26th January 2011
After yet another week on Australian time, it is a relief that the end is in sight. How long can Andy Murray last in this year’s Australian Tennis Open? We all know the capacity for British Sportsmen to change from hero to zero…or in our plucky hero’s case…from British to Scottish! Last night the truth came out. Roger Federer confessed on National Television that he had “removed” twenty tournament towels from the Rod Laver Arena, four at a time. No explanation was given by the Swiss Miss for this strange behaviour. However as you will recall from my previous bias on his subject, he is simply laying in a good stock to mop up the tears that will well up when he loses to our hero in the men’s final!
The crew have been pretty glum about the whole tennis thing!
Sunday morning, and Polaris does her turn. Mrs Polaris looks abit frozen by the North Easter. Even the Dog's water bucket was iced over.
30th January 2011
Having watched the Australian Men's Final, and it's result, I do hope that the British media does not do it's customary destruction job! If anything I felt that this final was lost in Andy's first set and a half against Ferrer in the semi-final. That and the disadvantage of only half the recovery time that the Serb enjoyed. Enough excuses, there is no doubt that Novak was better on the day, and good luck to him.
Cormorants come for lunch. Note that second one up, on the right, has clearly got a crop that is filled with lunch!
Sunday 6th February 2011
Beautiful spring weather should mean painting time! Bugger that, we will have an ASUPAM BBQ instead! It is just a bunch of photos...no names no pack drill.
Fortunately we roped in a professional chef!
A couple of rejects from the BBQ!
Hey John! Is there any more bubbly?
Madame President is irresistable!
haven't touched a drop!
...And J-L still has the dance moves!
....and lunch finally finished at 22.00 hours!
13th February 2011
It seems that we have a new arrival. I do not know for how long. It is a juvenile Cormorant who appeared outside my cabin porthole this morning.
A little bit of grooming!
"I feel a spot of fishing coming on!"
As dusk fell the young cormorant was settled down comfortably in my "clam boat"! He remained for a week, but he was not prepared to put up with the raising of our red duster to celebrate the arrival of Mike and Josie, former owners of "Procyon". He was off!
Whether this might also been due to us calling him "Rocky" after he had launched his attack on the salt barge "Polaris", we will never know!
I have been very worried today, and indeed uncertain which way to turn. On the one hand I see that the Malawian Government has banned farting in public. It could cause a real stink, because it is as we all know, it is not always possible to identify the culprit! On the other hand I hear that magnets inserted into the underwear can aid the discomforts of the Menopause. If this is indeed the case the prospect of some of my dear lady visitors stuck to our steel hull by their bloomers, could be a new danger for our safety officer to consider! How would you write that one up in our accident book?
This may come as a shock, but the Genny is up an running again. I did the rewiring myself, and despite the minor hiccup of rewiring the oil pressure sensor backwards...the engine would not run for more than fifteen seconds...all was well!
It was easier after I dismantled the accoustic housing...especially as the guts of the wiring is behind, and low down!
On saturday evening England beat France at Twickenham. I am keeping a low profile today. There was an ominous silence in the Port this morning!
I am diplomatically wearing my "Allez Les Bleus" shirt, and preparing to make my excuses! As usual, "Ginger" does not give a toss!
3rd March 2011.
The Jabsco water pressure pump has been struggling for about a week. The low pressure sensor was not kicking in, until the taps were full open. Tricky if you are trying to fill a glass with water! Jabsco UK, came to the rescue, and a new sensor switch arrived in Aigues-Mortes yesterday. A couple of hours stripping and reassembling the pump today, and she is as good as new! I mention Jabsco UK, because they are cheaper than the French division, and it is easier to discuss symptoms over the phone with Hoddesdon.
Having been encouraged by the above, and having discovered a great American website called PartSelect, I have been researching what could be wrong with my General Electric fridge/freezer. That is the one that we built the galley around. It has been struggling for the last six months, with weird temperature fluctuations and being next to useless in hot weather. Since the current equivalent model in on sale for 5000 euros in the local white goods store, my mind has been concentrated. How the site works is that you can feed in the symptoms, and it will come up with solutions to the various problems in percentages. The good news is that most of their favoured solutions are the cheapest. Not only that, but they then run a video, to show you how to get to that part inside the fridge, and how to install the replacement. Item one is always to unplug the fridge first! I have ordered the parts from the UK, because they will be tax and duty paid and although more expensive, it seems likely to be more hassle free. Watch this space for results!
Editor's note: It is a long while since the galley looked this tidy! June 2005 to be precise!
I am having to rethink some of my critisms of the new regime in the Capitainerie. Now he is settling in, the new Capitain is clearly the listening sort, and prepared to make his own decisons. It looks like that not only is "Saul Nomad" staying put on this quay, but that we will retain our power and water supply. If we manage this, it will be a great relief, as a move to pastures new would have been a bummer. The downside is that it looks as though 2012 will bring extra charges for extra electricity, but that is fair do's.
England's thrilling win in the World Cricket Cup against South Africa came as a pleasant surprise. It has stopped some of the ribbing from my friend Wanda Krystman, affectionately known as "Caustic from Cape Town". It probably came as a blessing to her English husband Simon too! "No sour grapes" she said. That means opening a bottle of the Cape's finest, Simon! Enjoy!
Harry and Annie threw a Herring party in honour of Annie's Birthday. It was wall to wall herrings...not one of my favourite fish...but good wine flowed, and Lothar was on the keyboards!
Ari, the Herring King!
The Chicks tear up the dance floor! Lothar is wearing his "Madness" hat!
...a surprise is underway!
delicious dutch sponge cake is soaked in assorted liqueurs! and things really start to swing! They call it "Space Cake" and they are not joking!
If you own 32 barges, you get your own anorak!
..this cake blows your mind, and your hair! I have not had an erection like this for ages.
ASUPAM President, Francoise Duval.
23rd March 2011
A new foal was born in our field last week's tuesday night. Today it has gone from tottering to bouncing around it's mother.
So confident is the little fellow, that he did not panic, when "Biggles" the mosquito sprayer arrived this morning!
...probably helped by the fact that mum did not even bother to look up!
...spotting me standing on deck and snapping away, the Biggles sportingly gave me my own personal flypast. Now, as the original would have said "Ginger, which way to Benghazi?"
It just goes on and on! The good weather, the non-stop socialising, England losing somewhere!..Andy Murray has become a Scot!...and it is time to carry on varnishing where I left off.
On Friday ASUPAM invited the Aigues-Mortes Capitainerie to lunchtime drinks. From left to right we have : Vincent (In charge of the front office), The Capitain Didier Rodrigues, Monsieur Spalma...the Boss, and Sebastian...who gets to do most of the work! It is called following "the chain of command!"
Some of the Dutch contingent!
Sometimes no social gathering is complete without comparing something..."Oh No!" they cry...
Fortunately this time it is only tattoos!
...having got that out the way, it is time for a song. "Yakacema" owners, Boris and and his Jazz singer partner, Tiffany, also do juggling and fire stuff. It is an illustration of our lucky Batellier lifestyle. You never know who is coming around the next bend!
16th April 2011
A new salt barge came today. We had rental boats blocking the mooring all week, but fortunately they were not here when he turned...up.
Renowned photographer, David Cosset, had sworn never to buy an IPhone4! I keep telling David that he looks like Ernest Hemingway. It often goes unreported that when EH was in Grau du Roi in 1933, he caught Anthrax. Clearly not as healthy a place as it is now. The tourist guide only refers to him as being here with Ava Gardner and Jackie Kennedy in 1960. I think I could have done with that on my CV!
I know the ducks are stealing the cat's biscuits!
I am going to catch you minnie!
It sunday, so it is my standard ritual to go into town to buy "The Sunday Times". It brings me up to speed with British News...depressing...gives me the TV times for the coming week, and provides an excellent liner for "Bobo's" cage! Today the town was filled with tourists...being suitable entertained.
The midday show is a couple of jolly tars!
"...any requests madam?"
The next act is in the wings!
Every one is "out" today!
This morning it was Formula 1...yo Lewis!..and this afternoon it is tennis, footy, and a little varnishing. Let joy be unconfined!
With guests arriving from this weekend, sorting out the teak deck and the teak furniture had become a matter of urgency. I had read about brushing on a solution of Oxalic Acid on the internet, and tried it. Brilliant. It does two things. As an bleach it sorts out the tired wood, and was also brilliant at removing within minutes all the winter's rust stains from the white paintwork. A quick hose down of fresh water from the hose, and that was it. Never was so much done so easily!
"Run! Minnie!" "It's a bust!"
It is wedding day today...we have two shows for the price of one. The Royals and the Republicans. All we need now is "The Noble Lord Baron Prescott of Kingston-upon-Hull" singing "the working class can kiss my arse..." and the day will be complete!
I had a most pleasant lunch at the Hauser's. Yvette is a brilliant cook. Karl is a former biker, who raced his Ducati in the Manx TT. He has the steel plates in his body to prove it!
This lunch was called, "come around for bread and cheese"!
Baked mackarel in white wine sauce. Give me strength!
Yvette at 25 years old, and working as an Air France hostess. I know we were all young and pretty once, but I have to say it really applied to her! Gina Lollebrigida (sic), who she?
1st May 2011
The wedding is over! The Republicans have been reduced to huffing and puffing! The cost they cry, but it is no more than us having to celebrate Socialist May Day with a public holiday! Then our dear Mr Wedgwood Benn pipes up that all the benefits in the world have been brought about by socialists. What alot of Cock! You have to exclude the KGB, the Stazi, and the Gulag first.
Then of course Osama met his just desserts and is sleeping with the fishs. No doubt there will be the usual atrocities by his supporters, but hopefully not down here in Aigues-Mortes.
I celebrated by giving the decks a washdown, cutting the grass, replacing the immersion heater (Surprise!)...and all the usual bubble.
My Swiss friends, Sybille and Matthias and family, took me out to "La Camargue" on friday night. Music provided by a three man Gypsy King tribute band. They were excellent, and so was the food!
What is it about "Bambalaya" which fills the dance floor?
....then a leisurely walk home...
We are are up the far end, on the right.
Four weeks old, and something new to learn about every day!
8th May 2011
It was that time again. T'Pau came for his seasonal "haircut"!
"I do not know why you think that it is so funny"
"Just get me out of here!" "He is clearly a maniac!"
17th May 2011
With the French Tennis Championships at Roland Garros due to start next week, tennis fever is beginning to grip "Saul Nomad". I am fairly certain that Rafa will end the run of "Serbanator" victories. Having never been a great fan of clay court tennis, I have been transfixed by the thrilling clay court season to date. We will see!
....and now a trip down memory lane. In the seventies at the Cumberland Lawn Tennis Club, I organised a number of home and aways with continental clubs. We tended to to go in late summer, and we would have our guests here during Wimbledon. It helped that we had Bjorn Borg practicing at the club, along with various practice partners...who included Rod Laver, Vitas Gerulaitis, Heinz Guntherdt(sic), Billy Martin, Panatta, and a few others. Also the quality of tennis on view on our grass courts, somewhat repaid the fantastic hospitality that we were always shown on our travels.
This is 1978 and Plaswyk, Rotterdam in our old clubhouse. At the head of the table is Colin Hess, who was an international referee and largely responsible for Bjorn Borg using the club. On the right is Club Secretary, James Barlow, who after a well earned break in the Emirates, returned to the position in the 2000's. I am speechifying, suitably fortified with alcohol! Blah! Blah! Blah!
In the eighties the Club won a number of national championships...mens, womens, and mixed. Here is most of our 1983 Men's Slazenger National Club Champion Team warming up for a tournament in Gozo, Malta! Captain Martin Cornish is not in this photo, but rest assured he was taking it just as seriously!
Of the men, left to right, it is (Dr) Nick Kohli, Phil Brook, and Ian Blakeman (Gill Brook on Ian's shoulder) . Phil is this year's Chairman of the 2011 Wimbledon Championships. Our Captain, Martin Cornish is not in the frame. He and Phil were unbeaten as a pair, as we went through to the championship. We are also well represented on this year's Championship Committee with my old partner, Ian Hewitt from Hampshire, and former member Geoff Newton also sitting in. Rest assured, the Championships are in very good hands! Unfortunately getting tickets is not in the frame...anyway I am far too happy down here in Aigues-Mortes!
26th May 2011
My old friend Tilly Addison has stayed on Saul Nomad for the last week. She lived on a dutch barge near Saul Junction on the Sharpness Canal for around ten years. She was eventually hounded off by British Waterways...so nothing new on that score. As I have said before, British Waterways are a disgrace to the nation! In fact if they had had their way after WWll, the british waterways would not exist.
Here are a few shots from her holiday snaps!
Davis Cosset had had some modifiacations done to "Kara's" rib, and we volunteered our services to relaunch her! (Just three of our four satellite dishes!)
BBQ on "Yakacema"
The view from "our" garden.
We are very much on our own these days. The two yachts are seizures for non-payment of mooring fees. Both of them look like BBQ material!
One of three sinkers in the area. It beats me how they let it happen, because all of the vessels gave lots hints that they will be departing this world soon!
It's a "Bee Eater". Beautiful!
The much photographed flood gates on the Vidourle Rhone a Sete junction. Shame about the graffitti!
The remains of the mooring where in 2008 I lost my cat "Paddy" ashore, never to be seen again.
What on earth is that? It's a Hoopoe, which feeds on the ground, hoovering worms and insects with that long beak. They are rather ungainly flyers...but they can't be that bad, as the book says that they winter in Africa. Having never seen one before, within a week I spotted a flock living next to the Aigues-Mortes cemetery.
I bet the worms and other wriggly things are delish' !!
No visit to Saul Nomad is complete without the one of the Little Egret sitting on the horse's back!
30th may 2011
Two of Aigues-Mortes more notable visitors. Having spent the '61 summer with Ava Gardner, and Jackie Kennedy, Hemingway went home and blew his brains out. Personally I would ignored my writer's block, and dined out on my holiday indefinitely!
"Haiku" meets Ginger, who loves dogs. Then we dicovered that "Haiku" was in season. Something that her owner was blissfully unaware of, or concerned about! The local dogs have had a field day on this young pedigree bitch! Some people should not own dogs!!
The weather is dry and sunny as usual. Rain keeps getting forcast, but we seem to protected by our rain shadow.
Aigues-Mortes is not particularly busy at the moment...roll on july and august. The locals chew the fat, and their little dogs wait patiently!
Boat for sale. One careful owner! Needs renovation...a rewarding project for someone...preferably someone foolish!
2nd June 2011
I spoke too soon! Cold (16) and wet today!
You know it is wet, when Minnie is thinking of coming in...
Much more simple...it was just a request for the biscuits to be topped up!
This may amuse!
Sadly not my Photo, nor my Newfs, but fortunately not my car!!
3rd June 2011
Sebastian from the capitainerie, turned up with four new 16 amp breakers, and speedily changed the lot. Things are getting much better organised in Aigues-Mortes these days.
...there is no suggestion that I have been overloading the electricity supply!!! A key part of being a boat owner is to be in denial!
"Heavy user?" "Moi?"
We had a full Location (Rental) boat allocation overnight.
The ducks soon switched their attention to the visitors.
Fortunately they left before lunch, and I can settle down to watch the Men's Semi's from Roland Garros....and it is raining again. ....tough one Andy!
5th June 2011
Now that people are dropping like flies from eating Organic Vegetables, and having endured sniffy remarks from vegetarians for years...including my Doctor, it gives me particular pleasure in pointing out that if you smear crops with a soup of animal shit, it is a near certainty that you will be heading for the toilet soonish! Here in France, with only 2 percent of the nation claiming to be vegetarians, the veggies are simply treated as having an eating disorder! To celebrate, I have eaten a double portion of fried Toulouse Sausage and chips for lunch. What Chloresterol count?
6th July 2011
The rain has finally stopped, and we have craned out some driftwood...with more over the fence. After it has dried out, our chainsaw will produce plenty of BBQ material. I sometimes wish we had installed a woodburner at the time of the build.
7th June 2011
Tuesday morning. A few minutes with the chainsaw, and we only have to wait for the wood to dry out! Please note high quality turf!
My good friends Adrianne and Edith...pronounced "eedit" on pain of death...invited me round to see their new wheelhouse roof and side canvas! This took a fair amount of wine!
Adrianne's dog "Nico", has already given it the seal of Dogprooval! He is stone deaf, but it hardly effects his quality of life. He has long since had humans running around for him!
That's one "sinker" less!
15th June 2011
Tuesday evening was glorious, and Michael Chauvin, and his daughter, Tita, and grand-daughter, Anais, dropped by for a BBQ.
This BBQ stuff needs concentration!
The sun sets over the Marette.
The ships's nav lights, double up as disco lights!
Time for Michael Jackson. "Grandpapa, your "moonwalk" is "incroyable"!!!"
20th June 2011
It's monday, and we are having crew training! Falling overboard is always an issue for mariners. We tend to have fatalities in this port every couple of years, so it something we cannot ignore.
First you have to get the crew's attention. Then you have to remind them to always "keep one hand for the ship".
Just like this!
Of course there are exceptions, but common sense should always prevail.
27th June. It's the second week of Wimbledon. Hold on to your Tam O'shanters! I am feeling so Scottish! Now where is Uncle Walter's complete literary works?
On Sunday I bade farewell to Boris and Tiffiany of "yakacema". They are going to a mooring near to Toulouse. Costing just 50 euros a month including electricity, you have to say it has it's attractions!
Boris and his brother fire up the barbie.
And while we wait for things to cook, we sink a few bevvies.
Tiffany recently won a national jazz singing competition, and has been given a record deal! Boris who is no mean guitar player, looks impressed. As they are both qualified architects, you may gather that they are not short of talent.
What a wonderful backdrop for a party!
2nd July 2011
Tam O'shanters off to Rafa, he was just too good on the day...or anyday at the moment.
In view of a stream of visitors coming to stay over the next couple of months, I thought it time to dust off the Clamboat...which was in quite a mess. The Ducks have been roosting on it at night. A power spray soon cleared up the droppings.....and fortunately duck poo does not leave a mark. It was then I noticed that the boat was well down in the water, and that one of my spring repairs had been repunctured. Time to crane it out, and repair! Watch this space!
The clamboat is repaired and back into the water. It will need keeping an eye on to see if the repair has worked. Around a ton of water drained out of it. I think that if I had not pumped so much foam into it's inner spaces in the spring, it would have been on the bottom!
I think that this have been one of my worst Wimbledon's ever for my predictions. Apart from the demise of Roger Federer, I record of failure was 100 percent. Even on the Swiss Miss, I started to waver...and then he was blown away by Tsonga.
In hindsight I believe that Rafa was carrying a debilitating injury, and after he had mustered enough pain killer to defeat Andy Murray, he had shot his bolt. Being positive about our Scottish hero, I think that as Novak is now ranked No 1 as of today, it is going to give our World No 4, the Serb to beat in future Semi's...and I think that Serbinator is an easier proposition.
As of tomorrow, I have a constant stream of visitors for the next two and half months. Time to crack on, and get tidying! Fortunately I have already made some inroads into my clutter, with the midship's cabin, the saloon and the wheelhouse reorganised.
8th July 2011
We have all been sitting transfixed by the News International scandal. I cannot help but feel that there is a fair amount of hypocracy flying around. The Beeb has always had it in for the Digger. It is ironic that if there is any organisation that needs bringing to heel, it is by far the largest media outlet in the country...all funded under duress from the taxpayer...the BBC! The prospect of News International launching a British right of centre "Fox News" terrifies them.
I found Max Clifford's comments very interesting. He "knows" that all the papers pay the police for information. Furthermore, in the interviews that he has had with the investigators, it is clear that they are only interested in News International. Why? He left that question unanswered. Shirley Williams confirmed it earlier on Question Time. Her paper...the Mirror...regularly paid the Police for stories.
Obviously the Millie Dowler case has caused the most furore. But if you consider that the original police theory was that Millie's father was the primary suspect, or Millie had absconded after finding her parent's bondage gear in the loft, and that particular "paid for" information was in the hands of the News of the World. I think it only natural that any crime reporter worth his or her salt, would target Millie's mobile....which was still working...in order to get a fantastic scoop. Yes hacking is illegal, but everyone is at it. Visit any site on the internet. whether it is Facebook, or even your own bank, and you find your PC festooned with tracking cookies. For an example of further illegality, the MP's expenses scandal was exposed by stolen information getting into the hands of "The Daily Telegraph". No one is screaming about that! "Public interest", they cry. July 7/7 bombings? Well the bombers were also amongst the victims. There was complete confusion at the time, and I suppose an investigator could sift through all the mobiles that were in use around the scenes of the various incidents, to see if they could find anything incriminating. On the other hand, there could also be a human interest story that they could follow up. Afghanistan dead?...probably looking for problems with dodgy kit, discipline or command failures...I could go on...just to infuriate you even more! The NOTW is, and sadly soon to be "was", one of the world's major investigative papers. You may not like it...and I thought it was rubbish, but millions of readers loved it. The paper had to investigate. Sadly in our cover-up society, they had to break a few rules!
The NOTW's problem, is that when the music stopped, there were no chairs left to sit on!
15th July 2011
Allegedly the Daily Mirror stole the NOTW Swen/Ulrika story by hacking into the NOTP Journalist's phone, and breaking the story on the Friday before! Am taking bets if this will ever come out!
I am very disapointed that my phone has not been...as far as I am aware...hacked into. However I will change the password anyway!
Bastille Night was outstanding. 30 minutes of large fireworks playing to music. It must have cost a fortune. Cheers to our Republican Socialist Mayor!
16th July 2011
Even the cats are fed up with me banging on about News International.
"...if I hear one more word about Rupert 'Bloody' Murdoch, I am going to waste the TV Times!"
"...and how about fixing the Landy? The prop shaft universal joints is hanging by a circlip!"
"...Blimey, your right, Whiskey!"
19th July 2011
Yup it is the front propshaft. A new aftermarket assembly is winging it's way from Rimmer's of Lincoln for a total of £ 140.
I am trying to do my various duties, with the parliamentary Select Committee playing in the background. Compulsive viewing!
24th July 2011
The Select Committee has been the farce that I expected. If Skippy had taken up his seat amongst the inquisitors, it would confirmed my view that the whole thing is a kangaroo court!
The BBC and it's socialist friends should be ashamed of themselves. Fat chance, they are all as pleased as punch! I have no doubt it will rebound on them.
26th July 2011
I always knew that my daydreams about blowing up Tony Blair's government, and moving on to machine gun a group of young socialists undergoing their annual brainwashing were unhealthy...and that it would always going to end in tears! ...and then you have everyone going into "Princess Diana" mode...all flowers and bloody candles! It is just too insane, unless you are a Jihadi!
It rained here yesterday. It started as we came out of the St Eglise des Sablons at Jean-Louis Duval's funeral. I would say that the best thing you could say about my old mucker, who suddenly died after lunch last friday, was that he was "mercurial". He was proud to be a Norman, but like all French, if he was going to go, it was always going to be lunch first! Our last disagreement was only a few weeks ago. It revolved around his theory that England had in fact lost to France at Twickenham in this year's Six Nation's Rugby Championship. If you disregard the final score, he may have had a point. I will miss J-L. It means that I am going to have fewer hangovers in the future. No doubt the Calvados sales will go down here in Aigues-Mortes, but hopefully there is a decent bar up in the firmament. In the meantime my saddest condolences go to his widow, Francoise!
As an old sailor, Jean-Louis loved singing sea shanties. No evening in his company would be complete without a drunken rendition of "Au Trente-et-Un du Mois D'Aout"...literally "With the Thirty-one of August". I always enthusiastically joined in the chorus's of
" Buvons un coup, buvons en deux,
A la sante des amoureux,
A la sante du Roi de France,
et merde pour le Roi d'Angleterre,
qui nous a declare la guerre!"
even though I realised it (roughly) meant,
"Let us drink to a blow, drink to a second.
To the health of (our) lovers,
to the health of the king of France,
and shit to the king of England,
who declares war on us!"
...and then they went and chopped their man's head off!
We are in our busiest part of the visitor season at the moment, so never a dull moment!
The Leiderts from Dresden were here for a week! (L-R: Sylvie, Felix, Rudi, and Rosetta). They have now gone camping across the SW of France!
Supermum has managed to get her nine ducklings past the critical stage, only to have some idiot fisherman to kill one of them by hurling rocks at them at point blank range. As the clot did it in front of me, I gave him the complete "Berserk" treatment! He left redfaced, but we are now down to eight...including the unusual albino. Regrettably there are a proportion of Anglers who are total arseholes. Why he could not wait until next month, when he can shoot as many as he likes with his shotgun? Both barrels and he could take out a whole family flight!
30th July 2011
It was nice to see that BSBSky made a billion profit under the stewardship of James Murdoch. The board have generously kept him on. Follow the money I say! Would that the rest of our media could perform any where like that. Technically the BBC loses 4 billion a year, producing such gems as "Cash in the Attic" and "Flogit"! I am reassured that the board of the Trinity Mirror Group are looking into their work practices. The question is will "The Guardian" finally make a profit this year? They have been propped up for years by the revenue from their ownership of "The AutoTrader"! Ironical that!
It just occurred to me that the cost of the Norwegian bomb will probably finish in the London insurance market. Oh to be an Oslo glazier! Not so good if you are a Norwegian citizen. That feels better!
4th August 2011
I have Daniel and Sharon Smidt from Luxemburg staying with me this week. Daniel is the married son of Jean-Pierre Smidt, a retired Luxemburg Immigration Officer.
Josie had managed to crock her knee ligaments when the river bank collapsed where she was exercising her dogs. (When will the authorities start enforcing speed limits, so that excessive wakes do not weaken the banks?).
This unfortunate accident has left J-P in charge of catering! No problem, but it does require a few sharpeners to steady the hand!
...and a good evening was had by all!!
13th August 2011
What can I say? At least Premier footy is back with us!
20th August 2011
I have been restraining myself on the subject of the riots, and the general fallout. I think that I will not be returning to Great Britain anytime soon!
One good reason is that we have been inundated with visitors this year, so my Mediterranean idyll can continue for a while longer! There are hardly any Brits moored in the Port these days. In fact there are not that many liveaboards. I suspect that it is a price thing. Some of the French say so. However as far as I can deduce, not many of them appear to have jobs anyway...well not ones where the taxman is involved! It is sometime hard to work out, if and when people go to work here. There is never much of a rush hour, so maybe some are working from home...from their beds!
After being in France since 2005, it still remains a mystery to me on how the French Economy works. The Germans think that they pay for it, which may have a ring of truth to it. Most noticeable to a Brit is that you see the high proportion of French branded cars on the road. Like everywhere else, everything else is made in China. What do you expect when even an European school dinner lady earns more in an hour, than what a Chinese Flatscreen builder earns in a day? Finally the French have the French Riviera in which to spend their holidays...and everyone there speaks French. Simples!
It's a sporting weekend. The Indians have long since claimed that being No.1 at Test Cricket did not matter. It's a semi-final crunch for Andy Murray in Cincinnatti, and there is Footy and Rugby. Thank goodness that I started at 6.30 am this morning, and the day's tasks are done. It is gogglebox time this afternoon!
Yesterday a small black kitten appeared on the ship carrying his bags. It looks as though we are the "one". The initial choice of name is "Blakitu" or"Blackie two". Imaginative as usual!
Luke, Leo, Dave and Jane came to stay for a week. Luke was the guilty party in showing "Blakitu" our door!
...a slight stand off with "Bobo"!
My great friends, Ian and Carol Sellars came to visit, bringing a 42" Panasonic Plasma screen that they had salvaged from a Pub that they were renovating in the King's Road, Chelsea. You cannot give redundant flat screens away, now that new ones are so cheap! Carol says "John, how many TV's do you need?" You can never have too many!
It's been the "Fete du St Louis" in Aigues-Mortes this week. The place has been crawling with Crusader's. They are using different kind of horse power these days!
24th August 2011
We have had the Jose Garcia Vall family from Barcelona staying for a couple of days. Wife Alvera and son Joseph enjoyed themselves at Chez Coco's and a visit to Espiguette....
A certain person is settling in...
....but first the towel get's it!
29th August 2011
Just after dawn yesterday the hunters arrived in full throttle. Sporadic shotgun fire went on for around an hour. Fortunately "Ginger" and "Whiskey" are old enough hands to leggit when they hear the dogs barking, and safely returned to the ship. Sadly "Blakitu" didn't and has not been since. I hope that he is safe, but previous experience says that he could be in trouble! In searching for him, there seem to be just as many rabbits in the field as normal, so it does make you wonder what those goons were shooting at? My life here is so idyllic, but occasionally there are negative influences!
We have a relatively quiet couple weeks ahead of us, so it is fortunate that I have the US Open to keep me occupied.
8th September 2011
As I stood in front of my cabin sink at 7.30am, over the whirr of my electric toothbush, I heard a feline "plop" onto the floor beneath my feet, . The cat rubbed itself around my ankles. Imagine my surprise to find it was "Blakitu", looking none the worse for wear! Cats!! All the usual things happened. He stole "Ginger" and "Whiskey's" breakfasts, dropped a big one in the litter tray and after a brief inspection of his quarters, took his place on top of "Bobo's" cage where he settled down to sleep. What he had been doing for the last ten days is anyone's guess, but he clearly looked well cared for!
19th September 2011
The US Open is behind us, and although the tennis tournament was turned into a farce by the weather, the finals were tremendous to watch. The bottom half of the men's draw were badly affected, as they were playing catch up during the second week. Playing best of five set matches on successive days is a severe handicap at this level. I really thought that my hero Rafa Nadal was going to do it, until the "Serbinator"...who appeared to be a busted flush after nearly four hours...took a ten minute medical timeout just before Rafa was due to serve in the final set. Rafa duly lost his serve and never recovered. Novak has previous on gamesmanship, and it is a shame that some one of his superb ability had to resort to these tactics. On the other hand the women's final was quite amazing, after the dire competition that preceded it. Pat Cash's view that Serena could beat any man outside the top hundred, or was it the top thousand(?), was once again called into question! Well done Sam Stosur, who was clearly fitter and better prepared! I had to look away as both sex's received their winner's cheques of one point eight million dollars. Serena also received another cheque on top of her loser's cheque, for US$ 500,000...for showing up or something! What a bloody farce...but the sporting equality brigade are happy!
The Captain of "Macarena" winds me up by messing up my satellite signal!
With Rugby from New Zealand in the mornings and Tennis in the evenings, I took the opportunity to repaint the hull from the waterline to the gunwhales during the rest of the day. I have continued to use black anti-fouling as it looks like tar...which is illegal nowadays...and is certainly unfriendly to weed and assorted crustacean's at water level! It weathers very quickly, because the last thing I want is for us to look like a "Gin Palace"! ....and talking about booze, I hope that Mike Tindall will be more careful in future. However what our professional rugby players put their bodies through on the field, in my view entitles them to be cut some slack. What other profession has 25 percent of it's members have had long term injuries? Whether that will protect the England captain from our mainly republican media, and people who just dislike "rugger buggers" is another thing.
My niece, Helen Norman, is Spa Director for Four Season's Hotel's South East Asia. She is based in Jimbaran, Bali, but has Singapore and Hongkong under her aegis. She recently sent me this picture of her catching a few rays by her swimming pool. "Where did it all go wrong, Helen?"
5th October 2011
We are in the dog days of summer now!
We have had perhaps the best summer for many years. Long may it continue!
Foxy Knox is out...Dr Murray is in the shit...what a trick to bring in former girl friends, current girl friends, and possible future girl friends. Whether he is guilty or not, he is definitely buggered. It will be a long time before he is able to tend to anymore drug addicts!!
England play rugby against France on Saturday morning. Do I need to keep my head down until I know the result? Perhaps I will fly the England flag (the two metre one) from the portside yard arm...decisions decisions!
12th October 2011
Time marches on! The Debacle of the England Rugby team will dissipate eventually. It has cost me a five euros bet with “Trevor”…the only Taffy in the village. The real nightmare will be if Wales become World Rugby Champions… using a rejected (by the England RFU) British patriot in Sean Edwards. He has perfected the Blitz defence for the Welsh, which he pioneered at London Wasps Rugby Club, when he led them to the European Club Championship.
I was pleased to see that Andy Murray has won a final against Rafa Nadal. The England Soccer team qualified for Euro ’12. Wayne Rooney sent off...what else is new? With his father and uncle under arrest for a betting scam, it was always likely! Soccer, Formula 1, American Football, we are inundated with sport. Despite these distractions, we have managed to get some varnishing in, strip down and service the water pressure pump, and keep the riverbank up to scratch. I discovered that my Tomatoes looking very manky after suffering from a snail attack. A few pellets scattered over the ground has given them severe indigestion, and the Toms are on the up.
No point in commenting on the World economy. Most of us are a screwed, so don't worry about it! It reminds me of going broke. Don’t make matters worse by losing sleep over it! The only person who is losing sleep is probably Dr Conrad Murray. The Saul Nomad jury don't think him completely guilty! It is really vested interests (The Jackson Family and his legacy, Sony, his creditors) V's Dr Murray's Professional Indemnity Insurance. MJ's legacy is either going to be Paedo Druggy or genius Pop Musician...so follow the money!
18th October 2011
The Aigues-Mortes festival is in it's death throes now. The Bulls have nearly finished their runs. The Gardians will have sobered up...and the temperatures are dropping at last.
The Chippy burnt down...but there was plenty of backup!
Nearly every streetsign is festooned with silly string!
The biscuit shop carries on serenely.
...and peace and tranquility has returned.
Now that the prosecution has finished it's case, the Saul Nomad Jury has given up on Dr Conrad Murray. Unless his defence comes up with a miracle, he is doomed!
We are all a tremble about France v's New Zealand in the World Rugby Final. Will they produce another miracle to sink the All Blacks?
We saw a cloud yesterday, but today it is blue skies. My phone weather forcasts keep promising rain, but apart from the odd sprinkle, there is nowt!
29th October 2011
Ok it has been absolutely pissing down for the last week. It had to happen! It saved me having to swab the decks! Europe has survived for another week! Pakistan has been elected to the United Nations Security Council! (Probably voted on by a coalition of North Korea, Iran and the Osama Bin-Laden Friendship society!)
Absolute bloody madness...that is until you get the vibe from the Clergy at St Paul's Cathedral! No worries, Europe is being propped up by the Chinese...excellent!
I polished all the crud off our 31 portholes using acetone. Definitely a discovery, because nothing seemed to really work before. Serviced a couple of pumps....there is always a pump to attend to..., and replaced the immersion heater and thermostat as is usual. What happens is that as the heater expands and contracts as it switches on and off, calcium drps off it into the bottom of the HW tank. In the end the heater gets overheated and trips out. A few hours in a white vinigre bath and she's ready to go again...
Lunchtime in the Place St Louis. It's bangin' in Aigues-Mortes! Thanks to Christine Lamazere for the photo...xxx
3rd November 2011
After all my wild talk about the sun, the rainy season has arrived. A brisk southerly has flipped my new 30 euro plastic table off the deck, along with the BBQ and the Plancha....fortunately it all landed on the terra firma side. The ship's tender needs regular pumping out, as she fills with rainwater. A rental boat filled with Brits has moored alongside. They look pretty miserable as their "plastic fantastic" bounces around like a cork. I have not seen any sign of the person who arranged the holiday having to walk the plank yet! It is always a risk to go boating in november.
6th November 2011
It's finally stopped raining. Hopefully that is it for the moment! Beaucaire was flooded, but fortunately nothing that bad in Aigues-Mortes. The port is filled with abandoned rental boats that cannot get back to their bases. The salt barge "Maracana" has not shown up for three weeks, but the salt trains are running again.
"This is where the water should go!"
Visitors are piling up. With the Vidourle floodgates shut, the tourist boats are tied up. The Tjalk belongs to Clair Auge, a rock singing girl biker from Paris.
If we do have a flooding, then the "Yokohama" fenders can be brought into play.
...but we have not had to resort to these yet! That reminds me, they could do with a coat of paint!
A 1905 Kromhaut arrives on Roelof's trailer.
Lothar gets the slings organised on Roelof's 1903 runnabout "Dea". She has spent the summer in Holland.
Shipyard dog says "Please could you stop mucking about with boats, and get my ball back!"
Sunday Lunch on Ari and Annie's "Happiness". Here we are around 8.00 pm!