Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Panama Red Is Back In Town.....

It's been very hot here for the past week or two, though today we woke to a fresher atmosphere and a touch of rain, now dwindling and soon to be gone with temps again rising. It's been hovering in the high twenties/low thirties most days.  Never quite as enervating as Spain but on the way there, at times.

We're busy with the arrangements for completion of the house purchase, which is now scheduled for Sept 4th. Having been through this process previously in France, we anticipate a lengthy, session of unecessary pomp at the Notairial office in our nearby small town of Airvault.  They sit with all the parties assembled before them and read through the entire conveyancing document - who said watching paint dry was boring - and we have to sign and approve each individual page! It's part of the mechanism for maintaining their status in the country, and really irritating and nonsensical. We certainly didn't go this far - ever - when I was working as a solicitor in UK:

However, we've also been up to our necks in getting estimates/Devis from local artisans for works to the place, some of which we must have completed in a basic way before we can move in: this includes new electrics and plumbing. We'll have to move the current kitchen area into one of the big front rooms just for ease of access to drainage runs etc. This is no big deal and will give us a sort of large living -kitchen/dining sort of place. A set-up we tend to prefer anyway.

We've also reached a satisfactory conclusion to our search for a LHD Froggo registered car:  I stuck an ad in a wanted section of a UK expat forum thingy, suggesting a straight swap with someone returning to UK. And it paid off. We have a Renault Clio to collect/exchange with a youngish couple from the same Dept (79), who are returning to the UK in early September. They faced the same dilemma, with an LHD car that would be useless to them in the longer run in England. So, after quick test runs, we agreed a deal. The changeover is on Sept 1st. So we must sort out insurance before then for the big day.

A few weeks ago we went along to the World Cup of Balloon Racing, or so it was overblownly named by the French. Held in a field a few miles from us, it was well-attended with about 30 or so Montgolfiers/balloonists from all over Europe. Sadly, on the day we attended the wind struck up and they were unable to take to the skies safely. Still, it gave us an excuse to get out, have a baguette and beer and watch the Froggos at play for a few hours. The event itself was moderately attended but badly managed! The competitors were reduced to blowing hot air because of the weather:

Lots of Raptors around these parts. The usual range of Red and Black Kites, some Goshawk and an impressive range of Harriers - Montagu, Hen and Marsh. I'm not so sure about the latter, though, some do look very like those we used to have on Skye many years ago.

Also a fine range of Butterflies, which does suggest that the ecology here is fairly sound and environmentally friendly. I haven't seen any snakes this year, which is a surprise but no doubt they're around, skulking in the security of the lush, rampant undergrowth.  Don't know quite what this one is, though. Any ideas out there? Very pretty and striking creature:

I also had a bit of an incident when I was rushing to catch the Boulanger outside in her van one morning. Jumping from bed, quickly throwing on some clothes, I slipped and fell downstairs, about 15 feet or so, crashed onto the tiled floor heavily and bounced up to smash into a plate glass door, which was wrecked but fortunately for me had safety glass:

Like the glazing, I too was badly smashed and bruised; still difficulty with left hand and elbow. But recovering steadily.

I sold one of my few remaining older guitars a few days ago. I just don't play it often, so was happy to see it go for a fair price to a Geordie who lives not too far off:

A 1956 Gibson LG1 Acoustic:

  Not a particularly prized model but definitely a true 'Vintage' Gibson, I suppose. The guy who bought it, Matt, was pleased with the deal and unsurprisingly/surprisingly, we knew a lot of people in common from the music world, particularly in the USA Americana field,  but also in the traditional/blues fields in UK. Indeed, next week he has one, an old hippy if ever there was one, Peter Rowan,  - whom I met once, a few years ago out in North Carolina - staying with him for a few days next week prior to starting a small gigging tour in UK/Ireland.  One of Bill Monroe's original Bluegrass boys, he's a great player with a truly remarkable vocal range. He's also good fun. Maybe I'll meet him again, seems a possibility!  and something to look forward to:



Still can't get Blogger to upload from Chube, I'm afraid. God knows why. It just gives me a limited range of, presumably, sponsored carp instead!