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Contents of article "February 2007"
Saturday 3rd February
You would not believe the week I’ve had on the equipment front! It started when my computer packed its bags and headed for the hills! One minute it was present and correct and behaving in an orderly fashion, the next it was EWOL (Exploding Without Leave) and making metallic alien- burp’n’pop-type noises, before disappearing in a puff of smoke! (OK, a little poetic licence here I admit but it did stop working) Fortunately, I recently gave a French computer repair man a (FREE) listing on the site and in PO Life so he came round a gave me a (NOT Free) consultation which meant that I spent the next day running around Perpignan trying to find a new fan, which I finally found in Céret at 7 o’clock at night! YABUMMER! Anyway, I arrived home with sore feet and an aching wallet (Olivier’s, not mine) and lowered myself onto the settee to watch something educational (that Tracy! What a bitch!) on the brand new, very large and extremely expensive flat screen telly when KAPOUM! First it started flashing at me (just as Dot was confronting Joe before he threw himself out of the window) and then the picture fizzed and vanished. Further investigation indicated a total loss of everything! We couldn’t even watch a DVD. Well, I suppose it is nearly two months old and wear and tear is only to be expected! It isn’t the first time - the remote control unit stopped working after only two weeks and we had to go into Perpignan to collect a new one.
Conforama agreed to send a repair man round within only five days (as per the terms of our ’within 24hour’ call out contract) He arrived yesterday morning, informed us it was ’brock’ and ’needed fixin’’ (he wasn’t from Yorkshire but I thought the accent added a bit of rough) and boogered off. The new part might arrive in about ten days. "But it’s virtually brand new, cost a fortune and we’ve hardly had ten days of trouble-free viewing since we bought it" I whined "Et ben.." he replied.
Conforama will not change the telly, even though it is hardly six weeks old and needs a whole new ’carte mere’ (don’t ask) and remote control system. So that’s that!
Well, as they say, it ’aint over ’til the fat lady sings and the fat lady ’aint sung yet! Today, we discovered that the DVD (also new) won’t record - having tried it on the small telly - all that remains to us - and my car won’t start because the battery’s flat! It has to be a conspiracy! Breathe deeply and open another bottle.
Anyway, back to life in the Pyrénées Orientales! Last week, we went on some fabulous walks, one of which was the tour of the two lakes at Villeneuve de la Raho. If you haven’t already walked round them, it really is a super walk - about six kilometres with really well planned picnic areas around the second lake and superb views in the distance. At one point, we heard a buzzing in the distance and the skies filled up with about twenty helicopters. I thought WW3 had arrived and they were going to pick us off one by one but no - they just flew straight over . Very wierd though. Where did they come from, where did they go? Great line dancing song that! On a serious note, if you take a look at the shoreline of the lake, all the darkish looking sand that you see is normally under water. Although the authorities say that there isn’t yet a problem with water supplies, it is becoming a real possibility as we watch the lakes and rivers dry up.
Saturday 17th February
Would you believe it? I open my big gob and mention drought and the heavens open! (OK it was a week ago and we have had temperatures of 25° in between, but today there can be no doubt that IT IS RAINING!) It didn’t stop me going for a run this morning though. Oh no - nothing prevents the intrepid Kate from weaving through the vine and cherry orchards in my never ending quest for the perfect body. Well, this morning was my first time actually but my intentions are firm and I am unanimous in this! Last week, in Leeds, I accidentally trod on my Dad’s scales, when I tottered out of the shower and was unable to avoid the nasty little monster, and it shocked me into a serious diet which lasted until lunchtime when the new Cadbury’s praline flake won the day - far too nice for their own good and just asking for trouble really. Naturally, I had to bring some back. They were in packs of three, and three packs for the price of two - be honest - what would you have done in my position? You couldn’t not! Anyway, I intend to go for a run every morning and work off all those naughty little calories (unless of course it’s raining, too hot, or very cold)
One of the problems of packing up your goods and chattels and swanning off into the sunset is that you obviously leave one life behind to start another. When I go back to England now, I find it quite difficult to contact friends, as I’m very aware that when you first leave, you (hopefully) also leave a hole in many lives, but that hole fills in quite quickly – it’s human nature – and life goes on. I remember as a teacher when kids or ex colleagues would pop back into school to say hello. “Hello. Lovely to see you. What are you doing now? Good. Good. Lovely. Anyway, got to rush, late for next lesson. Do hope to see you again……” You can never quite recapture those old relationships no matter how close you were or how much you had in common, so surely the best course of action is not to try - then you’re not disappointed! Well, this time, I didn’t try – and I wasn’t disappointed. Clever eh? If you’re reading this and thinking “Yeah, I fort I saw ‘er in Sainsbury’s, the ignorant mousse” Yes, it was me and so sorry not to have contacted you all. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Easter and have a good summer. On the other hand, if you’re reading this, you know how to contact me!!
I flew with Ryanair from Girona to Doncaster. Both flights were excellent but if you’re going north, forget Doncaster – a nightmare to find – hardly any signs – and took us as long as Leeds to Manchester.
The new PO Life is out by the way. It is in most tourist offices, the airport, Champions and Intermarchés, some shops and smaller supermarkets… If you have any ideas of places visited by English speakers, where PO Life would go down well, please e mail me….. Or if you can distribute some around where you live that would be great too. We spent four days and distributed around 4000 all over, but in some places they just disappear so quickly. We’ve kept back another couple of thousand to top up in March, but people still keep e mailing to say they can’t find any.
Lulu went off to Germany for a week on a school exchange last week. He had the most fantastic time, managed to cope without learning a single word of German, and would happily go back there again soon if he knew where he’d been! “Where exactly is Breisach Lulu?”
"Dunno. In Germany”.
“But where in Germany my little cherub?”
North? South? East? West?”
He clearly takes after his Dad!
Sunday 25th February
I’ve just cycled to Argeles in the rain. Why? Dunno! Seemed like a good idea at the time. I got a little lost on the way and found myself in Palau del Vidres, heading towards Elne, but did eventually make it to Argeles plage where loving husband and grungy adolescent son were waiting to load my bike into the back of the car and take me home for bedrest! I’m sitting here now on rubber legs, sporting a red nose which has nothing to do with comic relief, and wondering why? Why would I choose to ride 25 km on one of the few rainy days that we have around here. What a weirdo! Anyway, I’ve worked out that two and a half hours of cycling allows me five beers or half a bottle of red wine with a clear calorie conscience, and I do feel thinner already so maybe there is some method in my madness.
The mimosa and almond blossom are splashing pale pinks and fluffy yellows all over the countryside as they yawn and wake. Today is dull, cool but not cold; and the snow topped Canigou is peering out from a circle of cloud.
Yesterday, we tried the ice rink at Barcares. Well, when I say ‘we’, it really is the royal we as I watched from the wings and took incriminating photos. I say ‘incriminating’ as those of you who follow the forum may well have read Olivier’s thread about the ice rink and witnessed him saying (and I quote) “I am not an experience skater but I could stay up on them and manage not to fall” Ooops! Never tell fibs on the forum Olivier – they always catch up with you in the end!
On the way out of Barcares, we were passing a restaurant when I saw the menu move! On the second time round the roundabout, I realised why! Dere was a leedle puddy tat in place of the menu – little cutie! A walk on the beach in Saint Cyprien finished off a superb day – the weather wasn’t superb – just OK – and the sky wasn’t Wedgwood blue – but wow! There is something about having a whole beach to yourself that makes you feel so good!