Monday, 26 August 2013

Train spotting

We were up at the crack of dawn Sunday morning and we went off to a railway bridge in Rully. We were going train spotting. When we arrived and before I could get my camera out a TGV went past, blast missed it. Then a goods train came past, which I dutifully photographed. But that was not why we were here.

We were on a steam mission.

Since The Mistral 241P-17 had had her accident a couple of years ago, we thought we would never see a steam train on the rails round here again. But this year she is up and back in business and Sunday morning was the day that she passed near to us. Although I had my doubts when the alarm went off at 06.30, when we heard her toot in the distance, I knew it would be worth it and it was.

The stretch where we waited was long and straight, to give us a good view of her arriving. We saw the smoke a good 2 or 3 minutes before we could see any semblance of a train and then she arrived.

I had forgotten just how exciting steam trains are, they are not machines at all, they are magnificent living creatures, puffing out smoke and fire. I had set the camera on multi-shot, but I must admit I bottled out that the last minute and jumped back when she went right under the bridge, so there is no photo of the cloud that engulfed us as she thundered underneath. And that was it - with a cloud of smoke there she was - gone - on her way to the Jura.

I must be a bit of an anorak because I will certainly be back next year if she is passing.

For a website about holiday accommodation near a place where a steam train can be seen from time to time click here.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Fame at last - well almost

What's that?
As regular readers of my blog will know, I have almost been on TV a number of times since we have come to live in France. Although I appreciate that this is a lot nearer than most people get to being on TV, it has somewhat disappointed me that it has always been “almost”. But now I know why. They have been saving me for the BIG ONE.

This Tuesday we had bagsied our seats at the restaurant La Petite Auberge just before they opened at 12.00 and we were just hovering around waiting, making sure no impudent tourist would steal "our" place on the terrace, when I saw a car coming up the main street, with a large blue blob on top of it. No sooner than I could think to myself “What’s that?” when I realised I had been Google mapped !

Fame at last?
Yes folks, when the new version of Cluny comes on-line on Street View, there I’ll be, staring at the camera like a dimwit. I’ll keep you posted.

For a look at the website, showing our property which can be seen on Google Street View (in the distance, because we are not actually on a proper street) click here.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Givers and takers

In our line of work you meet all sorts of people. The vast majority are very nice people, people we love to have here, people who are friendly and polite, fun and interesting. But sadly, every so often we have “takers”. Not only do they actually take our time and possessions, but they also take our energy as well. Constantly having to be aware that we mustn’t give even a teeny weenie bit, otherwise we will be taken for a very big ride. Every time I am surprised by these people, even though they make their intentions very clear from the start. We will say something like “Please don’t drive on to the campsite the ground it rather soft at the moment”  and that will be met with “I am only going to empty the car, then I will be off” and yet again, we know what we are in for - a week or so of “takers”. The slightest favour turns into a demand for more and more, spoilt little children who have never learned any manners or consideration for others, they take and take and take.

This last fortnight we have had such a couple on our site. We did them a favour when they first arrived. We do this sort of thing all the time, someone forgets to bring something with them, we lend them ours, someone has a problem with the car, we phone and translate so that the mechanic and visitor can communicate, and many small things inbetween.  We don’t expect anything in return, except a thank you and a little respect, we are after all just human. I won’t go into the gory details, but the favour we did this time was rather big and it actually cost us money, time and effort. Even so, we did it willingly and so we have given. On the return front, we did not even receive a thank you and I must say, even though it shouldn’t have, that did irritate me, as I said before, I'm only human. All the time they have been camping on our site, he has been very unpleasant, probably using his skills as a psychologist to manipulate us into getting what he wanted. I always thought that being a counsellor was a caring profession, I always thought that if you had your own practise you at least cared about other people, but in this case I have been very wrong.

Normally we would let it drop, life is too short to get wound up, but last night when they came to pay for their stay, we suggested that they should contribute to our expenses. Without even knowing how much we were suggesting, they refused point blank. Maybe they were afraid to ask how much it had cost, maybe they thought that for 7 Euros a night they were entitled to everything or maybe they just enjoyed the “taking”. Who knows what was going on in their minds.

This sorry episode ends here and now.  I am putting into practice something I was told a long time ago: "the events and people in your past can only affect you today, if you allow them to”. So Mr G K (no hyphen) H of somewhere near Rotterdam, to put an end to your taking from me, I give you the 20 Euros we were hoping you would reimburse us with. I hope that you set it aside to buy something that will give you pleasure, because I fear that all of the things you take from people like us, give you no pleasure at all. 

That's it - one taker sucessfully exorcised from my life.

For information on our campsite and gites, which are now restored to being full of lovely people, click here.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

We have “weather” round here

I have often said that we have real weather here, no wishy-washy winters and summers for us, oh no, we have hot or we have cold, we have rain or we have dry, we have wind or we have wind still and last weekend we had the mother of all thunder storms.

This storm went on all day long and we had rain, after rain, after rain. In total we had 82mm or about 3 1/4 inches for you non-metrics. This is about one and a half times the amount of rain we should expect in either July or in August and all that within about twelve hours.

The wave of thunder storms that tore over the area could be seen in all directions and we were really lucky we were not right in the midst of any of them - Bissy sous Uxelles (a couple of villages down from us) was not so lucky. These pictures show you what happens to a church when it gets hit by lightning. The bell is still hanging on by a thread of burned out wood.



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