Showing posts from September, 2023

Their Majesties' visit

 Charles and Camilla spent two good days in Paris, where speeches (made partly in French), walkabouts and a table tennis game left a very good impression. Today they arrive in Bordeaux. They'll fly into Mérignac, be whisked to the Town Hall, then have a walkabout down to the quays to inspect the Iron Duke, berthed there since Wednesday, then attend a concert at the Place de la Bourse. Traffic is diverted and trams will be interrupted between 1 and 3:30. Pat and I are on duty at the café, where we'll be warm and sheltered from the constant, interminable, incessant, driving, torrential rain that we saw all day yesterday and that is forecast all day today. It was suggested that we close to go and wave flags, but we rejected the offer of standing for hours in the eye of the storm for the uncertain prospect of catching a glimpse of Camilla's hat.

Our new flat, and a new laptop

We're well and truly installed. It is, of course, considerably smaller than our old place, but it's working pretty well.  It's a temptation to laziness, the tram stop is literally 50 yards away. Why walk anywhere? The roof garden seems to be doing well, and I'm hatching plots to grow some things up there. After all, it even has a watering system installed. Perhaps courgettes. Melons. Peppers. Why not? It'll get plenty of sun! The passing trams don't annoy us at all, and the windows are pretty good at deadening the sound anyway. The kitchen is bliss. Probably the best kitchen we have ever had. It is rather warm. But then we are passing through successive heatwaves. Anyway, we may crack and get an air-conditioning unit. In short, all so far is good. And in a surprise move, I replaced my laptop. My old one was stolen just before Catrin's wedding and I didn't bother to replace it. Now when we have visitors my study computer is inaccessible, so I was very ple

The Welsh supporters in Bordeaux

Bordeaux has good memories of the visit of the Irish and the Welsh supporters for the football tournament some years ago. Noisy, funny, but compliant and generally cleaning up after themselves, the city enjoyed hosting them. This year for the rugby the Welsh supporters were present in number once more. Again, the city was impressed by the fact that the Welsh sing. A group had decided to cycle from Paris to Bordeaux, arriving at Place de la Bourse in time for the match, and this they did. They were greeted by a massive crowd who proceeded to sing from memory and in harmony the National Anthem, I bob un sydd ffydlon (and old temperance hymn), Calon lân (a clean heart, one of Wales' best loved hymns), Cwm Rhondda (this one in English), Yma o hyd (become a Welsh national resistance song) and Max Boyce's ever-popular rugby anthem "Hymns and Arias".  I was impressed, and I grew up with it. The match began at 9pm when it was 27°C. We find these heatwaves rather tiring, so I

Rugby World Cup

 Some of the Rugby World Cup matches will be played in Bordeaux, and for this a fan zone has been set up on the quays - this time on the less popular end of town. The bars opposite will be rejoicing. This weekend Ireland are playing Romania on Saturday evening, then Wales are playing Fiji on Sunday evening. The Opera National de Bordeaux Aquitaine decided to mark the occasion by singing on the steps of the Opera House, accompanied by four aerobatic dancers, contorting through hoops suspended from the roof. The choir sand for each country its national anthem, followed by a popular song. For Wales they sang Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, and Sospan Fach. The choir gave enthusiastic cries of "OÏ OÏ". We went along, of course, and I dressed in full regalia for the occasion - my Wales cap and a Wales tee-shirt which has a passive Wales flag on a green background. The green background did mean a few people took me for Irish from the back... As we found a spot two chaps came up and started add

Etat des lieux

 The saga of the parking place continued a little while. The woman who manages our building spoke to her colleague who confirmed that he had indeed given us a card for the car park and told her the number. "You'll have to get a replacement card and return it to us on Friday", she said. I contacted the company who manages the parking garage. "No such number exists. No such card exists. No such card ever existed. I can do nothing." said Nicolas for the company. Friday came, and the Etat des Lieux. "I'll sort out this problem with the card, don't worry." After looking round the flat and finding a couple of things we had forgotten to clean (oops) she pronounced it a "very well maintained apartment". Wear on one of the parquet floors she pronounced "wear, not degradation". (Degradation is wilful or through neglect. Wear is normal.) We'll see whether we get our deposit back or not. Meanwhile Pat's sister and brother-in-law