Heath-Robinson engineering (known as Système D here in France) on view in the place.
Pride of place must surely go to the bracing support on this microphone stand. I think that it's absolutely terrific.