Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Well, I've been and gorn ...

... and now I'm back.

The first thing that stuck in my mind was Damien's funeral. Never mind standing room only, there were people standing outside. Packed to the rafters was the church, such was his popularity. And after the service, which took quite a while, the crowd heaved its way up to the cemetery. I've never been to a French funeral before and so it was all a new experience to me, but anyway once the crowd had gathered we all filed past the coffin one after another to pay our final respects. The more religious people made a sign of the cross and sprinkled holy water over the coffin while the laity such as Yours Truly simply made their peace with him. Then everyone left the cemetery except for the family and close friends who stayed behind for the interment.

It was at 17:22 when I left Pionsat and at 02:22, exactly to the minute 9 hours of driving, I was in Brussels.  And that includes a fuel stop and stopping for some chips and salad. I averaged 83kph for the whole journey which was quite impressive seeing the roads that I use. And you can tell that after much time and plenty of trial and tribulation, I have found out how to work the statistics function of the SatNav. And aren't I in my element now?

A good sleep led to a shopping expedition and I have finally found a new whistling kettle - I've been hunting one for ages. And then after lunch it was round to the apartment.

You might recall that back in the winter we tried everything that we could to undo the lock on the cellar to empty it. And nothing we tried would make it work. This time, I took a couple of enormous extensions and a drill and angle grinder. And of course, trying to unlock the door just one more time for old time's sake", it came undone with no issues whatever!

And so that was emptied and the racking dismantled in no time flat and then Caliburn was loaded up. I don't know how people can function without vans, I really don't. And so a shopping trip to IKEA where I discovered a few exciting items in the sale, and then the Simonis Fritkot, and off to my motorway service area for a kip. But in fact I spent quite a while fixing a car for a British guy returning from holiday with his family and whose electricla charging circuit had broken down.

Next morning after a lie-in and a leisurely breakfast, round to Marianne's for lunch and a walk in the park where we had tea with Prince Laurent of the Belgians (and I bet you think that I am joking as well). Then back to the flat, I dismantled the bed in Caliburn and Marianne helped me load the heavy stuff.

We had a really long chat and what with it being Sunday we went out for pizza. However we were sidetracked by a new restaurant advertising, would you believe, a Vegan section. And I had te most magnificent penne al arabiatta that I have ever eaten.

Back on the road and Caliburn bounced happily all the way to near Auxerre where I crashed out for the night. And wasn't that uncomfortable? I'd forgotten that I'd left my sleeping bag and pillow back at the apartment. GRRRRRRRR!

Next morning, a different story. Hay lorries, tractors, all kinds of things on the roads. No wonder I like to travel at night. And the final straw was near Moulins where they had part of the N7 closed for resurfacing - it took an hour to travel 6 kms, such is the traffic on the N7.

But back home to the storms and the rain. And the solar panels on the end of the barn, those that I fitted before I went, are producing about 20% more than those on the roof of the van. I was hoping for more but never mind - it'll do.

And so after Lieneke's party, where I spent most of my time chatting to Tyas, Simon and Desiree, I cam ehome and crashed out.

And do you know? I have to go back and do exactly the same thing next weekend too!

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