Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Day 2008

Just a couple of pictures today to record the event which took place—as it should—on the back lawn.

We forgot to take a group shot like we usually do but here is a close-up of Michel cutting the pizzas.

It was nice to have Grandma with us.  But this year was our first without Aunty!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Aunty has gone

It was only a matter of time, everyone said.  It was inevitable and expected; she couldn't have gone on much longer like she was.  But all these cheap sayings don't seem to help, do they?  She leaves a hole in our hearts.

I was just approaching Paris, by myself, in the C3 on the second leg of the Cisco rework for Source Support.  I'd left on time at 6:30 and been on the road for just two hours when my phone rang.

It was the doctor on duty at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.  He said he was sorry to tell me that Ruth had just died of coronary arrest complicated by pulmonary edema.

I said, when?  He said, at seven (just barely half an hour ago) and that the doctor had not even checked her yet.  He said he'd call the Home.

I thanked him for calling.  It is not a surprise, it is just the end of an era for us all.

I last saw her on Sunday — only three days ago.  She, who planned and organized her life so well, is now at rest.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Alsace & Lorraine

OK, let's take a couple of things in order.

1. I'll leave first thing in the morning.  I've already told Mum I'm going; the idea of her coming is new and just a last-minute thought.  I'd like to leave by 5 -- the sooner I leave, the sooner I'll be back.  Nevertheless, I can't do the round trip in one day so I'll need to overnight there. Last time I stayed in a cheap but decent Campanile motel that only cost 65€ I think it was.  I'd do it again then be back Thursday sometime.

Whether Mum comes will be up to her.  Her decision will surely be influenced by Rosemary being here, whether Becky has any tests, and whether Kripper has any more music, etc.  But I'm going regardless and I'll be gone all day tomorrow and return sometime Thursday.

2. More for me than you: TVA is due in this week (Saturday) but I've already made a good crack at it.  I just need to remember to finish it off on Friday.

3. Your trip to Gap: no problem, I'll be back before you go.  Good for a chance to talk; yes, we need more of that.

4. Sometime around next weekend I'll be needing to take Rosemary home.  I'll be gone two days, like last time, so it is not a major absence.  But I'll be gone, yes.

She hasn't decided on which day exactly she wants to be back so I can't say more right now.  But the idea was for her to be here for two weeks.

5. Sallès house, also called "Roo's house" -- I went over there last night for an hour with M. Bardy and Jean-Pierre (the electrician and plumber -- I like him a lot, he seems genuine) and we talked and planned.

The roof is finished except for a couple of little details.  "Roo's bedroom" wall is finished and looks real good!  His ceiling has been completely redone with insulation in it now.  Next things we agreed to be done without further ado:

a) The Bardy boys were working this week doing finishing touches to Roo's room.
b) Bardy said he'd contact M. Simon about a couple of finishing touches in the grenier.
c) Bardy is starting on dropping the ceiling down in the two ground-floor rooms so J-P Hervé can start next Monday to run gaines and cables and plumbing up there.  He is also going to completely strip the present bathroom ready for Bardy.
d) Bardy is going to break up and create a new floor in the present bathroom.  We went over all the details together.

So, the roof is done, Roo's room wall is done, his cupboards torn out and cleaned up.  What we did not agree upon yet was the windows (price).  These can be decided a little later.  I suggest we do Roo's room window and the street level window beneath it first and wait on the others.  Hervé and Bardy are going to work together to create the bathroom on the top floor (Laurent will like that) consisting of a WC, lavabo, and shower.  Jean-Pierre will run wires and put switches and plugs everywhere on that top floor and Roo's room.  The whole ground floor is pending for the moment.

My idea is to get L&R installed in the hotel apartment for 3 or 4 months while we continue.  A great deal of the finishing touches of painting and so on, can probably be done ourselves.  In 3 or 4 months Roo and Debbie will also probably be ready to move in from the caravan.  Maybe Roo should take a month off work and do some real work in his new house?

6. Michel's house. I don't know if he wants it or not.  Lilly says a lot of derogatory things about it but I don't know why.  I love it and if it were up to Mum and I, we'd be moved in already.  The bedroom could be lived in from time to time if they wanted to.

So Bardy is aware of that chantier but I haven't spoken to him about it for awhile since I've been concentrating on Roo's & Laurent's place.  It's not that big a job; somebody just has to take the bull by the horns and get to work.  As soon as I start to see clearly about Laurent's place, I plan to do just that.

7. All this is going to cost money but we still have as much as we ever did when we last talked about it a month or so ago.  All we've "spent" so far is the roof -- and that should be around 12K if I remember (and add a little) correctly.

8. I'm going to have to go now and get planning tomorrow.  But I'm thinking about all this stuff all the time so don't be afraid to bring up the subject with me anytime -- you'll probably find I have a few ideas or thoughts on things.

9. Where to put Laurent's stuff?  Two possibilities spring to mind: the garage at the hotel, with the rest of the stuff, or erect another one single segment of Michel's hanger, completely separate from the other one having done it properly this time.

Second option is probably the best.  I do NOT want anything mixed up with Aunty's stuff in the billiard room and I really don't want any more stuff in the bar -- on the contrary, I'd like Michel to try to remove the little that is left there for the simple reason that I want to write to break our lease on Léon Loiseau and move the bookshop out into new quarters.

Mum and Lilly and Raphaella will also want a school upstairs of the bar, but that will not be a big job since we can do the whole thing ourselves -- it's pretty clean -- painting, cleaning, and so on.  Of course, I need to contact Leroy and see about getting his quote for heating.

Must go. I have to get myself organized.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Went up to Gloucester and picked up Rosemary, who's coming to spend a couple of weeks with us.  This photo was taken at our first stop at my café in Pierrefitte, where we had a coffee.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sunday, June 08, 2008

My own tour de France

Just got back last week from driving 2,960 km in four days.  I left with Christopher on Tuesday morning for Rennes and Nantes, then we drove to Bordeaux where we overnighted in a hotel right opposite the train station downtown.

After doing our job there we drove to Toulouse and then on to Marseille, where we spent the night.  Next morning, Thursday, we drove from Marseille, through Lyon, all the way to Strasbourg (eight hours) where we got our third hotel room in a Campagnile place -- very nice.  In the morning, after doing Strasbourg we drove to Metz, did it, got lunch, and drove home -- arriving at around 9.30 pm.

You probably wonder what on earth we did all that for!  Well, we were sub-contracted by a big US firm (Cisco) to handle a maintenance job (rework) on some big servers, everything arranged through a service company called Source Support.

I had to change a hard drive plus the drive cage and a few elementary things like that but in each city we were received at the main Network Maintenance Center (tête de réseau in French) in each city.

They were massive, all fiber optics, television screens, LEDs flashing and miles of cables.  Each was located in a cleanroom that was air conditioned and under high security.  The whole exercise was quite a learning experience for me and you can well imagine Christopher's reaction!

My first operation took almost two hours but the last one, in Metz was done in 37 minutes -- a record.  Meanwhile Kripper had gone from simply holding the screws for me to completely redoing the ventilation units while I worked on the hard drives.

As always, you can catch a few pix I took during the trip by clicking here.