Sunday, April 24, 2011

I haven't done much more today either...

... although I have made an important discovery. Acting on information received (from Henri at Radio Tartasse as it happens) I managed to track down the railway station for the tacot at Durdat- Larequille.

For those of you who haven't been following my blog for all that long, you probably won't know that back at the turn of the 20th Century the Département of the Allier was honeycombed with railway tracks belong to the Lignes Economiques, a system of metre-gauge railways that ran all over the place.

I say that they "ran all over the place" and that isn't an exaggeration because they very rarely ran anywhere near the villages that they were supposed to serve and the one here at Durdat is well over a mile from the village. In fact one early commentator described the railway stations as "seeming to have the purpose of just adding decoration to the countryside". The engines wheezed and coughed and spluttered around the countryside, gaining the nickname Tacot, which is French for an "old banger" or "rattletrap" and by 1950 or so they had been all swept away by road transport.

The line that ran from the lime kilns at Marcillat to the steel mill at Commentry was the first to go - being abandoned in 1932 when the standard gauge line from Montlucon to Gouttieres arrived at Marcillat. I've found most of the stations and some traces of the line but the station at Durdat was always elusive, until Henri told me where it was.

And here it is, with grateful thanks to the owner who gave me permission to photograph it.

Yes, I was in Montlucon shopping today. I've stocked up with food and all kinds of things, as well as almost everything to finish the water butts (Brico Depot is hopeless) including the nylon stockings for making my sand filters. Whyever didn't I think of Noz before?

A swim at Neris on the way back, fit the new tap onto the water butts, and that was me, done. But there I am saying tat Brico Depot is hopeless - here they are after all this time of me harassing them ad here they are now stocking BULKHEAD FITTINGS - the hollow threaded tube that you pass through the sides of water tanks. I've been nagging them about these for ages and now they finally carry them. This will make my life so much easier.

But in Montlucon I had two interesting encounters. A guy at LIDL stopped me and asked me "is that your van outside?" and so we had a long chat about wind turbines and solar panels and he's coming to see me next week. There has been a lot of discussion just recently about advertising and people have different opinions about different things, but for me, having corporate colours and a corporate logo, and having clothes that match the van for the colours and the logo - that seems to work for me. And then on the Brico Depot car park, Julie and Rob came over for a chat and to tell me that they want me to go over and chat to a friend about solar panels. Having a vehicle that is a distinctive shape, a distinctive size and a distinctive colour - that seems to work too. People can see me coming a long way off, and at the very least it gives them plenty of time to hide.


  1. Now people will be looking at you, nodding to each other knowingly... Les Rosbif travesti :P

  2. Now a days advanced technology will enable you to practically power your home solar power. Just imagine never having to pay for Electricity again. You could save thousands of dollars a year.

  3. You have to laugh at sone of these spammers' don't you?